It’s not that often, in this fast-paced, digital world of electronic music, that you find a group who embrace a principle to their work that goes against the grain. Brighton four-piece Let The Machines Do The Work, do just that by taking a live approach to making house and techno, appreciating the imperfections of the extra human element it offers. Without any major label backing or serious radio support, they’ve just been doing their own thing, recording live jam sessions and tightening their sound. Alex, the guitarist in the group, also writes music with Alice Russell and has recently been on tour with her. LTMDTW caught the attention from Brighton label BlahBlahBlah, and got straight onto releasing the group’s first 12″, One Love/Brighter Day, out now via Beatport. As far as live dates are concerned, watch out for LTMDTW at Gottwood Festival this year and in the meantime have a listen to the mix they’ve made for us, with the tracklist at the bottom.
For readers who aren’t familiar with LTMDTW, can you give a quick introduction?
We are a four-piece electronic band from Brighton that clash analogue with digital to make electronic soul music. Alex and Jimmy met through studio life in Brighton and set out making live analogue sessions, then we were introduced to the biggest soul singer you’ll ever meet (Louis). Throw in a DJ (Alex Over) and boom!!
A foursome isn’t your conventional set-up for producing electronic music. How do you go about formulating all your ideas into one sound? Are there any voices that are louder than others? Basically who wears the trousers in the group?
We tend to turn on a drum machine, flick on the sync, run an arp and sequence away. This might go on for some time with live playing/jamming, then we cut and snip until we get the takes that work. We find ourselves leaving in the imperfections of the noise ratio as it adds to the character of the sound, which we tend not to be too generic with. As for the trousers, Louis couldn’t wear anyone else’s!
We hear that vocalist Louis Howard is a mere 6ft8″. Have the other three of you every tried to take him in a fight?
Our job is to keep him in check! He is truly an explosive and natural vocalist that has to duck when entering the studio. One evening we nearly burnt his head on a downlight! We figured he’ll double-up as security on tour.
We’ve read that your set-up is computer-free: a rare thing today. Is this what your name’s about as well then? And for our readers not familiar with music production, why did you decide to go down that route? Are you paying homage to the old school, or is the sound noticeably different?
There are many others that are also going back to analogue, some people could tell the difference, some can’t, some pretend but really there has been little development in live/synths (except Nord) for the past 10 years or so. We enjoy the imperfections; they breed, the dust, dirt, noise and bad tuning. Though we’re still not pure, as we use digital sequencing to record and mix – editing is much safer than Tape! However we sometimes record to an old four track for more excitement.
We just figured you can get excited about playing synths more than clicking a mouse and it happens naturally rather slaving to the device. Hence ‘Let the Machines Do the Work’.
A bit about Brighton, what brought you to the city and how does what you’re doing fit into the scene down there?
Brighton has always had a thriving night club/live scene, and luckily you can get from one side to the other in about 15 minutes by foot, which helps. For example Blah Blah Blah has its weekly night, and they tend to book the cream of electronic music, as does Maxxi Soundsystems’ night Schtumm, so for us there’s plenty going on to get stuck into.
We’ve been singing Anushka’s praises a lot recently. Are there any other local music heads we should keep an eye out for?
What are you favourite three tracks you’re playing in sets at the moment?
We see you’re playing at Gottwood this year. Banging lineup. You excited? Will this be your first festival appearance?
We are very excited about securing a slot at Gottwood and are currently trying to tame the beast of a live set. Refining the setup and getting stuck into the overall extravaganza. Yes, this we’ll be our first festival set as a live act so we wanna get it right. Louis is fit to burst with excitement so we all intend to hide behind him!
Any other festivals and live dates we can catch you at, and any releases coming up we should know about?
LTMDTW’s first release One Love is due out on the 13th May on Brighton’s own Blah Blah Blah Records. We are working on the follow up and remixes too. So hold tight, as we intend to the let the machines do the work!
Joy Orbison – Donell vs Crazy P – Heartbreaker (Waifs & Strays Remix) (Alex Over Edit)
South London Ordnance – Transmisson Funk
Turntable Orchestra – Youre Gonna Miss Me (Friend Within Remix)
Bicep – Courtside Drama
CLOSE (feat. Scuba & Chariene Soraia) – Beam Me Up (George Fitzgerald Remix)
Russ Chimes – Turn Me Out (Ejeca Remix)
Charli XCX – What I like (Bodhi Remix)
Scuba – Hardbody (Scuba’s Dub Of Doom) (SCB Edit)
Citizen – Stronger With You (Waze & Odyssey Street Tracks Mix)
Marco Darko, Amy Lyon & Mykel Haze – For Tonight (Him_Self_Her Remix)
Alfie – Hy-Brasil
Zee & Eli – Auzuar
Waze & Odyssey – Please Don’t Dance (Detroit Swindle’s Basement Dub)
Myndst8 – On The Other Side
Let The Machines Do The Work – Brighter Day
Pedestrian – Hoyle Road