Interview with Erika Lamon
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Ultimately, I think music was a way for me to connect with people; I felt comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings through songs. I was very shy for a long time, and social situations didn’t come naturally to me, but when I’d play music it would break the ice. People would come up to me and chat afterwards, and it was nice. If it wasn’t for music, I’d probably have gone into editing. Or I’d be writing more poetry.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to garden! I spend a lot of time indoors and in my head while songwriting, so it feels good to be working with something that’s outdoors and tangible. Gardening influences my creativity in that it gives me space away from it…which I think is just as important as the actual act of creation. The fact that it’s such a seasonal occupation, too, is really liberating. When you’re songwriting, you’re tapping into emotions, perceptions, images…it’s very visceral, and gardening brings me back into the now. The two keep me balanced.
How long have you been making music?
Officially, for about 10 years. But it dates back to a long time ago. One of my earliest memories is of me toying with one of those plastic keyboards, while staring at the wall in front of me and getting lost in the patterns of the old Victorian tapestry. The tapestry’s shapes looked like a comic strip to me, a story unfolding, and I played around with synching sounds up to it. I just put two and two together.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Kingston, Ontario (Canada). Other than the local artistic collaborators, the stories of people I have met here find their way into my songs. Certain songs have names attached to them, though those names will forever remain secret.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable show was when I got to perform for the Gala des prix Trille Or at the National Arts Centre in 2021, which was broadcasted on live TV. My French band, Les Soliloques, was nominated in the Discovery category, and we got to perform La valse des damnés for the awards ceremony. COVID restrictions were in full swing at the time, making the already precise production even more complicated. Those super short performances are often the most high-pressure ones, because you really have to be on, but we really nailed those 2 minutes, and I was really proud of us for it.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I used to love playing at the Cardinal Café in Sharbot Lake because the old church it’s in had the loveliest acoustics. Of course, performing at Massey Hall would just be the ultimate dream.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Ohhh that’s so hard to decide! I’m going to go into festival territory here, and instead of it being a single show lineup, picture this on the lineup poster: Lucy Rose, Holly Humberstone, Megan Bonnell, The Staves, Jon Bryant, Georgia Harmer, Jadea Kelly, Donovan Woods, Jewel, Kathleen Edwards…
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
You’re running a marathon, don’t treat it like a sprint. I have this tendency to think that I could always do more. Even when I give absolutely everything, the next day I’ll doubt whether or not I could’ve given more, and it’s really insidious and diminishing. Someone told me lately that you literally only have so many calories to use in a day, and that made me feel better. You have to build in periods of rest, and take time to celebrate your milestones (no matter how big or small), because you want to make it to that finish line. Rest up, and move on to the next marathon.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It’s a tie between Hues and In My Head. Hues reminds me of my younger self. I was in a relationship that wasn’t good for me, and I wrote the song years after it had ended. When songs come out of bad things, it feels like they were worth it. And then In My Head feels like my most vulnerable and honest song.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I really like playing songs with builds, like Omen and Hues, but I’ve found that I don’t have any consistent song requests. Peoples’ favourites change a lot!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I’m really inspired by stories; my own, those of the people around me, ones I read or hear about. That, and conflicting emotions. If I’m emotionally intertwined with a situation, or feel a strong pull towards it, chances are it’ll eventually appear in a song, even if that’s years later. Songwriting feels like an excavation to me; like the songs are there, and I’m just trying to dig them back up in the most gentle way possible. Sometimes, I only find half of the song, and the other half will take much longer for me to locate and put together.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I never set out to say a specific message in my songs, but perhaps the overarching concept is that perspective changes everything, and perspective changes with time. The “you” from 5 years ago has seen a couple of things, and probably sees some things differently now than they did before–and that doesn’t discredit any of what was previously felt or seen. I think that we live in a world that wants us to choose sides, and wants us to choose extremes, and I just don’t think that’s a healthy way to live. Life is far too grey for that, and so my music likes to play in that grey zone, to allow different perspectives in. Something I believe in now may change in the future, and I want to create a space that allows for that growth; I think my songs echo that.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My plans for the future are to give some TLC to my French project, Les Soliloques, and to spend time with the new songs that I've been writing. I have a whole albums’ worth already, but I think I may just take it a single at a time…we’ll see!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
You’ll find me anytime on the usual channels: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok. The best, though, is to sign-up to my newsletter. You can scroll to the bottom of my website and subscribe: www.erikalamon.com