Lemzi is a Leytonstone based musician who our very own Mark Wincott chatted to recently. Being a Leytonstone lad as well, Mark asked if he would like to conduct an interview, naturally, Lemzi jumped at the chance. They got comfy and had a good chat about his favourite MC's, embarrassing albums and world domination, here's how they got on....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence....
My name is Alex ‘Lemzi’ Lemom
An assimilation of passion and tranquil expression, a demonstration of pursing what you love
‘No Place Like Home’ is a deep, deep track, what influenced you to write and perform this track?
I don't remember the actual impetus for this song. However, I know the beat moved me. I never intend on writing stories in a certain manner, but whenever I do, they flow in a consistent way. I usually write these type of songs the quickest (sometimes within half an hour) as I feel the script gets built from every line. Unfortunately I struggle to write happy stories at the moment! For (No Place Like Home), it is 1 part of 3 on the new mixtape, under a title called “Worldliness”, each story giving the perspectives of those in troubled conditions or in situations some people don't ever consider. The goal behind Worldliness was to build an awareness on these types of issues, I haven't ever personally experienced anything from the stories of Worldliness, but I'm not bad at interpreting situations and then articulate them. The introductory lines, “round round round we go, he'd been cheating an abusive..” kicked it off, from there I created the dialect in my head from instinct
Name the top three MC’s of all time?
Nas (best with lyrics and epitomises hip-hop in general for me, especially songs like Film & Purple).
Big L (Metaphors and punchlines that barely anyone can rival to this day. His descriptive writing was definitely one of the best too, e.g. Dangerzone “every Sunday a nun lay from my gun spray” “I'm the type to raid heaven with a mac-11 and rape Christ”)
KRS-ONE/Eminem (Eminem's my favourite artist and was my proper introduction into hip-hop music. KRS-One has some crazy knowledge on hip-hop and its association in the wider world, plus, from clips of his performances, his energy & interaction is hard to match)
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be a performer?
I decided towards the end of University that it was something I wanted to pursue. Prior to uni, I wrote lyrics and did a few recordings over beats I liked (still do to this day) without any real direction, I just knew I enjoyed it. I performed at a few shows and met some talented people in Manchester e.g. Subzy, Kid Katharsis & Bamo, all of whom influenced me to improve in terms of my technical ability, diversifying my sound and content
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
Hard to say just one...generic answer but I might go with Nas – Illmatic. I was late onto this album, but ever since I heard it, I listen to the whole thing every time. I can only do that with a few other albums, Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly is the most recent
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Ab-Soul (his lyrics are some of the best), Leader of Coldplay (I like his energy), Erykah Badu or Jill Scott (either would do) and.....any producer who knows how to produce some funk/jazz/hip-hop/grime/sublow elements.
‘No place like home’ has a music video, where did you film this and what was the idea behind it?
(No Place Like Home) was filmed in a dark room studio in Queen Mary University, Mile End. Overall it took the better half of 2 days, had one director/producer (Samiira Garane @arimasenarag on twitter/instagram) and 3 people in the cast (Andrew Abasi, Charmaine Hanley & David “Gambit Ace” Bonnick – details in the music video's description). My initial Idea was to film it in a house, however, Samiira created some magic using just 1 camera, a few lights and a black room. Hopefully get this video out there more, build some awareness of these type of issues that some people suffer from.
You have toured with musicians such as Akala, what was the experience like and what have you learnt from being around such a talent as him?
I didn't tour with Akala but I performed in the same show as him. I was able to open for him at a show put on by Oxford University ACS, back in 2012. It was a great experience as I got to talk to him briefly after, and I got to see him perform. The best part of that show was him saying how he really felt a particular poem I did (maybe because I referenced his Fire in the Booth?) and giving him my CD at the time (Amateur Hour) which in hindsight, I can see why he didn't give me feedback, I can't even listen to half of those songs...
Being an unsigned musician how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media helped to get you out there?
It's very very very very hard. It's important to get a team behind you, which is what I'm still trying to build. Throughout my time writing and recording, I've had to adapt and progress a lot as well. I was able to write lyrics and construct these long 96 bar songs, but I couldn't flow properly or write a decent hook for anything. For someone like me, who has to focus on how the technical aspects work, have changed the music I listen to etc, I found it beneficial to just get out there and do as many shows/performances as I can, and work with as many artists as possible too. It always helps to collab and share fan-bases, at shows there's always SOMEONE you should network with and chat to and even through recording, as long as you go to the right place, someone will tell you how to improve. I have all the social media apps, twitter, insta, youtube, soundcloud, Facebook & Whatsapp. They're imperative for an independent artist now, it's the only way to consistently get your music out there and ensure you stay connected with people, it's how I found Samiira for my video!
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Superman can deflect bullets with his chest, but ducks when a gun is thrown at him....why?
Superman isn't as tough as he thinks, the Hulk would have him
Where did you record ‘Vol3: It’s Whatever’ of your Freebies collection?
I recorded LF3 in home studios, one based in Walthamstow (Chen Wissotzky) & one in South Woodford (KTheInfinite). “Crash” was recorded at a home studio in Stratford. The same 3 places were used for “LF Vol IV: A Few Words (All For Won)” - available very soon.
‘A Day in the Life’ is sampled from the Frank Sinatra song, what was the process of making this track work and what inspired you?
Original sample was by Frank Sinatra but I heard this beat through Foreign Beggars on their album “Asylum Speakers” where they had pre-sampled F. Sinatra. This was a similar story to (No Place Like Home) where the beat was the impetus for the song. I had written the first 8 bars from nothing a long time before, but the beat brought out the rest of the lyrics to finish the story!
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Recess: the whole show; crazy, creative but touch on actual real issues/concepts in wider society. In a way most audiences will understand, hopefully
What are your plans for 2015?
Progress, until the ultimate goal of world domination
Being a Leytonstone lad, I thought for a split second that Mark was going to let him off having to go through the quickfire question round, before Lemzi knew it, he was being strapped to the chair and force fed questions until he couldn't take anymore, here's how it went....
Coffee or Tea?
Tea, flavoured/herbal preferably
Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather?
Pacquiao's humility but Mayweather's a champion...
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither, both disgusting: Ice cold Orange juice please.
Banksy or Dali?
Mac or PC?
Conor McGregor or Jose Aldo?
Don’t know these guys
Fry up or Sunday roast?
CD or Vinyl?
Jay Z or Sonny Shotz?
Just listened to Sonny Shotz, I like his style, especially his productions, but have to say Jay-Z
Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead?
Haven't watch an episode of either, only really watch MOTD, Music videos, some News, Simpsons & Question Time these days (I'm OLD)
Shower or Bath?
David Beckham or Colin Kazim-Richards?
(You've got me doing research) They're both local! So it will have to be Beckham, just because I watched him play growing up
Rain or Sun?
Sun. Recommend help to whoever says otherwise (Look out for my song 'Pluvial' on LFVol:IV though..)
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Lemzi for taking the time to complete our questions and we wish him every success in the future with his music. If you can spare just another few minutes, please check out his social media channels below, they're all ready to go, just point and click....
Interview by Mark Wincott