Five Minutes With Lapalux
On the eve of one of Brainfeeder's finest's Australian tour.
Words by Jack Cain.
Stuart Howard is a 25-year-old producer from London who you may or may not of heard of before, he’s a resident releaser on Flying Lotus’s label Brainfeeder and if that doesn’t say it all about where this guy is at in the beats scene then I don’t know what can. His latest album Lustmore has been revered by top industry heads ever since it came out. Its emotionally charged and skilfully designed. We caught up with him ahead of his Australian tour this weekend to talk new music, pop music, pies and shit weather. A few days after the chat he actually went and dropped a free EP, so chuck it on below while you read:
Let’s talk new music, have you got some new stuff coming? And you just produced a song for Andreya Triana?
I just produced a new track, did that a while ago actually and she put it on her EP and she’s doing her thing with it at the moment. I got other stuff on the way, can’t really give away too many details but will have some freebie bits coming soon. This year just working on new music at the moment, just putting together some stuff for a new release maybe.
So where is your music at now? And your head space in comparison to where you were this time two years ago?
At the moment, I’ve just been kind of trying to find the sound of my next record. I got three or four tracks on my hard drive that are pretty much ready to go, but I’m trying to put together songs I’ve never done before, a blend of really hard stuff with some nice soft stuff around it, in a weird juxtaposed way. I’ve been trying to push things and see into the future and make a bit of a statement.
I’m pretty shit at explaining things, so the best way to think about it is I’ve been into like darker sort of sounding things, almost like techno. But I’ve always wanted to do something with that but take it out of the techno world. It’s all very vague. It’s a weird one. Very stressful, I’ve become so insanely intricate with all the details it's driving me up the fucking wall. I’ll spend months on a track now whereas back in the day I just was like, 'that'll do'.
Unrelated, but what’s your favourite food when you come to Australia?
Pies bruv! Pies on every corner, who the fuck eats pies like that? Pie Face on every corner, it’s pretty fucking good, it’s probably not the best pie ever but having the option to eat a pie is just insane.
Don’t they have pies in England? What’s your local food spot?
There is chicken shops everywhere where I’m at, there is four just down the road, pretty hard to walk past and you think I’m not going to have chicken again today but you just get it anyway. I’m in Brixton at the moment, used to live in Hackney, I have lived in Prague before too for a year.
How’s the scene over there then? For your niche.
You know what? There is so much shit going on all the time I can’t even keep ahead of it, I very rarely check my Facebook anymore because it's event after event, tonne of stuff going on in north east London and all that. I very rarely leave the house to be honest, if I do, it’s to go to a mate's house and I chill.
Yeah I don’t clubbing per say anymore, but still try get to a lot of shows. I can’t stay out till 5am anymore. Partied too hard when I was 18-22.
Yeah man I feel that too. In saying that I’ve been to some big nights where the after party started at like 10am the next morning, I was spangled when I left at 12pm. There has been a slew of good things, it’s a good time of year for gigs because the weather is shit and the only way not to be depressed is to go out with your mates.
I never thought how the weather might play over there, must be pretty dismal.
Honestly the only way to escape killing yourself in the apartment is to go out and get all cunted in a pub and come home when the sun is actually out at 5 in the morning and think 'shit yeah saw some sun today', then go sleep for two days.
I live in Melbourne, and people will say we have pretty shit weather - the other day we had a mini tornado/storm which was followed by burning hot sun. Typical of Melbourne.
People are always saying to me, "bring a jumper a coat and a t-shirt", because you never know when it’s going to piss down or when you’ll be running for the ocean. Today in London it just was dark and it just rained all day. And tonight is bon fire night, but yeah weather is shit.
Do people DJ on bon fire night and party or is it a family thing?
It’s more a family thing, people just burn shit.
Anyway yeah we should probably get back to the music, it’s like I’m on a bad date talking about weather. So who are some people you are really into right now?
Well I got shown Arthur Russell the other day by a friend of mine and she was like, "Oh you should listen to this", so I did and it's awesome, old school stuff, really beautiful melodies and cello etc. On the new music been really getting into Floating Points. DVA and Addison Groove - All Your Records, I really like that and a lot of Goldlink. Colin Stepson is a pretty bad man on the saxophone. Old school Paul Simon. Some old Japanese weird jazz. A varied palate of weird shit.
Do you find all this works its way into your own music?
Yeah totally I try and incorporate it all, I’ve been watching a load of old school 80s horror flicks. Lots of 80s synth, drum machines and guitar, it works its way in for sure. I recently got some hardware myself, got a drum machine and a Korg Poly 61 - I’ve been using it on everything. It’s been really nice getting the warmth of analogue.
Do you find using hardware to be better?
I make better beats when I’m dragging and dropping and clicking beats into Ableton, but I’ve got my Electron drum machine and it has a USB function and sends midi to the speakers without latency and the sounds from there are insane. And you would never get those sounds anywhere else so yeah I like that. It’s really gritty and crunchy. So just been fucking around with it all, and finding a way to incorporate my fun toys in my song writing.
Well you have made me want to hear what you are working on. If there was a pop artist that approached you and wanted you to make a song for them, who would you want that to be?
I’ve been approached, and I don’t know. Pop artists are on a different planet. I’ve been to meet people like big labels and people etc. Pop is very broad now. There is a number of people I’d love to work with, I’ve always said I’d love to work with Bjork. I get asked to do pop remixes and stuff, I just can’t really do it, I think 'Yeah I can do this, I’ll give this one a go', and I’ll start working on it and I’ll just be like, 'Ugh can’t do it, not my thing'. Then two days later you look on Soundcloud and someone else similar to you has done a remix of it. It’s just like the labels look for artists and pick 'em at random - whoever has that sound a little different. Don’t get me wrong it’s great, and if I tried hard enough I could surely produce a pop song kind of. I think. But at the moment as I said I just like doing what I do.
All music is subjective anyway right, anything can or cannot be pop. Money talks though now doesn’t it?
Yeah man touring and all that makes money but it’s hard to make a living now off music, people don’t realise you really do have to work really hard. And a lot of people just step out of it. There is a lot of stuff that comes with it and a lot of people drop out or they can’t do any more than that one banger, and people lose inspiration too. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making music, but being relevant is always questionable, and there are other things in music too, composing for films etc. Lots of behind the scenes stuff that goes on as well. All the blogs are changing now too, everyone’s much more selective about clickbait now, it’s all mainstream pop, Drake and all that, everywhere you look. It’s weird in a way, it’s all Facebook and shit.
The future of music is a worrying/exciting time.
These big cheeses at the big record labels, they make their artists work with all these strange people hoping they come up with the next big thing. It’s a big money game for them lot, but you just got to step away from it, life’s not all about what you got in the bank.
I want to feel like I’ve left behind some music that’s cool, not just some trash.
LAPALUX TOUR DATES:
Friday 13 November - OXFORD ART FACTORY, SYDNEY
Saturday 14 November - ROXANNE PARLOUR, MELBOURNE
Sunday 15 November - JACK RABBIT SLIM’S, PERTH
Friday 20 November - STRAWBERRY FIELDS, MELBOURNE
Saturday 21 November - TBC CLUB BRISBANE