Simon Lam, a music connoisseur of many talents, released the second EP, "A Comforting Fact," of one of his solo projects, earlier in June. The Australian producer is better know for being one half of Kllo, whose music is reminiscent of UK garage sound. Not to mention Lam's work with Japanese Wallpaper, Kite String Tangle and Jack Grace. Yet, Nearly Oratorio is arguably Lam's most personal project.
"It's the musical project that allows Lam to take mental refuge from his other, more serious, music making. The music he wants to make, rather than the music he feels he has to make."
"A Comforting Fact" is quite literally a soothing hug. The EP is a combination of Lam ripping his chest open and then sewing it back together, an interesting balance of emotions he's managed to synthesize. The trace of tentativeness in the melodies of the five tracks conveys everything he wanted and didn't know he wanted to say. Almost like Lam was being gentle with himself while molding these compositions.
Simon was kind enough to let us pick his mind about the EP, read his email replies below:
DM: Was there something you knew you wanted to say with "A Comforting Fact?" I initially thought the record didn't really say anything, but now as I look back on the lyrics, there's a lot of messages in there. I think most of it is me having imaginary conversations with people, the conversations I don't think I could ever really have for real. Maybe its things I want to say but know I can't. I didn't intentionally try to say anything though. I just wanted to make it and leave on the table for the next person to pick up if it interests them-- and for me to look back on as I get older, like the records before this, a really long winded diary. DM: What accounted for the three year gap between releasing music under Nearly Oratorio?
This project is a bit of an afterthought for me, a bit of an old friend. A friend I don't see much but when we do meet up, it's like nothing has ever changed. This project has been around for a long time, and I'd like for it to stick around a lot longer. I think the way to achieve that is to never put too much emphasis on it because whenever I put pressure on anything, it burns out eventually. I give it the space it needs (apparently that's 3 years hahaha).
DM: When you're writing music, how do you decide which of your projects it will be assigned to?
Nine times out of ten its pretty obvious which project the track is going to belong to and I throw the track in the relevant folder on my hard drive. Though, there is occasionally a track that jumps around projects. 'Down To The Minute' was originally a trap beat that I wanted to give to a rapper. But as time passed, I stripped the beat and used it for a Kllo track and what was left made up 'Down To The Minute.' Some artists concentrate on one record at a time, which is smart, but I feel like I'm always chipping away at a bunch, which is dumb.
DM: Is your music making process organic or do you walk into a session knowing you want it to sound like something specific?
I usually write without a purpose. I've come to realise that whatever style of music I'm feeling that day, I should just make that, because its going to be the most inspired. I feel like I make my best music when I'm not really thinking or trying. I guess its organic in that sense. Though it can be really frustrating when I need X kind of track, but I'm only feeling Y kind of track that day, and I know that if I force myself to make X kind of track, it'll be crap. I just have to write heaps until I eventually write that X track.
DM: It was quoted somewhere that this project was a mental refuge for you, how do you prioritize your mental health?
I still feel like this music is a bit like meditation for me. I don't meditate so I reckon this is the best 'quiet' time I'll get. Sometimes when I'm working on the layers, I find myself putting the instruments on a loop, and I just sit and listen to it for a long time. I think that can be good for my mental health. I generally feel better after doing a bit of that. Surrounding myself with sounds I want to hear. It's like turning on a heater or having a hot shower, it's an environment thats really comforting.