Q&A Scene: Lontalius

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

Swim, my new single, is from an album called All I Have which is coming out October 4th. It’s an energetic, introspective sort of tune. 

I’m gonna be touring Australia with Japanese Wallpaper in Oct/Nov this year. I’m very excited! I’ve never played in Australia before, and I’m trying out some new things in my set that I think will be really cool. 

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

My last 2 singles, Swim and Make My Dreams Come True. They just hit so many points that I’ve been trying to get to for years. I’ve always loved pop music and upbeat, live music, but I started as Lontalius making pretty slow, sad and beat-less stuff. It took a lot of work and confidence to get out of that zone. 

Those songs still sound fresh to me after so many listens.
How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

My initial thought to this was caramel and cream. I have a big sweet tooth so that’s not really surprising. But you know that delicate, spun sugar kind of caramel? That’s the delicate and introverted side of my music…on a solid base of ice cream.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

I toured with Nothing, Nowhere last year in Europe. It was my first big tour, and my first time in Europe. When we played in Cologne, a guy named Dominik drove 6 hours to give me a painting he’d done of me. It was pretty surreal, to be on the other side of the world and having people do things like that. 
What, or who, inspires you?

Music! and life, but mostly music. I got jaded for a while but I’ve become a real fanboy for certain bands again. I lined up for hours at U2 and Phoenix shows when I was living in Los Angeles. After making music for so long I started becoming overly critical of music I would listen to or see, but thankfully I’ve been able to get back in touch with the pure joy of seeing my favourite bands.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Today it’s “You’re Not Alone” by Mavis Staples, written by Jeff Tweedy. 

“Open up this is a raid / I wanna get it through to you / You’re not alone”

It’s heartbreaking!
What’s next for you?

Finishing the album has felt like a real weight off my chest. I’ve got a lot of music lying around that I can work with. Some collaborations and some different ideas. It’s exciting!
What’s your scene?

I have an equal amount of love for the internet community I started up in, posting covers on soundcloud in 2013, 2014. As well as the real life scene in Wellington, New Zealand where I used to see punk bands and go to DIY festivals. What’s my scene now? I’m not sure I could work that out. I think time reveals all. 

About Lontalius

Enigmatic NZ electronic artist Lontalius, also known as Eddie Johnston, has announced his glowing new single Swim, a comforting, honest track about accepting the ups and downs of life, out now. Swim is also accompanied by a stunning clip, made in collaboration with Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou (Pacific Heights, Whim, Weird Together). The prolific young artist has also announced his new album, All I Have, set for release on October 4. Lontalius will be joining Japanese Wallpaper on the road for his first ever Australian shows in October and November this year, kicking off at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on October 25, then moving through Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and wrapping up in Brisbane at The Brightside on November 9.

Swim is an endearing track, seemingly buoyed by pessimism and optimism at the same time. Reminiscent of indie pop giants The 1975 and Troye Sivan, Swim is driven by a pounding beat and intricate guitar lines (not to mention a killer solo towards the end) while Lontalius’ idiosyncratic vocal floats above it all. Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, Lontalius says, “Swim is about the acceptance that with all the heartbreak, anxiety and stress of being young, the universe is still leading you on the right path. You can have everything seemingly perfectly lined up in front of you, but sometimes it just won’t work out… it’s a song that i’m really proud of. It hit a lot of marks I had been trying to hit for the past few years. It’ energetic and it has a pace to it that I haven’t done before, all the while still living in the ‘lontalius’ world, I think.”

The clip for Swim zooms in on the self-reflection in the song in a figurative and literal sense. Lontalius sings alone, in the gorgeous Wellington wilderness, looking deep into a mirror suspended in mid-air. The clip is beautiful, dreamy; an appropriate visual representation of Swim, as Lontalius explains, “The video follows me singing the song into a mirror, walking along various locations in my home Wellington, NZ. With the song mostly being a dialogue with my own brain – a moment of self reflection, it made sense for me to sing it back to myself.  This clip was a culmination of a few ideas we’d had in our minds for a while. The picturesque NZ landscape never fails to contrast the emotion in my music…I made it with Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou. They’ve done all of my videos as well as a number of other NZ artists. We tend to have similar ideas around what will work, I’m not sure if I could work with anyone else.”

If Lontalius’ debut LP I’ll Forget 17 was a snapshot of his life as a teenager, All I Have documents the period in life when he was exiting adolescence and entering adulthood. Outgrowing one era but not yet ready, perhaps, for another. With a characteristic melancholic, yet beautiful temperment, paired with wistful synthesisers and soft, gentle guitar, All I Have is a superb collection of songs from this impressive artist. Working in LA alongside Grammy award winning producer Om’Mas Keith (Frank Ocean, John Legend, Jay Z), Jim Fairchild (Grandaddy, Modest Mouse), Roy Blair (Kevin Abstract) and Mr Hudson (Kanye West), Lontalius dove deep into a varied array of infuences for this second album, drawing inspiration from the artists he grew up listening to, such as U2 (circa Joshua Tree), REM, and Coldplay, alongside modern pop auters Kacey Musgraves and Lorde. Reflecting on the album, Lontalius enthuses, “The main themes on All I Have are love, youth and anxiety. I started writing it at 18 so it basically follows my own experiences with love, being away from home, new pressures and pleasures, as well as that general feeling of ‘coming of age’. Just trying to make sense of it all… It was my intention to add a little more energy and life into my music than I had done before. I had built up energy and I wanted to let it out!  It was also important to me that it didn’t end up being a bloated, 20 song thing. I wanted to be able to grab it all with one hand.”

Lontalius will be playing his first Australian shows ever in October and November this year supporting Japanese Wallpaper on his Glow national tour. Thrilled to be hitting the road for what is set to be a beautiful, immersive experience for audiences, Lontalius says, “I’m really happy I’m finally making it to Australia! I’m doing solo sets, playing new and older music from even my soundcloud days. Trying to create a sound that people can get lost in for 30 minutes or so.”

Swim is out now. All I Have is set for release on October 4.

About Mandy Hall 939 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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