New Zealand producer Late June has had an absurdly prolific year. As is stands, the artist has released 28 instrumentals to his SoundCloud, as well as a 16 minute EP Rainworld, and another EP planned for the end of the month. All of the songs feature black and white artwork, and all of the tracks are sorrowful and relaxed. Like getting caught out in the rain but being okay with it. Like staring through a wet window with an open journal. Like being alone on a late afternoon and taking a nap to escape reality for a bit longer. Late June's music showcases a plethora of sonically cohesive tracks that are sure to hold you over for the remainder of the year. In fact, a new song was just released yesterday.
I spoke with the 21-year-old instrumentalist about his patient and persistent craft, his personal vision, and his willingness to give his emotions a soundtrack.
How has 2017 been treating you?
2017 has been very good. Surprisingly well, I mean I had a lot of things I wanted to do this year in music as well as uni and I feel like I've more than fulfilled that for myself, so I'm really proud of the progress I've made this year. I anticipate next year, however I need to keep an open mind not everything is a vertical line :P
You've been releasing a prolific amount of music this calendar year, from singles to EPs to beat tapes. Do you work on music every day?
Yes I do [laughs]. I have so much stuff that's been scrapped as well I think people should be aware of that hopefully [laughs].
I love making music. It's what I've always wanted to do and now I'm here so expect so much stuff from me. I get mental blocks quite a bit and stuff but when they're over it's always flooding ideas as well as melodies and different ways to express what I need to get out.
Always good to take breaks as well and hang with friends or do some exercise.
How do you know if you want to keep something for an EP or release it as a loose single?
It depends, with the EP Rainworld, I wanted to make that for so long since like high school. But didn't know how to make it or how to go about the conceptual idea, it wasn't 'til way later in life around just before I turned 21 in September that I knew the experiences I had to draw on and pull out some interesting conversations and moments in my life to express. Whereas singles are more just canonical and portray specific emotions and stuff - EP's and collections I have on Spotify make up these singles and pair them with other songs that flow the same way and express that same conception and idea. My new Spotify exclusive EP Bedside is a good example of that, having lots of singles from there been released and going to be bundled in EP/album format on the 23rd of November, all expressing the same story and progression of conceptual idea.
A great deal of your pieces contain vocal samples which I love. Are you often watching movies on mute while you make music?
Yeah, I love the idea of just being a faceless entity that releases really personal music but has a impersonal balance with the samples from TV shows and such. I feel like that's an idea that always is interesting to journey into, however the more I put an idea of what I look like out and the black and white images I find and such, the more I want my music to be personal but still vague so I intertwine actual phone calls and such that I've had with people in my life sneakily too. Yes it's so cool [laughs], such a interesting idea - after a while, though, I prefer just looking at photography or just being in the moment and creating music.
What are some studio essentials?
Recently more than in the last few years, my keyboard/piano is a huge part of my music. Uhhhh yeah coffee is good. I love coffee, have about 3 cups every day at my house but at my apartment I'll often opt for some sort of sugar free drink or a preeeeemade coffee. Having a window near you, is also just like - the BEST for inspiration. Or flowers. At my parents, place my mum has an awesome garden and I'll just go outside and relax there and take photos. Walks are a huge help as well. Exercise is key.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year and into 2018?
For the rest of the year, I did have a LA trip planned - but I had Jury Duty. Classic, classic excuse. Now I've just been trying to work out more music and stuff to release as well as increasing my craft, getting really into Pokemon cards lately. 2018, hoping to start expanding on Late June way more and releasing more EPs and what not. Hopefully get more opportunities as it goes on, but I can only be patient.
A large chunk of your songs are emotional/sorrowful. Do you feel that your music is therapeutic for your own sadness?
In a way yeah, for a while I've just been expressing what I feel. I get caught in a problematic way of thinking a lot in my mind, I obsess over small things and stress and get really depressed a lot. Anxiety doesn't really help with that. I mostly just use music as a way of self-expression and thinking more conceptually, creating things that I can enjoy and expressing memories that I've thought about and specific emotions. I think it's therapeutic, if I didn't have music like being able to make music I feel like a lot more of a reserved person. Music's helped me open up and talk more in general and I think that's pretty cool. Obviously things come and go, I still get worked up a lot and have panic attacks frequently, mostly when big life events happen. I mean, I turned 21 a week or two ago, didn't think much of it then when I had gone out with my friends for our last day of uni (and I had thought it'd be the last day at uni, still might be) I kept thinking it would be the last time I saw them, all my friends and it just got built up and I had to leave very early on our night out, I had a huge huge panic attack on the way home and just cried in my room for a few hours. It was insanely depressing, but I mean in a way I can't imagine how I'd feel if I couldn't express that as a way of understanding those feelings. So it helps and it usually kinda softens these kinda wounds, but I'm quite an emotional person so I still am just a sorrowful person.
Outside of music, do you have any other hobbies/interests?
I finished my second year of photography/fine art university this last week, so that's a hobby I suppose. I'm quite interested in clothes and fashion, I own a lot and a LOT of clothes [laughs] really into woolen stuff atm which is unfortunate cos it's summer [laughs]. But yeah that and Pokemon again at the moment, working on a YouTube series where I just open Pokemon cards and stuff. Because it's like if I'm doing this over stuff, I may as well make content from it and learn more about some other forms of media. Video games are good too, I play a lot of WoW and Guild Wars 2 at this current moment, my friends and I are still looking for more stuff to dive into, personally I prefer WoW to any game right now and am anxiously awaiting the Vanilla Servers because although I've played private servers it just doesn't cut it [laughs], hoping to play a legitimate and professional Vanilla game.
What's the last good book/movie/video game/album you enjoyed?
Last book I enjoyed was a thing I read for a university essay on gender in media. Television Culture by John Fiske. Trying to get into reading more to be honest, I think reading a lot is good for expanding your vocabulary as well as increasing knowledge and activating parts of your brain.
Last movie I enjoyed was Palo Alto, a film by Gia Coppola (based on James Franco's novel), but I've watch this move like four times a year... for the past few years since 2013. Excellent film.
Video game: WoW, League of Legends, Pokemon Sun & Moon, Guild Wars 2 (raiiidwars2), Maplestory (is ALWAYS sick).
Ooooooh album, so I feel like I've probably said this one album in every single interview I've done so I'll give you guys something different something I'm actually so stoked to share. Danger Incorporated's Birds Fly By Night or literally ANY album they've done, it's all really good shit. So proud to even find these guys as recommended on Spotify, absolutely incredible stuff like just the juxtaposition between the two rappers/singers is just incredible on its own. But also that whole Awful Records vibe and overall production by Louis Duffelbags is so good. I will always recommend these guys and this album to everyone.
Do you have any advice for producers working on their craft?
Yeah but it's usually the same advice to be honest.
Listen to literally anything other than the music similar to what you're making, learn what you can from music you like, take your time to invest in what you do and be happy about the content you create as well as just trying to express yourself. The reason why you look up to the artists you do and what to sound like what they sound like, is because of the honesty in their music as well as the self-expression factor they have with their sound. Be genuine about what you're trying to express and it'll come so naturally, I've been producing for like 5-6 years and I began making Late June stuff like, 3 years after I started producing. It took me so long but I'm glad I found what I wanted to make, because now I'm so happy and the bonus is that other people seem to be enjoying it too.
Any final thoughts / words of wisdom?
Shout out Spotify, one of the best streaming platforms of all time glad to be able to listen to so many artists and see lots of people that have such strong visions get put on.
Thanks for the interview, thanks for your time! You guys can follow me on Spotify and Soundcloud here. Love ya! -Sonny