Feature: The Ingredients of Farfalla with LAPP

Friday, April 26, 2019

Today, alt-R&B artist LAPP serves up his debut EP Farfalla. The release sees him fuse electronic and R&B influences, with his reflective brand of songwriting. To celebrate the release of the EP, he takes us through the influences that inspired him when putting it together.

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The Japanese seem to have a much more interesting outlook on morality then we do, I think. They bend bad and good so much to a point where you don’t know what’s what, or even if there is such a thing. For how amazing Pixar are, you always kind of know where you stand: Here’s the good guy, there’s the bad guy. In anime, you don’t really know where the hell you stand with anything. It’s like an earthquake happened at the Pixar offices overnight and all the plots and animations got scrambled with some horror flicks. The juxtaposition of emotions felt can be so insane you don’t know whether to cry because of how sweet the scene is or cry because of how messed up the next scene is. One of my first anime series I watched was Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The greatness of the first episode made me binge the whole thing very quickly and it has stayed with me ever since.

My Bedroom
When I hear about the beautiful places where singer-songwriters create I wish I too could say something like the surrounding desolate architecture above the oak tree in my garden inspires my writing but it’s actually pretty boring with me. When I think about it I’ve written most of my songs in a bedroom, whether it was in the crappy bedroom in my Uni halls, in my crappy bedroom in the damp ridden houses I moved into or in my much more liveable London bedroom I sleep in now. I think I must like to be alone when I write music. I’ve never written with anyone else probably because I think find it hard to share my secrets, desires, fears and joys with someone and maybe writing alone allows me to be more expressive and honest. The first song off the EP, 'Ride', came about when I was extremely frustrated that I couldn’t create any interesting ideas, so I began bashing my piano making all kinds of violent, serialist noise until I fell upon the ordinary chord of G#m7. For some reason at that moment, the melody, progression and first line presented itself. I could be wrong but I think the great Leonard Cohen said something like, "If there’s a place where good songs are written then I'd love to know where it is". And if he doesn’t have the formula then I guess there isn’t really one. 

House Parties
I watched this video where it stated that small habits defined big outcomes. Should you finish your work or go to pub earlier? Gym or Netflix? Stuff like that, suggesting that procrastination/relaxing made you a numb, fat loser and being disciplined with your work made you a winner with a six-pack. While I think there is some truth in that, at the same time, I think it’s good to take time out from what you do. Firstly, to reset but also to experience life. In my case, to have something to write about. A House Party for me is the heart of ideas and conversation and such a human place to be. Growing up in London, unless you won the lottery, house parties were necessary to keep you from being bankrupt. They’re almost like virtual screenplays which get scrapped as soon as the sun comes up. The night can go anywhere. You’ve got all these strangers with their own back stories who are enjoying/not enjoying themselves all clashing with each other for one night creating this kind of weird drunken alternative reality in some cabin-fever infested house. Life experience I believe is key to getting more varied, interesting songwriting. I think you just have to get the balance right between ‘work’ and ‘play’. All of this spiel might be a slightly OTT way of looking at a house party but whenever I hear older people reminiscing, half the time it's about how much they were laughing. 

A while back I had to do an essay about the composer Alexander Scriabin’s Mysterium. The thing about the Mysterium is that it was never actually written. It was more of an idea, an idea so crazy that if he hadn’t written such beautiful music beforehand, they would have probably put him away in a padded cell. To briefly paraphrase, the Mysterium was going to be this epic upon epic synesthetic spectacle filled with orchestras, choirs and dancers that would last for a week at the bottom of the Himalayas destroying mankind making way for nobler beings. It was full of Nietzsche, Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk, Russian mystic symbolism, astral planes and all kind of crazy shit that fried my brain while I was collecting sources. I’m very aware I sound like a pretentious tosser listing this as a source of inspiration but truthfully, very truthfully, I feel every artist should go for the seemingly unattainable for even if they do not attain what they initially imagined, they would have created and experienced so much on that journey to the unattainable that they maybe wouldn’t have done so if they didn’t aim so high. 

Patrice O’Neal
I could probably start by saying he was the funniest man I’ve ever listened to but really he is much more than a comedian to me. I found out about the great, late Patrice O’Neal way after he passed but as soon as I saw him do some standup on YouTube, I squeezed every video I could of him talking; interviews, stand up, podcasts, the lot. I didn’t agree with everything he said but that isn’t even the point. He made me realise that honesty is the most important trait in life in anything that you do. Never lie to yourself. He said, “Always be the truth”, and that line stays with me in how I live and how I write my music. There’s a Springsteen song called ‘Brilliant Disguise’ which is about the breakdown of a relationship and the last line epitomises what O’Neal was trying to avoid; the severe consequences of not being honest: “God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of”. I’m not even religious but I find that pretty powerful.

Listen to Farfalla by LAPP below:

Check out the video for 'Ride':