Lontalius is the alias of mysterious 19 year old Eddie Johnston. Crafting music out his bedroom for the last few years, it was covering artists like Beyonce and Drake that initially stirred the internet into a frenzy.
Lontalius is endlessly inspired by other peoples heartbreak. With a strange juxtaposition between his affection for hip-hop, sadness, and indie sweetness, he’s picked up a few important fans a long the way including Ryan Hemsworth and Lorde.
Now he’s offered up his first long-player entitled I’ll Forget 17. It has all the hallmarks of a sleeper gem; sweet, genuine and full of earnest youthfulness. We hope he stays a teenager forever.
You write very sensitive and sentimental music. Taking it out of the bedroom and to the public for the first time, were you pleasantly surprised at people’s warm reaction?
My music has always come straight out of my bedroom and onto the internet, so I am used to having very direct feedback. I’ve been really inspired by the way people react and the things they’ll say to me after I upload a song literally 20 minutes after finishing it. Finishing an album and waiting 8 months or so for people to finally hear it was a very different experience. . .but i am still so happy to hear peoples positive feedback.
Where do you get your inspiration for your music? You’re so young, I can’t imagine you’ve already had your heart broken a thousand times.
It is other music that inspires me first and foremost. I haven’t had my heart broken a thousand times but I am endlessly inspired by love and all the feelings that go with it. I’m inspired by youth and the feeling of growing older, and looking back at the more emotional times. That’s what the album is about really.
Growing up in New Zealand, you must have been a long way away from many artists you wanted to associate with. Do you think that distance has helped your music?
For sure. It’s hard being so far away, but the internet has really helped, and I’ve become part of a beautiful community of shy kids like me posting their music online and collaborating via email. I’m really thankful for the people like Ryan Hemsworth, Corbin/Spooky Black etc. who posted my music early on and got a lot of people interested.
There are always a lot of references to “bedroom music” when people talk about your work. What is your actual bedroom setup?
My bedroom setup is as simple as it can get. I have a microphone for my voice and sometimes for guitars. And I have my laptop. My laptop is my number one piece of equipment. This is a photo from when my bedroom looked a little prettier than it usually does.
Apparently Lorde is a fan of your music, have you received any words of advice from the fellow NZ youngster?
No, I haven’t, but seeing her do so well is advice in itself. I’m so inspired when I see her onstage at the Grammy’s or Coachella or whatever it might be. It really makes you believe anything is possible
What is next for you?
I’m working on the next album. I’m going back to the US at the end of April to continue working on it and will hopefully play some shows to support the current record too. I’m excited to see what happens next and welcome it with open arms!
Lontalius debut LP I’ll Forget 17 is out now.