IT sounds like the plot of an implausible film: to find yourself working in a petrol station, and then two months later, at the summit of the UK charts as an in-demand DJ with dozens of gigs booked across Europe.

But that’s exactly what happened to Sean Finnigan, a 28-year-old Scottish music producer who saw his life change dramatically over a few weeks during the summer of 2022. He makes up one half of DJ duo LF System – alongside Conor Larkman – who saw their single Afraid To Feel rocket to number one on the UK charts.

Yet the two are keen to stress that although it may have looked like an overnight success story, they have been tirelessly perfecting their craft over the past decade, while working in retail and as a roofer respectively.

“It was quite a slow start,” Sean explains. “We had the odd gig, but maybe one a month. So it was a very drastic change, because we were still working full-time right up until the point of Afraid To Feel coming out.”

Both hail from West Lothian: Sean from the small village of Winchburgh, while Conor comes from Fauldhouse, near Shotts. They met while clubbing with friends in The Arches in Glasgow and began DJing together at the same house parties. Sean studied sound production at college but they are both essentially self-taught, honing their skills playing at club nights in Edinburgh. Fast forward to 2022 and the duo had released a few tracks under the moniker of LF System (an amalgamation of both their surnames), when things were “starting to get a bit of momentum”.

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“Our songs were doing decently,” Sean explains, “and then we brought out Afraid To Feel. It entered the charts at number 69 and the week after it went to number 13. And then it went to four, three, two and then number one within four consecutive weeks.

"It was literally like zero to a hundred after that. The amount of gig offers was through the roof – we’d never experienced anything like that before. We went from playing one gig a month to doing 25 a month.”

If you aren’t familiar, Afraid To Feel is a soulful rework of Silk's 1979 song I Can't Stop (Turning You On) that quickly became a popular earworm, helping Sean and Conor embark on dozens of tour dates across the world. But acknowledging the “tiring” nature of being on the road so much, they have taken time out in 2024 to focus on writing new material, “catch their breath” and get back to making music.

That’s not to say they have stopped performing live, though. LF System are set to headline Glasgow’s Riverside Festival on May 25, a riotous celebration of dance music held at the Riverside Museum in Partick.

“It’s our first time playing Riverside Festival and I can't wait,” enthuses Sean. “I'm really excited that it's based in Glasgow, because Glasgow is probably one of my favourite places to play. The home crowd are always amazing.”

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This affinity for their home country has meant that Sean and Conor still have incredibly close ties to Scotland, with Conor recently eschewing the bright lights of the USA to buy a home in Glasgow. They are close friends with fellow West Lothian native Lewis Capaldi (above), who often comes to watch them play live. Could we hear a collaboration between the two in the future?

“Hopefully,” they laugh.

Another ambition is to play SubClub, Glasgow’s famous underground nightclub that’s often voted one of the best in the world. Despite having played some bucket-list venues across the globe, they have yet to tick it off.

Their excitement to release new music this year is palpable, with a revamped live show also in the works to give their fans the best experience possible. But Sean and Conor are keen to not look too far ahead in the future, preferring to enjoy their unconventional career as it unfolds before them.

“We are basically living the dream,” says Sean. “As long as we're making music that we are proud of, and that people enjoy, that's good enough for us."

“I just want to keep doing this for as long as I can,” explains Conor. “We’ve been so fortunate to be able to do this in the first place, the fact we can call it work. It’s the best job in the world.”