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Review + Q&A: Lay Llamas- Goud (2022 Black Sweat Records)

Lay Llamas is an Italian band project featuring Nicola Giunta and Gioele Valenti (JuJu, Herself) who have been releasing records for quite some time. Their previous record Thuban was released on Rocket Recordings and featured guest artists among which Mark Stewart of The Pop Group, and members of Goat, Clinic, and Julie’s Haircut. Goud (Gold) is just the two of them though, but it definitely sounds as eclectic, if not even more.

What we get is an imaginative jungle of bird sounds, flutes, new wave synths, all kinds of percussion elements, and vocals that sound at times like Leonard Cohen at his very darkest, and at other times like the most lysergic and stoned hippie choir you can imagine. It is dreamy music, and as surprising as dreams can be as well. One moment you find yourself in a primitive hut in Peru chanting shamanic mantras, the next you’re dancing a drugged up dance on heavily pulsating dub beats.

It’s this freedom and complete creative open mindedness that is so compelling about Lay Llamas and their new album Goud. You never know what they will do next, and what sound collage or filmic scenery lurks around the corner. It’s definitely a trip, and a recommendable one at that.

I talked to Nicola Giunta, who was happy to explain what he and Lay Llamas are all about:

 Hi Nicola! How are you, how have you been doing the past years of the pandemics? What has it meant for you as a person and for being in a musician?

NG: Hi, I’m quite well, thanks! 

My past two years were been…busy! And I don’t talk about Covid and pandemic issues as usual. In february 2020 my second child were born. Just at the start of pandemic here in Italy. So I did it as full time family-man.

At the same time this never seen before situation gave me a strange and lovely feeling of peacefulness. So I did a lot of new music, art, video and projects. 

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your daily life?

NG: My daily life: family, everyday job, music, study, visual art, books, documentaries. 

Does the place where your live affect your art? And if so, how?

NG: no, I don’t think so. On a subconscious level maybe. 

I’m all the places in which I lived until today.

How is your relationship with Gioele Valenti? How have you met and how did Lay Llamas come to be?

NG: First of all Gioele is a very dear friend of mine. We met 20 years ago, in Palermo. We’re sicilian both. Gioele is an amazing musician, a real intellectual and a true gentleman.

In 2013 english label Rocket Recordings asked me to write a record as Lay Llamas, so I ask to Gioele to work on lirycs and vocals, as well as some instrumentals. 

What is the typical Lay Llamas style in your own words? When do you know a sound is fit for Lay Llamas?

NG: Basically is about something into past and future at the same time.

Something hazy but clear as well. An epiphany.

Goud actually means gold in my language (gold) Can you tell me about the concept of “gold” for your new album?

NG: The question is: what is really valuable nowadays? Time? Money? Health? Spiritual development? Environment?

So I chose that single word (Goud, gold). Of course I mean not the yellow metal. But something as meant by the alchemist from the past centuries. 

What were your most important outside influences when writing Goud, being music, or anything, really…?

NG: Nothing in particular as all is One. Music comes from the deep. And then goes out.

Do you feel socially conscious when writing lyrics? Is there a certain message you wish people heard when listening to Lay Llamas? 

Sometimes yes. I mean we don’t write protest songs or something like that. Not a proper message in Lay Llamas. A feeling of traveling circularity maybe.

What is the ultimate goal for Lay Llamas to reach? And what are your short term goals?

NG: More Lay Llamas music.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview?

NG: Just go outdoor. Take a breath. Stop thinking. Stone thinking.

Nicola Giunta (Lay Llamas)

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