Since emerging on labels such as Different Drumz and Soul Deep just over five years ago, Low:r has been sliding up the ranks with a supreme blend of funk.
Armed with a sound that’s so versatile it can very easily stretch from dark to light at the flick of Rhodes or snap of think break, there’s no wonder he’s become a mainstay at both BCee’s Spearhead and Liquicity’s Galacy. He’s no stranger to the likes of Program and Soulvent, too (to name but a few imprints)
This week, however, he’s back on Spearhead with one of his most comprehensive EPs so far – Beautiful Dreamer. Picking up where he left us on Galacy last year with his massive Beams EP, once again we find him stretching his trademark elevating signature even further as he ranges from sideswiping dancefloor gold to 3am, gurn-worthy tech.
Now currently working on a multi-genre release, we collared him to discuss dreams, snowboarding, violins and punching people in your sleep. Get to know…
Tell us the most beautiful dream you’ve ever had…
I don’t normally remember my dreams. But one dream I do remember in particular was one where I’m snowboarding and I go in between these two trees and went off a cliff! I remembered panicking a bit then realising I wasn’t falling, I was just carrying on but in the sky! I’ve never had a flying dream before or since, but that was a beautiful moment in my sleeping history.
Brilliant. Are you a snowboarder anyway?
Not recently but yeah I’ve been quite a few times before lockdowns and would love to go again soon!
Sick. So how about the worst dream you’ve ever had?
Oh man. I was playing a lot of Rainbow Six at the time and I dreamt I was at my grandma’s house having some type of party and loads of S.W.A.T people burst in. I don’t know if they were S.W.A.T or terrorist but eventually I was on my knees, I had a gun in my mouth and I was shot. I had it a few times. Really horrible one. And I also had one recently where I nearly punched my girlfriend who was sleeping beside me!
Yeah! I was dreaming I was in a single bed in my old bedroom like I did as a kid. Facing towards the wall. And I could hear breathing in my ear which was her sleeping. That was obviously her in real life, but in my dream I was thinking, ‘Who the fuck is that behind me?’ I had to summon all my strength mid dream to swing a punch but woke up as I did so and just stopped myself. She woke up as well like, ‘Are you alright?’
Blimey! On that dream flex what would be a dream come true?
Oh doing music full time. That’s an easy one. That’s what I dream of all the time.
I know you work in a factory and I think there’s a beauty in having a job which you don’t take home with you.
Yeah it gives me total headspace for music when I’m home, you’re right. In fact I take my music with me in my head when I’m working.
Haha. So let’s chat music now. The EP is out now, singles have been building up since last month. Tell us everything…
So yeah it kicked off last month with Make The Most with Aleya Mae. She really stood out to me when I first heard her on a track by Aperio. I got in touch and asked if she’s up for collaborating and sent over some chords. It’s not something I’d usually do, but she liked the vibe and she wrote over the top of it and it worked out really nicely. At the same time I was writing the music, she was writing the topline and her lyrics. It came together in a really nice way.
That’s great. The whole EP feels like a continuation of your Beams EP from last year. It feels like the most accomplished stuff you’ve done. Like Low:r 2.0!
Thanks man. I appreciate that. I feel it’s representing me faithfully. That’s what I want to be known for; a bit of everything. Not just liquid or funky tunes but all kinds of styles and darker aspects. For me creative it’s really important for my sanity.
Quite often you’ll have a lot of those elements in one track but it’s the funk that connects everything…
Yeah I think so. Even on Beautiful Dreamer, the funk is deep in there. And neo soul, I love neo soul and music on that type of vibe.
I Can See is my favourite track. I love the techno vibe on that with the arpeggios. It’s another different side to you again…
That’s my favourite too. That’s a bit heavier to what I usually do and I loved making it. the arpeggiators were a challenge. I played a demo of this before lockdowns and it went down well but I’m looking forward to playing this finished version out.
Lockdowns were brutal for taking gigs away from the creative process weren’t they?
Absolutely. You do need that road test aspect of the process. That’s the vital part of the whole scene and makes seeing different DJs exciting; you don’t know what you’re going to hear but you know there’s definitely going to be some exclusive bits.
Definitely! Going back to your last EP Beams for a second, that felt a bit like a mini-album at eight tracks!
It was a bit of an album wasn’t it? But I think if I was going to do a proper album then I’d sit down and write it cohesively and really put thought into how it works as a body of work. That said, I’m very proud of it as a release and it’s had some of my best tunes I’ve ever done to date.
Chubby Bubbler and Oooga were percies. The range on those two!
Chubby Bubbler is my favourite from that one, too. It’s such a vibe dropping that in the club. The reactions of people is always brilliant. It’s kind of got a jump up energy but goes in a different direction to what you’d expect. Shouts to SiLi on that one. I loved collaborating with him, he’s a very clever guy.
Yeah he’s done some amazing tracks! In the spirit of collabos, if you could make a tune with anyone, who would it be?
Anyone? In drum & bass or outside?
Anyone in the world!
Wow too much choice, but Bonobo would be really cool and he’s a massive influence on me. Hearing a D&B tune from him would be great.
Love Bonobo! Especially how he’s never sat still. Going right back to Dial M For Monkey – he’s always been very eclectic and diverse. He started in beats and now he’s currently making house music!
Yeah he’s amazing and really inspiring. Black Sands is a beautiful album, Citrus is a personal favourite. Such a tune.
Yes! Zooming back a bit further… Your first musical experiences were playing the violin in orchestras, right? What are your memories of that?
Just being taken to these places and playing music, really! I was so young, I wasn’t in control of what was going on – my parents were directing me a little and encouraging me in that direction. But I really appreciated it. I was taken to places I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to as a kid and done things that not all kids got to do, it was a cool experience. There was no tour bus though, no parties or anything. If we were lucky there’d be a bit of food!
Haha. If I threw a violin at you now, could you play it?
I’d be well squeaky! Give me 10 minutes to warm up and I’d be okay. I used to do Irish jig style things on it which I used to enjoy playing.
Can we hear your violin roots on anything you’ve done as Low:r
I actually played it on the Journey which is an old track of mine from 2020. I got a friend of my mum playing the cello and I’m in the background on the violin. It’s a bit squeaky and took me ages to do so that’s why I haven’t played it on any more tracks!
That’s cool, though. That’s link between old Low:r and new Low:r… What do you think the nine year old version of you would make of what you do now?
He’d love it! Music was always a focus for as long as I can remember so knowing I’d be doing stuff like this would definitely get the young Low:r thumbs up.
Sick. Finally… What’s up next?
I’m finishing off some tunes for Liquicity which is a bit of a multi-genre thing too so I’m excited about that.
What else does the world need to know about Low:r right now?
Keep an eye out for more music. I’m writing a lot more music constantly!