EVERY new cut from Leaone is a fantastic experience…
and memorable moment. I have been talking with him regarding the new track, The Swans Will Sing, and whether more material will surface. He talks to me about his influences and how his music has developed; what it feels like having the ear of big radio names; what he would say to new artists of the moment – whether he feels his music would be suited for film or T.V.
I ask what gigs are coming up for Leaone; if summer festivals are tempting; if he gets any time to unwind away from music; what he hopes to achieve before the end of the year – ending the interview with a rather cool and epic song!
Hi, Leaone. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey man. I’m here and there, you know! I’ve had a good weekend. Caught that new Paul Thomas Anderson movie, Phantom Thread - the one with the Jonny Greenwood score. Very good! Yesterday, I was over in Southwold with friends.
The sea air is certainly good for the mind.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a music artist from Suffolk. That’s about it really! I sing, produce, and engineer everything you hear on my records. Occasionally, I might record other musicians but, generally what you hear is just me. Although, I do gig with a live band consisting of good friends - whom I am so grateful for.
The Swans Will Sing is new. What can you reveal about its story and creation? It has a mix of dark undertones and classic sounds. Did you have a distinct vision of what the song would sound like before you recorded it?
Most of my songs have been kicking around for months, if not years, in some incarnation. I had the melodies for the quieter parts for a long time but didn’t really know what to do with the chorus. Then it just came pouring out, through frustrations with life I’m currently going through.
I was nervous about sharing it with Fierce Panda as it felt like a bit of a departure to my previous E.P.s. - but they really liked it and it feels good to be able to express myself freely without constraints. Weirdly, I feel like those quiet parts and the horn sections were inspired by Chet Baker - who I had been listening to a lot.
Will there be a video for the song?
I have had ideas for a video, but who knows.
I generally produce and make my videos myself, which I love to do, but it does pull me away from getting on with writing and recording - so I’m not really sure at this stage.
Last year; you released two E.P.s (Oh, My Sweetest Sin and Wild Horse Ride On). Do you think you’ll put another E.P. out this year?
I haven’t really decided yet...
I’ve certainly got the songs for a new E.P., if not another two or three! Right now I feel like releasing songs independently, one at a time. I feel singles that have had heavier promotion have overshadowed certain songs. But, who knows; my mind on everything changes from day to day.
You gained respect from the likes of Jo Whiley and Chris Hawkins. Did it feel pretty good finding such a broad mix of fans in the radio industry?!
I was really shocked to be picked up by the nationals, to be honest! Radio is such a massive deal to me. Every time I get played it’s such a buzz. I mean, I have so much respect for people like Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq! It’s a massive privilege to get played by them. I think it feels much more significant because they are personalities that have been a part of your upbringing: it’s not a faceless medium.
I just need Zane to spin me on Beats and I’ll be happy!
How do you feel you have progressed and developed as an artist since your earliest days? Do you think you are stronger and more confident now?
I’ve been writing and recording music for many years; way before I ever released anything properly. I think, at this point, writing music just feels engrained and a natural part of who I am. So, I feel more content and confident in just being an artist; even if no one knows me or listens to me. I know I get so much out of it personally; whereas I think when you are starting out you are so eager to ‘make it’ and get ‘signed’. I’ve realised that I’m not going to stop making music regardless of what goes on in terms of the ‘business’ of it all.
I still get really nervous playing live; simply because it is such a rare occurrence and you’re always at the mercy of engineers that don’t know your sound - and often performing through poor systems. Like, I’ll rehearse my arse off with my band for one show and that’s it you know, until three months later. You can’t exactly get on a roll like that. But, it’s just not feasible at the moment to gig all the time.
Which artists made an impact when you were growing up? Who do you count as idols?
Chris Cornell, Johnny Cash; Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave; Kanye West and Julian Casablancas. Oddly, none of them English! Growing up as a kid, I really liked Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine.
Your music has a cinematic, dramatic quality. Would you like to see one of your tracks on the screen one day?
Totally! I did sign Goldtooth off for a movie sync, but the movie has yet to see the light of day. So, God knows what’s happened there! I’d love to write and score for movies - especially arty, independent cinema. That’s my bag. I’m not really into Hollywood blockbuster: films like Betty Blue, The Dreamers and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night are more my sort of thing.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I’ve got a couple of shows coming up. The first is at The Social in London on Little Portland Street. That’s on the 22nd March. Its free entry and Fierce Panda’s birthday party. So; no excuse not to come if you’re around the smoke. The other is at The Hunter Club in Bury St. Edmunds on the 7th April. There’s a chance I might play that one solo without my band - which would be a first! I have made some tentative plans for a pretty awesome tour in the autumn - but it depends on a few things as to whether I can pull it off.
The summer is coming up. Do you have any festivals plans? What would be your ideal festival date?
Well, I’d love to. I mean, I’ve applied to play a tonne of them so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Latitude festival would probably mean the most - because I live around the corner and I’ve been almost every year since it started. But; I’d love to get out and play overseas. I went to Way Out West festival in Gothenburg last summer just for fun, which was amazing.
I’d love to play there.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
Just remember to live, really! Spend more time with my friends and family. Musically, I just want to write more, not procrastinate so much and try and keep away from the Devil inside my head. I want to perform more and just keep releasing music.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Working with Jim Lowe in the Stereophonics’ studio in Shepherd’s Bush, and hanging out with him in bars in London, is definitely my fondest memory so far.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Well. I still feel very much like an artist just starting out. But, my advice would be to trust yourself and remember that no one more than yourself carries your best intentions. Just like in any walk of life, there are arseholes and pirates out there - so hang on to your wallet.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m pretty bad at that! I don’t really ever stop thinking about my music. It can be a drain on personal relationships, that’s for sure. But, outside of music, I’m happiest when I’m travelling and exploring new places. I hate staying in the same place for too long.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
That’s a tough one: there’s much amazing music I love. But, how about this one: Let Your Eyes Wander. It’s a song I love deeply off of Chris Cornell’s last solo album, Higher Truth.