If you are a constant reader of Earmilk's indie section, which I hope you are, then you may have stumbled across several posts featuring songs from Liam Sanagan, an up-and-coming Toronto-based solo musician who is the voice behind LUM.
Sanagan recently released his four-track EP, EP 1, also known as The Fruit EP. The EP is currently free-to-download over at JUICEBOXdotcom. I recently caught with Sanagan via email and spoke with him about his early involvement in music as well as the new direction he is planning on taking with LUM in the future.
EARMILK: How did you come up with "LUM" as your stage name?
Liam Sanagan: LUM is Liam, slurred – kind of a pet name. My friends call me different variations of it, like Lumdog Millionaire.
EM: How long have you been writing music?
LS: The first song I wrote and recorded by myself was for my girlfriend for Valentine's Day when I was 18. My band at the time had a big clunk 16-track digital recorder that I used. In the five years since, home recording became easier and easier.
EM: Where do you draw your inspiration for the songs you write?
LS: I'm inspired a lot by pop music itself. I like to think of different parts of songs through the eyes of different musicians, or think of a track as a mix of a few specific genres all thrown into one pot. I like to think of songs as a collage in that way.
EM: What was the motivation behind the production of EP-1?
LS: EP 1 was my first shot at starting to find a sound that included what I did in my room with a guitar and what I loved about hip-hop and electronic music. I'm still quite happy with it, but I've had a lot of time to develop other niches of what I do.
EM: Would you consider it to be your debut album or are you currently in the works of something even bigger?
LS: I'm currently working on some demos for my real debut album set to be finished some time next year.
EM: How has the release of the EP changed your presence in the Toronto music scene?
LS: Since the EP I've played folk festivals, been on tour with my band First Rate People a few times, done some remixes, started dj'ing a bit… there's been a lot of experimentation and now I'm ready to record a bunch of the tunes I've written since so I can move on to something else. LUM is basically unknown around here (laughs). I've only actually been in the city a little less than a year at this point; I finished my degree in fine art in another city last fall. For the most part I've been making music for myself for a long time and I'm ready to start making real statements and produce an album.
EM: Can you give us any details on the upcoming LP?
LS: It's going to be a collection of songs I've been writing the past couple years with simple production. They're what I think are my most successful songs that I've written in the singer-songwriter style of sitting down with a guitar and knocking it out, and they all have very specific memories of people and places. I'm trying to link that all together conceptually and try to play up that feeling of memory using some field recordings and sampling. I want to get them down as soon as I can.
EM: Are you planning on focusing more on your band, (First Rate) or are you going to be paying more attention to your solo project?
LS: I'm planning on focusing on my own stuff for now.
EM: That being said, are you in the works of working with other artists?
LS: I'm not really working with anyone, doing some production work for my friend / roommate's mixtape. I run a community-based tumblr where I post new music and other things from friends and local artists; there will eventually be a collaborative compilation type thing from that (it's called bedroomer.com). I love collaborating, that's what makes being in First Rate People so fun, but it's also nice to focus on your own work.