LA-based indie pop artist LANDON WILLIAMS recently premiered the official video for his new single “Tonight.” “Tonight” which was produced by pop/rock songwriter/producer PJ Bianco (Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony), and has already amassed over 40,000 streams on Spotify. Landon’s sound has been described as what might happen if “Foster the People and MGMT were to pick up Lana Del Rey at a club.” Landon recently spoke to BOC via email interview to discuss how he become a solo artist, his emphasis on building his musical catalog “planting the seed of consistently with quality singles that are packaged with a music video and cool artwork,” how music more than lyrics move him to write songs that help “shape the stories,” making videos and performing live.
How long have you been involved making music and writing songs?
Landon: I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 years but as far as writing music goes.. five years. For the longest time I only played lead guitar in bands and for good reasons. When I first started singing it was awkward for me and the person listening.. Cringeworthy.
Have you always been a solo artist? Have you ever been in a band before? If so, what are the pros and cons versus going solo?
Landon: No, being a solo artist is fairly new to me. I loved being in bands especially for the camaraderie aspect but for me I just happened to be more passionate about music than anyone I was around and willing to sacrifice any failsafe vocation so I could make something happen in the music world, right or wrong. I don’t think there are really any cons.. Going solo has allowed me to focus on my vision and micromanage every detail of it. But I haven’t done it alone.. I have come across so many supportive people who don’t have ulterior motives. Like my buddy Joel, he is one of the best dudes you’ll ever meet but he is an incredible musician who believes in my project and we collaborate on everything. If you’re not in a band you definitely need some sort of team around you.
Are you working on album or EP or are you focusing on releasing singles and why? Is there a marketing strategy involved?
Landon: I’m definitely working on a catalog of music but more so focused on releasing singles right now. I think EP’s and albums are great but we’ve become so spoiled with this unlimited access of entertainment. People will listen to a Queen B song one minute then follow up with watching cats ride around on roomba’s. It’s so spontaneous.. So with the shortening of people’s attention spans, I’d rather plant the seed consistently with quality singles that are packaged with a music video and cool art work. Just build my following first then drop an EP or album.
What inspires you lyrically to write songs?
Landon: I’m never really inspired lyrically I guess, unless I come up with a solid title that provides a blue print or I hear a quip that I want to expound on. Most of my lyrics are always written after I have created a solid instrumental. I am more inspired by music than lyrics. Like when I listen to Spotify or Soundcloud, I have a terrible habit of viscerally listening to songs and never listening to the lyrics. It’s depressing because I’ll be like “alright I’m going to actually focus and listen to these lyrics”, and after several failed attempts I usually forget what I was doing.. I really just let the music shape the story. So whatever type of mood I’ve created instrumentally it will inspire certain lyrics, then I just try to make sense of it all.
How did you get to work with PJ Bianco on the single “Tonight” and what did you learn from that experience and take away with you?
Landon: Well a couple of years ago I was recording in Nashville and I met this producer who connected me with a PR company in Burbank. When it came time to record new material, they gave me a list of producers to pick from. From that list I liked PJ’s body of work the most. I feel linking up with PJ has been the biggest springboard of my career thus far. He has been so vital in molding my sound and developing me as an artist. I have never met someone with so much swag and soul.
How did you come up with the concept for the video to the song? Do you like the process of making videos and how involved do you like to get?
Landon: Before I knew any filmmakers, I was going to have to direct and produce my music videos alone. So I had this idea where I wanted to portray this “Napolean Dynamite” esque shitty existence. Not quite as on the nose but someone who can’t catch a break and one day they go home to fall asleep on the couch and some kind of dream sequence begins. Thankfully I didn’t have to do it by myself. I have a cousin who has lived in LA for 10 years that I never knew about and one day I just reached out to him because he is an actor and filmmaker. We hit it off and he just took it from there. Hiring the film crew, scouting locations, doing all of the tedious things I knew nothing about. It really turned into his brainchild and we just continued to throw ideas at the wall until we came up something that we felt was rad. Even though it was my first video I really enjoyed the process. Especially because I don’t have a large budget for videos, it is fun to see what kind of heist we can pull off with limited funds. I’m really hands on with anything I put out.
Have you performed live before? If you, have what’s the best part of playing before an audience for you?
Landon: I have performed a lot. Last year I played 200 shows but I am cutting back now. I feel my live performance has reached a certain level where I can take it anywhere and feel confident it will be effective. Now I’m just focusing on new material and will start playing live again here real soon. For me the best part of performing live is being given the opportunity to take something I love so much, put my heart and soul into and see how it positively effects people. When you actually connect with your audience and there is that otherworldly type of energy that fills the room. Thats the best
Any plans to tour in the future?
Landon: Not yet, I go back and forth from LA to CO a lot. So I will just continue to set up dates in those places for the time being.
What’s next for Landon Williams?
Landon: There are a lot of things. I’ve been sculpting this for several years now and I feel this year will be the most impactful. I have a lot of new songs I have been working on with PJ we’ll be releasing, several music video ideas. A lot of things to look out for!
“Tonight” Official Video: