A Letter From The Editor
Louis La Roche will always have a close place in my heart. To me, he represents freedom, he represents adulthood. I can recall driving in my very first car, while the sun-sets, down a beach road his “The Peach” EP blaring on my speakers. It was a sense of identity. I’ve listened to this man’s music for nearly a decade, so not only was it surprise when he responded to my email but even moreso finding out his name wasn’t Louis.
DnM: Thanks for getting up early for this. I know time zones can be tough.
Louis La Roche: No worries! I’m used to it! Thanks for wanting to do this interview with me.
DnM: Trust me, pleasure is all mine. I am more than happy at the chance.
Today, I really want to talk about your music. There’s enough interviews out there and articles that cover the basics, I thought it be nice to dive into the thick of it.
Louis La Roche: Sure, let’s see where this takes us.
DnM: But before we do that, let’s start off with a nice easy ice-breaker. What’s your favorite Micheal Jackson album?
Louis La Roche: It changes from Thriller to Bad and back again all the time. At the moment I’m back to Thriller. For me it’s all about the production. I’m such a lover of the Post-Disco sound, and that album really started the trend. Mixing Funk and Soul with Drum Machines, Synthesizers and taking the worn out Disco sound of the 70’s into a new decade.
DnM: Thriller is an amazing album, I could listen to the B-side for days. It really set the bar.
Louis La Roche: It’s all about the deep-cuts! Baby Be Mine, Lady In My Life, Human Nature. All amazing!
DnM: I’ve spent the last little while in the depths of the internet reading interviews, articles blog posts, so I’ve got a pretty good idea…And you obviously know who you are. So for those who don’t, I’m going throw some basic info on the table to catch readers up to speed. You tell me what I got right, what I got wrong, and anything missing. Sound good?
Louis La Roche: Haha, sounds great!
DnM: You’ve been producing under the moniker Louis La Roche for nine years. The name is largely an homage to the ‘french-touch’, one of your biggest musical influences next to the late 70s and early 80s disco, boogie and funk. You love to sample random movies and people quotes. Your name isn’t actually Louis and your not actually french. Did I miss anything important?
Louis La Roche: Pretty much sums me up! The name actually comes from one of my heroes, Stuart Price, and his alias ‘Jacques Lu Cont’. He’s an English guy with a French Moniker. His sound is a mixture of Disco, 80’s and House music. Something that I’m also hugely influenced in.
DnM: That’s super cool, had no idea of either of those things. It definitely carries some meaning then. Now, you were generous enough to give me an early leak of your up and coming album “Sleepless Nights”, which is awesome and I want to get to that, but I want to talk about your music and its evolution.
Louis La Roche: Thanks, that means a lot! Sure, let’s do it
DnM: Your blew up on the scene with your first EP “The Peach” and tracks like ‘Love’, largely because it was SO FRENCH people that it thought it was made by Thomas Bangalter.
What was it like having your early work compared to the greats? What do these early albums mean to you, what did they represent?
Louis La Roche: I guess I was still finding my feet within the music industry. Trying to find out what my sound was. I was only 17 when I made The Peach EP, so I was very much still learning my craft. Being labelled as ‘French House’ was an honour. All those guys were huge inspirations to me. Being considered as part of the scene felt great. I think a lot of what makes those songs so great is the simplicity. Anyone can put a Disco sample on a 4 minute loop, but it’s knowing how to treat it. Building up the tension and knowing when less is more. What I was doing in those early EP’s, was just learning from them. Dissecting what techniques they used and applying them to my own music.
DnM: It’s was very much like your own ‘Discovery’ in a way, an introduction to the scene, a heavy focus on those house loops and samples, and all within the French House genre.
Louis La Roche: Oh yeah definitely, and speaking of Discovery, we all owe our careers to Daft Punk. I know these days I’m considered more Nu Disco than French House, but my love of that sound will never fade.
DnM: Now, Dusty Cassette has a lot more slow groove and funk elements to it, it feel a little more natural as opposed to Peach and it’s house-french-ness.
Louis La Roche: I think that’s just a progression of the sound. Slower BPM’s seem more interesting to me. It’s not just me either, I’m hearing a lot of other ‘House’ artists suddenly experimenting with slower BPM’s. Oliver is a great example of that. I think you can fit a lot more space and ghost notes into a groove when it’s slower. That’s what i’ve found anyway!
DnM: Any idea what BPM that album was around?
Louis La Roche: Dusty Cassette EP? Well there’s slower songs like ‘Wandering’, which is essentially just an 80’s slow-jam. So that’s got to be around 100BPM. Even the more up-beat songs were around 120BPM, a lot slower than the 128BPM of House.
DnM: Right on. Now you are releasing Sleepless Nights which, in my opinion, is a bit of a deviation from your roots and some of your more recent releases. It has a much European, or even UK vibe to it, it’s a little more progressive. How would you characterize the sound?
Louis La Roche: It’s definitely different! I think it’s really a test of what people call ‘Funky’. House can be Funky sure, but what about RnB? G-Funk? Synthwave? It’s really just me experimenting with how far I can push the boundary of Funk and Disco. Injecting Funk elements into other genres and taking the listener on a journey, rather than 13 club tracks.
DnM: You know, now that you mention it, I totally get that. Especially in songs like ‘Speaker Response’ with that heavy leading bass.
Louis La Roche: yeah definitely!
DnM:As someone who is experimenting on the fringes, any sounds or styles you think could be the next big thing? Personally I love the Disco/Funk Hip-Hop coming out.
Louis La Roche: I love that Modern Pop is basically Disco now. In fact I don’t know why someone doesn’t just say that Disco is back! So many top 10 hits all have a strong Disco groove. I really love the new Katy Perry single ‘Chained To The Rhythm’, Max Martin is a genius. He knew that was a trend that’s sneaking in. It’s been sneaking in since Random Access Memories. So in terms of Pop Music, I think it’s just gonna be more of that. As for the underground…It’s hard to say. Future Bass seems like it’s here to say, it’s almost replaced the hole that Dubstep left. I’d go as far to say that, going back to what I said earlier, slower BPM House is coming up. I’m taking about 100BPM House music. I think Gesaffelstein started it. Hip-Hop seems to be going back to it’s roots again but mixing Trap with it. So sampling again and getting the groove back, but applying the modern techniques and drum sounds to it.
DnM: I absolutely love the reemergence of disco music, as you can obviously tell, but I don’t think it will be fully back until a fashion and some type dancing comes back. Right now it’s a just glorious music that’s hiding in plain sight, and again we have Daft Punk to thank for that.
DnM: Any personal favorites off this album?
Louis La Roche: It’s always been there really, it’s never really left. Even before Daft Punk released RAM. I think it just had a bit of a lull when the EDM boom happened.
Favourites? Erm…stand outs are ‘Back To You’, ‘Holy Ghost Love’ and ‘All I Had’.
DnM: All the slow jams. I’m noticing a trend here…
Louis La Roche: When I did my first album ‘To Rest Is To Rust’, I focused so heavily on my vocals, and when I started the sessions that led to ‘Sleepless Nights’, the demos all had full vocals on. ‘All I Had’ for example, had a full song structure, verse, chorus etc. I just found myself falling out of love with my voice. So I decided to hide it. Saturated in reverb, pitch shifted, edited, it’s even in the percussion.
DnM: It’s a really nice track, it’s got some great 80s elements to it with a dash of future. Cool! I had no idea you sung.
DnM: Your ‘Rubbish Ending’ samples someone speaking to the nature of the music industry, how fake it is and to put it lightly, it’s ‘business nature’ (before breaking in some washed out chill-wave-ness). As an insider, is this the state of the industry?
Louis La Roche: Oh yeah, I hate the fucking music business, haha! It’s not the industry I hate, it’s the business side of it. More and more people are staying away from the majors though. I was reading yesterday that Chance The Rapper is turning down $10M offers from labels, just to stay independent.
DnM: It’s a terrible business. I’m not able to see it from the artist perspective, but I have seen on every other side and it’s nasty and cut throat.
Louis La Roche: I’ve been lucky enough to jump in and out of that side. I’ve sat in rooms with people who manage massive international icons, who’ve told me to ‘write this kind of music’, just because that’s what sells. That would make me a sell out, and that’s not what I’m all about
DnM: The funny thing is you’ve been able to make Louis La Roche a full time viable career even after leaving the British Academy of New Music. What advice can you give up and comers to have similar success? What is the industry missing?
Louis La Roche: You’ve done your research! Yeah I actually dropped out of college. I was studying when LLR started and over the course of a few months LLR was getting bigger and bigger. I got a management company, booking agent and did my first few remixes, whilst still at college. I actually did my remix of ‘Basement Jaxx – Raindrops’ whilst in college! A tutor played bass on it, haha! So in the end I had to quit, I couldn’t juggle them both…As for advice. I would say limitations work. Limit yourself to 3 VST’s or Synths. Learn them like the back of your hand, and then you’ll be able to make those sounds you hear in your head and in your favourite records. Also, know that learning being read and play music really isn’t essential. Some of the best artists in the world don’t read music. Paul McCartney doesn’t know how to read music, and I think he knows how to write a good song or two! As for the industry side, just be yourself. Be inspired by those around you, but find your niche. Too many young producers, make a song and put it up on Soundcloud as soon as they’re done with it. Never ever do that! Sit on it for a week. Go back and listen to it, you might find that you want to add more to it. You’ll hear it on a different set of speakers and suddenly realise that something sounds way too loud or quiet. Don’t rush, it’s not a race!
DnM: Thanks, always nice to hear that. Couldn’t agree more, that’s really good advice. Doing it for the right reasons, patience and passion fame and fortune. Now to end it. I ask this question to everyone, originally due to namesake, but now moreso to understand an experience.If you could do any drug, with any person, past or present, who and what would it be?
Louis La Roche: Ecstasy with Quincy Jones but in the 80’s. Can you imagine what Quincy would come up with if he was so fucked up?
DnM: Haha, that be some interesting music for sure. I want to say say thanks for taking time out of your morning again.
Louis La Roche: Thanks for staying up, its been great!