ImLazarus – Allan Towne
We were lucky enough to catch up with musician IMLAZARUS following the stunning release, ‘Same Old Song’. Read the full interview now!
Hi ImLazarus; tell us about yourself?
Hello! Here’s a line from a new song of mine – “You see, I’m Lazarus from Minneapolis. I’m half a pacifist, the other half is pissed”. By that, I mean there’s a dichotomy to me as a person and artist that’s intentionally contradictory and meant to make you think.
What is your songwriting process?
It can be different every time, but it usually starts with a melody that gets stuck in my head. Sometimes I have a single line or lyric that’s so strong to me that I can write an entire song around it. But usually, I’m writing music and melodies first, with lyrics coming along the way.
Tell us about your brilliant latest release, ‘Same Old Song’?
Thanks for calling it brilliant! I put a lot of work and detail into it. Once I wrote that song, I knew I wanted it to be my first single as a solo artist in order to stand out. People may love it or hate it, but everyone has said it’s really unique and doesn’t sound like anyone else!
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
Dichotomy. Someone who puts everything they have into their music but also doesn’t take themselves too seriously. You’ll notice in the video there are shots that would likely be considered bloopers by other people. I like it because it’s funny, though.
You’re from Minneapolis; what’s the music scene like there?
Well, it’s not LA, New York or Nashville when it comes to competition. The majority of people who consider themselves “aspiring professional musicians” are just people who haven’t been honest about the fact that it’s just a hobby for them, and they’re not willing to die for it. But I’m sure it’s similar to most other big cities around the U.S.… Bands, venues, people – some good, some bad.
Who are your musical influences?
The Beatles, Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. There are many more, but that’s what you’re gonna hear the most if you’re checking out my debut single, “SAME OLD SONG.”
Who are your non-musical influences?
Funny movies, shows and stand-up comedy in general. There’s a big element of humour in my music because I love to make people laugh!
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
It’s a tie between opening for RANCID and MXPX in MN in 2007 or the Bridge School Benefit in CA in 2016.
The RANCID show was exciting because it was my first band, and we just got a random message on myspace (that should tell you how long ago that was) asking if we wanted to open for RANCID at a 3,200-capacity venue. So that was a really fun message to get. It wasn’t sold out, but there were 3,000+ people. Matt Freeman watched our set, and Lars came up to give us compliments afterwards.
The Bridge School show was even more surreal; I’m not exaggerating any of this. The line-up was: Metallica, Roger Waters, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Norah Jones, Cage the Elephant, My Morning Jacket, Nils Lofgren and then my band at the time, lol. There were 22,000 people there; It’s an annual show hosted by Neil Young. At the end, he invites all the musicians who performed that day on stage for a finale of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’.
If you search for “Rockin’ In The Free World” from that 2016 show, you’ll see a thumbnail/video of me and Robert Trujillo from Metallica singing together. I think he has a mimosa in his hand, lol.
SIDE NOTE: At the RANCID show, we were able to get our good friend in as our photographer. He was just starting up, and he hadn’t photographed any big bands at that point, just us locals. Today you might know him as Adam Degross, personal photographer for Post Malone!
What scares you most when releasing music?
Not maximizing my efforts. It’s not a fear of being rejected at all, as people might think. I hate when I do something only to find out that it could have been more effective if I had just done some other thing first… That’s been my biggest hurdle to get over in both music creation and promotion. Not allowing myself to be affected by that option paralysis we are all susceptible to.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Option paralysis – having so many options about how to proceed forward that it becomes daunting. And social media, it’s both your best friend and your worst enemy as a musician. It’s ever-changing, so you can’t research to become an expert; you just have to do it and hopefully stay ahead of the changing technology.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
You either need to come from a well-off family who can give you money, or you need to want it more than anyone else you know. I’ve found a lot of professional musicians had really easy childhoods when it comes to family and financial support. My friends know that I did not come from financial support.
I sleep on a mattress in a room surrounded by only the possessions I need to continue my career as a musician. I’ve never taken a vacation in my life, I’ve never called in sick to work, and I’ve never done anything but prioritize how to make a career writing music for the last 20 years. I have lost many friends and had relationships end because of this. If this isn’t your level of commitment, it’s someone else’s, and that’s who deserves to succeed as a musician.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
I have a follow-up EP recorded and ready to release; I’ll be putting that out soon. As well as lots of touring, more music videos and a few special events and guest appearances this summer that I’m getting confirmations on as we speak.
I also have another band that’s touring the East Coast from Oct 13-31st. I may try to busk my solo stuff before our shows each night! Gotta stay creative and utilize every opportunity!
FVMusicBlog February 2023