Lazy Camper subverted my expectations. When I heard Alex Le’s stage name, I figured I would be interviewing another singer-songwriter guy with a guitar and a pocket of love songs. What I instead found while browsing his bandcamp was a blend of trip-hop and chillwave, intermixed with samples and handmade piano and guitar grooves. Speaking candidly, I explained how his hippie-esque name and my past experiences made me expect the typical guitar-guy set up. “They’re some of the worst,” he explained, laughing. “Anyone can do that. Want me to play ‘Wonderwall?’”
For Le, music has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. However, he didn’t begin playing trip-hop as Lazy Camper until he came to UCR. His musical tastes before UCR was 2009 Indie, “before it died,” and other, “soft sad music” (e.g., The National, Washed Out). Teaming up with some metal fans, he eventually settled on playing surf-punk throughout high school. This synthesis of genres and experimentalism has been a part of Le’s musical upbringing, as he never had a teacher for guitar or piano, explaining that “I’m glad I never had a teacher, it would be too structured for me.”
Eventually the time came for Le to fly solo, partly because of changing tastes and partly because, in his words, “some people take jamming way too seriously.” Inspired by Beach House (his self-proclaimed greatest influence) and armed with the name “Lazy Camper” — which he found using a “chillwave name generator,” Le started making the music he plays to this day.
Though a solo musician, Le is still a focal point for music at UCR. He hosts the “Music Make-out” at his house every quarter, teaming up with other UCR artists. He was driven to do this, he explained, because of the lack of a music scene at UCR. While he admits that Riverside itself has a music scene, he believes it’s more of the same alt-rock and indie derivative bands.
As for future plans, Le hopes to get enough music recorded to eventually release an LP. After which comes the inevitable marketing and “putting myself out there” that comes with pursuing music. While he admits that he would “love to go on tour, play shows,” Le has other plans for his career. Pursuing an English major and a minor in education, Le plans to teach high school. He does plan to keep playing music even after he starts teaching without ever making a career out of it.
“Music is my passion, but I keep it my hobby,” Le said.
More of Le’s music can be found online at soundcloud.com/lazycamper; he is also playing a Nooner at the Bell Tower on April 27.