Music Interview: I Know Leopard

I know leopard

Off the back of the release of their new single, ‘Close My Eyes’, Australia-based indie-pop band I Know Leopard are currently touring with Last Dinosaurs and preparing for a national tour with Gang Of Youths. Frontman Luke O’Loughlin took some time out to chat with us:

Hi there, thanks for chatting to us! I just wanted to start by saying that I’m obsessed with your cover of TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ for Like a Version, it’s one of the best I’ve heard – what made you choose that song?
Why, thanks for saying so! It was a fun one to do. As a little kid in the 90’s I was obsessed with pop and R&B. I loved the likes of Janet and Michael Jackson, Prince, Boyz II Men etc. ‘Waterfalls’ was actually the first CD single I bought with my own pocket money and I pumped it for a year straight. It’s just one of those tunes that have always stuck with me my whole life so the decision to do it for LAV was pretty natural.

How did you all meet?
Todd (guitarist) and I met at high school in Adelaide. At the time, Todd was into Hatebreed and I was into Radiohead but we somehow started jamming together. A couple of years later when we realised we had a mutual passion for The Strokes. We met Jenny and Rosie several years on after we moved to Sydney.

Where did the band name originate?
Oh dear. It’s a long story. But the short of it is that it was born from a dispute I had with a costume shop owner over what constitutes a leopard costume.

Your newest single ‘Close My Eyes’ is a slightly more sultry, melodic sound compared to say, ‘Perfect Picture’ – can you talk us through the writing and production process for the track?
Yeah, I’d say ‘Close My Eyes’ is more in line with some of the songs on our first EP, Illumina. On face value our music can seemly mostly joyful in tone but we also have a lot melancholic influences which come through in songs, like this new one. The writing and production on it was pretty organic. We tracked most of it live and kept it pretty simple to allow for the song to speak for itself rather than give into temptations to over-decorate it with production tricks.

Will this kind of sound carry through in your upcoming EP?
Again, like our first EP, it will be a bit of mixed bag. But Perfect Picture and Close my Eyes are definitely the most upbeat. The others are more slow jams with a little more soul. The whole EP pertains to that same silky vibe though as that’s just generally the way we like music to sound.

Only using three words, can you describe your sound.
Lullabies. Beats. Retreats.

You’ve played alongside some pretty big names in Australian music including The Reubens and Miami Horror, and San Cisco – can you share any funny or cheeky things that have happened?
Not ‘cheeky’ but a memorable moment was after the Miami Horror support at the Metro in Sydney where we hosted the afterparty at our house. It ended in a monster jam in our attic till 5am with members from Miami Horror, Gold Fields and Art Vs Science.

You’re also about to join fellow Aussies, Gang of Youths, on their tour – what are you looking forward to most and least?
We are looking forward to playing in some great venues as well visiting some regional places we’ve never been to before. Todd and I are least looking forward to doing ALL of the driving as the girls seem to always rather conveniently ‘forget’ to renew their licences and sleep the whole way. Those two could sleep standing up if they wanted to.

What can fans expect to see from you in your live sets?
We like to jam a lot more than our singles may suggest. I am also a big believer that a live experience should be very different beast. So we don’t like to simply replicate the exact sounds from the recording but rather arrange the songs in a way that allows them to best thrive in a live environment.

Who are your favourite artists?
Beck, Deerhunter, The Beach Boys, Bowie, Michael Jackson, Crowded House.

If you weren’t playing music, you’d be…
Completely lost.

What can we expect next from I Know Leopard?
We are currently on the road with Last Dinosaurs which finishes on the 4th of July. Shortly after this we’ll release the EP. Then after the GOY tour in August/September we will try our best to squeeze in our own national EP tour. All the while we are working towards a debut album. We’ll keep ya posted. 🙂

The band has got a couple of dates left with Last Dinosaurs and will hit the road with Gang of Youths in August. For tour dates head here and to keep up to date with I Know Leopard, follow them on Facebook.



 Interview by Annastasia Robertson.