Artist Interview: “Watch Out for the Western Lights” by LumbeRoss

Q: The music video seemed extremely fun to make, and I read that you were very innovative by connecting wires inside a piece of tupperware and connecting a Nintendo Wii to it. What was your favorite moment in making the music video?

LumbeRoss: Haha, yeah. I’ve always been a really big fan of glitch art and a while ago I went to an art exhibition in Hong Kong of Nam June Paik’s art. I’d never seen anything like it and that intense use of analog glitch devices really impressed me. 

I ended up looking up cheap ways to do it and I found a tutorial for a “dirty mixer”, which I soldered together within some old tupperware. I didn’t have a lot of the other equipment, so I just plugged my Nintendo Wii in, then plugged it into an old CRT TV! 

It worked (sort of) and I mixed it in with some Blender animations I made and such. I think my favorite part really was soldering together that dirty mixer – it feels like a whole rabbit hole that I dived right into, and the glitch art community is so helpful and welcoming.

Q: This track is so fun and unique! I love the trippy background instrumental. Can you take me through your production process on “Watch Out For The Western Lights”?

LumbeRoss: Absolutely! I’m a really big fan of art pop artists such as Grimes, Bjork, Kate Bush and such but I’m also a hip hop artist, so I wanted to find a way to bridge that UK urban sound with some more experimental elements. So, I drummed out a UK garage beat on my sample pad, then played some stuff on my synth to try and create that sound. I also used to play in a gothic rock/hardcore punk band, so I wanted to incorporate some of those elements. I guess that’s me trying to be true to my roots with the guitar sections.


Q: How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? Do you think it helped or harmed it?

LumbeRoss: I hear a lot of older people saying that the internet has ruined it, but I don’t think that’s true. It was always the case that a small amount of artists would make it big because the record companies figured out a way to market them, and then those artists would still get less money than the cigar chomping office executive. The only difference now is more artists can get big within their own audiences, but they just make less money. 

It’s also worth thinking about what barriers corporations put on artists – how difficult would it be for POC or women to thrive in certain genres? Many times, the cigar chomping exec was like “Nah, that won’t sell,” but now we don’t have to listen to what they say. We know our audiences, and they might not be that wide, but it means that we can do things on our own terms. So yeah, I’d so it’s helped it.

Q: Your music blends different elements of emo rap, electronic, and vapor wave, among other genres as well.. In your own words, how would you describe the music that you typically create?

LumbeRoss: I generally just refer to it as art pop/hip hop. There’s a lot of other elements, but I think they change from song to song. I really try to avoid getting lumped in with the emo rap scene as I don’t really try to sound like that, but hey – I was an emo throughout my teenage years so it’s no surprise. 


Q: What has been one of the highlights of your music career so far?

LumbeRoss: I’m realising how long ago this was now but in 2016, I met a band called Holy Pinto that were pretty big. They asked me to play bass with them for a couple shows, then out of nowhere their drummer asks me if I wanted to go on tour with them supporting the guitarist to Cap’n Jazz, Victor Villarreal. Cap’n Jazz were my favorite band at the time so that was completely surreal. Immediately after that, we went on a European tour headlining each show. I consider myself very lucky that I had that opportunity as it’s very much “right place at the right time”, but that whole spring time is probably the biggest highlight of my career so far.


Q: Do you have any music you are currently working on that we will see in the future?

LumbeRoss: Yeah, absolutely! I don’t know if you picked up any of the political messages in Watch Out for the Western Lights, I hope I did a good job delivering them, but I’m in a very politically active hip hop collective called Lowlives Collective. It’s comprised of me, Orange Bloom, Valhalla Kid and OS Elliott – a selection of rappers and producers. We are working on an EP and a new single all to do with current political issues. It’s a big fusion of sounds and at the moment, we’re looking at independent labels to see who’d be best to release this through.

Interviewed by Melissa Cusano

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