Lovers 'Grand St. Blues'
Your music kind of has an old school Garage Band feel. Like the MacBook app, not like Nirvana. It’s ambient, but makes you want to dance. Where do you draw your musical inspiration?
Well all the music is a collage, there’s no live instrumentation. When I started the project I began to pull melodies, drums, baselines from everywhere, and mash them altogether. Nearly all of the tracks were produced on an MPC. My last project was heavily synth and software driven so I wanted to reject all of that and go back to no longer looking at a screen, and instead focus on feeling the music.
Your new EP is called Grand St Blues. What was the impetus for this album and its title? I know you said the album art is based off the Chinatown “Thank you” bag.
I moved to New York at the end of last year, and had a pretty tough time the months that, a lot of stress, anxiety and a relationship ending. Writing and pulling together this EP was my therapy in a way, and so the tracks string together in a cycle, a relationship beginning, ending, and resolving. Dance music can feel so impersonal, and I hadn’t produced music in a long time, so for this to work it had to have a deeper meaning to it.
Did you grow up in New York? If so, where? How has the city or other places you've lived affected your work?
I grew up just outside of London, then went to university in Leeds. That definitely influenced me musically as Leeds is one of the homes of House music in the UK, with the longest running club night (Back to Basics) bringing tons of house music legends over the years. It made me really respect history and heritage, and I think that’s a hugely important part of me as a DJ now. My Mum would play tons of Jazz Funk, Motown, Soul and Disco whilst I was really young, but I didn’t realise how much it influenced me until my early twenties. She gave me her entire record collection, which I still love to play out.
After Leeds I moved back to London for many years, but New York for me was really the turning point - I visited when I was 21 and I immediately knew it was going to become home. This city really respects the DJ as the selector, you don’t have to be a producer or a promoter to earn a living here. Again, I think it’s the history of the city that influenced that - it has a really special kind of hustle that nowhere else I’ve lived has.
What is the ideal setting to play your music? Where do you see it, or where do you want it played?
With Grand St Blues, I setup to make a record that has tracks you can play in a club, but also that you’ll enjoy as much at home, or on a run, or in a car. The digital version of the record is slightly different, and meant to be more of a personal experience. Ultimately I just hope people enjoy it and find a track that speaks to them.
What are you listening to these days?
Truly everything - one minute I’ll be listening to Stanley Cowell and the next Selena Gomez. I’m really not precious about genres or perceptions. If it makes you feel something, then it’s doing it right. I’ve been getting really into Japanese Funk and Disco recently - Yasuka Agawa, Tatsuo Yamashita, Minako Yoshida and a few more. I’m fascinated by how incredibly talented so many Japanese musicians are, especially working in genres that didn’t originate from their country.
What’s your all-time favorite album?
That’s waaaay too tough, so I’ll flip it slightly. Without a doubt my favourite producer is Patrick Adams - his body of work extends through so many records, even the lightest of his touch makes a hit.
Who are some of your musical influences?
The way I’ve described this record is if someone forced The Avalanches to make house music - I’m not really sure if I succeeded but it certainly gave me a jump off point, haha After working at Boiler Room for the past couple of years and producing under various names, I’ve embarked on a new project called Lovers. with videos, apparel, design and lots of other aspects bleeding into and under the name, it’s less of an alias for myself, but a body of work.
The EP is inspired by my move from London to New York and a relationship I had at the same time. It was produced using an MPC and tracks from records that I discovered in my first year here. It’s a deeply personal project and the first of many EPs I’m lining up for the next 6 months. The record all bleeds into one another using field recordings from the city.
The name Lovers and the music is meant to breath some positivity into the world - even if melancholic at times it’s purpose is to bring people up, and most importantly, together.