Lapalux is a young London-based producer who is having a pretty decent 2013. His debut album Nostalchic was released earlier this year on Brainfeeder, and is available to stream in full via the Groovebug iPad app. He is currently touring 23 US cities throughout the fall. Fans of Mount Kimbie, Flying Lotus and James Blake should all check out the album. Read on to check our Q&A with Lapalux about his music and current US tour.
Groovebug: Can you start off by introducing your sound?
Lapalux: I always have a tricky one trying to describe my sound… it’s like polished lo-fi… lush textured dance hip hop-infused experimental IDM. I always say something different everytime.
So, hip hop is an influence then? What else did you listen to growing up?
Still listen to a lot of 90s hip hop like Onyx, DJ Premier, J Dilla, the older producers, A Tribe Called Quest…. I kinda grew up with that being the main staple.
After that I was looking for something a bit crazier like Autechre, Aphex Twin, Prefuse 73… I used to go through the Warp catalog and get stuff from there… a ton of weird shit.
At what point did you start making music?
I started out playing guitar, then when got into using the computer and manipulating sounds I used to record overdub guitar sounds, basically, Like textured guitar ambient tracks. I used to layer them up, reverse bits, slam loads of reverb in there. Then I got into according live instruments and messing around with different sounds like hitting a double bass with shoestring or something, just collecting some strange sounds.
And what kind of equipment and setup do you have on stage?
A pretty simple setup, just a trigger finger midi controller with Ableton setup with weird bits and pieces here and there - it’s an absolute mess to look at but I kind of know my way around it now; I have my own system worked out on Ableton that makes it quite interesting. And I have live projections on a separate laptop; it’s an application that runs my itself that we had made that kind of manipulates video on the fly and reacts to the music. it’s nice to bring that into the live set now, so I can have some control over what is visually going on. it’s nice to have some visuals, it brings a new element to it.
I’d love to use more kit, some of the gear I’ve got is bloody heavy and it would be insane to carry it around. i’ve brought other instrumentation out in the past to experiment.
I’m going to try and work out how I can translate the next album into a live performance, maybe get some other people on board, that would be dope.
With your productions being so varied and touching on many genres, what are your club experiences like? Do you have a set list planned, or freestyle on the night?
It’s a mixed bag. I’ve played after Trap DJs in Russia, all kinds of clubs. Sometimes I kind of know where I want to go with my set and have pieces of tracks that I would like to put in there, but like DJing I will mix it up a bit and if it’s a good party I can go a bit wild with it.
Usually i can sway my set to fit into whatever, and other times I think fuck it, I’m going to play what i’m going to play. One place I walked into was full of ‘Bros’ and old people and a weird mix, then a bunch of people walked in and said we’re here to see you do your thing, don’t worry… and I did and it worked. You still have your eyes on the crowd and see what goes and what doesn’t fly, but if you’re being booked to play somewhere then the promoter should know what you sound like and whether it works in their club.
What people or places influenced the Nostalchic album?
When I’m writing music or trying to put ideas together I choose to not listen to anything and to stay away from new music because I don’t want it to affect my own sounds. The only way I can get focus on my own sound is if I just cut myself off from everything, lock myself away and really try and make something out of the ‘lack of inspiration’ almost. I’ve always tried to remain ‘out of the loop’ on things, because then I can let my internal ideas come out, otherwise I might hear something I really like and then subconsciously try to fit it in there somehow.
Did you go anywhere to physically isolate yourself? Like a cabin in the woods or something?
No, but I’d love to do that for the next album, but I just sat in my flat, basically, and lock myself away. In my own mind I think that’s a normal process, but I guess it’s not really.
Is this US tour your first major tour?
I’ve been touring a bit in Japan, Australia, Europe this year and last year. But yeah, first tour when there’s a solid block of a load of dates with minimal downtime. It’s 23 dates in the space of a month. It’s 24/7 in the club, it’s a pretty weird experience. I have a few more dates then a bit of a break… two days in Austin, TX.. I can’t wait to get some BBQ! I’m looking forward to LA too, that will be cool to hook up with Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Teebs, all the rest of the Brainfeeder lot. It’s been a mad experience so far, I don’t really wanna go home really! I’d love to stay after the tour and scope out NYC again.
Does the touring inspire your music once you return back home?
The newer stuff I’m working on is a bit more housey and techno vibes, taking influences from bits and pieces that i’ve heard. Especially out in the club, making productions specifically for the club, approaching it in a different way. Instead of like, ‘headphone music in your bath’. I like to keep it fresh and experiment with new ideas, and so I’m working on stuff that’s a step away from the Nostalchic album, and experimenting with some weird stuff. I’ve been looping a lot of stuff and playing guitar again.
Do you prefer to be recording in the studio or performing live?
Recording in the studio. I’m the dude that kinda sits in his bedroom and doesn’t go out much when I’m writing. I think that’s where I’m best suited, but it’s dope to come out and play and travel the world and meeting loads of people. I dig both, but definitely producing is where I thrive.
A fun one to end on: Which historical musical moment do you wish you were present for?
That’s a good one… When David Hasslehoff sang at the Berlin Wall coming down. I wish I was there for that. That’s probably the most horrendous thing I have ever seen. He’s got his glitzy jacket in with lights built into it….
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Interview by Lee Jarvis