Ahead of the release we gave him a ring to find out how it came about and his thoughts on the closure of Fabric
DJ and producer Luke Beavon (a.k.a LSB) has had strong links to Marcus Intalex’s Soul:R imprint since the release of 2015’s Four:Fit EP. The label is now the home for his debut full-length, Content. Ahead of the release later this year we gave him a ring to discuss how it came about, as well as his thoughts on the current state of London club culture.
LSB - Content LP tracklist:
Lydian (ft Millie Watson)
Pandora (ft Sense MC)
Missing You (ft DRS & Tyler Daley)
I Need Love
Circle (ft Tyler Daley)
Capture My Heart (ft Dain Stuart)
Sketch For My Sweetheart
Catching Lightning (ft DRS)
MoS: Your much anticipated debut LP is just around the corner. What’s the general vibe we can expect and how long have you been working on it?
LSB: It's been a quick turn-around between deciding on doing and album and completion. I never really thought I’d do an album. I wanted too but hadn't felt confident to do one I suppose. It just got to the point where I’d done a few tunes and they all started to sit together with a similar mood. So I thought, well if I’m ever going to do an album, it's now. To me I didn’t just want it to be the latest 12 tracks I’d made and package it together, that doesn't feel what an album should be as it’s just a collection of tracks bundled together to make it sellable.
I also didn’t want to make an album which had a token house, techno or breakbeat track just to make it appeal to a broader market or crossover. I wanted to write something that was genuine drum and bass but not just feel like a bunch of singles, that was the challenge to myself, it's for others to judge whether I've achieved that!
Are there any collaborations and how did they come about?
The LP has one with DRS and Tyler Daley which is the single, “Missing You”. There is another one each with DRS and Tyler Daley as individuals and then a couple with local singers from where I’m from. I was recording the guy, his name's Dain Stewart. He’s a folk singer who knows a bit about drum & bass. He’s a songwriter that’s completely different. While I was recording him his girlfriend turned out to be a pretty good singer, which is the first track of the album which had some ad-lib theme which almost sounds like a sample. She did some of them, that’s kind of it. There's also one with Sense MC, a track called “Pandora”, he's a sick lyricist and I think he really showcases it with this one.
Looking forward to hearing them! How come there aren’t any collaborations with other producers?
Recently I've kept myself to myself in the studio. I’m in my own little zone and I sometimes find it easier to work like that. It takes me quite a long time to develop ideas and sometimes that can be a bit onerous on the person you are collaborating with. I feel like I can be wasting other people’s time or become aware of how rubbish I think I am!
For the album I just wanted it to be me, and consistently me. There are a lot of collaborations planned for the next year with some of my favourite producers so I'm really excited to branch out.
I’m sure a lot of producers have the same mindset. So when’s the release date?
It will be dropping on the 4th November.
I’m pretty nervous about how the album goes and I guess that will dictate how busy I am in the future. I’m not going to take it for granted at all. At this stage only about half a dozen people have heard the album but they are my friends so I don’t know if they would tell me if it was bad! Maybe Freddie (FD), he can be a bit harsh but he thinks it sounds ok so that’s a start!
The turnaround has been so quick it's not really been out there on the circuit for too long, so as it’s so close I'm hoping people will hear it as an album.
What software and hardware did you use to produce the album?
For software I use Ableton Live. I started off on Reason and I tried Cubase but found it a bit illogical. Logic I never got my head round it as everything seemed to take too long. I’m a sample based and a loop based producer which Ableton really suits. From then on I mixed the entire album down in analogue. I’ve got a small section of an old console and an old Mackie desk with a few bits of hardware. I have a few old Roland 80s synths, an Alpha Juno and a Dave Smiths Evolver synth which all feature quite a lot.
I mixed the whole album down to outboard which I felt gave it character. However, it was a pain and it took really long in the end. Every time you want to make changes you have to start in the beginning. You haven’t got total recall like you do in a sequencer. It also means you don’t really get things as loud as you do in a digital realm but it gives you consistency and it sounds a bit different.
A lot of music has got very clinical and clean. I think that can be a bit tiring if you are listening on your headphones or for a long time. Part of the agenda I had with making the album was to make it hardware and make it listenable on headphones, as I tend to consume a lot of music that way.
That’s impressive! I’ve not seen anyone else going that route?
There’s a few others I know of. I think people are getting tired of the overly digital sound of some music.
What are your favourite plugins for all the producers out there?
I haven’t really used many VSTs. Spectrasonics Omnisphere is my go to synth which I use a lot. I’m not someone who uses lots plugins for my beats. I just use the Ableton EQs, iZotope Ozone sometimes for buss processing.
On one of the tracks I’ve got a Moog synth and just run the beat through a filter with the filter completely open and it just gives it a nice distortion. The Culture Vulture is a valve unit. I tend to run the beats just through that. Rather than using compression plugins and limiting I just go to outboard and crank the gain a little bit and go from there. I try not to over complicate the plugin chains at all.
How’s your summer been so far and how’s the schedule looking aside from the album promo? I bet it’s been a bit hectic with so many gigs.
It’s been hectic recently, especially the last couple of months. I’m in Japan on tour and then I go to Toronto for a few shows.
There’s going to be an album launch at the end of November which will be at The Pickle Factory. There’s Marcus’s night Soul:ution in Manchester and there’s a few around the country. It’s mainly UK & Europe for the rest of the year and then North America early next year. It’s pretty busy in that sense!
I did a couple of sets at Outlook earlier in the summer and I recently played at Sun & Bass which as you know is amazing! I love it there; you get to know so many people.
Do you have any funny stories from Sun & Bass or any of the other festivals?
The Thursday night Soul:ution takeover got a bit messy but not really. We’re not like some Ibizan hedonists who stay up for days though.
It was quite funny when we did the Outlook boat party. We didn’t have an MC for the boat mid-day and Marcus got on the mic in the end, he wasn’t MC’ing but would introduce everything, it was weird. We’re all low-key, all the DJs Soul:ution lot. That’s why we need DRS. It was gutting that he wasn’t at Sun & Bass this year but we’re doing some gigs out in Japan together.
Would you not count being at Sun & Bass, Outlook or all the other festivals as days off?
Yeah well at Outlook I did two sets there and I was with a group of friends who wanted to go out at night so I was busy day and night. Sun & Bass is quite restful but I didn’t have much time to chill out there. I was only there for 4 nights and you want to catch up with as many people as you can. I’m not complaining though! It’s been great and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been making tunes now for 11 years and I’ve been DJ’ing for almost 13 years. It’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s come late in life but I really appreciate it!
I bet when you started out DJ’ing all that time ago playing at big clubs and touring were dreams of yours. What are your thoughts on the closure of Fabric and the nightlife scene in London?
I think there’s a couple of big issues with it. It’s more than about Fabric. I think Fabric’s the first big institute putting into the wider consciousness that there is a pressure on the London club scene. The status of clubbing in UK culture has no protection, it’s so vulnerable.
As someone who has been to a lot of nightclubs around the world, I’ve never been searched as thoroughly as Fabric. The reasons for its closure sit uncomfortably with a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of the activities of the clientele at Fabric. Some of them are there to get messy, but there needs to be an acceptance that people have wanted to do that for as long as human have existed. In these days its ecstasy whilst in the past it was alcohol, or some mad stuff from plants etc. We shouldn’t be focusing on criminalisation of these people but we should be focusing on the education of the effects and looking at progressive means to make it safe rather than pushing it underground.
Six people have lost their lives in Fabric which is dreadful. It’s six too many but I don’t believe that if you take Fabric out of the equation it would be any less. Possibly it would be more as Fabric are experienced on how to deal with it, rather than pushing the music to some dodgy abandoned warehouse.
If Fabric can raise the money at least we can get transparency and if after a proper legal challenge that it turns out that Fabric were doing things that may not be allowed in the public at this stage which warrant it shutting down then fair enough. If it seems like it’s an agenda by a council that just want it out of their constituency at least we will know. At the moment we’re just totally in the dark.
From a personal point of view, I always enjoyed playing at Fabric, but it's always been a city where clubbers have had a choice of many different places. That needs protecting. Fabric was a massive icon and it attracted so many tourists. It was so important to the London club scene and I hope it has a success with its fight.
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26 Sep 2016