LTJ Bukem: Please Don’t Call Me A Legend!

LTJ Bukem: Please Don’t Call Me A Legend!

bukem 2In preparation for his forthcoming show at The Forum with Red Snapper and Hidden Orchestra, we present to you a cheeky interview with a bona fide D&B don: Mr LTJ Bukem.

We’d introduce him as a legend, but he’d rather we didn’t…

“There’s a lot of written stuff about me going up with the term ‘legendary status’ at the moment,” he agrees. “But I always associate that term with dead people! I’m definitely not dead! It’s very humbling to be given that type of accolade but there are much, much bigger legends.”

“Definitely not dead” being the key phrase: in fact Bukem’s busier than ever right now. Having resurrected his imprint Good Looking with a whole host of back-cat beats going up on digital stores since spring, he’s now ready to ignite an onslaught of releases. And we mean onslaught: he’s about to release an album every month!

It starts off with Bukem In Session, a mix that comes with two MC options – Stamina or Deeizm – plus an instrumental mix and all the goods in unmixed, set-ready form. It’s out June 24 and heralds a very exciting new phase for his imprint.

Bukem“It’s great to have fun with the digital format and give fans more for their money,” he explains. “We’re planning to do an album every month. It starts with Bukem In Session this month. Then in July there’s Collectivism with different artists collaborating with each other. In August we’ve got a Makoto producer album coming out as part of the Producer Series we started a few years ago. In September we’ve got a new series called Resistance with a track from each country from different artists from around the world. We’re also working on a jazz-influenced drum & bass concept named Jazzin. Each month as well as the album there’ll be a variety of digital and physical releases, including vinyl only releases.”

Wow… You might want to read that list a few times over and keep your eyes on the Good Looking store just to make sure you’ve soaked it all up. Good Looking is back with a serious bang. And Bukem couldn’t be happier; he might get sent more hours of new music than there are in the day but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“New tracks come through my AIM every second,” he laughs. “More than enough to listen to! I can’t keep up; I’m always playing catch up. But whether it’s back in the day or now, I choose tracks I want to play or release by simply asking myself this: do I like it? If I like something, I’ll play it. I know what I like and those tracks will always stand out to me. Is it harder to make these selections in the digital age? Yes, but it’s also beautiful; it’s amazing to have so much choice and to have so much material for the label. Back in the 90s artists were just coming from the UK, now I get tracks from every single country. We’re so lucky to have that choice.”

Enduring the influx of newness with the vim of a DJ half his age, Bukem’s clearly inspired by the current state of D&B. Need proof (really?) then catch him on June 29 at The Forum, London alongside Red Snapper and Hidden Orchestra.

“It’s great to get back to The Forum again,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of very special memories of that place; the first time I played there I performed with Herbie Hancock. It was around the time I remixed him, it was an amazing night; I had dinner with the band. Very very inspiring.”

Herbie Hancock: Now there’s a man who deserves the term legend!

“Oh yes,” nods Bukem. “Hanock, Lonnie Liston Smith, Curtis Mayfield, the list goes on… Those guys are the real legends! They inspired the whole electronic music scene; everything – house, hip-hop, drum & bass. The sounds they used, the arrangements they created, how they produced things. We wouldn’t be listening to any of this without the original legends!”

Catch LTJ Bukem, Red Snapper and Hidden Orchestra at The Forum, London, on June 29. Grab your tickets now.


Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.