» News and Features » LF System interview: "Never in a million years did we expect this to happen"
LF System interview: "Never in a million years did we expect this to happen"
Sean Finnigan, one half of LF System and producer behind this year's track of the summer, 'Afraid To Feel', discusses beating a musical icon to the top of the UK charts, the prolific Scottish music scene and more
Date published: 15th Aug 2022
West Lothian-hailing DJ and producer duo, LF System, made up of longtime friends Sean Finnigan and Connor Larkman, have recently hit the big time, to put it mildly. Issuing what is arguably the anthem of the season, just as the summer was beginning to peak back in May, 'Afraid To Feel' is something of a masterstroke from a seemingly already industry-savvy act.
Chances are you've heard, danced and found yourself humming along to the earworm tune in the shower, with it being broadcast from all reputable radio stations and featured on basically every playlist going. Merging the stylings of contemporary house music with samples cut from a cult-classic disco track, Silk's 'I Can't Stop (Turning You On)', 'Afraid To Feel' shifts and bends, speeding up and slowing down, delivering energy that's hard to ignore no matter where you are. And it's this energy that's taken the single all the way to the top of the UK charts.
Six weeks on from taking the number one away from hugely influential female singer-songwriter, Kate Bush, who now owns the record for 'Longest time for a track (Running Up That Hill) to reach Number One on the UK’s Official Singles Chart', thanks to Stranger Things, and LF System still command first place. Not only that, but they've landed themselves a cushy record deal with Warner Records and secured bookings at almost every major festival event and clubbing destination across Europe.
Of course, it goes without saying that we were intrigued by the pair and their meteoric rise thus far. We yearned to learn more. So, we reached out to Sean Finnigan who kindly obliged us and agreed to sit down for a quick chat.
Covering everything from how the single was made and the Scottish scene from which LF System flourished to what it felt like to beat an enduring icon of music to the top spot of the UK charts - continue reading below to hear what Sean had to say...
It’d be silly and, quite frankly, pretty rude of us to gloss over the fact that you recently took the number one spot on the UK charts, with your slamming summer disco-house anthem, ‘Afraid to Feel’. How does it feel to claim your first number one? Especially given that you knocked Kate Bush, of all people, off of her perch?
"It’s honestly so surreal. We’ve been trying to put it into words recently and it’s too hard. Never in a million years did we expect this to happen so when it did, it was just pure shock. We’re obviously extremely delighted and proud to achieve it and feel so lucky. Knocking Kate Bush off the top spot was also crazy, it’s such a good record. She congratulated us on getting our number one and we’re very thankful for that."
Do you remember whereabouts you both were when you first heard the news?
"We were in London when we found out and immediately went about planning a massive party to celebrate."
We read somewhere that you actually produced ‘Afraid to Feel’ back in 2019. Is that true, and if so why is it only now we’re getting to hear it?
"It is true! I'd made a slower disco version back in 2019 and Conor was like ‘what is that sample?!’. Conor then took it and made a clubbier version of it. We couldn’t decide which cut we liked the most and thought about releasing the two versions. Eventually, we combined the two ideas to make one track and that’s where the tempo changes come in. We stuck it on Soundcloud for free a few months later and it gained a bit of attention there, as well as through DJ’ing it out in the clubs. A couple of years later, Warner Records wanted to sign it, so we got the ball rolling. Now it’s here!"
We saw a Tweet from you guys in which you acknowledged your meteoric glow up, from working full-time jobs just a couple of months ago to quitting to follow careers as producers and DJs and topping the UK charts. How has the whole experience been so far? How have your lives changed?
"We quit our jobs just before 'Afraid To Feel' was released and not because we thought it was going to do so well, we were just ready to make the jump. But since then it’s been so crazy, 100 miles per hour. It’s a very different life from how it was a few months ago and we pinch ourselves every day, grateful that we get to call this a job. It’s been such a good experience. We’ve met so many great people, got to travel the world and had such a good time celebrating it all."
The Scottish scene in recent years has become prolific, producing superstars like Calvin Harris and exciting new talents, from Ewan McVicar to Fraz.ier, Arielle Free and more. What do you think it is about the Scottish scene in particular that helps DJs to break?
"There must be something in the water up here. It’s hard to put a finger on one reason why so many good things are coming out of Scotland. The nightlife and music scene are definitely both significant factors, being exposed to the greatest DJs in some amazing clubs like SubClub and Cabaret Voltaire. Also, the weather is terrible which probably helps when you’re stuck in the house and you’ve got lots of free time to make music."
Over the two or so years you’ve been performing together, you’ve played across Scotland, cutting your teeth in clubs such as the aforementioned FLY CLUB. How vital are nightclubs like these to up-and-coming electronic artists like yourselves?
"Places like FLY CLUB and Cabaret Voltaire were extremely important to us coming up. We used to go every Friday when we turned 18 to see amazing DJs and dreamt of one day playing there. Fast forward a few years and we were fortunate enough to get a chance to do just that."
"There are so many club nights helping out aspiring DJs by giving them a chance to show their stuff and it’s great to see. These clubs are the backbone of the scene, showcasing young talent and helping them to grow to their full potential."
Looking forward to what is guaranteed to be a BIG future for LF System, what gigs have you booked off the back of your chart success? And - bonus question - if you could perform anywhere in the world - festival, night club etc - where would you choose?
"We’ve had a really good summer in Ibiza which we didn’t expect to be having, performing in places like Bora Bora, Amnesia and Eden. If we could perform anywhere, it would have to be SubClub or DC10. Two very important places that played a huge part in shaping us as artists and our sound."
In terms of more new music, what can fans of LF System expect throughout the latter half of 2022?
"You can expect the same LF energy as always along with some other very exciting things! Keep your ears to the ground."
And finally, a hypothetical conundrum for you - You can spin only one record at the end of every live set you play throughout the remainder of the year. Which record would you choose and why? (Please say ‘Running up that hill’, please say ‘Running up that hill’...)
"Souvlaki - Inferno. It’s been a staple for us the full summer."
Find out what all the hype's about for yourself by attending one of LF System's upcoming live shows. Hear the twosome spinning 'Afraid To Feel' as well as releases 'Dancing Cliche' and Bourgie Bourgie' at the following events:
Shangri-La Open Air - Depot in Cardiff - Saturday 20th August 2022
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Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.