Drop the Lime is a DJ and producer from NYC, and the man behind the infamous Trouble & Bass club nights. Setting the bar high for 2011 with his first UK release on Ministry of Sound Recordings, 'Hot As Hell' is the lead single off his debut album, 'Enter the Night'. To celebrate its release, we called Luca for a chat and found out that he's charming company, has great stories and is probably the only person in the world who could pull off a claim to be a vampire cowboy surfing skyscrapers in a dark gotham city...
Hey Luca! How are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Hey, I’m great thanks, how about you? Right now I’m in New York auditioning for a live band. I’ve always done the whole live band thing at my gigs; I sing live too over the beats in Ableton. I think that’s much better than when musicians just have pre-selected tracks; I like to put on a proper live show.
Where did the name Drop The Lime come from?
It actually started out as an ode to my grandfather who was from Sicily – he had this lime green motorcycle that he used to cruise around on, and he used to say exactly that – “I’m dropping the lime!” I used to visit him in Sicily as a kid and cruise around with him on the back of his motorcycle, so that’s where the name came from.
Your musical style’s pretty electic to say the least, how would you describe it in your own words?
I’d say...like a vampire cowboy surfing skyscrapers in a dark gotham city! At least, that’s how it makes me feel when I’m actually making the music. I draw on some weird and pretty broad influences, from blues and rockabilly to Chicago house, drum and bass, dubstep right through to classical. I have so many influences that this weird musical hybrid comes out as the result!
I read somewhere that you actually started out in music as a choirboy when you were growing up in New York? Is that true?!
Haha I wasn’t actually a choirboy but I went to a public school called the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan; the majority of the kids were black and there was a gospel choir, and I used to sing in that. There were some amazing performers at the school; Alicia Keys was in my class! The gospel choir definitely had a big influence on my music and it still does; our teacher was super strict and it really taught me discipline, as well as how to sing properly. I kind of just fell into it by accident though, I wanted to act and the acting class was full, plus I already played guitar and loved to sing so I thought yeah, why not? I’ll give the gospel choir a go!
Before Christmas last year you went on a European ‘Hot As Hell’ tour – what were your highlights?
Oh man, it was bonkers! Bananas! Yeah, pretty crazy. 2010 was the first year where I felt like my fanbase really grew and that people really understood what my sound is. Before that, people used to come and see me play or DJ and I’d get requests to play other people’s tracks, like “hey, you got any Black Eyed Peas?” And it’s not that I don’t like their stuff, but I got frustrated initially because I wasn’t getting my own sound across. Whereas last year, people actually came to see ME play. At first on the tour, people would be holding up their phones and I wouldn’t wanna look in case they were requesting other people’s songs, but then I’d look up and they’d be asking for my tracks like ‘Hot As Hell’, which was just amazing.
What’s coming up for you in 2011 and what are you hoping for from this year?
Well my album’s dropping in the spring and I’m planning the tour right now. It’s gonna be a worldwide tour, although it won’t kick off until the autumn. We’ll be playing some incredible venes like the Bowery Ballroom in New York, which is this really famous venue with an amazing atmosphere, it only holds like 800 fans. The tour’s going to have a really old-school 50s rock vibe with a whole live band, drummers, and singing over electronic samples and beats. There’s going to be swing dancing too and it’s going to be a proper full-on show! I can’t wait to come back to London too, I love playing London – I have a really great fanbase over there who are really supportive.
I’ve heard that you like a good party and, having run your own Trouble & Bass club nights for years, what makes a good party in your opinion?
Definitely creating an atmosphere and changing the environment of the place you’re throwing it in. For example, our Trouble and Bass nights always have a theme. We usually have people dressed up in 50s clothes dancing to electronic music. I have a friend who once came down all dressed in vintage with Trouble and Bass merchandise in cigarette cases. It’s that kind of attention to detail which makes a night unique. We love mixing rockabilly with club music and it’s crazy how that’s really caught on over here. Also, we never have a whole night of house, dubstep etc - we always like to mix up genres together to keep it interesting.
What other artists/producers/DJs out there are you rating right now? Anyone who we may not have heard of and should look out for?
Oh wow, yeah there are lots! Canblaster, who remixed Hot As Hell. Also Zombies for Money. And Brenmar – he’s a new guy from Brooklyn – he’s really gonna blow up this year. He has a techno sound but also mixes in this kind of glitchy happy style. It’s kind of like Flying Lotus, but at a house tempo.
You’ve remixed some huge artists including Armand van Helden, Robyn and Moby – if you could remix anyone that you haven’t already, who would that be?
I’d love to remix somebody weird, who wasn’t the obvious choice – like David Bowie, or Bob Dylan. Somebody big but unexpected, where you could do something really different with the music.
Who would you like to remix your OWN work?
Tiesto – I’d love to hear a trance version of my stuff. Or maybe Armin van Buuren.
What drives you to do what you do, have you always wanted to do music?
Oh yeah, ever since I was a little kid, like 7 years old – I was inspired by Elvis, my mom loves him so I grew up listening to his music and seeing him on TV. I always wanted to be a part of showbusiness. I loved it immediately and that love just kept getting stronger; I was always in bands in high school and college. There’s just something about music that excites me cos there’s a mystery to it, you’re able to captivate a feeling of suspense, release. I find it very stimulating and exciting and that’s kinda how I live my life – I love being stimulated! Like I love the best cocktails, great food, great music etc.
What’s the best thing about being Drop The Lime?
Definitely getting to travel a lot and meeting new people, as well as making music of course!
Tell us a secret about yourself?
Everyone always wants my secrets dammit! Haha ok...what can I tell you...I don’t really like chocolate?! Strange but true...
Who do YOU think is Hot As Hell?
Wow...I could name quite a few...but I’d have to say Bettie Page (legendary 1950s American pin-up and model).
Grazie mille, Luca!
'Hot As Hell' is out now - get your copy here.