Luis CL is the production arm of larger-than-life Melbourne duo Zanzibar Chanel, the beats behind Zac’s bravado, the music behind his magnetism. His handiwork at the buttons has been a big part of their success and it’s been no surprise that solo efforts for Superconscious Records (run by Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fantastic Man) and Big Doint – plus a few other side projects – have gone down a treat with those who’ve discovered it. In the wake of a second EP for Superconcious, we caught up with Luis for a few questions about new collaborations, creative autonomy and cows seeing grass for the first time in six month. That accompanies a mix described as “a psycho dance party vibe but not too freaky so you can still get stuff done”.
Luis CL’s It’s Getting Better EP is out now on Superconscious – grab it from Juno.
Hey Luis, how’s things been going over in Footscray recently?
Hey! Not too bad, just really busy with the Glamouratz EP, upcoming shows and always working on new tracks.
First, our usual ice-breaker…what’s your first musical memory?
I don’t have a distinct memory. I’m the youngest in my family so I mostly just absorbed whatever my brothers and cousins were into like heavy metal and hip-hop, and of course whatever my parents were listening to, like Australian folk, soul & jazz, this kind of thing.
You’ve just turned in your second EP for Superconscious. What is it about the label and working with Mic and Griff that you think complements your own output?
I appreciate that Mic and Griff respect the artists on the label and are willing to take the risk of giving artists creative autonomy. I think because Mic and Griff are DJs and producers they appreciate the subtly in my music, they don’t ask me to cut back songs or change anything, they know how it can be used in different contexts like a DJ set. I’m into that.
Was there a particular idea behind the EP or did you just reach into the archives and pull out a few tracks that fitted well together?
I am always working on music, so it develops over time. The EP is a collection of three songs over the last two years that I felt after time stood out to me and the Superconscious dudes.
Did Griff and Mic have much input with the way it came together or did they leave it to you to come up with something you were happy with?
They definitely had input because they were interested in the tracks to start off with, in the end I sent some songs that I thought would go with the title track ‘It’s Getting Better’, which was on Soundcloud. They were into it and asked if I wanted to put it out.
I recently saw an apt description of ‘It’s Getting Better’ as being like a Droppin’ Science track c. 1993 [credit to Alex at Rough Draft]. Did you have that period/sound in mind when you made it, and can we expect to hear more of the junglist in you in the future?
I didn’t set out to create anything in that kind of description. That period and sound is definitely an influence but I would say my music is more a combination of all the things I have been listening to lately, I just want to make something new, that feels different.
How’s stuff going on the Zanzibar Chanel front?
Zac is doing his own thing right now as a practicing artist. I respect that and hope everyone else can too because the reality is Zac and I haven’t made music or performed together in over a year and that is the path he has chosen. I am still working on collaborative projects with other people though and focusing on my own musical content.
When you spoke to Melbourne Deepcast last year, you mentioned a concept album in the works. How’s that coming along?
The concept album didn’t happen but who knows one day it could we still have all the music. I’ve been working on other things this year instead, that I am proud to have worked on like EN.V’s debut EP and the Glamouratz EP.
Part of Zanzibar Chanel’s success is the live spectacle, especially Zac’s ability to make dancers get a little loose. What have been some of the more memorable moments from ZC parties? Have there been times where people have got a little too carried away?
People have definitely gotten too carried away in the past. Grabbing at Zac, crowding him, sometimes people really invaded his space and it was difficult for us both. We tried playing vinyls for a while but there were too many people knocking the decks. It was cool but hard to sustain.
What’s been your favourite new discovery of 2016 (musical or otherwise)?
Can you think of the last track you heard and thought “shit I wish I’d made that”?
Nah I try not to think about music that way and just enjoy a good track.
What was the last deep conversation you had that had a direct impact on your music?
I like to think I have ‘deep’ convos with my friends a lot and that being aware of the world around you is a good source for inspiration or has an impact on the music you make.
What new / young talent should we be keeping an eye on at the moment?
EN.V, and Glamouratz obviously, but I went to Sydney recently and played some shows and saw a great act, LA Suffocated. I’m waiting for DJ Brooke Powers to put out an EP but really there’s too much good stuff in Melbourne to list here.
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us?
I recorded this mix at home and tried to include some of my own productions and collaborations alongside records from my collection. I wanted to create a bit of a psycho dance party vibe but not too freaky so you can still get stuff done feeling.
And finally, beyond the new EP what else is coming up on the horizon for the rest of 2016 and beyond?
Possible Luis CL tour, Australian summer is coming up so some shows, continuing to work on music, collaborate with other artists, create with the ‘rats’ and try to have fun.
Four Door – Luxury Tax
Traxmen – Indoor Use
Technasia – Evergreen
ENV – Anxiety is the new LBD
Glamouratz – Club Rat (Bell Towers Fierce Mix)
FP-Oner – Alternate Reality
Luis CL – Pure Dirt
Paul Johnson – It’s a Love Thang
Alias G – Attention
Blaze – Moonwalk
John Tejada & Arian Leviste – Satellites Flashing
Grauzone – Film 2
Shinichi Atobe – Free Access Zone 2
Glenn Underground – Operation Jazz
Cheap Present – SLHM
Cheap Present – Digits