FOLLOWING the release of the single, Livid…
Loz KeyStone has unveiled the video to How Is It. Shot at a boxing night in Clapham – on his father’s old D.V. camera – it was at the place his brother fought (and won) his first fight. I was keen to learn more about that family symbolism and reasoning – why adopt older technology and unusual locations. KeyStone descends from rural French roots but grew up surrounded by art and culture in South London. That passion did not last long: he dropped out of Wimbledon School of Art to pursue music. I ask about the past years and education: how South London inspire him and whether his art training has been adopted in his current music.
To Feel Love, KeyStone’s debut album, was written as a reaction to his father’s death – an event that shook him and led to a series of late-night sworded encounters and one-night stands. Out of that intoxication and drunkenness came a focus: put down some music and channel the sadness and confusion into music. I ask about KeyStone’s South London flat and that D.I.Y. ethic; how much of those dark and wasteful nights go into the music and whether he is in a better frame of mind at the moment.
It is an honest, sometimes cagey interview with an incredible songwriter…
Hi Loz, how are you? How has your week been?
Not great, to be honest.
I’m trying to flog 300kg of potting soil that this guy gave me – as a deposit on a room I was renting in Harlesden. Turns out, the soil is just ordinary mud and no good to man nor beast for the kind of potting I was wanting to do this weekend.
I’ve been round the flat to try to find him but he’s boarded up the doors and windows and I can’t get him on his mobile – and the mud is worthless. I’m in talks with the Citizens Advice Bureau.
I’m hoping it’s just a misunderstanding but I’m starting to think I might have been swindled.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah. I’m a musician from South London.
I’m also a painter and an avid gardening enthusiast.
South London is your home and base. What is the music scene like where you are and how important is the city in terms of your ideas and creativity?
To be honest, the city is great but it’s quite expensive so that doesn’t help with the creativity that much. Most of my ideas are irrelevant to London itself.
How Is It is your new track. What can you tell me about it?
People say I whisper too much when I sing and I think that that is particularly true of this track.
I like it though and someone on Tinder told me they thought it was quite sexy.
Family symbolism lies behind the video for the track. It was shot at a boxing night in Clapham – where your brother fought and won his first fight. What was the reason behind you filming at this location? Was it quite an emotional shoot?
I shot it there because I was going to watch him fight and I needed to get the video together. The night was fu*king mental though.
I was well-nervous for him but he smashed it.
There are D.I.Y. instruments and sounds on the track – matching the D.V. camera-shot video for How Is It. Is it important to you creating something intimate, home-made and simple?
I don’t have enough money to make anything else
You studied Painting at the Wimbledon School of Art. What was the reason for pursuing music instead and does your artistic style/passion reflect in your music in any way?
I sort of float from one thing to the other. I still draw a lot. Music seems to make me happier than most other things I’ve tried.
To Feel Love, your debut album, was written after the death of your father. How tough was it putting the songs together with that emotional reality on your shoulder?
I wouldn’t make something if I wasn’t enjoying making it.
The record was recorded following a year of, what you said, was a series of drunken nights and meaningless one-night stands. How much of that intoxication, sexual inhibition and anxiety go into the lyrics and music?
Yeah. It’s all over it.
I think every song has moments that are quite explicitly about sex. There wasn’t a huge amount of anxiety, though, and I’m not documenting it as if it was a bad lifestyle choice.
It’s not romantic like that. It was quite fun doing all that stuff – but it definitely wasn’t filling the void…
How are things this far down the road? Are you in a more positive mind-frame or do past memories impact you still?
I actually have a terrible memory which I think is quite useful in some cases.
I definitely feel happy right now but it is very sunny at the moment.
Are there any plans to tour your material in the coming months?
Yeah. I’m getting a band together at the moment.
Who are the new artists you suggest we look out for?
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
I couldn’t pick three. I love loads.
Off the top of my head I’d go with Mala by Devendra Banhart; Clear Moon by Mt Eerie and Boxer by The National.
But that’s just off the top of my head right now.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
I’m certainly not someone to come to for advice about the music industry.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Go with Squeaky by Finn Ryder
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