I have been spending time with Liam Phelan...
who has been telling me about his new single, Khao San Road, and whether there was a story behind it. I wanted to find out what his next moves are and which artists/albums inspire him - he suggests a few rising acts worth getting behind.
Phelan talks about his musical tastes and whether there will be more material approaching; how he spends his time away from music and whether he is inspired by what is happening in the modern scene – Phelan selects a great track to end the interview with.
Hi, Liam. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. I’m good. I’ve been making music all week so I’m tired but I’m making it work.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure! I’m an artist and producer from London. I started out making lo-fi beats but have progressively incorporated vocals and live instruments like guitar into my music.
What can you reveal about your new single, Khao San Road? Is there a personal tale behind it?
Khao San Road is dedicated to my travels around Thailand last summer. The whole trip was an amazing experience but this one road caught my interest as it was so lively. People were out partying until 4 a.m. and, by 10 a.m., the street was filled with markets. I’d never seen anything like it. It was crazy.
Looking ahead, might an album or E.P. be arriving do you think?
I do have an E.P. in the works. By the end of this year it will be dropping but, before that, I have a couple of other projects I’m working on that I want to release this summer.
Music came into your life early. Which artists inspired you when you were a child?
From a young age, I had a varied mix of music around the house. I was listening to a lot of Green Day, Gorillaz and Eminem. The one that really inspired me though was Kanye. My mum had his early albums on C.D., so you would usually find me listening to The College Dropout and Late Registration on-repeat.
Are there any modern artists that are turning your head in terms of what they are doing?
Since discovering him, Childish Gambino has been my favourite artist. I haven’t seen any other artist progressively get greater over a ten-year period than him. He’s been killing the Rap game; he’s a fantastic singer and even better performer. I don’t even have to go into his career as an actor! You never know what he’ll bring next.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2019?
Other than the E.P., I’m working on a few collabs with upcoming artists. There are a lot of scenes popping in London right now, so I don’t want to be confined to doing one thing. I love all genres, so you might see me popping up on some Hip-Hop, R&B and even Grime projects.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
Recently I was out and somebody approached me saying they knew me from my music. They even started singing one of my songs. It was the first time that had ever happened so for me it was a crazy experience.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Kanye West - Late Registration
Like I said, this album was a massive part of my childhood. I had it on-repeat. It had deep emotional songs like Roses and Hey Mama then triumphant bangers like We Major. Whenever I bump that track I feel invincible.
Childish Gambino - Because the Internet
This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. There are insane guitar solos, jazzy chords; mad 808s. Everything. I love the range of emotion and honesty in Gambino’s deliveries. It’s something I always strive to do in my music.
Stan Getz, João Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
This one might be surprising, but I love Bossa Nova music. Living in London can be super-stressful so, to have an album that can mentally transport me to a beach in Brazil and make me forget about my worries is nice. I also play guitar on my songs, so sometimes using the finger-picking and chord progressions heard in Bossa Nova records for my tracks can be refreshing.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
It would have to be Childish Gambino - for the reasons I already stated. As for the rider, something that all my friends and fans know about me is that I have a chocolate addiction. Just having chocolate on the rider would be enough for me. I even have a song called I Only Love and Chocolate!
What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?
I’m looking at doing a couple of shows for the summer. Probably around London. Some of the music I’m working on to be released soon is really vibey and I would love to perform them live.
If we came to see one of your gigs, what might that involve? Do you love being on the stage?
Versatility. I have songs where I’m playing guitar, some where I’m singing deep lyrics; even somewhere I’m more energetic and rapping. I want to put the crowd through a range of emotions.
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Keep creating and network. You never know what you will make and who you will meet.
IN THIS PHOTO: Digitz
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I have just finished university and have been working weekends, so it’s been a bit of a stressful year - but music is funnily enough my time to chill. I’m at my most comfortable state when I’m making music.
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).
It has to be my anthem, Kanye West – We Major. Thank you!
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