Internet Crush: Billy Lemos sounds like the child of Frank Ocean and Mac DeMarco

Billy Lemos is the kind of artist that inspired us to start Internet Crush in the first place, we catch up with the Malibu-based multi-instrumentalist to talk Gen Z, 'bedroom pop' and Iowa being lame.

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Genreless, DIY and based out of his bedroom, artists like Billy Lemos are the reason we started Internet Crush in the first place. There was a time when kids blowing up by themselves was a novelty, now it’s totally normal. Where once we had ‘bedroom producers’ now we have fully fledged bedroom popstars, artists who command thousands of fans without ever setting foot in a recording studio or on a stage.

This year might see all that change for Lemos however. While he’s still making music out of his Malibu dorm, he’s teased some live shows and with the release of his debut EP SELF, his music is starting to find its way out of SoundCloud and into a more mainstream consciousness. One listen to SELF will show you why; a hazy mix of West Coast slacker rock, hip hop sampling and dreamy R&B hooks it sounds like the illegitimate child of like Steve Lacy, Mac DeMarco and Frank Ocean. We’ve been hooked for months so, in hopes of finding out a little more about the man who calls himself Bemos, we shot the LA via Iowa wunderkind some questions for this week’s Internet Crush – via Instagram, of course.

How long have you been making music and what inspired you to start?
I’ve been making stuff since 6th grade. I don’t really know what inspired me to start.

You’ve dropped quite a bit of music in the last year, what were you doing before?
Secretly working on music but mostly just focusing on school. I don’t really want to be viewed differently by peers for doing music stuff so I rarely talk about it.

We read that you find a lot of your collaborators on Soundcloud. Have you worked with any of them more than once?
Yeah, I try to make several songs with the collaborators and choose the best ones for releases.

Tell us about the most interesting collaboration you have had so far?
It’s super hard to pick one to be honest. Omar Apollo was wild to work with though.

Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Yikes, that’s a hard question to be realistic about. I would love to work with Frank Ocean, Sophie Meiers, Austin Feinstein, Smino, etc. There’s way too many people to name.

How do you make music? What’s your process?
I make music in my dorm room on a laptop. I use FL Studio, Maschine for drums, and a guitar. Basically, I just bang out songs until something sticks and try to be really picky in deciding what to actually release.

Where about are you based? And how involved with you in the music scene where you live?
Originally, I’m from Iowa and nothing really happens there. Now, I go to school in Malibu which is still pretty superficial and vapid. LA’s music scene is crazy though. I’ve met some cool people there.

Can you tell us a story about your newest song ‘Burb’?
Okay, so this dude VICTOR! is so fucking good. Listen to all of his music, please. Nevertheless, I found one of his songs on SoundCloud and then hit him up. We made a bunch of songs and this one is one of my favourites.

Why call your EP SELF?
The title SELF is derived from me trying to establish my own sound with the EP. It took a long time, but I’m pretty confident in the consistency of the stuff I’m making now.

Why call your new song ‘Burb’?
It was stuck in my head for a bit. Just an interpretation of VICTOR!’s lyrics.

Who do you roll with?
That’s a goofass question. School friends and music friends though. I wish I was able to see my friends from home more often.

Describe your music in a short sentence.
Uhhh, it’s really weird “BEDROOM POP”. That seems to be the buzzword genre right now.

Which artists are you most inspired by?
Maxwell Young, Steve Lacy, River Tiber, and Michael Seyer right now. A lot more though. Way more.

What are you studying at school?
Right now, I’m studying Psychology but I think I might explore different subjects. I think Philosophy and Ethics would be pretty interesting.

Favourite colour?
Yellow is by far my favourite colour.

Favourite film and why?
That’s way too hard. Fantastic Mr Fox is really spicy though and is probably my favorite ANIMATED film.

First album you ever bought?
I remember getting some Green Day CD in elementary school.

Last book you read?
Yikes, I don’t know.

Last time you were genuinely moved by art?
Listening straight thru [sic] Roy Blair’s Cat Heaven was an experience.

First artist you were obsessed with?
Definitely Tyler, the Creator.

First artist you ever saw live?
I think Vince Staples. I remember he had just dropped Summertime ‘06 so he was really wilding out. Not very many people performed in Iowa though.

Earliest memory?
I was obsessed with trains when I was a little kid and when I finally rode one it was euphoric.

Favourite song of yours?
I don’t really listen to my own music like that but ‘Hold Me Down’ is pretty spicy.

Who should we be listening to that we probably are not?
Omar Apollo is gonna be huge. Listen to VICTOR!, Family Reunion, Juto, Jon Bap, Danger Incorporated, etc. There’s a whole bunch of people and I wish I could name them all.

When you’re not at school or making music, what are you doing?
Hanging out with buddies, listening to music, watching movies, eating food, drinking water. All the normal things.

What are your plans for music in 2018? Have you got any releases coming out so far?
Just singles for now. Maybe an EP in the summer!

Follow Phie McKenzie on Twitter

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