Filed under: Interview
Most of us at some point or other have encountered the quasi-clairvoyant clubber, a person who, with sage-like authority and ill-deserved enthusiasm, regales you with the Future Of Dance Music between tequila shots. Next time this happens, unless they mention what Luke Fair is up to these days, explain you have to organize your sock drawer, and do a runner.
Emerging from the dynamic Canadian scene he helped to shape, the man who was recently labelled “Future Hero” by Deep Dish and Danny Howells is generating some of the boldest and most genre-busting sounds out there. In a world where access to cutting edge music is, thanks to leaps in technology and downloads, no longer a privilege of the elite, the sheer volume of music available is gobsmacking. The flip side is that there is also a lot of rubbish to wade through, so we should be thankful we have people like Luke to do it for us. Hailing from the Desyn Masiello camp of scouring the four corners of the globe for the rarer tracks, then re-editing and customizing them until they have that unique touch, Luke is forging such new paths in creative electro-house that anyone seriously interested in where dance music is headed should take heed. And for the latest example, check his contribution to the Bedrock Original Series (OS_0.3) released last week. We had a chat with him before his set at Unit, where we were pretty chuffed to find out what his favourite album is…
Interview & Introduction by Matt Cotterill (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency : Hi Luke, well let me start by thanking you for taking your time to do this.
Luke Fair : No problem…
HRFQ : You’ve been to Japan before…
Luke : Once.
HRFQ : How does it feel to be back ?
Luke : Great! last time I was here, I believe I was only here for one night so I never really got to see anything, whereas this time, I am here for two nights, so hopefully this time I will get to see some of Tokyo.
HRFQ : Do you plan to see anything in particular while you are here ?
Luke : Well I am dying to go to a baseball game, man, so maybe I can get tickets for a game tomorrow night or something, we’ll see.
HRFQ : Good luck with that. I think it was 2003 when you were last here with Desyn Masiello, is that right ? He was here two months ago, and we got a chance to talk to him. It seems that the two of you as DJs, you scour so many places to find so much eclectic stuff, then you re-edit this, and customize this, and sort of make the tracks your own. How far do you see your style and his style as compatible ?
Luke : Well, I think they are very compatible, we play a lot of the same songs, and the style is kinda similar, so that is what turned out to be great when I was touring with him last summer, and it never really mattered who went first or second, because we are very much along the same lines and we take a lot of pride in trying to push new sounds and to customize tracks and make them a little more personal and stuff.
HRFQ : Do you think that approach is the direction dance music is heading, generally ?
Luke : Well, yeah, I guess it kinda is now, because nowadays with all the file sharing programs, there is nothing really exclusive anymore to like certain DJs, whereas, like 10 years ago, Sasha would be playing records nobody would ever get the chance to play or anything like that but now, now there is nothing exclusive, so by re-editing stuff and really, really digging for more sort of obscure stuff that is the only way nowadays to stand out above the rest. So I definitely think it is the future, yes.
HRFQ : You are a pioneer in the Canadian scene and have been instrumental in bringing it to the forefront. What is your take on the scene in Canada at the moment ?
Luke : Oh I think it is great, I haven’t really played outside Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, ‘cos that is where the scene is best, and in my opinion Toronto and Montreal have the best clubbing scene in North America; better than anywhere in the US that I have played. And I have played in pretty much every city there. But yeah, the scene is doing very very well, and where I am from in Toronto, there is a scene for almost every kind of music, so there is a huge jungle scene, a huge techno scene, huge progressive, huge house, so it’s very good.
HRFQ : What do you think Japan needs to do to push itself onto the world’s stage ?
Luke : I have no idea… ha ha!… I am just not that familiar with the Japanese scene, so …….I mean, I have only been here once before, but with guys like Osamu who are putting out great tracks being played by Digweed, Sasha, I think that is a huge boost.
HRFQ : You know the album just released by Pole Folder, ‘Zero Gold’, it was a Bedrock release, the first artist album on Bedrock. You’ve also had a connection with Bedrock, for a few years. If you were to release your own album, would it be through Bedrock ?
Luke : Well it definitely will be through Bedrock as per my contract… ha ha! ……..No, I signed when I was very young. But that is a long way away, I am not at the level where I can do a full artist album and be satisfied, so that is years away.
HRFQ : You did the ‘Original Series,’ the third installment. Can you tell me a little bit about the approach you took to that ?
Luke : Sure, basically I tried to fit the spectrum of my live sets into 70 minutes, so I was really happy with how it turned out, it has got a bit of everything, and a lot of re-edits in there as well, very funky, melodic kind of stuff. And I just finished that a couple weeks ago it will be out, June 20th I think.
HRFQ : Yeah I think we saw a sneak preview on one of the mail order web sites.
Luke : Oh..ok, yeah.
HRFQ : Well I didn’t recognize a lot of stuff on there so it looks pretty exciting. Can you talk a bit about influences, because way back when you did the U2, ‘Silver and Gold’, I think a lot of the Japanese readers would like to hear a bit of a story about what got you into dance music in the first place, coming from what looks essentially like a rock background?
Luke : Yeah, well, it was just how most of us get into it you know, one really good club night, for me it was Derek Carter that first ever drew me in, that was the first big DJ I ever saw and I was blown away! As for influences beforehand that are still influencing me now, I don’t know, I kinda went through a phase with every kind of music when I was growing up- hip hop, rock, industrial, pretty much everything, so I can’t really pick anyone specific, probably in terms of dance music Primal Scream were the ones who really did it…
HRFQ : So ‘Screamadelica’ is the best album ever, yeah ?
Luke : Hands down!
HRFQ : Thanks Luke! Can we move on to the studio setup? I think I read somewhere that you use Cu-Base, to sequence and Soundforge to edit things in, are you still using that same set up?
Luke : Yeah, I switched, Soundforge, is for PC, and I recently bought a G4 Laptop, a Mac, so I still have Cu-Base in that, but I do all my editing in Pro tools, so my setup is still pretty ‘ghetto’ like, I don’t have any external synthesizers or anything, it is all sample based, and I have a few virtual synthesizers like ‘reactor’ which is the main one, that I use.
HRFQ : How about the DJ set up; any new technology that you have expanded to, Traktor, or…
Luke : Er…not really no, I’m all CD when I play now, I don’t bring any vinyl, I buy most of my music on vinyl ‘cos it is the only format you can buy it on, but then i just record it in, and it is for a few reasons, that way I can play my edits and also for ease of travel, you can just carry all your music on your back on the plane.
HRFQ : That’s what DJ Gregory was saying, that it was just easier to carry, you can’t bring all this massive equipment over.
Luke : yeah yeah,
HRFQ : It defeats the purpose of it.
Luke : DJ Gregory was here recently ?
HRFQ : Yeah, about 2 or 3 months ago.
Luke : I love his production!
HRFQ : It’s just so passionate, he calls it [thick French accent] ‘La Passion’ …ha ha! Ok, Your all time favorite DJ stroke Producer ?
Luke : mmm….I don’t know…
HRFQ : Ok, your top 5, in no order at all. It used to be Satoshi Tomiie, I think.
Luke : Yeah that was a long time ago, I still really respect what he does but his music doesn’t really fit sort of what I am going for now, but er…..lately I have been really into Sebastian Leger, Sasha will always be up there, because I think right now he is forging a new path with his whole live set up, I don’t know, I might have to say Derek Carter again ‘cos I saw him recently and loved every song he ever played.
HRFQ : Could we ask for a sneak preview of what your set tonight might be like ?
Luke : Hopefully funky all the way through, erm….kind of dirty at first and then maybe more melodic toward the end, in a nutshell !
HRFQ : Well, Luke it has been really nice talking to you. One more question about the Canadian scene- a long time ago, I think I read in an interview somewhere you said that a lot of the upcoming artists were a bit scared to do something you did, which was to make this big mix, and then you thought well ‘I’m going to send it to the big names,’ to John Digweed, Pete Tong, what have you, and it worked, they took an interest. You mentioned a while ago that people in Canada are still a bit reluctant to do that, that the scene wasn’t mature enough, what do you think about that now ?
Luke : I think definitely now it has changed, because there are a lot more artists now, who are putting stuff out on the bigger labels and it is making a better name for themselves, but it think it is just that Canadians are very modest in general, so I guess a few years ago they thought, OK, it is always going to come from the UK or US or something like that, and they just don’t see themselves as people who can put something out on a label like… You know, I thought the same thing when I started out, I thought I had to go through the steps, you know, sign to a small label, but if you know what you are doing it doesn’t matter, I mean music- as much of a cliche as it sounds- doesn’t have any boundaries. I mean it doesn’t matter where you live if you still have it in your head.
HRFQ : Definitely, we fully agree! Well on that note Luke, I want to thank you again for your time, all the best for the future, and once again thanks for saying Screamadelica is ‘hands down’ THE best album possibly ever!
End of the interview
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