How dungeons and Greenland inspired the ex-Late of the Pier artist’s new album – plus watch his painterly new visual for ‘Lorry Park’
Since Sam Dust parted ways with dance-pop heroes Late of the Pier, he’s kept busy in a few strange, under-the-radar ways: working on inventions, scientific research, and secret musical projections. Dust's most concrete endeavor, however, has been crafting a fantastic solo debut as LA Priest, a project he started and promptly put aside in 2007 after releasing just one EP. Back then, he tempered high-tempo electronic tracks with rough edges, but his forthcoming album Inji is a different beast entirely, sprinkled with simmering funk and textured psychedelia held together with his pliable croon. Here, he premieres the abstract video for “Lorry Park” – a visual taken from veteran experimental filmmaker Len Lye. Like Inji, it’s rooted in the past but also also a perfectly-timed testament to the present.
You’ve spent time in Greenland studying electro-magnetic phenomena on recorded sound. What was that experience like?
LA Priest: I went back there over the course of two years. (At first) it didn't feel like a place worth bragging about outside of it being a cool place, but it did end up in the record. I ended up using geomagnetic interference recordings and put it with pop melodies and drums and basslines. Just using it basically as a substance or glue for whatever musical idea I was working on.
How long have your ideas for the LA Priest project been germinating?
LA Priest: Before Late of the Pier, I was sort of ready to make something similar to what I've finally done now. I was on that path with the single I released back in 2007, it just took a backseat while things were kicking off with Late of the Pier. After a few years of that, there was a moment where we felt like it was justified to have a break and see what things we had neglected or abandoned that we'd really like to return to and for me it was obvious that I wanted to get back to those early creative roots that I had.
On your new album Inji there are clear influences from funk, psychedelia and disco. Were you drawing inspiration from any current peers when recording?
LA Priest: For a lot of people, music exists solely as an internet experience, But for me, for the last five years my experiences in music have been anything but experiences through the internet. So I'm not very in tune with my contemporaries at all.
But at the same time you've built an interactive website for LA Priest, which feels like a creative effort to have an online presence.
LA Priest: As soon as I came to realize that I had to kind of use the internet if I wanted to show anybody what I've made, I had to use the current technology. But it was familiar to me because when I was a teenager I used to make joke websites at school. So it was really easy. Me and my friend Leon, worked on it over a couple of weeks, trying to make something interactive but with a sense of humor and a lot of depth. It's got a decrepit brain that I think is quite charming, and it works in a similar way to the way some of my music works. You can kind of feel it breaking as you're exploring it. You can hear the cracks.
Your last video, for “Oino”, was a total trip, with its monk-like character who’s forcing this refracted light onto you. What’s it all about?
LA Priest: The first thing I (thought) when I heard the song is that the rhythm sounded like clinking. I imagined this dungeon with loads of people in chains, dancing to the song. It was like a really strange, sad party of prisoners. And then maybe I was going to be chained upside down on the wall, singing the song. Then we thought about it and remembered a story about this person who's captured and they had to sing to be rescued by a wizard. That story was told to us by my granddad when we were little. But we couldn't really remember how the story ended, so we just kind of wrote half the story down quickly, got a bit of money to go to Morocco and shot the video. And it kind of worked out pretty well.