Weekend Edition Music Q&A: Lake Radio

The DePaulia Weekend Edition interviewed Lake Radio about music, childhood and life.


Weekend Edition: What kind of music do you make? How would you describe it to someone who’s never heard it?

LakeRadio: Imagine you’re eight years old and you have a fever, like, a really disorienting, dreamy fever. You can’t sleep, so your parents let you stay up and watch TV late at night, and you end up watching a low budget cheesy horror movie. That’s the feeling I want my music to evoke; a childhood fever dream.

 I have distant memories of fever dreams as a kid, and dreams in general. I remember a lot of dreams I had as a kid, and they all had a similar feeling, sort of an unsettling feeling. I’m not talking about nightmares, I am talking about those strange, bizarre dreams that you can’t put into words. I guess you could say that I am trying to explain those dreams through my music. A more straightforward answer would be that I make ambient electronic music, haha.

WE:How old were you when you started making music? What were some of your first instruments?

LR: When I was young, I always liked playing with any sort of keyboard or musical toy I could get my hands on. I started taking guitar lessons when I was in sixth grade. It was nothing serious, just learning classic rock songs from a high school kid at the local guitar shop. I was definitely a better guitarist at age 12 than I am now.  I started recording songs onto a karaoke machine and writing lyrics and all that.

Oh, I also played trumpet in sixth grade band, but I was incredibly bad. I remember having to watch the other kids’ fingers and copying them because I couldn’t read music. I was always a few notes behind.

WE:What kind of stuff has influenced/inspired you musically/creatively? (artists, musicians, films).

LR:I am really inspired by innovators and creative types in general. Outsiders. People who create because they need to. People who create because it’s a compulsion. People who make their own rules. People like Daniel Johnston, Brian Eno, Richard D. James, Henry Darger, Jim Henson, Brian Wilson, Joe Meek, Phil Spector, Les Paul, Andy Kaufman, Bradford Cox, Anton Newcombe, Ariel Pink, R. Stevie Moore. I feel like those people are born artists and I find that very inspiring.  

Other than specific people, I am inspired by incidental and commercial music. I have always sampled a lot of old commercials for Lake Radio.

WE:What is your creative process? How do you go about making a new song?

LR: I start with a sample. It could be a half of a second clip of a synth from an old VCR commercial or a bar from a song I like, and I manipulate it every which way until I like how it sounds and then build from there. Just loads and loads of tweaking until I like what I hear.

WE: Where/when was the last show you played in Chicago? Who did you open for?

LR: A few months ago. I opened for a band called Labrynth Ear to an audience of about three. I haven’t really been interested in playing shows lately for a variety of reasons. Mostly social anxiety.

WE:Do you get in touch with the venue or the band when you want to open for something?

LR: Either or, sometimes I will be asked.

WE:Tell us about some of the gear you use. What’s your favorite? Which piece of gear can you not do without?

LR:I don’t own any gear, really, just a clunky keyboard that I use for MIDI stuff, a few guitars, some cheap microphones, a karaoke machine, and a laptop. Probably 80 percent of any given song is made up of manipulated samples, although the new stuff I am working on now is less sampley (I’ve been saying that for a while now…). I definitely couldn’t do anything without my laptop.

WE: What bands/music/songs have you been listening to recently?

LR:I’ve mostly been listening to old psychedelic and doo wop songs from the 60’s on YouTube. Other than that, I’ve been into The Knife, James Blake, Phil Collins, and Nancy Sinatra lately. I’ve also been into that one compilation MGMT put out. Late Night Tales I think it’s called. I don’t like MGMT, but that compilation is very solid. I really enjoy this song by The Chills.

WE:Do you have a favorite song?

LR: Yes! “All I Wanna Do” by The Beach Boys. I like the dreamy atmosphere of it. It’s off of Sunflower which is a later album that not a lot of people are into. I love it, though.WE: I understand you’ve performed in Chicago a few times but don’t live in the city like most musicians. Why is that?

LR:I am not sure. I’m stuck in the limbo of the suburbs and too apathetic and comfortable to escape for now. I’m slowly getting my shit together.

WE:What’s your 9:00 to 5:00?

LR:I am going to school. No real job. I worked at Panera Bread for a while and then I went to Los Angeles to work for NBC on The Voice, but that fell through.

WE:I understand that Lake Radio is a solo project. Have you ever been in a full band?

LR:Yes! I was in a band with a few good friends called Heavy Ghost. I loved that band, but we never really got it together. Great memories though.

WE:How long have you been making music?

LR:I’ve been making music for around 8 years, I guess. I’ve only been okay at it for like two years, though.

WE:Where did the name “Lake Radio” come from?

LR:It’s from a dream I had about swimming to the bottom of a lake near my house and finding a bunch of instruments and a radio and recording a bunch of cool sounding music.

Listen to “Grayscale”, a brand new Lake Radio song, exclusive to The DePaulia Weekend Edition.


More to Discover