Your favourite musicians’ favourite musician.
Lachlan Mitchell emerged in Y2K from culture-rich, music-art bohemian West End, Brisbane as the leading member of Kafka, an ‘exceptional funk group, delivering an original style of soul, Afro Cuban jazz and heavy funk’ [Courier Mail].
Self-taught, prodigious and naively fearless, Kafka – led by Mitchell’s ‘Mr. Laneous’ a self-preservation persona of his own invention - hit the Australian festival circuit, where he developed a reputation in Queensland as a wild festival frontman.
At Kafka’s moment, Australian music wasn’t ready for an artist whose standout influence was D’Angelo’s Voodoo, but word of their talent soon reached UK’s perennial tastemaker Gilles Peterson [BBC Radio 1] who featured the band on his compilation, Brownswood Bubblers Four. A world-class guitarist, vocalist, composer, visual artist and – significantly - muse, Mitchell’s unique ability to shine, create and inspire across genres was his obvious forte even then. Years later, Peterson would champion other Australian artists inspired by Mitchell: Hiatus Kaiyote and Jordan Rakei.
Away from the raucous performances of Kafka, Lachlan’s second group The Family Yah crystalised within a tiny teahouse, spring boarding him to a national audience who were hungry for more. Self-proclaimed mutant soul/croon punk genre-benders, and Unearthed by triple j, the band dropped LP, St. Ill Regal, ‘a spiritual successor to Steve Wonder’s Songs In The Key of Life’ [Beat], in 2009.
A national movement followed and the band became one of the most prolific acts in Australia with second LP, Found Things painting the musical landscape with everything from soul, indie pop, art rock, afro punk and hip-hop, held down by Laneous’ trademark falsetto. Laneous & The Family Yah was “one of the most dangerous acts in the country.” [SoulShine].
Inspired, the band looked at travel to Berlin and New York, signed a distribution deal with a celebrated Australian label, released Scissors – the first of a 3-EP set – and curated Pink Dove, an experimental event they’d eventually produce for Sydney’s Vivid. An embryonic Hiatus Kaiyote emailed a demo to Laneous, looking for support.
Then the wheels fell off.
Their distribution company folded, with planned EP’s lost in the echo. Key band members moved interstate. Lachlan was sought to provide features for Thundamentals, and his friendship with Si Gould (who had signed Hiatus on Laneous’ tip) saw the former contribute songs to Wondercore mixtapes and cover art to Hiatus’ albums Tawk Tomahawk and Choose Your Weapon. But while Hiatus’ Nai Palm told media Laneous was “a genius” he often credited music and drawings to pseudonyms.
In 2016, Mitchel relocated to Melbourne, a move that was a long time coming, and leapt to action when offered a stage at the pending Strawberry Fields festival. Excited to create new music with Laneous, Paul Bender and Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote, Donny Stewart (vibraphone and flugehorn) and Hudson Whitlock (drums) – all revered and respected musicians – came on board swiftly as collaborators for the event.
Deadline looming, and with a room full of genius on their side, they infused controlled chaos with exotica and soul to produce a set which overflowed naturally into a record, with Paul Bender taking the reigns as the album’s producer.
The result, a delicate and delicious journey through a near two-decade career is Mitchell’s long awaited solo debut: Monstera Deliciosa: a sublime genre work peerless in Australia.
Now, although unencumbered by his early career carnival, Lachlan nonetheless honours a reputation earned with his dearest friends.
His magnum opus bears the name that’s backed him from day one: