THE music industry promises a lot of potential…
but how many artists deliver something original and captivating?! For that matter; how many artists shine and showcase a unique personality?! I have been talking with a genuine original: Louis Antoniou discusses his music career and the details behind his new single, You Ain’t the Girl. I ask about his influences and whether we can see him tour; which albums have made a big impression on him – and some new artists we should investigate.
The songwriter discusses his memories of last year and how You Ain’t the Girl differs from his previous song, Bad Apple. I ask whether he has any ambitions for 2018 and whether he grew up in a musical household – and whether humour/wit is an essential part of his musical chemistry.
Hi, Louis. How are you? How has your week been?
My week’s been good. Thank you, kind sir. Been busy getting everything ready for the release; band practice etc.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a 1960s-inspired, Alternative-Rock singer-songwriter. I’m merging the classic old sounds with the new Indie songwriting styles that I love.
You Ain’t the Girl is the new single. What can you tell me about its origins and story?
At the time, a couple of years ago, I was listening to a lot of Chuck Berry. A massive component of his style is that his lyrics tell a story, very much like Dylan - who also found inspiration from him very early on in his teenage years. You Ain’t the Girl is fiction, I think: there are elements of truth mixed in, I suppose. Although, when I perform the track or think about it; I have a clear image in my head of everything that’s mentioned, lyrically: I can feel the sticky dance-floor beneath my feet.
Perhaps it is a true story…
The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and have already connected with fans! Do you think humour and honesty are important when it comes to music – and resonating with the audiences?
I’m always determined to get my personality, thoughts and feelings across in songs. Some people just wanna sing the cliché, manufacture Pop stuff...which is fine: there is a place for that, as we know. I feel like part of Amy Winehouse’s charm, and a reason why people, girls in particular, connected with her songs was that she sang about real-life experiences and got her feelings about these heartbreaks across - bluntly and with a bit of London sass about it. I guess I’m trying to the same and I deem it important for me, personally…and to further connect with fans.
How does it differ from Bad Apple, your debut track, in terms of scope and sound? Do you think you have progressed since that song?
They were both written roughly around the same time - but You Ain’t the Girl was very fresh and was not ready to be recorded. This track is more melodic - which lends itself to the storytelling style, I think.
Bad Apple was harder-hitting, ‘say-it-how-it-is’ kind of vibe. I think they both complement each other, side by side.
You Ain’t the Girl was one of five singles recorded at The Crypt Studios. Will those sessions manifest into an E.P.? What material do you have coming up?
I thought about doing an E.P. for these five singles, but there’s one track in particular called Masters of Distraction which doesn’t tie in with the other four tunes. (I like an E.P. to have a constant theme that flows throughout). That one track is a twisted, satirical outlook of the future - something else I like to write about. I have other songs ready to record which focus more on this type of song structure I plan on doing for the E.P. for. For the other four tracks I recently recorded; I was going to do an E.P. called 4 Love Songs Later - but didn’t want Gary Barlow calling me up giving me jip.
Do you remember how you got into music - and the artists that compelled you at a young age?
Growing up, it was The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This probably sounds boring to most but this snowballed into other artists, and inspirations for my music today, like The Doors and Led Zeppelin. I would sit with my mates in the park at sixteen and we’d play Back Door Man through some shoddy speakers and I would take it all in. Discovering these bands led to me experiencing a heavy Blues phase; adoring artists like John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf. I like to think, with my love for current Indie/Alt. music too, that I have a cacophony of influences in my music. I like to take little bits of inspiration from all over the shop.
I know where it comes from and what it means to me but it might not be obvious to everyone else.
Did you grow up in quite an eclectic musical household?
Upon reflection, yeah, I suppose I did. My dad loved Jazz-Funk and my mum, still to this day, obsesses over E.L.O.
I take it all in.
Last year was a busy one in terms of gigs and events. What are your highlights from 2017?
I think the boys and I enjoyed playing Y Not Festival for a number of reasons. We survived the mud - which was one thing. Funnily, the first and last gigs of 2017 still stick out to me. We played The Cavendish Arms back in Feb, our first real show as a four-piece, which we smashed. We were unbelievably tight. Then, fast-forward to November when we played The Camden Assembly and you can see the growth, the confidence and camaraderie develop over the year.
If you had the chance to select the three albums that mean the most to you – which would they be and why?
You mean the most-interesting?!
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Arctic Monkeys) sticks out for me. Probably because that was the first real set of songs I learnt to play on the guitar.
Right now; Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy really resonates with me as an aspiring singer-songwriter. An album mocking the current political system in America: highlighting the need for a race of people needing entertainment…and being praised as one of the albums of 2017. What a legend.
I’m also big on Bob Dylan - so Highway 61 Revisited would feature in my top-three.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
Don’t eat yellow snow.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I’m playing Fiddlers Elbow (Camden) in March, and then, Zigfrid Von Underbelly - a hell of a name - in April.
How important is the stage when it comes to bringing your music to life?
I’ve always been regarded as a live artist, rather than a studio artist. Of course, that’s about to change (with me) releasing five singles, but I think that statement in itself justifies how important the stage is for me. I like to make the live shows unique. I have big plans for future gigs, too. Every show I’ve performed differs from the last. It may be the same songs sure but fans know I provoke different emotions every time I perform them. Perhaps I'll jump into the crowd for one song; sometimes I perform a song acoustically. The stage and set-lists are vital for me regards portraying the artist I am.
That’s something I’ve learnt from Dylan...
2018 is here. What do you have planned in terms of personal goals and ambitions?
I really want to play a church gig. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t recall a modern-day Rock outfit playing one of the church venues, tearing up the stage. I also have a series of poems I’m desperate to self-publish; focusing on the seven deadly sins in the modern-day world. I think I might do a Kickstarter campaign.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Let’s go for this heartfelt number: Melody Gardot - Baby I’m a Fool
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