Hi Leo, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Bloody good, thanks.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Before I Go Away”?
I wrote it a few years ago. Didn’t have anything in mind for it. Just thought it was a fun song to jam live. And it still is.
I didn’t think it was gonna have as many incarnations as it has. It’s been remixed a few times now. Quite exciting.
There’s a very dark sentiment to the lyrics. One that I think a lot of people out there can connect to. Especially these days, with a drug epidemic annihilating huge swaths of populace.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Just dark times and darker places. The point where art and self destruction meet.
Any plans to release a music video for the single?
Not for the moment – But we will be releasing lyric videos for each track on the EP, plus some live performance videos of the songs. Plenty to look forward to!
The single comes off your new album Mind Up – what’s the story behind the title?
Mind Up…that’s hard to say. I was going through all the lyrics and titles to the EP tracks. ‘Mind Up’ was the only one that made any sense. What’s in a name, anyway?
How was the recording and writing process?
Lots of fun. It was all very fluid. No pushing and prodding. All the songs are produced by different people. All folks in the EDM/funk world. They were all separate songs, initially. I had no plans to put them together for an EP. Then it just hit me(us) and I realized how cohesive the tracks were when played one after another. Not that that matters much anymore. I wanted every track to shine like a single, so I’m glad we decided to drop one every 6 weeks. Drag it out a bit.
What role does London plays in your writing?
London has softened me a bit. Not personally, but lyrically. I was writing real gritty stuff when I was living in Harlem, NY. The thing I dig about Londoners is they really value soul music. Which I had expected, but not like this. I mean, they really love it. And when I get a great response from people, I show them more. I sing better and harder. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the performer, the listener and the city itself.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics for the tales?
Sometimes I write from experience, sometimes I write about others’ experiences. I have a wild imagination. And in addition to that, I’ve lead a pretty wild existence. But I’ve calmed down a lot. Now I turn my experiences into lyrics rather than the other way round.
Any plans to hit the road?
Not for now, doing a few gigs here and there in London. I recently put my band together , a quartet. Right now I’m whipping them into shape. Then the world is our oyster.
What else is happening next in Leo Napier’s world?
Trying to embrace the chaos and enjoy the ride. Writing, writing and writing some more. I want to leave a huge catalogue of music behind me when I go. So far, I think I’m off to a good start!
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