Wearer of many hats, local singer, songwriter, and producer, Lyall Moloney is a self-proclaimed “weird alien.” His appreciation of genres from all corners of the world is a driving force behind the eclectic mix of sounds constantly being produced from this ever-growing talented musician. As a consequence, Lyall manages to find a place in every crevice of the Australian music scene, hopping boundlessly between dub, reggae, hip-hop, R&B, and folk. Lyall has produced and featured on tracks for Sydney-based indie bands, Sticky Fingers and Bootleg Rascal, and is set to drop his new album ‘Only Lonely’ later this month along with an upcoming European tour.
We chat to Lyall about his upcoming European tour, his new album ‘Only Lonely,’ and where he fits into the Australian music scene. Ayla Dhyani writes.
You've released two singles from your upcoming album ‘Only Lonely’ already. How has the response been so far?
Really good! It’s different to nearly anything going in Oz at the moment and I think people are taken back by some of the textures thrown in there. I’m really proud of this record - just to have made it, and all the response I’m receiving from Australia and Europe is the icing on the cake.
What can we expect from the album?
I want to say a whole heap, but I don’t like to take ownership of the music, as I feel it is as much a gift to me as it hopefully is to others. I made that shit fresh that I think cats will dig.
You blend together a strong diversity of genres in your music. Do you consider yourself primarily an Australian hip-hop artist?
I make Australian sun burnt music for sure, but that expands well beyond being simply an Australian hip-hop artist. Hip-hop is a global culture and my role in OZ-hop as a producer/beat maker/DJ is nice, but I’d be lying to say my music only fits there. On a side note, I believe western genre based musicology leads to gentrification anyway, to me it all aligns itself together through the various rhythms. ‘Only Lonely’ has many rhythms, and therefore many genres - you can say the same about Bad Brains, the Clash, or even Chance the Rapper’s mixtapes. About a year back I figured I could summarise the music I make (and love) as simply bass music, it doesn’t fit for practical purposes, but it makes sense to me. I love the Australian hip-hop scene but I don’t see myself as part of it, or even any. I’m a weird alien.
What's your view on the Aussie hip hop scene?
It’s cool! My boys from Horrorshow and Co hold it down in the inner west, Melbourne is f**king on fire at the moment from Remi to Juñor, and I even really dig 360, Kerser and the rawer/old-school Oz stuff. I really like anything spitting the truth. I also am very passionate about the empowerment that hip-hop in general can bring to Australian youth, especially in indigenous communities. I want nothing more than for OZhop to lay it out like it is through the voice of the innocent, bring some wisdom up in this dream we call Australia.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
For songs, Damon Albarn, Paul Kelly and Outkast. For beats, Sun Ra, Diplo, Trent Reznor. For bands, Bad Brains, The Roots (Or any of the Soulquarians), and for MC’s, Knaan, Common, Damian Marley, Doom etc.
Do you find yourself more focused on production or on the lyrical content when writing music?
I have to wear many… many hats. I work with music in many different ways. The feeling for me however is that the lyric is my heart, where the music is my head. A song can be played down in an infinite number of ways, so everything becomes deliberate. Therefore I’m never ‘more’ of anything, it’s just what I’m working on at that point in time.
You're getting ready for a tour in Europe. You pumped?
So pumped. I'm working on getting the whole album in the set, and I will be calling into some pretty fresh studios with some amazing cats. So really looking forward to making tonnes of music on and off the stage...
Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon?
(Laughs) about a hands-worth, but there is this dude, Don Steele, f**king freak if you ask me. I've written a faster EDM based EP, which will be leaked at some point, a new album by Bootleg Rascal that I’ve recorded/produced. Also a few other bands. I’ve got this “Mike Will, Dancehall, superHop” bug at the moment that I’m working on curing, which I’m sure will take form on the outside at some point too.
What stimulates your soul?
God, the Truth, the Ocean, and J Dilla. Maybe they’re the same thing.