Lunice is a natural born entertainer who has the drive, sound, and dexterity to make us move. He was able to get a firm grip of the beats scene across Canada and the United States and has since launched into Europe’s future beats scenes. This young producer has put out remixes out on prominent labels such as Mad Decent, Young Turks, Big Dada, Top Billin’ and Scottish label LuckyMe. Our own future beats baron, Monk Fly, spoke to Lunice on the eve of his arrival in Australia for the Musica festival.
FFF: Hi Lunice, where might we be talking to you from?
Lunice: I’m in London at the moment, about to play London Eye later today, so I’m just going to be working on some music for now, it’s going to be a busy day.
For those who haven’t been lucky enough to have heard your music before can you give us an idea of how you found your sound?
I’ve always been into chop sample type instrumentals, but I wanted to do something a little more than that. When I did my first gig it wasn’t really the kind of music that I play now, it was more on the dance electro side of it, that’s what I really got into, electro music and dance music in general. But then after the first two, three gigs, I started to think about playing more of my own stuff out and in order to do that I couldn’t just play my hip hop jazz type beats, so I was trying to figure out how to mix in the sound of synthesizers and what not, into my whole rap type instrumentals, and that’s when I came across Rustie, Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott.
Those guys were really good pointing out where I could take my sound. So like with hearing Rustie, you can just hear his sound but with different influences from all types of genres, and that is pretty much how I’ve always worked. I come mostly from hip hop in general, so everything I do is presented in that way, and that’s what I hear in their music, so it gave me the big idea to keep pushing my sound, and eventually I figured out how to incorporate new rhythms in my time; at the right temp kind of thing, and it just evolve from there and after three years its become something where you can recognize my own sound.
I’ve been really enjoying your One Hunned and Stacker Upper EPs out on Lucky Me, how did a lad from Montreal end up on a label from Glasgow?
Yer well Lucky Me used to be a Glasgow thing but branched out to London and beyond and afterward I used to do a night called Turbo Crunk and we were such big fans of Lucky Me that we had Rustie, Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott over for one night. It was one of craziest nights I’ve ever had and from there it was pretty crazy cause more and more we would find ourselves at different gig together. Just by coincidence the promoters thought that it would be a good combo, so just from doing a bunch of shows we became good friends and then one day they hit me up and said “yo do you want to work on a record for Lucky Me” and I’m like “what, oh man, yer alright”.
You’re from Montreal and mentioned you used to run a night there, what’s the beat scene like at the moment and is your night still running?
The scene is a lot more crazy nowadays, five years ago it was more like we were doing our nights and people were like what’s this rap with all these sounds and stuff, but now it’s like groups of people starting their own nights coming from those nights that we had been doing, So it’s generally cool in terms of new faces and new talent and just new music in general, so it’s pretty cool in Montreal at the moment, it’s just gone way way out from there. our night stopped about two or three years ago though.
Your laptop got stolen on the first night of your UK tour, how did that affect your gigs?
Yeah that’s true, but I only missed one gig, but at least I showed up I was like “hi guys”, but yeah I coped. All the guys on twitter were like “you can do it” and they sent me toons, so from everyone’s support and being positive, I just was like alright, I gotta keep doing this tour. I had two days off, but hadn’t slept for three days, so I slept the first day and then the next day went out and got a new Mac Book Pro, downloaded all these toons, work on my set overnight and then the next night I played Manchester and killed it… so yer I coped pretty well.
In your live shows you invest a lot of energy B-Boying and performing, I’m wondering is that a really important part of your live set to you, and also how do you prepare yourself to give it that much energy?
I never thought it to be the most important part of the set, it just came naturally because I already had this showmanship kind of thing going already; I used to be a B-Boy and all that, so playing my first gig I remember I was like “well I’m on stage I guess i’m gonna perform right, so I just went on stage to have fun and kept in mind to have fun. In terms of getting ready for it, at the start I didn’t think about it, but it obviously tires you out a bit if you do it in succession for like a week or two or three, so I just make sure I’m physically good to go, but even if I’m tired I still go crazy, I just find ways to keep going.
Great! We’re looking forward to having your live show down in Australia for the first time. For all the production nerds out there can you tell us a bit about your studio?
It’s real simple, it’s straight up Fruity Loops, [laughs], sorry guys; I mean I got one synth and the rest are VSTs and what not, but in the end I mean it’s like who makes the record. I remember when I started to do beats, I did some research and I am a huge fan of 9 Wonder and he used Fruity Loops so I was like “let’s try that out”. The day I was able to chop samples and put a beat on top of it I was like “oh I love this” and I just felt comfortable with it… a lot of people are like it’s too simple but you find your way round it to make something complex. A lot of people I know use Fruity Loops too and the music the make you wouldn’t believe they made it in Fruity Loops, but you watch them do it and what’s really interesting is that everyone finds their own way around it to make something complex. Out live I use Ableton and a MPD controller.
A lot of producers these days write under different aliases to experiment with different genres, is there going to be any Lunice side projects?
Yer definitely. The main reason I choose my real name was, well first I couldn’t come up with anything clever, but also I was like if I use my real name it doesn’t pigeon hole me to just to rap beats, an example would be the remixes I’ve been doing with Diplo right. We’ve been working on new stuff together and it’s all been pretty experimental, doing different sounds with different chord progressions that we like, any ideas we get we record it and build it up into song, and that’s exactly how I like to work, it’s to always find different sounds.
I’ve also been doing some soundtracks, which is something I love too; in University I studied in film and communications, putting together stuff like that has always been my thing too. I always like to branch out into new things and you know in the future I definitely would like to work with a classical trained opera singer and not make it into some rap beat, it can be something completely different, as long as it’s something I’m intrigued and I want to do research on.
What have you been listen to of late and what’s been inspiring you?
I’ve actually been listening to game music, game soundtracks and listening to certain ways and techniques that the producer has used to create such big and orchestral sounds while limited to just midi sounds. Other than that I’ve been into the bigger than life sounds like the Self Made mixtapes and all that stuff; what’s really intriguing about it is I hear a lot more influences in there these days; and juke, I’m really loving juke, I mean the hi-hat rhythms and snares when they come in its crazy right, it’s all over the place but so together you know.
What’s the Purp Walk?
[Laughs] that’s one of those random thing [laughs], oh man, alright the Purp walk is practically just like Blood Stacking and Purp Walking together. I mean it makes purple right [laughs], so its like Blood Stacking and Purp Walking at the same time, I’m just being peaceful, I just want them to be together you know [laughs].
Well thanks for the chat Lunice, we look forward to having you down in Sydney to play Musica Festival Oct 22 in Tumbalong Park & The Chinese Laundry later on that night.
Thanks, looking forward to coming to OZ!
Interview by Monk Fly & Anna Powell on 19/10/11