Swedish label Local Talk has become a trusted seal of approval for lovers of deep, soulful and jazzy house music over the years. HNNY, Kyodai, Art Of Tones and Crackazat have all become staples on the label for their competency with such sounds. Moscow producer Lay-Far is slots into the LT family, with a house sound strongly influenced by rare groove disco, jazz and funk. Following up a couple of EPs for the Swedish imprint over the last two year, Lay-Far steps up for an album – the second for both himself and Local Talk. In anticipation for the release of part two in the vinyl series of the album, Lay-Far has put together a mix and answered a few questions about his musical upbringing in Russia and how his LP came together.
What’s your first musical memory?
Singing along to the TV.
What was your first route into music when you were younger? Did you have much of a musical upbringing when you were growing up?
I believe everything happens for a reason. I was growing in a very musical family, so good pop and soul music has been with me from the early age, thanks to my parents. I started building up my music collection on cassettes and CDs in 1996 after hearing The Prodigy and Coolio. In my teens (around 1998) I got into hip-hop culture through graffiti and eventually b-boying. I was obsessed with digging, searching for the beats to dance to and discovering the roots of my favorite music. This is my foundation.
What inspired you to make the step to pursue music more seriously as a career?
After trying the careers of a teacher, office manager, translator and quality control specialist, I realised that music has always been the only thing I’m cut for. Besides I’ve always detested being a part of the system. So I quit to live a fuller, more independent, responsible, self-sufficient and open-minded life.
What’s it been like trying to develop as an electronic artist in Russia? What have been some of the challenges and opportunities that your surroundings have given you?
Russia is a unique place. It’s where Western and Eastern traditions meet, so that’s one of the main subconscious / intercultural influences we have here, coupled with a rich cultural legacy. Being a teen growing in late 90s / early 00s I was feeling the lack of means and resources – vinyl, equipment almost impossible come by – so you couldn’t help but being resourceful and using stuff the way it wasn’t intended to – like hip-hop pioneers used to do back in Bronx or post-punk musicians did in UK. Limitation is the mother of invention! At the same time, piracy was widespread, which enabled us to freely explore the global cultural artifacts and find the music and films that we liked. However it was in the early days of internet. At the moment we are living in a globalised world with access to the same resources, so we end up having lots of things in common, unlike some try to put it. So I can’t really say it’s much different for a musician to live and create here compared to any other Western country, other than the Rouble exchange rate is pretty low now.
Are there any young talents bubbling up in Moscow we should keep an eye out for?
Deffo. There is a blossoming Russian electronic music scene that can be experienced at the moment. Just check Kito Jempere, OL, Ponty Mython, Boora, Phil Gerus, Lapti, Lipelis, Arsenii, GuyDee, Pixelord and Simple Symmetry.
You’ve previously described your head as your most important piece of kit in your studio. Where do you go, or what do you do to reset your mental hardware?
Meditation or traveling.
You’ve found a regular home on Local Talk. How did you first get involved with them, and what is it that has made your partnership last so long?
I guess we can call ourselves kindred spirits, seeing and appreciating many things in a similar way. We crossed path with Mad Mats (one of the owners of the label) on several occasions over the last five years but playing together at a SunceBeat festival boat party in 2013 we clicked. So after that there was mutual respect and interest in supporting, working with eachother.
Tell us a bit about your latest album that’s coming out with them? How did it all come together, and what would you like listeners to take away from it?
Planning the album for Local Talk I decided to make it as dancefloor-friendly as possible, but I couldn’t help expressing my influences and applying additional meanings, messages and references to the music. So it ended up being quite a conceptual piece with its own narration and certain messages implied, but without taking away the dance dynamics, excitement, irony and fun. It’s definitely not music for snobs! In the end it was intended as a means of communication. I’m happy that we managed to work on the album with such fantastic musicians as Ashley Beedle and Darren Morris, Sean McCabe, Mark De Clive-Lowe, Ann Weller, Magic Number, Phil Asher and Ricky Reid.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve made for us?
That’s a quick mix I recorded in my home studio in between taking care of my family. As usual it’s a mixture of everything, showing the cross-points in between music eras and genres, but keeping things musically rich, funky and melodic. Funk is the essence! I included several tracks from my new album and a couple of unreleased beats including a collaboration with Boorane (Moscow) which is due on my label In-Beat-Ween Music later this year. Hope you dig!
Beyond your album, what’s on the horizon for you in the coming months?
I’m planning to extensively tour the world with the album and devote more time to my own label. Be sure to watch that space.