Lauren Campbell and David ‘Tokyo’ Speirs are an Ontario duo that are going places, it’s written in the stars. So before they get too big for their boots we decided to put some questions to them.
Hugger: Can you give us the L&T backstory in one snappy sentence?
Lauren & Tokyo: We met in our first year of college while studying music and ended up bonding over our love of slushies and pizza pockets.
H: What well known act would you say you sound most like?
L: No idea…
H: When did you both learn to play music?
L: I started playing the flute when I was 13 in the school band. Then about 2 years after that, I taught myself how to play the bassoon, guitar, and saxophone.
T: I started on drums and built drumkits by filling tupperware containers with lego pieces to make them sound like snares! Then years later started mucking around with Fruity Loops and ended up dropping out of Mechanical Engineering and starting anew in Music Industry Arts at Fanshawe College.
H: What did it feel like when you played together for the first time, was there instant chemistry?
L: I remember Tokyo was working on “Some Kind of Happy” when I first sang with him. He asked for my input and so I sang some harmonies with him and everything sort of just, fit. It wasn’t like we thought to ourselves “wow, we sound awesome together, let’s make music” … it was more like “hey, we’re friends, we like making music so let’s make some music!” and one song led to another.
T: I instantly recognized her melodic abilities. As the weaker singer of the two, I was also drawn to the idea that any song I wrote or co-wrote would instantly sound better with her on it!
H: Your music tends to cross the indie/mainstream divide so what sort of audience do your shows pull?
L: Believe it or not, we have never, ever played a live show. Sad isn’t it?! We’ve been asked to play shows, but for whatever reason we’ve never attempted it. That being said, I have no clue what sort of audience we’d pull!
H: ‘Lighthouse’ is really gorgeous and quite a layered piece of music. Did it take long to put together?
L: We wrote ‘Lighthouse’ in the nautical themed attic of my house. The guitar part came first, then the counter melody with the “Ba-da-ba-dums”, and then the rest of the words. It took us just over an hour to write and then we brought it into the studio and just tried to have fun with it.
T: We tracked it in studio a few times, without deleting anything. Just adding to it every day after class until it became pretty enough to release :). A bit of fun trivia: in the time that Lauren had gone to the bathroom and back I had written the countermelodies and harmonies to her guitar parts! Most likely the easiest song we’d ever written.
H: Do you record at home or rent out fancy studios?
L: Part of our schooling was in audio engineering so we had 24/7 access to the recording studios and great gear that belonged to our program. They were fancy, but now, having since graduated, we are back to recording on our laptops at home.
T: I intern/ work at Mushroom Studios downtown Toronto, which is much fancier than I deserve. But that said, I’m too poor to even record there for my own projects! For now, the laptop and small indie project studio will suffice. At least, until millions pour in from SOCAN…
H: As an unsigned duo in 2012 what are your aspirations?
L: After we graduated, L&T sort of went on a hiatus. We’ve got songs in the works but haven’t had a chance to really sit down and work them out. We love that ‘Lighthouse’ has continued to perk ears and hope that you like ‘The Damper’ just as much. As for what lies ahead for us, it’s a mystery! It’s very unpredictable, but you’ll be the first to hear if we’ve got new tracks to share!
T: Definitely! We have a new song we’ve been jamming out in Allen Gardens in Toronto every so often. I really hope to start working on it soon.
H: What do you think it will take to achieve those aspirations??
L: Arranging ourselves to be in the same place, at the same time, long enough for inspiration to strike.
T: We just gotta be physically in the same spot. It’s always worked in the past, and I’m sure It’d work again.
H: Given the power of the internet to break bands like yourselves we found it a bit odd that don’t have an official website or use bandcamp to any great extent. Any reason for this?
L: When we first started making music together, Myspace was the place to hear new music! But, L&T was always just a side project for the both of us. We had fun writing and singing together but we never thought our tunes would have made it to the ears of even half the people that have heard them. It’s incredible when people on the other side of the world send us messages and say they love our sound! I can’t believe it. I guess it just proves that if the music is worth listening to, people will find it one way or another.
T: If I write a song and some Australian finds it, I have none other than the Interwebs to thank. It takes a good bit of promotion and shameless self-advertisement, but in the end if the music is no good, nothing will stick. Even one good hook will get people hankering for more, all you have to do is get it played on every obscure music blog and fansite out there.
Lauren and Tokyo – The Damper