The Norfolk-based producer on James Holden's iconic electronic label who played at Bloc last weekend experiments with new analogue sounds
As one of the key members of the Border Community massive (alongside legends in the electronic field, Nathan Fake and James Holden), Norwich-based Luke Abbott, has already graced labels elsewhere like Output whilst remixing Dan Deacon and Hivern Disc's John Talabot. The Border Community label ranging from electronica to techno and post-rock releases prides itself on its eclectic roster, focusing on un-categorisable dance music, with Abbott as one of its core producers. Having played the UK's biggest electronic music festival, BLOC, last weekend, the young producer caught up with Dazed to chat about his recent ventures with more analogue equipment moving away form the typical Ableton presets of the past.
Dazed Digital: Having song names like Holkham Drones etc, I guess you've had a lot of influence on your music from growing up in Norfolk. Are you still based there? How does moving away from those surroundings shape your music?
Luke Abbott: UEA is a weird place, I studied there for a while. I still live in Norwich, I don't really want to move away, there's a lot going on here at the moment. I suppose environment does affect you, but I don't really think I'm particularly aware of it... I don't make music about landscapes.
DD: Do you consider your work 'dance music' as it may not traditionally be the most dancefloor-orientated stuff? Or have we got it all wrong?
Luke Abbott: I don't know anymore. When I started playing around with electronic music I absolutely hated 4/4 beats, and wouldn't have ever imagined myself playing in clubs, but that's changed over time. I still think my music is quite far away from straight-up techno, but there's that dance music blueprint underpinning it all. Maybe it's like the second-cousin of dance music. Once removed.
DD: You're playing Bloc this year, have you been before? What's the whole experience like there in such a strange place like Butlins?
Luke Abbott: I haven't been to Bloc before, but I used to go to the Dedbeat festivals, which were the same rave-at-Butlins thing. I love it, although it can get a bit apocalyptic at times... the line up this year is great though, there's lots of things I'm hoping to see.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
Luke Abbott: That's a difficult question because I'm feeling like I'm heading in lots of different directions at once right now. I'm playing live quite a lot at the moment and I've recently been changing my live setup, so I'm looking forward to getting used to that. I'm working on some new music, but it's in very early stages; I've been doing a lot of live-takes in the studio of new tracks and I'm trying to work out if I can do a whole record that way or not.
I like the challenge of it, things like not having the opportunity to change things after they're recorded. And also the simplicity of it, because I'm working mostly with analogue modular systems in the studio at the moment I can't really save anything I do, so all there is at the end of a session is a stereo recording of what I've done, no stupid Ableton file to open 1000 times and stress over. But like I said, it's in very early stages right now and I feel a bit like I've forgotten how to do anything, so I'm trying to rediscover what it is about music I liked in the first place.