When you listen to Nearly Oratorio’s new EP, Tin, it feels like you’re slowing the world down, if only for a few minutes. It’s spacious, serene and minimal, and calls to mind Sigur Rós in its quieter moments.
Lam released his debut EP Showers as Nearly Oratorio five years ago. In the time since he’s been working with bands I’lls (currently on hiatus) and Kllo (the duo he formed with his cousin). He’s supported Chet Faker, Flume and SBTRKT, and has also been honing his sound engineering, mixing and mastering skills with other Melbourne acts including The Ocean Party, Slum Sociable and Good Morning. Tin – released last week – was finished almost three years ago, but Lam, much like his music, isn’t in any great rush.
Broadsheet: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Simon Lam: I grew up in Hampton, in Melbourne's Bayside. Not the most culturally forward-thinking area, but it’s peaceful. I've moved around a bit, lived a little here and there in Melbourne, a little bit abroad, but I'm actually back in Hampton again. Done a full circle.
BS: What do you enjoy about being in bands/working on other people’s music versus creating your own?
SL: Variance, really. Working with other people is a lot more unpredictable. I'm not hugely stubborn when it comes to making music with other musicians, so a lot of the time I get pushed into a place where I would never go by myself, and that’s great.
I guess the sound of Nearly couldn't involve anyone else, its pretty solitary. I don't think it'd be easy to make with other people, because the music is so wrong, and other people would make it right, but it needs to stay wrong, and I like having full control of how wrong it sounds.
BS: Your solo music is very calm and serene … is that reflective of you as a person?
SL: I tend to write this music when things are particularly busy or stressful. It’s not a conscious thing, I'll just find myself rejecting socialising and staying at home recording – a lot of it was made on Saturday nights. I think, where someone else would relax by having a bath, going for a walk or watching a movie, I make this music instead. The process is therapeutic for me and it seems the sound reflects that.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere?
SL:I think the most amazing show I ever saw was Sigur Rós when they toured Takk. Opening for a show on that tour, maybe in Iceland, would have been it. I don't think I've ever been so obsessed with a band in a certain period as I was back then.
Nearly Oratorio’s Tin EP is out now.