The Operatives Interview Lapalux

Posted by: operativejp on October 10, 2013


Pictures and Perfectionists

It’s LAPALUX’s second time in Australia and a lot has changed. At his first show in Melbourne he headlined at Espionage alongside TriAngle’s OoOoo (UK) and the launch of HIATUS KIAYOTE’s now infamous album ‘Tawk Tomahawk’. The first UK artist signed to the Brainfeeder imprint had just released his EP ‘When You’re Gone’ and before you could say ‘deconstructed-pop’ he was touring the globe – not even side-ways rain could keep Melbourne crowds from his debut Australian show. Now, a year later, the twenty-four year old producer has a distinctive approach to playing live that allows him to explore his delicate music on the dance floor. At his SOUNDCHECK he darts about the room. The bass is thudding through the empty club and he tests how it sounds in every corner of the dance floor. It’s not surprising after hearing his music – it is the work of a perfectionist.


I’ve been on the scene as LAPALUX for about a year and a half, I started out making music as a kid and playing with instruments and progressing onto technology. I studied it quite a lot at school and secondary school as well, manipulating certain things and recording acoustic because I was quite blessed at school; we had a piano and all sorts of things lying about. I used to go in with an mp3 player and record the sounds. Then I progressed and started making music from there…. I got into Uni and continued on that path really.

It seems you get asked a lot in interviews about the musicians that inspire you, but what was it about music that caught your interest in the first place?

Its always been a massive hobby of mine, I’ve always used it as a way to escape every day life and any problems I have I just sit in my room and make music, and even studying it, I’ve found is a way of escaping the real world and going into your own world and making music. I’ve always been interested in visual art as well as sonic art and how film works and TV and how those work with sounds. It’s always been inherently there. And having my parents as they are and were, when I was growing up and being able to express myself musically and they let me get away with quite a lot.

In one of your first interviews you quoted David Shrigley when asked ‘what do you want’ you said ‘I want people to listen to me. I want to go up in a hot air balloon…” now that you have thousands of listens across the world, is it still true?

When you reach a certain level, there’s always another mountain to climb – there’s always something more to progress with. With music, you’re so free as well, I’ve never really stuck to one particular genre, I like to experiment, and there is always to be inspired by, something new. So it’s a constant thing, growing up a bit too, and experiencing different things as well, it all bleeds into creativity. I think there’s a long way to go, really, I think I’m just starting out. I’ve always just treated it as a hobby, but yeah, I think I’ll still stand by that statement.

Your videos and album art have a very strong visual aesthetic, what are your thoughts on the growing visual element of music?

I think it is important to have a say and get as much involvement as you can, visually. I think a lot of my music relies on a visual context too, all the textures that I use in sound could be related to collage art, and sort of Kandinsky-like and I like to express that. Obviously, there are some sexual connotations with the latest EP with the two girls on the cover, and the girl on Some Other Time EP. I like to mess about with different styles. But the album artwork is about 600 photos that my dad took from when my sister and I were growing up. I think it’s important to have a strong aesthetic that it’s meaningful too.

And did you have any input into the latest video for ‘Without You‘?

It was pretty weird actually; the director Nick Rutter is a good friend of mine. We were thinking of working together for a while and for the album we wanted to get onto Youtube and get some nice visuals for it. So Nick came up with about three or four different ideas and we weren’t too sure with what we wanted to do. But he rang me up and was like ‘right, listen to this… I think it could be great.’ Basically, it’s all down to Nick – he’s a crazy artist and director.

Your first EP ‘Forest’ was originally released on cassette – what was the response to that like?

Not a lot, actually. It was way back in the day. It was on Myspace and I was actually studying at the time. I’d bought all these tape decks and reel-to-reels and was getting way into analogue recording techniques. And the EP came out of spending about a week straight in my studio-flat. But it still sells today, it’s crazy actually. It’s just up on Bandcamp from back in the day.

From making DIY music in your bedroom to now touring the world with your music, are you surprised by how people have reacted to your sound?

It was actually quite interesting, the Forest EP was my own thing, you know, just on the internet. But after that I started playing a few gigs around London, for this guy called Jimmy who runs a night called Streets of Beige and he hit me up and wanted me to play. So I had a few gigs, very small minor things. And from there I got picked up by Pictures, a small bass label, so I put out Many Faces Out of Focus through them. But I was after a bigger label, somewhere I could grow and get a bigger fanbase and from the actual waves that Many Faces Out of Focus created, which was actually surprising, you know, going from nothing to all of a sudden being blogged about and just randomly hit up Brainfeeder and said ‘oh, I’ve got some demos’ and about week later Flylo got back to me and said ‘want to put something out?’ and now two EPs and now the album… it’s grown quite quickly from there and I’m pretty thankful, to be honest.

Your music seems to be so textured that with each listen you can pull out different sounds, how do you transfer such delicate arranged music to a live show?

I want to say it’s very, stripped back, but it’s not. I’m still very much a maximalist, it is to a certain degree a bit more club-oriented, I skip out on playing certain beats which just won’t match and mess about on the fly and do a lot of remixes and have a bit of fun. Keeping it fresh and just me having fun doing it, it’s good for the crowd, if they see me enjoying it they’ll enjoy it too. But it translates pretty well to be honest, I try and do a few tweaks generally on Ableton on the master channel and make my own mixes, so it is a faster pace.

You played here in Australia just after your first Brainfeeder EP came out, after touring Europe, it seems that touring is a huge part of being a musician more than ever and looking over your schedule it seems quite hectic. What are your thoughts about touring so much?

I love going to different places, but travelling does take it out of you. And just going to places for a few hours and it’s great going all around the world and seeing different crowds, because it varies so much, different venues and different vibes and it’s really interesting to see how well received my music is. Playing in Russia and just having a packed room and being like ‘what, how do they know about my music?’ Yeah, I guess that is the career aspect. But I do miss being in the studio and I’ve been touring for months since the album came out, and I’ve still got a way to go really, but I think after this touring solidly, I think it’s time to sit in the studio and work on the next record.

This tour you’re playing everywhere from Stockholm to Asia – what are some of the differences in the crowds – are you ever surprised by the people that come to see you play?

It does vary a lot, you can never really tell, until you’re up on stage you can’t quite get a feel for the vibe of the place. I mean, some of the gigs in England have been really good and others have been a bit flakey, when you’re doing four or five gigs a week you get highs or lows. It’s a constant battle to keep on the top of my game. But overall, it’s been great.

I remember you tweeting about audiences attempting to dance to some of your tracks, what is the usual crowd reaction like?

My twitter is going to be the death of me, I swear.

Do you find it funny, watching people dance to your music for the first time?

It is quite interesting, everyone does try and find their own groove to dance too, and I find that entertaining, looking up and everyone’s moving differently, everyone’s on a kind of different beat. It’s really entertaining, because I like to make music that people can find their own vibes to, I think that sets me apart from the people that play formulaic hard dance or trap music, it sets a different sort of standard that people can just stand there and take it all in, that’s a good thing for me, I’m very much a stand in the club dude, so you get to appreciate it, and not a ‘blehhh’ I wanna get pissed and rave up. Sometimes, I do, quite a lot of the time. But I think it does cross over from the listeners and people that wanna get fucked up and dance. I think it’s got it’s own little place on the dance floor.

Last year was your first tour in Australia. Was that the first time you’ve come here?

It was. It was really sick. Me and oOOoo toured, I think we were only here for about a week and half but we did like six gigs. And even better this time, there’s more people turned onto my music. 

Did you see a difference in scenes from say, Perth to Melbourne?

There is a little bit of a difference; there was a little bit of weirdness with Brisbane. But all of the venues put a lot of work and time into making it good. Not sure what you guys do to the sound systems over here, either, but they’re all really good.

It seems that DJ culture is currently important to our generation, was there a time in your life that you making music wasn’t understood by people?

I mean, not really to be honest, I never really wanted to be a music producer. It was always just my hobby. I’d worked tonnes of jobs and crappy paid jobs since I was fourteen and music was always my sideline. I always thought ‘oh, nothing will ever happen with that’ and I’d have to find something else. I still treat it as a hobby, if it becomes work at all there’s no point in doing it. I still think of it as a continuation of what I did back in school. No one has ever tried to bat me down for making music, everyone’s always been really encouraging. A lot of my friends growing up, produced music and still do. A lot of them had music on the sidelines and I’ve made a lot of friends through it.

Your latest album Nostalgic thanks your mum and dad on the vinyl cover, has it been the most personal work you’ve put out so far?

It is quite a big deal for me to have a debut album, it’s been one of the things that I’ve always wanted to achieve and I think that’s been the biggest goal for me to do and I was really thankful and being able to focus on my music. My parents have always been really encouraging in the whole expressive, creative freedom and my mum’s into art, my dad is too, but they both appreciate art. I just wanted to thank them for being supportive and not being like ‘turn that music off’ and make me do business, or something.

This album picks up a lot more vocalists than the early EP music, is that a conscious decision and what is it that draws you to certain singers?

I think it’s to do with the timbre and sound and the way I think I can work with. If there’s something unique about the voice I think I can use it somehow. I think it’s about the sound of the voice and how it’ll sit in the mix and the ability to contact the people and be like ‘I’ve got this idea’ and the freedom of getting a hold of people on the internet. I mean, I treat the vocals themselves as instruments anyway. I work with it the way I would a synth or a sample and I look for that soulful quality. I love those warm, soulful sounding voices especially with female singers. I don’t tend to work with male vocalists, I mean, I sing a bit myself or I attempt to.

With the title Nostalchic, was that pointing to the samples you used –

Kind of, after I had the finished product and I already had come up with the whole concept, it fits with the whole idea of the sound of the album the mixture of tape – I was a bit of an 80’s kid and growing up messing around with tapes and tape machines – and then the chic part is the kind of polished production techniques I used to make the R&B sounds. It’s basically what the album sounds like in a title.

What’s coming up next for you?       

There’s a North America tour in September and there’s some festivals in the UK and then a few gigs and try and release a small EP towards the end of the year. I’ve got a few tracks I’ve been working on and want to put out that I’ve been making on the road, and so make on the next record.

What can we expect from your gig tonight?

A lot of noise and I don’t know, I want to venture out tonight and try and mess about with time and stuff and bend it around the set.

Article originally appeared on Acclaim Magazine.

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