Melbourne/Naarm based artist Memphis LK returns with her dreamy new single ‘Letters in Concrete’ via Dot Dash Recordings & Remote Control Records. Today, Lee Walker dropped a UK garage remix, guiding the already glistening track in a club focused direction.
The ongoing restrictions and constantly changing climate hasn’t held back Memphis LK this year. From the outstanding single ‘Green Roses’ to the dancefloor reboot of Tame Impala’s ‘The Less I Know the Better’, it’s been hard to keep up with her relentless lockdown successes. This brings us to ‘Letters in Concrete’, further displaying the unbelievable talent in Memphis’ song writing, production, vocals and everything in between.
As melancholy battles with euphoria and Memphis’ vocals slowly reduce to silence, a confusing cocktail of pensiveness and serenity remains. It’s an indelible feeling, with one half being dragged towards the uplifting 2 step garage beat whilst the other reflects on the mature philosophy entwined in the lyrics. A philosophy of acceptance of the duality of life, that nothing is ever lasting or "set in stone"...and it is only through this acceptance and nothing else that will free us from these existential chains. Whichever emotions 'Letters in Concrete' evokes, it certainly cements Memphis LK as one of our scene's brightest up and coming artists.
FROCKUP was very lucky to have a chat with Memphis LK to explore the track and these ideas in more detail. But that's not all, Lee Walker just released a highly dance-able UKG remix of 'Letters in Concrete' today, adding even more energy to an already intoxicating track.
Hi Memphis, first of all thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us, and congrats on your new single ‘Letters in Concrete.’ How’ve you been during these tough times? Has it been cathartic having such an amazing project to focus on?
Thank you. Yeah this year has been tough. Being an artist that’s trying to establish myself I’ve really felt it. It’s funny because there have definitely been long periods where I’ve been really depressed by it all, but something I’ve recently realised is how much this year has really just been a period of self-improvement and growth. I’ve learnt so much and become so much stronger and more resilient. Always being able to come back to writing and just focusing on making good music, no matter what’s happening around me, has been the anchor for sure.
You mentioned in an interview with FAINT that you hope your albums are “a cohesive body of work that I feel represents me at the time, like a snapshot of a particular time in my life.” How would you describe the snapshot in ‘Letters in Concrete’, and has this changed much since first announcing you were making an album in December?
It’s funny that I said that because I have never released an album as a solo artist haha. I guess that was maybe my idea of what my albums would look like. I definitely like the idea that a body of work to is sonically and maybe thematically cohesive, but for me right now I’m really just trying out so many different sounds and styles and ways of songwriting that maybe that level of cohesion doesn’t exist just yet. I think its kind of a cool thing though, from the outside being able to be a part of an artist’s growth and evolution, being there from the start and coming along for the ride.
The entire track is woven with interesting metaphors and lines of personal growth. One that I find so beautiful and which really stands out to me is “One thing that I know, it’s that nothings set in stone.” Can you tell us a bit about what sparked this track’s creation?
I had the idea when I was walking to a friend’s house at night in the rain. I was getting soaked and having a sort of musical epiphanic moment because I was listening to Blondie again for the first time in years. I started imagining the feeling of being separated from someone you love, which ended up being sort of serendipitous to release it in the midst of covid while so many people are isolated from their friends and family.
The atmosphere feels at times reminiscent of UK garage, bringing to mind some of the UKG legends such as Artful Dodger or Architechs, especially with that intoxicating drum pattern. Were there any particular artists and genres that had an impact on the track?
Oh big time. I’ve been listening to a lot of new-ish UK breakbeat and garage/bass stuff like Overmono and Bicep and also like old school 90s breakbeat. There’s also this Franky Wah remix of a Moby track that fully encapsulates this beautiful mood of melancholia and euphoria simultaneously which is something I was trying to capture in this song. I wanted it to be sort of sad and nostalgic but also uplifting.
“Music centred around the idea of growth, evolution and acceptance…It is about clearing what no longer serves you, what has been holding you back from being your truest, most authentic self.” You said this in early 2019 when first announcing your Memphis LK project, and with every release this statement feels more and more true. How do you think your sound has ‘evolved’ since Speak Honestly came out last year?
Yeah life is just constant evolution and growth, which can feel exhausting sometimes, but I feel grateful for it. Having had so much time this past year to work on myself I’ve been able to really solidify the artist I want to be, what my goals are and stuff. I’ve also been writing basically non-stop and I feel like I’m finally at a point where I really fucking believe in myself and my ability as a producer and songwriter, which is pretty insane to me as someone who has always had debilitating self-doubt. My sound is still shifting and evolving with every new song I make, but I think that’s just the way it goes when you’re a new artist, and I’m enjoying pushing myself to try and learn new ways of doing things.
We’re so sorry to hear that you couldn’t play at Splendour this year. After your amazing set at Pitch, we know this would've been absolutely incredible. With playing live and even collaborating face to face with others off the table, how has the experience been writing and producing music during these times?
It would have been so fun. I’ve been really lucky to not have had to go through the 2nd lockdown in Victoria, so I’ve been able to do sessions and make a video over the last few months which has been cool. I never used to leave myself enough hours/days in the week to work on music so it’s been so good being able to have a daily routine of writing and I’m really starting to see it all pay off now.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. But before you go, what’s next for you? Have there been any other projects you’ve been working on during lockdown?
Thank you for the thoughtful questions. It’s impossible to plan anything right now because we have no idea what the future of the industry looks like. I’m hopeful for Australia now that we’re seeing less and less covid cases that maybe we’ll see some sick local lineup festivals next year. But till then I’ll just be here writing the hits of the summer.
Music video directed and produced by Nima Nabili Rad