To make his debut EP as Lloyd’s House, Glasgow-based lo-fi pop artist Lloyd Ledingham had to re-think his approach to songwriting. No, sorry: he had to get back to bass-ics. “I tried for a while to write some songs on guitar, but it never really felt right,” he says. “For some reason, I’ve always sought comfort in bass.” He had the epiphany last year while he was laying down the low-end for bands like Supercloud and The Kundalini Genie, usually singing backup vocals at the same time. “They gave me the confidence to start working on my own stuff, putting the bass at the front of it all.”
So began the writing of We Could Be Friends, out today on Corkscrew Records–five dark, murky tracks that make the most of the thick strings. Ledingham says the bulk of it was born spontaneously; each song started with an off-the-cuff riff that he later built up and fleshed out. Then there’s the deep, daydreamy title track, which was completely improvised (“I just sat down, and that’s what happened,” says Ledingham.) And when it comes to the lyrics, the songs may as well have written themselves.
“I definitely had a bumpy summer last year, so these songs were written around September and October when I was back at university and processing everything. I kept feeling more and more like I wasted a lot of time during the summer months and I started to get this urge to unload a bunch of pent up thoughts and feelings.” The result is a project that reflects on Ledingham’s most personal relationships, as well as sexuality, anxiety, and OCD. “My songs are usually about someone in particular–never explicitly–or the way that I’ve treated people and vice versa, so the whole EP is really close to my heart.”
Along with Ledingham’s use of EAEAb tuning, he puts his unique signature in the underwater lo-fi aura, which he attributes partly to the mixer he used to record the EP. He bought the eight-track device on Facebook Marketplace for cheap, and it was made in 2005, at an awkward stage in the development of home recording technology–a low point for cassettes and analog equipment, when digital options were starting to multiply.
“One of the best purchases I’ve made,” he says. “I love that thing to bits. It fills a weird role of being a physical recording device but is used to record onto a computer; it makes very little sense, but somehow it produces such a warm and fuzzy sound with the bass that I haven’t been able to get with other stuff. It’s only two-track stereo, so for some instruments, like drums, it forces me to get the sound how I want it before I actually start to record, which I think is super important.”
Ledingham says the technical limitations and quirks of recording taught him a lot about himself as an artist. “It’s pushed me to get into a more experimental mindset–looking at music through the eyes of a songwriter and producer at the same time gives you the opportunity to think about so many different aspects of your sound.” But on the external side, in sending We Could Be Friends out of Lloyd’s house and into the world: “I just hope other people will find a bit of solace or something to relate to–that’s all I can ask for, really!”