Interview: Lapalux

LapaluxcarouselwebtemplateAs the British arm of Brainfeeder, the label set up by genius producer Flying Lotus, young producer Lapalux, aka Stuart Howard is an enviable position.

He caught the ears of the Brainfeeder label owner back in 2010 and was quickly snapped up by the imprint. Acclaimed early EPs were followed by a number of remixes including Bonobo, Andreya Triana, Lianne La Havas amongst others, before his debut album Nostalchic arrived in 2011. It set the benchmark sky high for Stuart but something he hopes to surpass with this year’s follow up Lustmore. The new record draws on his love for old film scores and beats and features further collaborations with Andreya. We caught up with Stuart to find out how he made the LP and why he compares the new record with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

How did you first get into music?

My dad had a pretty varied selection of LPs he used to play really loud in the living room when I was a kid and I guess that was the start of my listening life.

When I was growing up I wanted to create things and make sounds and use tape machines in weird ways to get sounds out of them that they weren’t supposed to make. I was pretty obsessive over certain parts of songs and never found the patience to appreciate a full album as a kid. It all kinda blended up in my head, all these bits and pieces of different songs and textures and sounds but back then I didn’t really know how to put them into creating something.

How did you start making your own music?

When I got older and I started getting to grips with computers and software and then that was a way in which I’d harness it all and experiment with all these different ideas and sounds; from recording people talking at school and manipulating it into weird beats to messing around with time stretching and reversing sounds. It was a steady learning process I taught myself.

Where do you look for musical inspiration?

I don’t really try and look for it. I usually just wait for it to come to me. I have a hard time listening to music when I’m in the process of making it so I try and get inspiration from other sources like books, art or films.

You were first British artist to connect with Brainfeeder – how did that feel to hook up with the label?

It felt great. It was an amazing to know that I could further my career and know I had something unique and my own sound.

I think that’s the main thing; having your own sound, that and being recognised for it. To be associated with one of my idols Flying Lotus is a great achievement and I’m very grateful to be a part of that.

What do and you Flylo talk about? 

We catch up when we’re touring together mainly or when he or I are in the same part of the world. We chat about all sorts of stuff, you know, music, problems, touring life. We text one another about our tracks usually. I’ll be like ‘that new shit is insane, man’ and he’ll say the same to me. I never tell him that him saying that makes me die every time.

Lustmore is your second album – what did you hope to achieve with the record?

I really focused on perfecting the sound of this album. Every track on the record went through a really rigorous process. I would ask myself with each track, is this part necessary? Is this section working? I have meticulously piece by piece built this album into what it is. It was a real pain/pleasure experience for me. I also really wanted to write songs on this record not just ideas and movements. I wanted each song to stand out by itself as well as amongst the rest.

What was the highlight of the recording process?

Finishing Puzzle was probably the most satisfying part of the process for me. I’d been working with it for months and months but something didn’t sit right for me and then i asked Andreya to come in and lay some vocals down. Then to top it off, getting my mate Mike to lay some saxophone down really nailed it. It felt like the puzzle had been completed.

You’ve likened the album to the bar scene in The Shining – could you explain more?

Yeah, both in the sound of the album and in the making of. I really focused on making this album an imaginary visual experience and gathered a lot of inspiration from film soundtracks and the films themselves. That scene in particular describes the way the album looks to me as a kind of visual representation.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I’d love to score a film with Franco Micalizzi.

What do you prefer – remixing or making your own material?

Making my own material. Though remixing is fun sometimes creative freedom is hindered by some labels when they want something a certain way. If the label are open to ideas and have approached me for something in my own style then it’s a great process and I love messing with tracks that have already been recorded.

As a producer you’re held very high esteem – what are your top tips for new and aspiring producers?

I think the main thing is letting the music come to you. If you try and force it simply won’t happen. Also, don’t expect to run before you walk. I learn something new about production and techniques every time I work on something, it is endless. The number one thing is to try and find and create your own sound. It takes a lot of time and effort and patience but don’t give up.

What’s your favourite sound? 

Tape hiss and dirt.

What does the future have in store?

I’ve started work on my third album so I’m working with ideas for that at the moment. Working on the live show and touring. That’s the near future pretty much covered apart from the top secret things of course.

The new Lapalux album Lustmore is released on 7 April 2015.

lapalux.com