LSB: Interview & Exclusive Mix
One of the most revered producers in the scene right now, LSB has become a name synonymous with smooth production and a sublime liquid vibe. Fresh from a stellar 2014 with huge releases such as Leave, XLRS and If You’re Here, 2015 is set to be even bigger for the talented producer, with an EP due on Soul:R in April.
This week saw the release of ‘The View’ on Soul:R, with DRS and Tyler Daley, taken from DRS’ upcoming album Mid Mic Crisis. A heart-wrenching production showcasing LSB’s signature style, it’s sure to be one of the standout tracks of the year. We took the opportunity to catch up with the man himself to chat about the release and his upcoming EP, plus we scored an exclusive mix!
Big up Luke! The View with DRS and Tyler Daley came out this week on Soul:R… Been waiting for this one for a while! Incredible track! What came first – the vocals or the track?
The track. I always liked the simplicity but knew it needed a vocal. My misses even tried one! Marcus had a bunch of my demos, including Walking Blues and Leave, and had forwarded them to Del. I didn’t even know he’d sent this one (it was called Wild is Love at the time) I’d half-forgotten about it, so it was a great surprise. The two vocals absolutely make the tune, I’m happy to be piggybacking on them to be honest! There is another track we’ve done called ‘New Day’ which didn’t make the cut, but I think will see the light of day sometime!
Hope so! The View is incredibly emotive, what was the inspiration behind it?
Thanks. I can’t speak for Tyler and Del’s inspiration, but I do know it means a lot to us individually. For me the inspiration is the chords. I love D-Flat Minor, it’s the Kate Bush key and I find it really moody, but in a nice way. It’s really difficult to write D&B in that key as the lowest bass notes don’t register very well. So I tried to have the bass line with 2 different roots to avoid this. So it switches b lines between Del and Tylers bit.
You’ve worked with DRS before on Sunsets with Tokyo Prose, is that when you decided you had to work together again?
The View was done well before sunsets actually. It’s been around for a good while. The Sunsets thing was for Sam, he sorted out the vocal for it. It fits so nicely. Me, Del and Tyler will be working together again for sure.
We’re all patiently waiting for Mid Mic Crisis to drop… What’s your first impression of the album?
It’s a mix of extremely good music and dance floor smashers. I think it’s a great step forward. There’s some great producers and it covers a lot of bases very well. I’ve played loads of different tacks from it in my sets and they always go down a treat. There’s also a live show which is sick!!!! I expect it will be one of the big records in D&B for 2015.
You’ve got your first EP coming up on Soul:R, what can you tell us about the release?
It’s Fourfit EP 03. I’m very honoured and chuffed to be doing an EP on Soul:R. I’m also incredibly nervous everyone will think it’s shit. It’s 3 solo tracks. Walking Blues has been around for a while. The other 3 tracks I hope cover a spectrum of D&B. Snap Funk is a 90’s style Neuro thing which has been going down well. There’s a track called Mist of You which is a simple musical thing. Then a collab with Marcus which is kinda more on a DAT Music vibe I suppose.
Have you got a release date planned?
It’s April. Not sure the exact date just yet.
You mentioned you’ve got a collab with Marcus Intalex on the EP – Can’t WAIT to hear that! How did the link with Marcus come about and what kinda vibe can we expect on the track?
The link came about on the golf course. Golf tends to be pretty demoralising. So once Marcus was tired and worn down I convinced him to sign some of my music. It’s probably more Marcus vibes than LSB. I started something that reminded me of him and we just fired it back and forth for a while. Then we got in the studio to finish it off. It started with a beat I run through a moog filter so it’s got a unique sound I think.
Your last outing on Soul:R was with ‘Leave’, easily one of the standout tracks of 2014. Hybrid Minds named it as their tune of the year in an interview with UKF. Did you expect to get such a reaction to the tune?
Well, I liked it, which is not always the case with my music. It’s really simple, took a few hours to make (unlike the months I usually spend) and I heard it played out a few times before the release and it got a good reaction. However, I was very surprised at the likes of Lenzman, Hybrid Minds and Friction naming it among their tunes of the year!
Well deserved! You’re renowned for your ability to switch from soulful, atmospheric vibes, into straight up filthy, sinister rollers – who were some of your influences when you were carving your own sound?
In terms of D&B it’s the likes of Calibre, Marcus, Influx UK, and High Contrast. I see the years 2001-2005 as the golden age of liquid D&B and that period left the biggest impression on me. Although I think I’m more inspired by the music I listen to aside from D&B, which is pretty varied, but bands at the moment are The National, Wild Beasts, The Drums. I get lost in a world of Spotify radio stations and see where it takes me. I do like to write tunes I’d like to hear when I’m out, so I try and have a bit of roll to the drums and grunt in the bass.
Do you still get fan-boy moments when you get to work with people you’ve looked up to for years?
Yeah, I’m not a great collaborator really, partially because I have impostor syndrome I think. Like, why the fuck would you want to work with me? What can I bring to the table?
A helluva lot if you ask me… Your track ‘Loop of Love’ appears on the Spearhead Records ‘TEN’ compilation. That intro… incredible. I’m constantly impressed with the vibe you’re able to set throughout your tracks. What’s the story behind this one?
This one started off as a cut up reverbed vocal which set a tone. I start a lot of my music just by creating an ambience which will wash over the entire track. Then I start to add progressions and samples on top of that. This one I played with a simple 5th power chord. It’s quite common in a lot of mid 90’s rock and A.I used it very effectively on Uprising and Desperado. Then it’s just a simple bass line thing around that progression.
You’ve prepared a mix for us… tell us about the mix, any exclusives?
It’s just a brief insight into the kind of stuff I’m playing at the moment. There are a few exclusives. A couple on tunes from my EP. Some new Zero T and another piece from the DRS album.
Loving it! Do you plan your sets in advance or like to get a feel of the vibe in the crowd before you decide what to play?
It’s been a long time since I did any planning in my sets, in the days of vinyl I used to work out the key of my vinyl and go from there. With CDJs and Rekord Box and all that it’s cost me my competitive advantage, anyone can mix in key!! Now it’s all about vibe. When I’m out I still like to hear tunes I’ve never heard before, so I do like to keep my selection fresh. It’s changed in the last 5 years. The dubplate culture has moved on a bit but I still buzz off new music so I will try out a load of new stuff if I like it.
I’ve always been a huge fan of your sets, do you see yourself as a producer or DJ first?
I DJ’d before I made tunes, and I love the buzz of playing my favourite tunes to a bunch of like-minded people. I played in clubs long before I made tunes. That said, what I’ve always wanted to do was to actually make music, and the excitement you get from creating music is like nothing else. It’s a weird experience to play your own tunes out. Sometimes it feels amazing, but most of the time you clock the one dude who is on their phone when it drops and instantly assume the tune is shit. With ‘The View’ I’ve been playing it since the beginning of last year and it’s a slow burner. You never saw people going mental, but if anyone came up to me after the set, it was always about that tune. So I think it was quiet appreciation. So maybe I shouldn’t expect people to be going nuts, I don’t suppose I make tunes like that!
It’s music for the soul, not for moshing 😉 Your remix of London Elektricity’s Vapour Trails also appeared on Hospital’s 2015 compilation – seems you’ve been a busy man! Do you spend quite a lot of time in the studio?
I went part time at work about a year ago so I work Mon-Wed then spend Thu-Fri in the studio (plus weekends sometimes). I used to spend every spare moment in the studio, now I try and be a bit more efficient. If it isn’t happening I leave, or do some sampling or studio housekeeping, etc. I plan to go hell for leather in the next few months as I have so many half finished ideas and projects that need some love and care.
What’s your studio set up like?
Well I have a little customer studio in my garden, it was built last year and it’s a nice space. It’s not high-tech, it’s just well soundproofed and sounds decent. I’ve run out of money for the finishing touches but it’s comfortable and inspiring. My set up is quite simple but it’s developing. I run a PC and Live 9. Have a Moog Slim Phatty and Emu Ultra, which I mainly resample into the filter. A Nord Lead, which is just a glorified midi controller. I also have an ex-broadcast mixing desk. I’m trying to get an analogue signal path that’s pretty unique. So I’m looking at some old hardware at the moment. My plug-in list is pretty outdated. If someone tells me “everyone is using x” that’s usually a good reason for me to ignore it. It’s more important to know your tools. I don’t really love overly digital and clinical music. New Daws/plug ins and super produced sample packs seem to be pushing for really clean & loud sounds, and I think it lacks something that I love, or that draws me to the music.
What’s on the cards for the rest of the year?
After the Soul:R EP there will be a couple of remixes and I’ve done a couple of collabs with BCee and Etherwood for their albums. Then i’ll be working out a release for Spearhead for the summer. After that, who knows! Lots of DJing hopefully.
Artists/ tracks that have blown you away recently?
Anile – To Live Without is my favourite thing of late. The Chroma remix of Wooga on CIA is sick. System and Skeptical are running tings for Exit. There is a new Intalex EP on Soul:R which I’ve also been hammering. Ohhh and Halogenix EP on Headz is FIRE!
Big up, Sir!
The View is out now on Soul:R. Get it here.