By Carolina Oxenstierna
Mr. Floyd Larry is a rapidly growing alternative independent artist who has amassed tens of thousands of listeners just within the past few months. Though based in Miami, his fanbase is quickly branching out of his hometown and into the headphones of listeners across the world. I came across him while scrolling through Tiktok, where I stumbled upon a livestream of him performing a collection of his music – all of which he writes, records, and produces entirely on his own – directly from the intimate setting of his bedroom. I was immediately entranced by the hypnotic guitar riffs and melancholic melodies that accompanied and decided to look through his Tik Tok page, which is full of short clips of his original work. His recent single “FEELALONE” is a somber yet delicate song tackling the struggles of solitude and feelings of isolation. Prior to this single, he has released several singles and two full albums since 2021, with “Dream Punk'' being his most recent album. It was purposefully released on 2/22/22 to utilize the ‘angel number’ that manifests faith and hope, in order to signify that his music is “on the right path.” In a brief interview with Mr. Floyd Larry, I got the opportunity to hear more about his music, the inspiration behind it all, and his platform as an artist primarily on social media.
What drew you to start making music? How long have you been making music?
I started making music about four years ago. I was inspired by Steve Lacy after I saw he was making beats on his phone, and that’s pretty much what I started doing too. I just downloaded Garageband and started experimenting.
What does making music and being an independent artist mean to you?
Making music means everything to me. It helps me to better express myself, and it’s an outlet to get feelings out there that I feel I can’t tell most people -- or really anyone.
How would you describe your music?
I think that my music emanates the feeling that you’re yearning for something. Where there’s something missing and you’re just on the precipice of *it*, but you don’t even know what *it* is. I also feel like it’s kind of nostalgic, and reminds me of when I was younger.
You write, record, and produce all your own music – can you talk about that process?
There are times where I’ll plan out and write a song, but to be completely honest, I just open up [Garageband] and just start playing whatever the majority of the time. I typically just play off of expression and what I’m feeling in the moment. I don’t really write lyrics, I just kind of sing whatever’s on my mind and I’ll go back and change some things and move them around. There are only two or three songs that I’ve released where I’ve actually written the lyrics for beforehand: a single, “Uneasy” which is currently my most popular song, “Walking on the Sun,” which is from my first album “Three Months Off,” and “Coy, which is the only song on my latest album “Dream Punk” that I wrote the lyrics out for. Usually, I’ll start the production of a song by laying out the drums, and then I move on to developing the bass or the guitar, whichever I’m feeling is the right vibe for the song.
What would you say are some of the advantages and disadvantages of producing all of your own music?
When you do everything by yourself, whatever you say goes. So I really enjoy that freedom of being able to do whatever I want with my sound, and I don’t have to rely on anyone else. The main disadvantage is definitely time, as the whole process is just extremely time-consuming.
Where do you find inspiration for your music? Who are your biggest influences?
I’d definitely say Inner Wave is one of my main influences. I like that they have a really funky bass line over calm melodies, and I try to implement aspects of that unique sound into my own music. I also take inspiration from Dive, Beach Fossils, and Dream, Ivory because I like how they incorporate a variety of different melodies into their songs and have the classic melodic bass – which I also try to embody.
Were there bands/artists you grew up listening to that inspired you?
Yeah, there’s a few. The main one is probably the Gorillaz though, I love their music so much and would just constantly be listening to them.
What was the inspiration/process behind your most recent album, “Dream Punk”?
I wanted to make music that had a strong focus on melodies but also carried prominent bass lines, so I tried to combine them and create something dynamic that you wouldn’t get tired of as quickly. The album basically just focuses on me talking about my life experiences throughout the years. The ‘punk’ part stems from me being a kid, but a kid who has dreams and aspirations, which is where the ‘dream’ part of it comes from. There’s one song on the album, “Living Quarters,” which tackles the topic of living in a toxic household and having someone outside of it who feels like home when your house is no longer a safe space for you.
Who is your audience? What do you want people to take away from your music? Or is it mainly an outlet for yourself?
It’s a mix of everything. I write music for me, but I also write music for people that feel like they’re alone, or people who feel like they need something. That’s why I make music too, I guess, to make people feel less alone in knowing that there’s someone out there who feels the same way.
You perform on Tik Tok live streams nearly every day, can you talk about that experience? Do you think these kinds of live streams are going to be the new way for smaller artists to get more exposure/interact more intimately with their fans? What direction do you think this kind of media is going to go in?
It’s definitely good for smaller artists for sure. When I started making Tiktoks back in November, I only had like 2,000 followers. And then fast-forward to now, where I have around 60,000. So, I’d say it’s definitely a way to grow your fanbase. Naturally, I didn’t have many listeners when I first started out, but in the past month I’ve accumulated over 40,000 more listeners. I don’t really know what’s going on, but obviously I’m doing something right. But it’s definitely fun to build a community, as I think that Tik Tok is mainly an app for building communities and followings. So yeah, Tiktok has helped me and my music in such a large way.
Has most of your exposure come from Tiktok?
Yeah, definitely. My lives just randomly started growing out of nowhere. I used to start a livestream with only like fifteen people, and it would go up to maybe a hundred. Versus now, where I’ll get around 1,000 people at the very beginning of my lives.
You just had your first live performance recently; can you talk about what that experience was like? How would you compare it to your everyday livestreams on Tiktok?
It was definitely very different, and I was not expecting the performance to go the way it did. I do prefer performing live instead of livestreams, because getting live feedback is a lot more real and interactive. Whereas when I perform during my livestreams it can be difficult to interact with my fans, just because I can’t look at my phone screen the entire time to read the comments while also singing and playing the guitar. I do have to get used to cheering and clapping for sure though.
What is next for Mr. Floyd Larry?
I’m dropping another song this Friday (“FEELALONE,” released on March 18th). I have a show coming up, which will be my second live performance, so that’s also cool. I just hope to keep performing and keep growing as an artist.
Stream “Dream Punk” and other music by Mr. Floyd Larry on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Youtube @mrfloydlarry. And join him on Tiktok @mrfloydlarry where he performs all his original work live almost every day at 9pm EST!