Music Features

Lxury (Interview)

Looking out into the ocean, the hazy, summer sun settles on the horizon.  Here, on the beach, Annie Mac stands in her DJ booth addressing the thousands of ravers who are revelling in the beats of the well-received headline set, accompanied by a continually changing LED backdrop and jaw-dropping special effects.  Such was the extreme transformation of Weston-Super-Mare beach for the UK leg of the Corona SunSets festival that, without knowing otherwise, you could easily have believed that you were in Ibiza.  This unofficial video, posted to YouTube, helps to give some idea of the enormity of the event.

Spread over two stages and the first in a series of worldwide festivals, Corona SunSets UK featured some of the biggest names in the electronic music scene, including Disclosure, MK and Eats Everything.  The line-up also included some notable up-and-comers, including Kidnap Kid, Tieks and Lxury.

Lxury's music has an experimental quality that brings to mind artists such as Caribou and Four Tet, but with a sound more deeply rooted in house music.  His first EP, Playground, was recently put out on über-cool dance music label Greco-Roman (co-founded by Hot Chip's Joe Goddard) and, as he explained when he met up with Craig Stevens after his set at Corona SunSets, he's already looking forward to his next release.

Craig:  Are you used to doing sets so early in the day?

Lxury:  No, not at all.  It's usually really late at night, say 2am to 3am in the morning.  And I've never played on a beach before.  So it was quite an unusual set.  But it was cool, it was good.

C:  Are you fully recovered from Glastonbury last weekend?

L:  I wouldn't say I was recovered, no!  More that I've accepted that I'm back at home.  I wish I was back at Glastonbury.  I really like Glastonbury.

C:  How did your Glastonbury sets go?

L:  Really well.  The first set was at BBC Introducing.  That felt quite serious.  The second set was much more laid back.  It was in a bigger tent but it felt more chilled.

C:  Which other artists did you see at Glastonbury?

L  Well, I went home on the Saturday but, before I left, I saw Sun Ra Arkestra and Haim.  And I only saw Haim because I was dragged there by some girl friends.

C:  What did you spend the rest of your time doing?

L:  Exploring.  It's such a big place.  You just wonder around and stumble upon things, which is really good.  I had no idea where I was going.

C:  Did you end up seeing anything especially out of the ordinary?

L:  Sun Ra was pretty extraordinary.  It was like a gig from outer space.  And that's not me “enjoying Glastonbury” was ethereal; sci-fi and chilled; exactly what I wanted.

C:  You've just released your EP Playground.  Are you happy with the reception it's received?

L:  Yeah, it's been interesting, really.  The title track, Playground, is different to anything I've done before and it's been interesting to see how it goes down, to see the reaction to it.

C:  Has the reaction been as you had hoped?

L:  Definitely.  When I was making it, I knew it was different to anything I've done before.  It's faster and upbeat, and mixes things up a bit.  And it's gone down really well.

C:  How do you go about making your tracks?  Do you stick to one piece of software?  Do you always start with a sample?

L:  It varies.  There has to be an influence behind it.  A lot of people will start with a kick and build a track from there, but that's too methodical for me.  I like to go out with a dictaphone and record some things.  Or see some things and get my mind churning.  And then I'll go back and make a song on a computer.  I know it's not completely natural in that I rely on music software to build the track but it has to develop from somewhere.  Take us, sitting here, for example.  It's quite a strange environment; a green floor, a wooden table, carrots and tomatoes.  Even this is getting my brain going.

The whole Playground EP is quite strange.  It ended up being an upbeat, very danceable, happy EP, but I made it whilst living in a tiny room under the M4, the size of a Renault Scenic with no daylight.   It was quite a contrast to how I was feeling at the time.

C:  Do you think this more upbeat sound is indicative of the way your sound is developing?  Can we expect more of that sort of music going forward?

L:  I don't know.  I moved into a new house with a new studio about two weeks ago, and I'm just settling in.  I don't know what vibe to expect.  My next EP might well end up being more dark and down-tempo.

C:  By the sounds of it, you're anticipating another EP for your next release, rather than an album?

L:  Yeah, I'm definitely in EP mode.  I'm not getting into an album until that needs to happen.  And when that does, I'll probably fuck off to the Highlands of Scotland and properly get into it.

C:  I saw you talking to the Disclosure boys just a few minutes ago.  And you co-produced the track J.A.W.S. with them a while back.  How was it collaborating on a track?

L:  It was really easy to do.  I've known Guy [Lawrence] for many years, since college.  I had a tune and he said that we should release it on Method, which is his manager's label.  We agreed that he would co-produce it.  I was living in this tiny room, so we went to his studio to finish it off.

C:  Do you enjoy the collaborative process?

L:  Yeah, I really enjoy working with different artists.  I like it when there's juxtaposition; when there are artists that you wouldn't ordinarily expect to fit together.

C:  So, if you had to pick someone to be the juxtaposition to your style of music, who would you say that was?

L:  Kate Bush, maybe?  I really like Kate Bush.  And to work with her would be really interesting.  I wouldn't want to be disappointed though, she's one of my favourite artists and they always say you should never meet your heroes.

C:  In terms of what you've got planned for the rest of the summer, you were talking about another EP so presumably, you're still writing at the moment?

L:  Yeah, completely.  I write all the time; it's not as though I switch in and out of writing mode.  But now, I know what I'm writing is for my next EP.  And although there's no pressure, I'm conscious that a second EP says a lot about you as an artist.  When you put out your first EP, it's almost as though you're finding your feet.  But with the second EP, it feels a lot more serious.  A lot more people are watching where you're going.

C:  And in terms of live dates over the summer, where can people catch you?

I'm playing various dates in Europe but in the UK, I'll be at Secret Garden Party, Reading and Leeds, and Bestival.

The Corona SunSets series of festivals continues in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico on July 26, with dates in Acapulco, Toronto and Ibiza in the weeks that follow.  For more information and ticket details, check out the Corona SunSets festival website here.