A few years ago we wrote an article that highlighted some of the brightest up-and-coming talents in Australia. Positioned firmly on that list is Loston. After a trail of incredible remixes, a few stellar originals and a collaboration with Ta-Ku, it seemed like he was about to be Australia’s next big musical export. But at the height of his hype and excitement he nearly vanished. Months passed without any new releases and fans began to wonder if Loston had given up on music. Months stretched into over two years without a release, but we’re pleased to announce that his return is imminent. Taking two years away from the limelight is no easy feat in music, especially in today’s climate. But as Loston tells us, “these things take time.” He spent the last 24 months reflecting on the type of artist he’d like to become and writing music that is truly meaningful. The music is finally done and is almost ready for fans. His first single ‘Disappear,’ will be dropping January 24th and his EP Echoes will follow shortly after.
We had the pleasure of connecting with Loston for an exclusive interview to get a taste of what’s to come. He talks in detail about his time off, his plans for the future and takes us inside Echoes. Check out the full interview below and be sure to watch the teaser video for a deeper sense of what to expect.
“I had options to do EDM tours and could have easily churned out some generic big build drop type of shit, but that doesn’t excite me, and at the end of the day it’s pointless doing this unless you genuinely love what you do.”
It’s been over two years since your last release. Why did you take so much time between your releases?
These things take time, I took a lot of time to really decide what I wanted to put out, putting out my debut original release, I wanted to make sure that I open the door to make the music that I want to make. I had options to do EDM tours and could have easily churned out some generic big build drop type of shit, but that doesn’t excite me, and at the end of the day it’s pointless doing this unless you genuinely love what you do.
I wanted to put out a record that I was genuinely happy with. Coming off the back of putting out predominantly remixes and reworks I was kind of left with a blank canvas, and that sometimes gives you too wide of a playing field to be definitive.
There is well over an album’s worth of material sitting on my hard drive at the moment, and this EP is acting as sort of an introduction to what’s to come.
When we spoke last, you mentioned that you do most of your production at night. Is this still the case? If so, do you feel this influences your sound?
Perhaps, I think the more prevalent factor is isolation, I can only work on music alone and in a non-distracting environment, so I think that informs the sound a lot. It’s sort of the soundtrack to that, frustrating at times, and other times serene. It’s easy to express yourself to yourself in those moments, but putting it on record and releasing it for strangers to pick apart is the biggest hurdle.
Echoes packs a very moody feel. Can you talk about the emotions and events that inspired it?
A lot has happened to me personally over the last 24 months and I think that definitely informed the mood of this release in a lot of ways. Someone very close to me is fighting a serious illness and that definitely has given me a forced perspective on mortality and the idea of everything being finite. The songs probably bounce between hopeless and hopeful.
I try and write by creating sonic environments and sort of letting things grow from there rather than trying to pin point any particular mood initially. It’s like when you have an argument or heavy discussion with someone, at the end of all the words you have a greater understanding of how you were feeling subconsciously, but it was too clouded by frustration to be understood at the time.
I think all the songs have their own mood and point, but that for me could only be discovered in hearing them as finished pieces of music. I had no idea what they were going to be during the writing process.
“It’s like, write some music, send it out to such and such, get some faux heartfelt generic vocal back, whack it on top and fire it off to Spotify. I need a connection to the final product in order to express myself properly, and generic toplines from people I have never met just doesn’t do that.”
The project has you singing and sampling your own voice. Can you tell us a little bit about this process?
I became disillusioned with the way that “producer driven music” is put out. Not even that, I think I just became disillusioned with the whole process. It’s like, write some music, send it out to such and such, get some faux heartfelt generic vocal back, whack it on top and fire it off to Spotify.
I need a connection to the final product in order to express myself properly, and generic toplines from people I have never met just doesn’t do that. I started recording my own vocals and chopping them up, utilising them as instruments rather than toplines and found that I could really express the emotion of the song without being too literal.
I think this release is pretty much a snapshot of the last couple of years for me. That’s what a record is meant to be, almost a journal of the period of time in which it was written.
The sound of the project is almost anti-EDM. Did you consciously decide to move in this direction?
I try not to think about it too much, the music I had released previously was representative of where I was at that time, and this is an extension of that. I have always put more emphasis on the mood than the beat.
I think this release is pretty much a snapshot of the last couple of years for me. That’s what a record is meant to be, almost a journal of the period of time in which it was written. Its self-expression using the means that you have at your disposal, not trying to write music with consideration for where or how it is going to be consumed.
When I was writing music at the start of the Loston project, the stuff I was doing was representative of where I was at the time, I was spending a lot of time working in and around clubs, driving home listening to The National and Foals in the car.
Echoes closes with a cover of ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World.’ Can you speak to the significance of this song as the finale?
That song meant a lot to me growing up, my dad used to play tears for fears a lot and I always sort of thought of that as a happy song. I spent a stupid amount of time practicing and sort of re-learning the piano over the past 18 months or so, and I had written the piano part of the song and had just adapted to singing the first few lines of ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ over the top of it.
When you crop out the rest of the song, it really has this hopeless message. This is how it is, you can’t change it, and everything you are is going to be exposed. It’s terrifying and freeing at the same time, depending on how you look at it.
I kind of paraphrased the last line to work with the general aesthetic but what is the point of re-imagining something if you don’t take some liberties.
“The way we consume music now is a fucking joke, there has never been less real connection between the listener and the artist. I wanted to put together something in lieu of that, so it’s basically a visual representation of what the record is to me.”
Along with the release you’ve produced an accompanying zine. Can you tell us a little bit about this facet of the project? How does it tie in with the music?
There are no liner notes anymore. I used to buy records as a kid and sit there studying the layouts and stories through the booklets. The way we consume music now is a fucking joke, there has never been less real connection between the listener and the artist. I wanted to put together something in lieu of that, so it’s basically a visual representation of what the record is to me. Something tangible that the listener can connect with rather than a song popping up on your new music playlist and then disappearing into the distance as the next generic shit fades in.
As a visual artist do you approach making music from a different standpoint? Being that you’re a graphic designer and musician do the two things ever inspire each other?
It’s all in the same wheelhouse. I mean it’s all based on connection and finding ways to convey a message through aesthetic. It’s a painful process sometimes though, because I will work on a visual project and then try and square away some time to work on a music project and there is very little time for the creative side of your brain to switch off. Lately I have been trying to switch off a lot more, which feels counterproductive to both of those processes but is actually the best thing for it. I took 2 weeks off of everything over xmas and read a couple of books and laid in the sun, hung out with my girlfriend and family. I think it’s the first time I have completely switched off from any foe of work for years. Burning out creatively is a real thing, and I certainly need to make sure I make time in my life to literally do nothing, otherwise I’ll end up on the mental ward.
Does the release of the EP signify the full return of Loston to music? Should we expect more music, tours, etc. in the near future?
Definitely, I want to tour this EP and really get in front of people. I also have a bunch of new music ready to go, which I plan on putting out consistently over the next 12 months.