As we reach the big 2-1 for our Stamp Mix series, we’re super chuffed to bring you a selection by a producer we’ve been following for almost as long as we’ve been publishing. Since we first came across the Bristol producer and drummer on the Futureboogie:10 compilation, it’s been a joy to watch his stature grow: he’s toured with a Mercury nominees; been remixed by a forefather of the Bristol house scene; DJd at Plastic People; played our first day party in Bristol; and even been reviewed by an 8-year-old on Radio 1. Ahead of his live set at Simple Things’s RBMA Stage this weekend, we caught up with Luke and he’s put together a short but very sweet mix of hip-hop and soul gems.
Our first introduction to you was when Last Home opened the Futureboogie:10 compilation, but we get the feeling your musical story started a long time before that. Can you give us a bit of context to your musical background.
I’m a drummer and DJ by trade. Always been working on music, always interested in different ways of working. Digging for records, getting started on drums and messing about with MicroLogic on the school Atari all happened at about the same and I’ve never really been able to separate them. When I was a kid I loved Tony Williams, Dillinjah and Company Flow. My favourite rappers were Juice Aleem and Aceyalone. None of that has changed really. I’m still just trying to make music that is an adequate response, knowing I’m going to fail and hoping the mess I make might be of benefit to someone somewhere.
You’re not someone who likes to stick to one tempo in your work. Indecision, curiosity or just very eclectic tastes?
I like to start with a clear idea of where something is going and why a track needs to be written then work out from that. I have a very visual relationship to music so a lot of the basic decisions are in my head before I even touch an instrument. There has to be something important that I want to say with a piece or a way of working I haven’t tried or I won’t have the motivation to finish it.
As a drummer you have to be able to make something work at all tempos and I just have the kind of awkward personality that tells me to do the most difficult thing or there’s no point. I hope one day I grow out of this.
It doesn’t make it easy to put a finger on your sound, but is your diversity actually your most distinguishable characteristic as a producer and songwriter?
Hadn’t thought of it like that, but I suppose time will tell. I don’t really have a game plan and I definitely don’t have much control over what comes out or when. If someone puts an order in for something, that’s different – I’m working to fulfill someone else’s brief. When I’m left to my own devices, what comes out is what comes out. It rarely seems to work when I try and stay within the lines.
Is there one style and tempo you haven’t delved into yet that you’d like to?
I’d like to do more work with noise and I’d like to write music for anime.
You recently supported Ghostpoet on his UK tour. How did that come about, and did it go?
He came along and heard us play at the Nest in Dalston, said hi and that was that. I got a message from his manager and we started working on making it happen. The tour was an experience. Proper shoestring business, couchsurfing all the way. Obaro (Ghostpoet) and his band were all great to hang out with though and apart from a few technical hitches we had great times. Rory and Romaine were the best band mates I could have hoped for.
What was the idea behind the mix you’ve done for us?
I wanted to make a hip-hop mix, which I sort of managed – apart from the techno at the end and the prog at the beginning and the soul tracks in the middle!
I’ve been trying to focus on exactly what I really love in music right now and it’s something I can’t put my finger on. I don’t have a word for it, but I know it when I feel it. Sometimes it seems like a million miles from everything else that’s going on in music and the worst career choice in the world. Who wants to book someone who’s going to come and try to generate this obscure intangible atmosphere that he doesn’t even have a name for when most dancefloors seem to just want hype and awe? But it’s something beyond genre that I want to hear more of and it feels like it’s feeding me in some way.
You’re playing a live set at Simple Things Festival this weekend. What can people expect?
We’ll be playing a slightly updated version of the set we toured with. It’s a real short spot so we’re just gonna rock the big songs and the hardcore dancers set will have to wait till next year’s tour. That being said I’m always trying to make sure a set is programmed right and tells a story in some way.
It’s a very strong lineup you’ll be apart of. Anyone you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?
I love the programming at Simple Things and it’s become an opportunity for me to check out acts and genres I’ve never heard of before and just get schooled. I’m going to take recommendations and expand my mind, but that being said I’ve never seen an Appleblim set I didn’t rate and I’ll hopefully get to check out Fimber Bravo.
Is there any new talent (one local, one not) who’s catching your eye at the moment?
And finally, you’ve been doing a lot of remixes recently. What’s in store for your original work?
I’m going to keep on putting out tracks on my label and there will also be a few EPs coming out elsewhere. Next up is a song called Little While with an amazing singer called Jonatan Bäckelie from Sweden. It definitely wasn’t part of the plan to do so many remixes, but I like to do things properly and doing a good job of putting out your own music takes time and money, which I didn’t have much of either this year!