Lando Chill Takes Listeners Through A Journey of Struggle and Triumph with “The Common Denominator is Us” BC Exclusive: Interview With Lando Chill About "The Common Denominator is Us"
LOS ANGELES, CA- Lance Washington– better known as Lando Chill– first gained recognition with his debut album, For Mark, Your Son in 2016. Raised in Chicago, moving to Arizona, and now settling in Los Angeles, Lando Chill’s upbringing and experiences have heavily influenced his artistic style, which features a unique blend of poetic lyricism, soulful melodies, and jazz-infused beats.
Throughout their career, Lando Chill has explored themes of identity, race, mental health, and social justice, offering a raw and honest portrayal of personal struggles and societal issues. Lando Chill’s commitment to social activism isn’t just present within his music but also in his community involvement. Using his platform to raise awareness and advocate for causes close to his heart, Lando Chill has become a distinctive voice in the contemporary hip-hop landscape with his unique blend of introspection, social commentary, and innovative musicality.
This June, Lando Chill is returning with full force with a new project, The Common Denominator is Us, which takes listeners on a journey through the personal experiences and reflections that Lando Chill underwent as he moved to Los Angeles. Even though the album is a reflection of their individual memoirs, the themes of isolation, loyalty, and resilience can be understood by everyone, which is why ‘the common denominator is us.’
I had the privilege to sit down with Lando Chill in an exclusive interview, where he not only speaks about The Common Denominator is Us, but also talks more broadly about his goals of social change in the music industry.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Can you talk a little bit about The Common Denominator is Us? What does the project mean to you, and what was the process like of creating the album?
The Common Denominator is Us is this kind of phrase that was coined when conceiving the idea after the album was created. So, like, what was the story and ethos of this album? And with who I was back then and how I was when I was creating this music, I think a lot of what I was speaking about and projecting through the art all filed back or came back into one thing, and the theme was me. I was either the positive or negative in a lot of the situations I talked about in my music… [for example] when it came to my relationship or when it came to my lack of ability to communicate or be honest to myself or other people.
Maybe even the pride and joy when it came to identity, when it comes to blackness or queerness, the common denominator was me and or us because the art right is supposed to represent a through line that’s a link to the world that all of us speak.
… The art was or the music was created back in 2018 or 2019, but it was my introduction to LA, my introduction to a lot of themes I explored in later projects, and really an early journal of my time on the West.
What type of message do you want to send to the world? And how did you want to present yourself as an artist through this album?
I think the intention behind it was just to create, I don’t, I don’t think with this album, there was a plan going forward. There was just the act of creation and the act of emoting, and just keeping whatever you have inside and putting it out in a productive way to be able to move through it or to be able to reflect. And I think that’s the same with any art that any artist creates, right?
But, I think I wanted people to know that not only could I rock over different sounds and over different producers because this is one of the first projects recently, aside from “If I’m Being Honest”, that was not produced by my old producer… and so I think that I wanted to prove that I could rock over anything.
I don’t believe that music is a one-size-fits-all to a certain extent. That’s why each song might represent something for something different for someone, and they might gravitate toward one thing, but I can guarantee that there’s something in my music that they’ll be able to relate to. If it’s not the struggle, then it’s the triumph. You know, if it’s not the macro, you know, the bigger picture and it’s micro, then it’s like that one feeling or the one phrase or the one way I said something, I’ll get you. and I just want you to be able to use it to guide yourself whether that’s like in the immediate, right? Or in the long term. I guess that’s what I want people to be able to use my art or how they, I would like them to use my art, whether it’s, you know, in the now or in the later.
I really like how you mentioned how different people might vibe with different parts of your music, and I think that shows since your music combines a lot of different elements of like funk, folk reggae, and spoken word. So can you talk a little bit about your biggest influences during your album-making process?
I think I grew up with a lot of influences, different things that my mom played… And so, you know, those amalgamations of culture, of sound, of energy kind of come together to create not only like my taste but like the unconscious things that are created through the medium of music, right?
So I don’t know if there’s like an intention to be different, but the intention is to be true to oneself and to move with the authentic voice. But what you’re hearing is something new. You know what you’re hearing is some, like some dope shit. It’s some new shit. It’s not just like some like some boom bap, some like whatever. No, like not saying it’s a new genre, but it’s a new voice and a new way of listening and being in music, right? You can still fuck with it and love it and learn something from it.
What do you feel is the biggest struggle that you’ve faced in terms of making your music and also representing yourself as an independent artist?
I think there was this perception that I needed to like milk in order for fans to come, and there was this perception I needed to uphold in order for fans to stay. I was looking at them as fans, and to be honest, it was just like being my authentic self. And so, putting on a mask and trying to like play the game was never and is never correct, but also, it was never my vibe. So when I was younger, yeah, the perception of self was the one thing you couldn’t control but tried to.
I think the thing I struggle with now is just playing the game and not the game of, you know, Instagram or TikTok or Twitter. I don’t, if I do it, I do it. If, if I don’t, I don’t fuck it, you know, I’m not, not trying to blow up off, off one song, but I think it’s playing the game of how distribution works now, how releases may work depending on what day and what streaming site. What expectations are and how they have changed when it comes to PR and when it comes to streaming companies.
And so the fact that there are varying levels of autonomy, power even within queer folk, men, women within like writing, publishing production, artistry costume, like there are things that need to change and, and that’s, that’s what’s hard to deal with is that shit’s going slow as hell. And music has been built like a sharecropping society, so people making money off the backs of others, it’s like a cascade a trickling down effect.
And when that changes, I think a lot more people and a lot more different voices will have the platform, the stage, and the equity to change the industry.
I noticed that The Common Denominator is Us has a lot more features than your past music, can you talk about the collaboration process?
For “Heart Song” was created kind of by chance, really, especially with Forrest. I was just in the studio when Forrest (Forrest Mortifee) was finishing up work with Teddy, and we were able to create the chorus to “Ride Fly Die.” And then we incepted “Heart Song,” and that verse that Forrest penned is kind of like a freestyle. And I was like, God damn, let me, I got to rewrite my shit, let me make sure it’s like Kosher. And so that was, like, really by chance.
In fact, Tony (Fat Tony), I wanted to do a chopped and screw joint because I’ve been listening to a lot of Houston shit and one of the most notable and famous folks out of Houston and out of Texas.
And that was a true blessing. It was cool. It was cool to have him grace the joy and have him go first, you know, and no, no, it’s just really blessed to have those different voices.
And so, looking ahead like, what do you imagine your like, what do you envision for your future in the industry? And do you have any specific goals or dreams that you hope to achieve with your music?
But in this industry, I would, I’d wanna be like a revolutionary. I’m not like, you know, no, Kendrick, no Drake, I’m not, that’s not where I wanna be. Because that’s not where they’ll let me be anyway.
Because, you know, I might say some things, you know, and do some things that might be against big business, that might be against fascism, that might be against, you know, the neo, neoliberal corporations and the right-wing corporations that fund like a lot of these festivals, you know, a lot of the hedge funds that you know, back a lot of these labels, but also back private prisons.
But in the music industry, I would want to be a revolutionary. Hopefully, it will get us some form of a union. Try to move the needle when it comes to streaming and how much we’re paid from that. And hopefully, create a platform for other musicians and artists to be able to keep art in school. I think that’s another really big thing is to hopefully music inspired people to be musicians throughout, you know.
And lastly, what can fans and listeners expect from you in the future? And do you already have plans for future projects or collaborations that you wanna share?
Yeah, I got some crazy songs coming out with some childhood heroes. Shout out to The Cool Kids. Shoutout to Smiley. Yeah, I have a bunch of albums done. I got some shit cooking. I got some stuff with Lasso done. Shout out to Big Tim, Tim Vickers, AKA Big Bank. I got some stuff with him. Yeah, I’m gonna be teaching some more poetry classes.
Yeah, I’m performing at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on July 15th. So come out to that. Yeah, gonna be accepting a release show with the artists who have been creating the art for The Common Denominator is Us.
They can look forward to a lot of new music, a lot of dope shit. Yeah, just new sounds, new sounds. You won’t, you won’t get the same project twice, and you never have, but I can promise you, right now, you never will. So that’s it.
Through my interview with Lando Chill, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of not only what The Common Denominator is Us means to them but also how Lando Chill wants to use their platform as a catalyst for social change.
The album itself is a joy to listen to, and each song brings a different emotion to the album. I personally really enjoyed “Heart Song,” an RnB ballad featuring Forrest Mortifee. The song perfectly closes the album, conveying feelings of triumph with lyrics that encourages listeners to embrace new beginnings.
With a growing discography and a reputation for delivering thought-provoking and emotionally charged music, Lando Chill continues to evolve as an artist, captivating audiences with his unique blend of introspection, social commentary, and innovative musicality. The Common Denominator is Us is a perfect addition to his discography, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for them.
The Common Denominator is Us is out now!. It was produced and engineered by Teddy Roxpin (who was on every song), with additional help from Jake Bowman, Wesley Singerman, and Connor McElwain. Featured artists include Forrest Mortifee (on “Heart Song” & “Ride Fly Die”) and Fat Tony (on “Ride Fly Die”). Artwork for each single was made in collaboration by Carey Coleman & Federico “Roho” Yniguez. Photos were taken by Marika Belamarich, Ren Adkins, Rian Synnth, Sachi Sato and used with credit.