If beautiful melodies is what you seek in music, then you have to listen to Karamelien. That's how the new band of singer/songwriter Léanie Kaleido is named, a music project, which has already gifted us excellent, passionate and dreamy songs. Listen for example to Karamelien's new single, "Wait For Me", a wonderful track with a super-catchy and emotional refrain! Enchanted and touched, Myth of Rock had the chance to talk with Léanie, who was so polite and detailed in her answers!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Introduce Karamelien to the fans!
Karamelien is a new project that I created to experiment more with hip hop beats and chilled out, groovy basslines. Having released three albums under my own name (the first album was actually called "Karamelien"), I felt that having a band name would help me to explore music with less inhibition. It seems to be working so far – I'm definitely enjoying a new sense of freedom! Come find me on Bandcamp at https://karamelien.bandcamp.com
Some days ago, you released the single “Wait For Me”. Give us all the information about this song.
‘Wait For Me’ was inspired by a story I heard about someone who had strong visions and dreams, seemingly from a previous life, which was then backed up by their research into it. The story, which has been turned into a book, touches on themes of war, love, loss and reincarnation. So, the song itself is a love song from beyond the grave. I think it will speak to anyone who feels enduring love for someone they have lost and will reassure them that, perhaps, that enduring love is still felt by the person on the other side.
How would you describe the music of Karamelien? If your music was a colour, what colour would it be?
It’s chilled out, poetic piano-based indie pop, with hints of folk, blues and psychedelia. Colour? Hmmm. I’d say it’s a kind of peacock blue. Like our logo. But with added streaks of purple and pink.
Who is responsible for the music and the lyrics of Karamelien? What gives you the inspiration to make music and write lyrics?
I write all my songs, although my guitarist Mark does have some ideas floating about that we may try to collaborate on in the future. My inspiration has always been the simple fact that I need to write songs to make sense of life. I write about my experiences, things I read, see, hear. Everything that goes into my head gets mushed up and somehow, I sort it out by turning it all into songs.
What are the topics of your lyrics?
My lyrics have covered everything from the usual love and loss, to more humorous ideas, like exploding breast implants (“Silicone Valerie”, off the début album “Karamelien”), recurring dreams (“Wake Up Stupid”, off the 2nd album “Quicksands & Shadows”) and then just little moments in life that mean something. Like the time a dragonfly hitched a lift with me in my car (“Mr Dragonfly”, also off the 2nd album). The third album, “How to Weigh a Weigh a Whale Without a Scale”, produced by Mark Gardener of RIDE, is a collection of songs that celebrate getting older and more comfortable with yourself. “Teapot Girl” is about freeing yourself of everyone else’s crap and making room for your own needs and wants. “Kite String Mantra” is a collection of inspirational quotes or phrases that I’ve collected over time and that make me feel good. “Someone’s Daughter” is about overcoming the struggle of feeling I’ve never really belonged anywhere. “Ascension Heights”, our first release as Karamelien, is about my father’s lifelong exploration of spirituality. He passed away very recently, so it is my tribute to him and his music (it samples his own track of the same name).
Your music is emotional and atmospheric. How would you describe the atmosphere and the feeling of your songs?
I’d say my songs are often melancholic but with an uplifting outcome. I’ve always loved sad songs. They make me feel better. So, I suppose my songs can be a little downbeat - but usually with a positive message or a twinkle in my eye!
How do you sound live in concert? How important are live shows for you? What are your tour plans?
I’m not a natural performer. I’ve suffered very badly with stage fright my whole life. People don’t notice because I talk a lot between songs - usually silly things come out and luckily people seem to find me quite funny, so I think that puts them – and me - at ease! We’re still performing as a duo and we’re using pre-laid tracks and drum beats to create as full a sound as possible. This was important to me for this project, to get away from my singer-songwriter persona a little bit. Obviously, I’m still a singer-songwriter, but this project gives me a bit of a ‘character’ to play on stage. Being a mum, touring widely isn’t an option for me at the moment, but we play when we can, at venues in the south east and London. If the opportunity comes up, we might look at playing overseas again in the future.
How did the pandemic affect you?
I still managed to record my third album between lockdowns, so in one sense it was a great opportunity to focus on that. I was still working at the time, in a school, and my job was to go in and look after the kids who had to continue with school – either because their parents worked in key roles (nurses, police, etc.), or because their challenging home lives meant that they were safer at school. So, I maintained some sense of normality and routine during that time. It also meant my own son could carry on going to school, which I think was good for him. I’m now songwriting full-time, but I do miss my school days.
What do you think about the war against Ukraine?
I’m proud to share my birthday with John Lennon (9th October) and I’m proud to share his views on war too. I think anyone who isn’t an arsehole would agree that war is a monstrosity, however it is played out. We are blessed with the opportunity to inhabit this planet. We need to cherish it, but we don’t own any of it. So how can anyone lay claim to land? Let people be. Live and let live. Get on with making the world better and healthier. I’m not as good as Lennon as articulating my views so let’s just say, the war in Ukraine makes me very sad. I should mention my lovely mum, Julia, who works with a charity that transports much-needed supplies out to Ukraine. They work so hard and I’m really proud of her. Our second single, "Lionhearts", was written as a reminder that, in spite of all the horror in the media, the world is still very much full of love. And people who aren’t arseholes!
If you had the chance to collaborate with a famous artist, who would he/she be?
If I could choose someone who has passed away to come back and work with me, I’d choose Bowie. I’m a huge Joan Armatrading fan but she vehemently avoids listening to anyone else’s music, so she’s blown her chance with me! And of course, I’ve had the pleasure of working with my idol Mark Gardener already. So, David, please come back. I love you and I think we could make beautiful music together.
If you had a time machine, to which time period would you travel?
I’d have to stop off at the 1970s, when I was growing up and loving life. Then I’d be a Viking. But a peaceful one.
Send a message to the fans!
Fans. I know you’re out there. But please could you shout a bit louder? I’m getting on a bit and I need you to press play on my tunes as much as possible. Your support means the world to me, thank you!