We spoke with Leoncarlo about his newly released album, Still Forms.
We first discovered Leoncarlo in Denton through friends but didn’t get to truly enjoy this virtuoso violinist and musical artist live until we stumbled upon him at a SoFar show in Dallas, one year later. After that it was history – we had to interview him.
What would you say is the most important element of your music?
I’d say one of the most important element of this music is the pacing of ideas. The majority of this album comes from live performances, and so it flows from song to song, and is meant to be viewed as one big work. I think a common trend in mainstream music is to hit listeners with a quick and almost overwhelming amount of auditory stimuli to elicit a sort of visceral response because it’s what sells best. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but since this is my first release as an independent artist, I decided I’d allow myself to do the opposite and try to create an opportunity for music lovers to listen deeply and connect with this heartfelt journey I’m trying to portray.
Where does your inspiration come from?
As creatives, I think it’s important to strive for a lifestyle that promotes a receptive perspective towards inspiration, because inspiration is weird and fleeting. The music I’ve brought to life has come in part from pieces of music, poetry, paintings, places, people, video games, movies, and even food. You can plan for an inspired moment, but it won’t always come the way you expect it to, so you’ve gotta be ready. I always have a recording device ready, even if that just means a pencil and paper.
Tell us about the Still forms music video and what you wanted to bring out of it visually?
The Still Forms music video idea came out of meetings with my friend, director Wesley Kirk. I wanted us to create a video that could help complement the music objectively while paying tribute to the way that the musical forms evolve out of moving sound textures. So we sought out a dancer who could show listeners this conversation between form and movement. Jamie Jones did amazing work to match this idea, by outlining phrases and shapes through her inspired choreography. Together, with Wesley’s expert attention to cinematography, the three of us created something that we’re all really proud of. I really hope people enjoy it.
For this release specifically, what were some influences that aided in it?
My grandmother passed away in 2013, while I was on tour with a previous band. It was winter, and we were driving through the snowcapped mountains of Colorado when I got the news. I remember feeling so empty and alone. In that moment I decided I needed honor her memory somehow, but I wasn’t sure what to do. So I listened, and waited for life to reveal a path for me. After the Spring, I moved to a ranch in the middle of nowhere and started reading a lot of poetry and revisiting music I hadn’t heard in a while. It was a good opportunity to reflect on life. In the evenings, I would set up all of my musical equipment and just play my heart out for hours. I took some old ideas and combined them with new ideas, and eventually I realized I might be on to something. By the end of the year I had moved back to Denton, left the other bands I was a part of, and devoted most of my free time to developing this new material and launching my solo project. Soon I became friends with some amazing people who were coordinating great projects like Sofar Sounds, Misfit Inc., and TEDxFargo. These wonderful friends, my family, my fiancée, and a successful Kickstarter campaign helped motivate me to continue developing my ideas until Still Forms was complete.
What is to come? shows/tours/more releases, etc.
I know I want to tour again, though I’m still trying to figure out the best way to go about this. I’ll be doing another TEDx talk in October, which should coincide with the release of Still Forms on vinyl, if all goes according to plan. I can say for sure that there is also another music video in the works, collaborations I’m planning out with some really talented friends, and more music. There will always be more music as long as I am breathing.