Recently, WGB had the chance to sit down and have a one-on-one session with one half of the NZ group, LAKES. We're super stoked to give you the inside scoop. Here is how it went down...
Alright Liam, when you’re making music, who are you thinking of in the back of your head?
Well the first I'd have to say is Marvin Gaye, for all the soul sounds. Then there is just lots of little influences in my guitar playing, like Jimi Hendrix would be a standout example. I like my old school influences. That's where it started you know? So it's my interpretation on that, otherwise, I'm really trying to get a unique sound for the band.
Where does the name LAKES come from?
We got the name from a friend of ours, who happened to be the boyfriend of a certain Kiwi pop singer (before she got famous). We figured it was well suited. If I was still mates with that singer, I wouldn't have told you.
Hahaha, that is ok, bro. So, when did you first start getting into music?
Around year 9, when I was 14. I got my first electric guitar and just jammed on it all the time. I was listening to heaps of blues and I wanted to play properly instead of just a few chords and shit. It grew from there and I just tried playing all the different stuff I was into. I tried playing guitar when I was a kid but I got bored of it quickly.
Is LAKES your first band? Or have you been part of other groups?
I had another group called The Weekend Social but that was way more chill than LAKES. As far as serious goes, you could say LAKES is my first band.
What would you say drives your verbal output?
Well, I think it's everything that's going on around me. I don't think my shit is that interesting so I just write about other people. For example; when it's related to girls, its generally about my mates girlfriends who have fucked them over and my interpretation of how they feel, or maybe if you think a relationship will work and it doesn’t. I find that kind of stuff is great to write about because people relate to it. More so its about stuff that is happening in society and I use the whole girl thing as a metaphor for all the fucked up shit that's going on.
You go for the relatable angle in your music then?
Yeah, exactly. When they listen to it and hear a song about a girl, hopefully they like it. Then they listen closer and they realize that I’m usually talking about bigger things than just the girl. That's what I want my music to be doing.
That's quite a philosophical way to make music. Are you ever 100% happy with it?
Nah, I don't think any artist is. Like, I'm happy at the time and happy enough for other people to listen to it, but you can never write the perfect track. No one is smart enough to do that. It's all about the happy medium. It says what you want it to say for the time being and then you evolve.
That's awesome. Relating with your fan-base and its growing. What's the message you want to send with your music?
Do your own shit and don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks.
If you could collaborate with any artist and send that message, who would the artist be?
Probably Ta-Ku. He seems like a pretty chill dude. I don't know, I only really like collaborating with people I know so that its different and real fresh.
I probably would if I got the chance, but the thing about him is he's too slow. Like, he's doing something a bit different, but I don't think its different enough. I know he could do some real cool shit though, like his EP with Flume; Lockjaw. They obviously just had a jam with that and made some mean music out of it. There's nothing else like that. When you listen to their own shit you’re like, oh yeah, thats appealing to everyone else but I think they kind of lost their sense of individuality that I love about him so much.
Are you big on social media?
Well, if me and Toby didn't have our manager, then we probably wouldn't be where we are. He knows people, he's keen and he gets shit done which is what took us from the bedroom and to FOUR live.
You obviously have appreciation for what he's done for you. Whats his name?
Sam Deane, he is a good c***, oops I mean a lovely man and he’s done a lot for us hahaha...
Seeing as you’re a Shore boy Liam, I have to ask you about Lorde. Any Connections (*wink wink, "Kiwi pop singer.."?)
Well yeah, we used to be good mates in High School. We’d skip class and go jam in the hall but after fame, she’s fucked off somewhere and I haven’t seen or heard from her so I wouldn't call her a friend anymore. She was a "friend". I don't mean it as a dick. These things happen and people move on and that's fair enough.
Thumbs up for your honesty, I agree. These things happen. Speaking of Friends, tell me about Toby. Do you know much about his angle? Have you guys been friends for a long time?
Yeah, he loves Top Dawg Entertainment. Rappers like Isaiah Rashad and Kendrick of course. He loves Chance the Rapper as well. At the end of it all though he’s just keen to do what he wants to do. Thats what we’re about, we just do our own thing. He’s got a heavier hip hop influence then me though obviously. He just says shit how he means it. He’s one of those dudes that would text me at one in the morning saying that he was just jamming and he's made up a dope beat, which is half of making a song. Its a funny one. We didn't really know each other in High School and then we just kind of merged together in the same friend group. That's when we were drinking at a mutual friends house and he told me he heard that I played guitar. I knew he was into his hip hop and his beats, so the next day we caught up for a jam and have been going ever since.
Man, that's cool. Naturally, progressing to establish something. I'd say you’re getting close to success. Everyone has different interpretations of success, what's yours?
Making people think for themselves. If my music can make someone else have a thought process, that made them think they didn't need to have people to tell what that was, would be the most satisfying thing for me. I'll always stick to making music that I want to make. However, if I ever sold out, I'd leave music and never go back to it.
Any plans for the future? What are you working on at the moment? You hitting up any music festivals coming up?
Yes, on November 14th we are releasing an EP with four new tracks and we want to get people to come along with us and support. The whole album is a piece of work set over a period and it reflected the emotions going on during that time. We’re going to head down and check out R & V. I'll go to Laneway as well if my money situation allows it. I do love watching people play, but music is something I do without expecting much money from it. Half the time I just want to be up there performing.
What's a festival you’d love to play at? What's the focus for LAKES?
Definitely playing at Coachella. We want to be up there pumping our tunes out to thousands of people. That'd be cool. We’d also love to get a recording contract, playing more gigs and just making music we enjoy and can have fun with.
What else do you do apart from music?
Apart from music, I'm pretty outdoor-sy eh. I love football, skating, surfing and basically anything that gets me out and about. Like I hate winter man, all I can do is sit inside.
Cool dude, We'll wrap this up with last words - Any tips for aspiring musicians? Any parting words?
Yeah, just keep playing is one and the other is to always be hard on yourself and push yourself to do better. The first mix I made, I showed to a guy at school and he told me he couldn't listen to it because it was so badly mixed. So I went away and made it better than he could have ever made it. You just have to push yourself. Also, watch "Big Lez show" on YouTube and do whatever the fuck you wanna do.
After this interview I had the chance to watch Liam and one of his collaborative producers, Morgan Allen, craft a teaser song that you can only find on this article. With minds older than their ages, LAKES have got the potential to make it big in the world of music. Go onto Band-camp and SoundCloud to listen to their album ‘Reflections of the Night Before’.