Having originally made his mark on the industry as a part of My Octopus Mind, Bristol-based composer/producer and multi instrumentalist Liam O'Connell aka Leeem has now looked to begin a more lo-fi adventure as he unveils his new single 'Laudanum'.
Described as a new outlet for more diverse musical ideas and experimentation, 'Laudanum' makes for the perfect introduction to his work. Coupling warm and sweeping atmosphere with his haunted yet soaring vocals, this new delight triggers memories of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes with its light yet intrinsic style.
So with his new material finally with us, we sat down with his to find out more about his background and what have been his biggest inspirations so far.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
The guitar has been my companion since I was 13 but I’d say when someone brought a double bass to a jam when I was 16 that was real love. It wasn’t till 10 years later that I actually got my hands on one again, but the love is strong.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
Traveling and exploring the subconscious.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
I had a long red hot chilli peppers faze pre californication, a lot of Jimi Hendrix, Cypress Hill, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane and Bob Marley. It was all pretty normal until I was introduced to “paranoid android” by Radiohead and that triggered me to start diving into stranger things.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
When I first heard the album 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley It gave me the courage to really pursue my own sound. It was later in New Zealand that I met a traveling musician Stuart O’Conner who really convinced me to go for it.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
My favourite morning album is perch patchwork by Maps and Atlases. it’s got the perfect blend of quirky mathy textures and joyful uplifting irony.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
I used to write about relationships as a way of processing but I now try to avoid getting so personal. I’ll still write to process, but it seems pretty insensitive for me to put them out into the world.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
Played at a venue called the Penguin Club in New Zealand. Whilst another band was playing some kid tried to jump on stage, at which point a big dude pulled him off the stage and a chick bottled the kid. He hit the floor and I was covered in beer and glass. I decided to spend the rest of the night outside with the penguins, they were pretty friendly in comparison.
Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?
Snowboarding and skateboarding.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
I would without a doubt be living in the mountains teaching and coaching snowboarding.
And what advice would you give to other musicians looking to start a career in music?
Just keep doing it. It could take 1 year or 20 years to get anywhere. Be prepared to do everything yourself all the time and don’t waste time resenting people around you who don’t do as much as you. That’s their problem or luck or whatever. Just keep going and creating for yourself and learn to listen to advice whilst discerning what’s right for you.
Leeem's new single 'Laudanum' is available to stream and download now. Watch the new video for it in the player below.