Lookman Adekunle was writing music even before he owned an instrument.
“I only got a guitar when I was like 21,” he tells BTRtoday over the phone. “But I‘d write music in my head even before then.”
Now the Englishman goes by L.A. Salami and sings indie rock ‘n’ roll reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and Andrew Bird. His latest release City of Bootmakers came out in April via Sunday Best Recordings. Each track tells a different tragic story. Salami sings of unsatisfied love, failing governments and the plights of society like feeling lost in your life or alone in a crowd. His delicate guitarwork, sultry vocals and intoxicating melodies will make you swoon.
“Generation L(ost)” is a catchy, upbeat song arguing that being lost can be equally beautiful and frustrating. While other tracks like “I’ll Tell You Why” have a slow and steady beat that bring a tear to your eye and lyrics about loves that’ll never be understood.
When recording, Adekunle aims to capture that first-try magic. “I have a philosophy of just keeping things loose,” he says. “I don’t really show the band any of the songs before we play them in the studio to get that instant vibe and try to capture that moment when everyone gets it—you know, that thing you can never really repeat the first time you all come in sync.”
Though his songs come out more like a bluesy, lovesick singer/songwriter, Adekunle says he’s actually more a fan of hip-hop and rap. “I’ve never really not liked any sort of music, [but] growing up I listened to mostly hip hop,” he says. “It’s more clear in the music that isn’t out yet.”
L.A. Salami, “Generation L(ost)”
Adekunle says City of Bootmakers is just part one of a three series album he’s working on. He says the new material’s lyrics touch on a wide spectrum of issues and while music explores new territory. “I’d say I’ve just been experimenting and trying things out,” he says. “Trying to know who I am more [and] trying to translate what I mean more accurately.”
The album name has many different meanings to Adekunle. A “bootmaker” represents to him all things “good and bad” that inspire you. And the word “city” can mean London, the world, the galaxy or even the universe. “It’s like a big metaphor or little metaphor, whatever,” he says. “Macro or micro, it just means being aware of the things that make you feel alive.”
Though Adekunle grew up on post-punk and indie bands like The Libertines or The Strokes, he’s heavily influenced by musicians like Andre 3000 and Neil Young. Though the current music he has released reflects more of his indie influences, he says his new material will show his love for hip-hop and rap.
Currently on his City of Bootmakers tour, he hopes to make it back to NYC before the end of the year, if not be early next year. Hear the entire interview and album on this week’s The Music Meetup.