- Words Aimee Phillips
Engaging wholeheartedly in a Y2K-era Microsoft Paint aesthetic, LAN Party creates what might best be described as AI lullabies.
Rising electronic producer, songwriter and artist, LAN Party, makes lo-fi, computerised, mesmeric creations – but he won’t be bound to one sound.
The Chicago-based artist may have only started releasing music last year, but he’s already racking up half a million streams on his songs.
With a production that’s reminiscent of Flying Lotus and James Blake vocals, LAN Party’s digital creations float between the calming debut “Some People” and “The Reason I’m Calling” to the pop-leaning “Let’s Have A Party!!!”
The throughline that connects each song is its ability to evoke emotion in the listener. It’s slightly disarming; you wouldn’t expect to be welling up, but we challenge you to listen to his songs without feeling something stir inside.
Following the four already released singles, LAN Party has today shared his debut EP, ‘PLUR’, via Majestic Casual. It’s a slice of beautifully warped digital pie.
“Inspiration for this EP began with a mantra I stumbled across looking through old 90’s rave zines,” LAN Party explains. “Peace Love Unity Respect (often abbreviated as PLUR) is the code by which all rave kids are expected to live. I admired the simplicity of the sentiment and wanted to apply it to a different musical context, resulting in this project. Four songs, representing each concept and the experiences that have helped me to understand them.”
We spoke to LAN Party about his journey, favourite videogame and falling asleep on command. Plug in…
We’re living in an exciting era of digital music, with artists such as yourself pushing boundaries. What attracted you to create this particular style of music?
Early on in high school, I started listening to internet-era DIY recordists like Yung Lean, Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro and was shocked by how well-articulated their musical ideas were without recording budgets or expensive setups. I started experimenting with a DAW and after dedicating more and more time to it, realized the near-infinite potential that these tools have. I think the style of music that I create is a combination of my influences and my own aesthetic beliefs, always found through experimentation with the powerful tools that we now have access to.
Was it this fascination with the digital world that inspired your moniker, LAN Party?
I grew up playing a lot of video games but never really thought of them as a creative medium until that hobby was replaced by making music. I think of LAN Party as a nod to those great games from my childhood that inspired my aspiration to make my music an immersive experience.
If you were at a LAN Party, what videogame would you be playing?
You can’t go wrong with C&C 3: Tiberium Wars.
Your debut EP, ‘PLUR’, is about to be released this Friday. What do you want people to take away from it?
People often mishear my lyrics and create their own meaning from it that I oftentimes like better than what I originally intended. There’s no specific takeaway that I’m trying to push from the record, every person’s interpretation is as valid as mine.
Did you have any specific goals in mind when you were creating this EP?
I’ve been making music as LAN Party for about two years now and have definitely allowed myself to settle into a certain sound. I wanted this EP to be unashamedly indulging those aesthetic tendencies and seeing how far I could take them before I try something new. I don’t want any of my projects to sound alike.
What was your creative process like when creating the EP?
All four of these tracks were demos that I originally recorded at different points over the past two years. I recovered and completed them all within the last 6 months. Since I had no intention of making a project when I initially wrote each track, I’ve spent the past six months polishing and reshaping each song to fit into a cohesive whole. This made the process interesting as it allowed me to take many sounds and perspectives from different periods of my life and figure out how to make them all work together.
How’s lockdown been for your creativity?
I’m naturally a bit of a shut-in when I’m really invested in a project, so it hasn’t felt particularly unfamiliar or difficult. After a few months when the project was nearing completion however, I began to allow myself to get stuck on less important details. At this stage getting input from friends and fellow musicians helped me move forward on what was truly necessary.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
As of lately, I feel like I’ve been getting the most consistent inspiration from Aphex Twin, Brian Wilson, Imogen Heap and Sufjan Stevens. It changes a lot though.
What would you like to be doing in five years time?
Consistently making better and better work. Collaborating with the artists that have helped me realize my own creative voice.
Which superpower would you most like to have and why?
Nothing that would alter my life too drastically. Being able to fall asleep on command would be sick.