Lou Val | Sounds of summer reimagined

Chasing dreams through extraterrestrial synths and melodic soundscapes

Written by

Isaac Dektor

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In a music landscape often saturated with the same old sounds, the occasional discovery of a new track with ageless allure feels like uncovering a coveted treasure. Whether it could fit seamlessly into the musical tapestry of two decades ago or the present day, the impact remains undeniably powerful. Toronto’s own Lou Val consistently brings this timeless essence to the recording booth, a talent vividly embodied in his latest single, “Clementine.”

Known for his signature R&B and alternative sonic style, Lou has fashioned a musical identity that’s both distinct and contemporary. His music elegantly blends elements of soulful R&B and contemporary music production to create a unique and modern sound. His songs often deal with themes of love and relationships. 

Tracks such as “Eternal Sunshine,” “swan hug,” and “in ur motion” have garnered millions of plays, and it’s no mystery why. They possess that timeless quality and contagious melody that instantly wraps themselves within your mind. 

Remarkable, even with a catalog that already spans over five years, with a premiere mix Lonely in Paradise dropping in 2018, Lou is just getting started. 

FLAUNT recently caught up with this rising R&B artist, delving into his new single, sonic evolution, early influences, and much more.

What was it like growing up around the Toronto music scene? Did you find some early music inspiration there?

Growing up around the Toronto music scene was incredibly interesting. I have distinct memories from high school where Daniel Caesar emerged with a distinctive sound. Other notable acts like Sean Leon, Jazz Cartier, SAFE, and K. Forest also left an impression. 

Growing up in a Nigerian household, my music preferences and inspirations spanned a wide spectrum, often gravitating towards alternative or Afro-funk genres. If I were to pinpoint influences, they would include artists like Sampha, King Krule, Sade, Fela Kuti, Radiohead, and, naturally, Frank Ocean. While my music might not closely resemble the styles of these artists I ardently listen to, it's a conscious decision. I firmly believe that drawing inspiration and outright imitation are distinct concepts.

Could you explain the significance of Goûter as the title of your 2022 record, and why you chose to follow it up this year with Goûter + ? How has the meaning evolved, how have you evolved? 

Certainly. Goûter, which means ‘savor,’ symbolizes patience and living in the moment. The title Goûter came about during a challenging summer. I wanted to capture those unique experiences on record, not to relive them, but to remember the journey they contributed to. Naming it Goûter felt right, and Goûter+ expanded on that idea. Those songs had been with me awhile, and I decided to add them to the narrative for my fans to embrace. ‘In ur Motion’ holds personal significance. Inspired by the band Men I Trust, it's a reflection of that impactful summer. I'm glad people connected with it, especially as it's rooted in personal experiences and musical inspirations.

“Clementine” showcases a further expansion of your musical style.  Could you guide us through your creative process behind this new single?

Creating "Clementine" was incredibly enjoyable. I began collaborating with an exceptional producer from Switzerland named 2AAB. He's quite cool. His track record intrigued me, having collaborated with artists like odunsitheengine and Yeat whom I greatly admire. The instrumental on its own was fantastic. I headed to the studio with my frequent collaborator, James, also known as JMS. We created the track, and it came together seamlessly. Now, let's delve into the story behind "Clementine." I've always had this concept in mind, revolving around being in a relationship with a dreamer and creative individual, someone whose thoughts are perpetually immersed in their aspirations. One of my favorite movies is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where Kate Winslet portrays a character named Clementine. I happen to have a song titled "Eternal Sunshine." Deliberately aligning the names "Eternal Sunshine" and "Clementine" was influenced by my recent fascination with Carl Jung's concept of synchronicity. I've been embracing the idea that things enter your life for a purpose. I'm currently working on a short film for "Clementine." My friend Ali and I are directing it, while I've taken on the writing. I'm eagerly anticipating sharing this creation with the world.

How has the way you create and interact with music evolved over the years, and which change do you consider the most significant?

Years ago, I was still learning and considered myself a student first. I'm still a student, but now creativity takes priority. I'm purely a creative first, expressing myself in different ways and capturing energy from the intangible to evoke emotions in people. Lately, I feel like I'm in service of others, which I see as my purpose. I'm meant to do this and nothing else. Because of that, my creative process has evolved into a mindset of, ‘I can do anything.’

Can you provide any insights into any upcoming projects, releases, or tours we can look forward to?

What's on the horizon is my debut album. The second single will be a part of it. As for ‘Clementine,’ I'm still contemplating whether to include it. However, the upcoming second single is definitely going to be part of the album. I don't want to reveal too much about the album since it holds deep personal significance for me. My album is set to drop next year, 2024. Regarding tours, I plan to do a few shows either by the year's end or the beginning of next year. This will mark my first tour, and I'm eagerly looking forward to it.

Do you believe in setting long-term goals, or do you prefer to take life as it comes? How do you strike a balance between planning for the future and living in the present? 

I do believe in setting long-term goals for certain things. However, I'm also a big advocate for going with the flow sometimes. I think that many of our ideas are floating in the air, and people can interpret that as they like. But I genuinely feel that if you're always trying to adhere to a set structure or plan, you might miss opportunities to create interesting and innovative things. I believe in honing those sporadic ideas that pop up and learning how to amplify them.

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