[INTERVIEW] LF System Talks Creative Process, Musical Influences, Rise To Fame, + More

| May 03, 2024

Exactly two years ago, in May of 2022, Conor Larkman and Sean Finnigan, were waking up for their nine-to-fives after releasing their anthemic single,“Afraid to Feel.” Little did they know that this very track would change their lives forever.

Better known as LF SYSTEM, the Scottish duo from West Lothian, never anticipated going from making music in their bedrooms to playing at some of the biggest festivals in the world, especially in such a brief span of time. 

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the duo fresh off two astounding disco-house sets at Project GLOW. Join us as we discuss their creative process, influences, and the journey from their chart-topping hit to the present day.

Check out our exclusive interview with LF SYSTEM below.

iEDM: Can you tell us a little bit about the journey of LF SYSTEM, from the early days of creating edits to the moment you realized that your shared love for dance music would lead to a successful partnership?

LF SYSTEM: During our early teenage years, we were both teaching ourselves how to make edits alone in our bedrooms. It wasn't until we crossed paths at a nightclub in Glasgow, the Arches, at the age of 17 that we forged a friendship. As we got to talking, we discovered our mutual passion for music and editing.

We started a DJ collective called Hybrid and would go back-to-back in Edinburgh and Glasgow. During this time, our musical and production skills really flourished.

Our first official release was “Bourgie Bourgie,” which we made back in high school. It felt surreal playing it at Project GLOW tonight. It was a full-circle moment for us. 

Conor: Originally scheduled for release under Sean’s name, our manager last minute proposed that we become a duo, so the track transitioned from Sean’s to LF SYSTEM’s – and here we are!   


iEDM: The nightclub scene in Scotland, particularly in cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, is renowned for its energy and diversity. How has experiencing this nightlife influenced your approach to DJing and producing music? 

LF SYSTEMThe music scene in Scotland has shaped us massively. In the 80s and 90s, Chicago and Detroit music made its way over to record shops in Glasgow, forming the Glasgow sound. We grew up listening to this music and we were lucky enough to watch iconic artists in Glasgow and Edinburgh clubs.

Some of our favorite DJs are from Scotland, including Jackmaster, Jasper James and Denis Sulta who have greatly influenced our musical perception and creative process. 

LF System

iEDM: “Afraid to Feel” is the longest running #1 dance record of the decade (tied with Calvin Harris’s hit “One Kiss,”), winning ‘Dance Track Of The Year’ at the BBC Radio 1 Dance Awards. With its massive success, how have you managed the pressure to follow up with even more hits? 

LF SYSTEM: It took us a good bit of time to recover from the experience and the pressure of working normal day jobs. It is something we have chased for so many years and the fact that it is happening in real time is crazy. 

Conor: Before “Afraid to Feel" came out we were still working nine-to-fives. I was a roofer and Sean worked as a petrol station attendant. It was a massive jump from the reality we grew up on.

We had been chasing that dream for so long. Blowing up is something we always hoped would happen, but to do it at the extent we have done it was extreme. 

We broke records, won all these awards and platinum records, and life totally shifted. It was hard to take in. “Afraid to Feel” was so big it is almost impossible to follow up with. We almost can't get any bigger than that.

Sean: The intent with the track was not to have a massive hit – we were releasing music we enjoyed and it just happened. We are not chasing another top-charter, but if it becomes a massive hit, so be it. We’re just doing what we have always done and loved. 

iEDM: You have had a whirlwind of performances across various festivals and venues worldwide, including Tomorrowland, EXIT, and EDC Orlando. What has been the most memorable moment that stands out to you?

LF SYSTEM: Tomorrowland was something we watched since we were young teenagers and it shaped why we got into music. It was one of those full circle moments — we would have never thought that a decade later we would be playing there. 

Conor: It happened so fast. We took a minute to go ‘what the hell has happened, how did we play Tomorrowland?’

Tomorrowland is based on a fairytale, and it definitely felt like one. We saw so many DJs we listened to in the artist area. And on top of that, we got free champagne and filet steak. 

Getting invited to play Red Rocks with Dom Dolla, Amnesia in Ibiza, and Hideout Festival in Croatia was also mental. Sean had been to Hideout when he was 19 and his excitement was rubbing off on me. 

iEDM: Your first-ever track for Insomniac Records, “All l've Got” samples a classic by house legends Lenny Fontana and Byron Stingily. Can you share the inspiration behind the track and what it means to you personally? 

LF SYSTEM: They are such big house legends and their records are timeless classics. We were super excited when we got that track offered to us for sampling.

Mark Knight’s “Second Story” heavily influenced “All I’ve Got.” We drew a lot of inspiration from the buildups in that track. 

iEDM: As a duo, how do you navigate creative differences and collaborate effectively when producing music? Were there any specific challenges or breakthrough moments in the early stages of production? 

LF SYSTEM: We have got quite a lot of differences when it comes to preparing music, but at the core of it, our musical tastes are almost identical. Being a duo is tough because you have to find a middle ground. There is always things we don't agree on.

Most of the time, we will start ideas separately and send them to each other through Dropbox. The other person will edit it and send it back, and so on. We always come together at the end to finish them though.

 

iEDM: You have been sought after for remixes by some of the biggest names in the industry. Can you discuss your experiences working with artists like Paul Woolford and remixing tracks for Jamie Jones and Dom Dolla? What are some highlights from collaborating with other artists?

LF SYSTEM: The Paul Woolford track is one of our heaters. We have loved his music for a long time, so when we got the opportunity to collab with him, it was a no-brainer.

We are good friends with Dom Dolla (he’s a legend) who asked us to do a remix. It is pretty simple: if we love the music, we will do it. 

Getting the opportunity to work alongside such talented individuals and mix for them is something we have always dreamed of. In the future, we definitely hope to collaborate more with our lad Dom Dolla.

iEDM: Looking ahead, what can fans expect from LF SYSTEM in terms of future releases or upcoming projects? Do you have any collaborations or new sounds in the works that you are particularly excited about?

LF SYSTEM: We are planning to continue traveling the world DJing. We were so busy the last year or so from "Afraid to Feel" that it was hard staying on top of new music. We just took a month and a half off to create new music, so we are firing up lots of exciting new stuff. 

We are back to doing it from a place of passion and not pressure, continuing to ride this dream we have been blessed with and sharing music with people.

iEDM: What are your goals and aspirations for the future of LF SYSTEM? Are there any specific milestones or achievements you are aiming for?

LF SYSTEM (Sean): We had goals last year but we have honestly checked off a lot of those after performing at our dream festivals and winning all these awards. We feel crazy lucky to call this a job, because it is really not a job.

Conor and I have got lots of personal goals we keep to ourselves. As for LF SYSTEM, the goal is to just continue doing what we love. We never want to stop. 

Conor: One of my goals for LF SYSTEM is to make an album. We’re well-known for disco records, but we’ve got so much more in the locker. We want to put something together that sums up all we are and have been this last decade.

We define ourselves differently than what people think we are, so we are excited to open some of those doors and show the world just how much more we’ve got to give.

Connect with LF SYSTEM: Facebook Twitter Instagram SoundCloud Spotify

 

Photo courtesy of LF SYSTEM. 

 

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