Love Deluxe: From Classroom to Boiler Room
Not your average high school music teacher, Love Deluxe is coming off the back of a successful EP, ‘Silk Mirage’ which has scored reworks from Mount Liberation and Marquis Hawkes and earnt him slots at Let Them Eat Cake and Sugar Mountain where he will debut a live show at the former and debut on Boiler Room at the latter.
Which kind of artists and genre’s of music did you grow up with?
My parents had very eclectic tastes, when they were my age they listened to a lot of 80’s alternative stuff, a lot of post-punk, ‘anarcho-punk’ a lot of ‘new wave’ things, so their record collection had some cool gems like Severed Heads, Ramones, Stooges, Joy Division, New Order - all that kind of stuff. But that was their musical taste, as I child I didn’t really listen to much of that. I remember my Dad used to love the Beach Boys, it was a lot of Pop, and a lot of different sub-genres it was very eclectic.
When did you first start playing music in any capacity?
And with which instrument?
Guitar, I wanted to be kind of like a ‘rock god’, I really liked rhythm guitars. I was into AC/DC, the first song that got me into music was TNT it was the startup song to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 and when I heard that I basically wanted to learn guitar.
Did you ever play the drums?
Yeah, so from the guitar I got interested in other instruments like drums, bass and keys and for a while in uni playing the drums was my ‘main’ instrument.
That makes sense listening to your EP, it’s very much lead by the drum arrangements.
I love drum sounds, I love listening to drums, so if I listen to a new song I don’t really listen to lyrics. Lyrics are generally the last thing I bother dealing with I always listen to the rhythms or the drums and percussion first, that's the thing I find most engaging and from that, I’ll listen to a harmony or melody.
So on your EP did you record the drum beats yourself?
No. They’re mostly sampled - but heavily cut up. So essentially I’d cut up a 1 bar or 2 bar loop and then make my own rhythm from there so I can create my own flavour from it, I can take some existing material but make it my own. I found that with limited resources it was an easy way to make something brand new.
It sounds very organic on the record.
Yeah, cool! That was the idea, I wanted it to sound a bit live, a bit warm and old school, a bit jammy.
Did you start as a DJ, then make the move into producing?
Well, I first started collecting records in high school - I use the word ‘collecting’ very loosely, I basically would buy the odd record here or there form Op Shops. Then eventually I started getting more interested in different types of dance music. I was really heavily into bass music around 2010-11, real UK stuff, like Joy Orbison, Boddika, the whole Swamp 81 label, from there my tastes extended outwards. I wouldn’t say I was DJ’ing, I was more collecting records as my interest moved down a more dance-oriented path. I’ve been making music since high school, I was making rock and punk, and then after high school I started trying to copy Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, that kind of sound. I’d always enjoyed upbeat disco tracks but I’d never had the opportunity to make it myself.
So what were you listening to, and what were your inspirations when you were making the Silk Mirage EP?
Well, initially the whole Love Deluxe project was a tribute to Shade, it was supposed to be very, very chilled music and I think it sort of expanded a bit to a more upbeat, up-tempo sort of vibe - but still with a very chilled atmosphere. With Silk Mirage I remember listening to a lot of Todd Terje, I mean the core progression is very influenced by that, I just expanded upon it and changed the key. A lot of the influences were unconscious, it was more trying to be an ‘old sound’ but with some modern elements in it, like there’s a classic guitar solo in there, it’s very synthy, it sounds warm and analogue, but really, it wasn’t created in that manner. I’m attracted to old music, that’s new to me. If I’m trying to look up new music I won’t go onto Spotify or whatever and listen to a brand new track, I’ll look for artists I’m familiar with and see who produced their album, have they worked on any side projects, things like that.
You’ve obviously got a really broad, eclectic taste of music, can you see further Love Deluxe projects taking a completely different form?
Yeah, well I hope so, I hope it develops. It would be more of a live band aspect, I’ve actually got a live debut at Let Them Eat Cake, it’s something I’ve been working on for the last 6 months with a couple of mates of mine. We’ve been writing a bit of new material that’s slightly different, but a little bit more band focused. So that collaborative aspect will probably be a lot more present in future tracks.
Yes! So is it something similar to Harvey Sutherland’s Bermuda?
Definitely! He’s like the go-to-guy for an influence in that aspect, he’s just the wonder child in the live electronic music scene in my opinion - he’s just brilliant. So hopefully something like that, but probably with a more structured approach, I know with his stuff it’s quite jammy, it’s excellent, but there’s a lot of improvisation in that. But I definitely want to head towards that.
Back to the EP, how long a period was that created over?
Quite a while. Silk Mirage was “released” in 2015, I put it up on Soundcloud and it got 200-400 views or something. That was the original track I wanted to create under the Love Deluxe project, so that’s the oldest track. From there ‘Spice of Life’ was created early or mid-2016 and then 'Cool Breeze' was the last one I did, and that was last year.
Your method of production, how does that work? Is it a case of fiddling around til you create a melody you like and build a track from there?
Usually, it starts with the drums. Because like I said, I’m obsessed with the drums, especially creating rhythms and stuff, especially with material that already exists, maybe a sample, or maybe a sample that I’ve recorded. That’s generally how I start because I find it helps to have something in the background I can loop a melody over, or create a core progression over the top - then I’ll create a harmony, or some chords, a riff, over that. It’s like layering. But for me, pretty much every time its started with the drums, the only time it hasn’t started like that is with this new song that I’m working on with the band, which doesn’t have a name at the moment, I need to think of a cool name for that. But that started with a core progression, then a melody, then the drums.
A lot of the time though it’ll just be a one-take kind of thing. Like the melody for ‘Cool Breeze’ was me just kind of noodling on the keys, got that melody, adjusted it slightly and that ended up being the melody of the song, that was just an improvised thing and then built the rest of the song around that.
You’ve had a pretty big rise since the release of the EP and you only recorded productions this year. You played OutPut back home in Sydney earlier, CoPresents a couple months back, playing Cake on NYD and then a Boiler Room set at Sugar, how’s the adaption been?
Yeah definitely, it’s been unbelievable how many opportunities I’ve been given because of Chris and all the team at Soothsayer. It’s been insane. It’s been amazing, but astounding at the same time like… I’m playing a Boiler Room, shit I mean, that’s crazy. It’s amazing to have these people to be supportive of me, 110%.
Have you already started mentally organising some kind of track list for your Boiler Room?
Yeah, I have. I’ve kind of got a bit of a Discogs want list specifically for the set. It’s just if I want to do it all vinyl and take the risk on messing up or something. I’ve got a lot of ideas for it, I’ve just gotta understand the vibe needed for it and I’ll build something around that. It’s a day set, so it won’t be anything too intense.
In another sense, you’ve had credit in a different way with some pretty huge names in Mount Libertion Unlimited and Marquis Hawkes reworking some of your tracks off the EP how did this come about?
That was all through Soothsayer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Mount Liberation while they were here in Sydney, but I was really impressed with both, but particularly Mount Liberation, they just made it their own song in a spectacular way. They’re very talented and they’re very musical, I was so impressed with their remix, added their own elements and even changed the core progression to something really cool, like, a lot cooler than the original.
'Love Deluxe', where does the name come from?
Sade, album title from the 90’s. It’s just a cool combination, it’s better than what I used to have in that whole Fly Lo phase which was Camus, but Love Deluxe kind of just works for cool, Summery, sort of disco tunes.