Liam Winton, also known as uphorium, is an 18-year-old Viner and musician originally from South East England.
How would you describe your sound?
“I don’t really know the exact genre for it. Most of my music really sort of plays off my emotive state; like, depending [on] how I’m feeling is how I’ll sort of make my music. I sort of mix in a trap-based genre, but not strictly trap, sort of chill trap or something along those lines. I just make whatever comes to my mind; I don’t really second-guess about it. I don’t circle jerk around trying to make it sound like one thing.”
What is Uphorium? Where does the name come from?
“That’s a good question. *laughs* Well, it’s difficult to sort of think of an artist name, some people get ’em quite quick. But I was trying to think of one based around a state—a place of happiness. Like, the feeling of euphoria is one of happiness, and an unworldliness, in a sense, and I think I was trying to go for the place of happiness. So in that way, it’s a bit odd. I’m not quite sure how I came up with it, I was just trying to think of a name and I just thought, ‘Euphoria. That’s probably been done, especially with an ‘E’ in front of it.’ So I wanted to take the ‘E’ off, and then the ‘ium’ part just sort of fell onto the end. So I thought of that, and I just thought, ‘That sounds alright. That’ll hopefully catch on a little bit.’ It just sounds like it should be something or mean something. It doesn’t, but it sounds like it should.”
Are you self-taught? Have you taken music lessons?
“I took guitar lessons for about 5 or 6 years; I started learning when I was thirteen and I stopped taking lessons when I was seventeen because my mum was like, ‘I’m gonna stop paying for them’ and I was earning only 3 pounds at that current job. I left that job, but I was getting really sh—tty money. So I was like, ‘I can’t afford to pay for those, so I’ll just stop learning and teach myself little bits here and there.’ It was hard. But I taught myself piano when my gran was in a hospice in 2014. I played piano quite often, just sit down and mess about and whatever sounded cool, I’d run with. For music production, I started when I was fourteen, because for my music course, I had to learn how to use production software like DAWs and stuff.”
How has music helped you?
“What, as in making music? Well, visual artists draw and stuff and it helps them sort of explain how they feel and relieve stress. I think I do that with my music quite a lot. Like, if I feel happy, I would go out of my way to make a proper happy song, but if I’m feeling sh—tty, which is more often than not, I’ll go straight to my Mac because most of my songs that I’ve made have been made when I feel like sh—t. I’ll sit down and just get my feelings out of my chest and onto Logic. It helps, it’s helpful to have a release because I know a lot of people who turn straight to alcohol and drugs.”
Do you believe in an importance or kind of correlation between visual art and music?
“Yes, it’s important to have. Like, if you’re gonna have a video to go with your music, it should be something that fits the tone and it should sort of bring to life what you’re trying to do in the music. If it’s a song without vocals, and you’re gonna make a video for it, it has to sort of push out what the song is feeling like. If it’s a happy song, you’re gonna want happy visuals to explain or push forward the key themes within the song. And so a lot of my songs sound a bit detuned and lo-fi in a way, some of them do anyway, and I think if you’re gonna make visuals for those, it would have to be a certain type of visual. Like, you know, the ones I’m on about. Like the lo-fi type visual sh—t. Like VHS clips—just general sh—t filmed on a VHS camera would fit.”
You already had viewers before the music thing. Did they start viewing your Soundcloud as well?
“I started vining in November time 2014, so I started making music first. But then my friend Callum put me onto the Vine app, he was like, ‘Aw dude you gotta download Vine. There are so many funny people on there.’ And I was like, ‘Alright.’ So I got it and I thought, you know, I might as well start making these sh—ts. So I started making them in mid-November and they were getting no views. Some of them got 10 likes and I was like, ‘F—ck yeah, ten likes!’ I texted Callum like, ‘Dude! I got ten likes on my Vine! It’s crazy!’ I was freaking out.
In March or late February 2015 I met these two guys called Rob and Branden, and Rob had 2,000 followers and Branden had just about a thousand. We became good friends and they starting reposting me and Callum’s vines. Before we knew it, we were getting over a thousand followers. I went from 500 followers to a thousand in the space of two weeks and I was like, ‘What the f—ck is this? Is it gonna start going up and up from there?’ I think every two weeks I was gaining a thousand followers. That was the high point for it. It was just going up consistently. It died down a little bit, then Callum got one Vine that went really big. It got, like, just shy of a million loops I think. And it had me in it, so I was gaining followers off that as well. Me and Callum started getting loads more followers and then in August time that blew the f—ck up. And at this point, I’d already had a few that had gotten 800,000 loops and 20k likes, and then I had the Netflix and Chill Vine. Which just—I remember going to sleep, and it was dormant, no one was liking it. I woke up and I had 20,000 notifications on Vine and I began proper freaking out. Overnight, I’d gone up 1,500 followers; I’d hit 9.5k. I called up Callum and I was like, ‘Dude, look at vine. What is going on?’ So I looked at the comedy page, and I was the second post down and it was going up a hundred loops every two seconds. So I was getting a LOT of followers.
But the hardest part was getting people from Vine onto the music. That’s really difficult. ’Cause a lot of people see just, ‘Oh, okay. He posted a new song.’ And they just go, ‘Oh, yeah. Okay,’ and they sort of skip past it. But there are some people who will go on and look at it. The best success I’ve had for a song on Vine was ‘Warm Milk’.”
That’s my favorite one.
“Thank you! I remember ‘tippy canoe’—or Tyler, the guy who posted that original Vine [music sample]. I saw the Vine, I messaged him and I was like ‘Dude, that f—cking riff is so good. Can I please use it for a song?’ And he said, ‘Yep, do it! It would sound sick. So I started making it, and I posted a few previews of it, and before I knew it, everyone was getting really hyped about it and they were like, ‘When are you dropping this? Release it!’ So I ended up releasing it and it just it got more plays—some of the songs that I had on my soundcloud had been up for a month. They had a couple thousand plays. In four or five days, it exceeded those. I never put this many people onto my music before and so many people were liking it and watching it. It was mad. But it’s not easy to get people from one app where you’re known to another.”
Well, right. ’Cause you gotta get them from laughing to being in a state of concentration, listening to your art, which are two opposite moods.
“Right. Unless you’re like Bo Burnham. If you’re Bo Burnham, then it’s easy.”
Who did your album artwork for your first EP?
“Someone called Carter Howe. It was good. That album did quite well. The art worked for it, I think. It fit what I kind of wanted the album to be renowned for, a hash of everything. The album art was f—cking good, you did a great job. And we sold f—cking shirts; they sold out. They sold out within five hours.”
Are there any challenges you’ve noticed or faced as you’ve been involved with your music?
“One of the things I face is specific to where I live. ’Cause the thing with posting music and even Vines is you have to take in account what time it is in other places in the world. ’Cause England’s a small ass country. We got a small ass time zone. Even France is what, an hour ahead of us, maybe an hour behind. And America’s got so many time zones. Like, there’s one part that’s six hours behind, and one that’s seven, and one that’s eight. So whenever I post something, I always take the latest one into account. Like, I think, ‘If I’m posting this at 10 o’clock, it’s gonna be two o’clock in the afternoon.’ And if I’m gonna post it then, I have to think what day I’m posting on, is it a school day? If it’s a school day, people are gonna be in school, so they’re not gonna see this sh—t. So I’ll wait. I used to post my Vines at half past 12 every night, just to make sure I’d catch the American audience, ’cause it’s difficult. You just have to take all of this into account: time zones and what people are gonna be doing. Is it a holiday? Is it Christmas? There’s lots to take into account before you post. I know that’s a really sh—t thing to say—figuring out when to post on an app. But, I haven’t really faced any problems, like, other people haven’t really caused me problems on social media.”
So you do plan on playing live shows at some point?
“F—ck yeah; I wanna do that sh—t. I wanna just turn up and have a good time.”
Would you be playing guitar or would it be a DJ set?
“DJ set. I might throw some guitar in there just because I can, but I’d like to just set up all my gear and play through some stuff live and just live-mix it.; that really interests me. I think it would be really fun. I mean, in my area at the moment, there’s, like, no people who would come to see a live show besides my friends. But if I moved near London, there’d be more people in the area. If it’s at a local venue, people might think, ‘Oh, well I haven’t heard this dude before, let’s go along and see if he’s any good.’ And, I don’t know—if I ever lived in America, I’d definitely want to start playing live shows ’cause I think some people might turn up. Hopefully in the future, that’s something I could—that’s a little personal goal of mine, is to play a live show.”
Do you have anything else to say to the readers of Lucid?
“I hope you’re having a really good day, drink some milk, or juice. Stay healthy. Health is important. Stay healthy, drink milk, and get money; that’s the dream.”
Liam’s EPs, The Koi Tapes and LAVENDER 0096, can be found on his Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
Find Liam Online:
Vine: just winton
None of the photos included in this article belong to Lucid Magazine.