Music in our blood | Memphis LK on giving back and the importance of community

It’s easy to imagine that someone who spent most of their early career producing music, solo in their bedroom, might feel disconnected from the world outside their own four walls. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for Melbourne-based singer, songwriter and producer Memphis LK.

Having dedicated time to sharing his knowledge and skills with women in his community, playing Mildura’s first-ever Pride event, and feeling the joy of fans singing his own lyrics to him just a day after they were released into the world, LK understands the importance of actively connecting to the world around them.

For musicians like LK, music is undeniably in their blood, so we’ve teamed up with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to dive a little deeper and find out why (LK’s father is National Treasure Paul Kelly – if that doesn’t suggest she was born with music running through her veins, we don’t know what that is happening).

Read on to learn more about LK’s most memorable moments from his career so far, why community is so important, and his favorite snack after donating blood.

Can you tell us a bit more about your musical journey so far?

When I was 15 I started discovering artists like Four Tet, James Blake and Burial and became obsessed with electronic music, especially the more experimental stuff. I started making loops in GarageBand and singing along. Then, when I was about 18, I discovered Ableton (music production software) and realized that I could create literally any sound I wanted on my own, without having to rely on anyone. another and it blew me away. I was in a few bands before I started releasing solo music in 2019. I spent almost all of 2020-2021 working on my (locked out) production and I feel like to be in a place now where I’m so confident in what I’m doing. My EP comes out in January and it’s so good to release music that I’m really proud of.

Memphis LK standing in front of a golden Mercedes limo

What has been your most memorable or rewarding moment so far in your career?

The day after my track, ‘Whip’, came out, I played a concert and people were screaming the words and I almost cried on stage. Also, messages from people saying my music inspires them will always be an amazing feeling.

Music is a family matter, have you always wanted to create your own music?

I’m lucky to have grown up in a home where creativity was encouraged, so music always felt like it was an option for me – that’s something I’m really grateful for. I’ve practically made music to some extent since I can remember and I really became extremely obsessed with it when I started producing my own music. That’s when it all clicked and I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Your music is a captivating mix of dreamy lyrics and fast-paced layers, does this contrasting combination reflect your way of seeing the world?

When I make dance music, I’m drawn to sounds that have conflicting moods. I like to oppose the hard and the soft, the dark and the light. I’m a Libra and quite sensitive so I guess I feel a lot of darkness in the world, but I also feel the light – nerdy. I also feel like that’s probably just my personality too, kinda nice and cute but don’t mess with me.

Memphis LK sitting on a lounge chair

Who or what was your biggest influence in creating your unique sound?

Four Tets. I’ve always been so inspired by how he’s able to put so much emotion into dance music.

Walk us through the process of writing music for you; Are you a creature of habit or do you like spontaneity?

I’ve learned over the past few years that my creativity thrives on routine and repetition, so I try to be pretty disciplined with that. Spontaneity and magic are more likely to manifest if I prepare myself properly to receive them.

You’ve already given so much to your community, hosting free DJ workshops for women and gender diverse people in Melbourne and playing Mildura’s first Pride event. How important is it to you to give back to the community?

This is really important to me, and I can only speak from my own experience, but as a young woman in a male-dominated industry, it’s so easy to think you’re not good enough, or that you’ll never have the skills to be at that high level, so I’ve always wanted to help people develop those skills and that confidence in any way I can. On a broader note, I feel like community is something that’s taken a bit of a back seat in general. Our society feels more “me” centered, people seem to focus a lot on themselves, but often they don’t give that care and compassion to others. Hopefully we can get back to a place where we all value community and connection more.

A gif of Memphis LK donating blood, a vegan sausage roll and a juice popper

Speaking of giving back, how important is donating blood to you?

It was my first blood donation and I wish I had started doing it sooner. I admire people who donate blood regularly because it’s an entirely selfless act and the result is that you save lives.

There’s a bit of a slow, quiet time during the blood donation, what are your three favorite songs to relax and fill the time?

I actually have four; Pure Shores by All Saints, What Once Was by Her’s, She Just Likes To Fight by Four Tet and Wakin On A Pretty Day by Kurt Vile.

What’s your favorite after-donation snack?

Vegan sausage roll, of course.

Memphis LK standing in front of a red brick wall

What’s next for Memphis LK in 2023?

Summer festivals, EP releases, some exciting collaborations, more writing, London, vegan sausage rolls.

When you donate blood, you are more than just a donor, you are the cornerstone of Australia. For more information on where to donate, go here.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by lifeblood and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work for and why read our editorial policy here.

Images: provided, urban list

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