Image via Lionmilk/Instagram
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Kevin Crandall will miss Rudy Gobert in a Utah Jazz jersey.
For almost nine months, LA-based label Leaving Records has played host to the Listen to Music Outside in the Daylight Under a Tree event series. The grassroots concert takes place the first Saturday of each month at Montecillo de Leo Politi in Elysian Park, and has been gracing the surrounding nature with everything from violin ballads to the muses of poets and rappers. Pianist and Leaving Records artist Lionmilk has been a staple at the park since the event’s inception, regularly performing and soaking in the sun with like-minded creatives and friends.
An LA native, Lionmilk (born Moki Kawaguchi) has always been about community. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he dropped off homemade cassette tapes to friends and family he felt might be struggling with anxiety or depression. The tapes, aptly named I Hope You Are Well, were a hit, leading to a formal release of the album on streaming platforms in early 2021. For his most recent album, Intergalactic Space Terminal 222, Lionmilk has approached the release with a similar DIY flair and passion for others. He currently has cassettes with homemade, multi-media collage Jcards up on his Bandcamp, and the music itself has a propensity for encouragement and peace. The album begins with a space broadcast exclaiming that “this is Lionmilk speaking, and you are tuning into the Intergalactic Warp Terminal 222” before dissolving into soft bird chirps and jazz piano to put the mind at ease. Further on, tracks like “treat yourself like a friend” and “i’ll love you, forever” ease the hearts of those who have tuned into the otherworldly transmission, depositing self-care affirmations and love into the cosmos.
Warping through time signatures and space, Lionmilk has fully embraced the healing powers of music that have guided his life since his studies of classical piano as a child. Intergalactic Space Terminal 222 jumps through the many minds of Moki Kawaguchi while enveloping listeners in the same levels of serenity and calm as a weighted blanket. Piano rhythms steady the heartbeat while the occasional voice of Moki ensures that you are loved and valued. Stars twinkle amongst static as Lionmilk presents a level of soul restoration that rivals Mother Nature herself. Intergalactic Space Terminal 222 is affirmation-filled and soft—“music to feel less whack to” as he puts it.
A healing musician with a disarming demeanor, talking to Lionmilk leaves you with the same comfort and warm optimism that his compositions instill. The week of the official release of Intergalactic Space Terminal 222, the LA musician and I sat down and discussed his star-dusted new album, DIY habits, and the spiritual power music can possess.
(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)