The second major b2b interview showdown off the week: To celebrate the release of their Lifted EP (the largest body of work since their album Mountains) we asked Hybrid Minds who in the world they’d most like to interview… They told us LSB. So we made it happen.
Two acts at the very top of the deep D&B game: two very different approaches, several 2015 staple club bubblers and one shared sense of humour between them, read on for candid insight on sampling, collaborating, albums and rimming.
Yeah, you read that correctly…
LSB: So do you actually make music together these days or what?
Matt: Sometimes… Once every couple of months. Most of it is Dropbox stuff these days.
LSB: I can imagine that works quite well. I’d hate it if I’m tweaking a hi-hat for six hours with some guy just sitting next to me. Then you go home.
Josh: We have the same but we’re both shit so we’re quite comfortable with this now.
LSB: Collaborations are always better done online. You’re both sitting there and nothing’s happening and you’re like ‘shall we go for a coffee?’ Then nothing’s still happened when you get back. Or the next day. Popping stuff to each other online is a lot easier.
Josh: You can’t beat being in the same studio when you get a vibe going, though. Bouncing ideas quickly and really bringing something together.
LSB: I can imagine that’s the great thing about being in a duo. It’s hard A&Ring your own stuff. I’m quite jealous of you guys in that way. You’ve got to be really brutally honest with each other haven’t you?
Matt: Yeah. The problem is when one of you loves something and the other one hates it. That happens a lot with us!
LSB: It’s really hard to get that distance. You need a week away from it so you can remember what is was that made you fall in love with the idea in the first place.
Matt: That’s why I love starting tunes… And letting Josh finish them.
Josh: Yeah it’s great fun!
Matt: So Luke, we know we’re a huge influence on your music but who inspired you to get into drum & bass to start with?
LSB: I got into it at university so my closest friends got me into it. First I loved it just to rave to but then got deeper and deeper into it. High Contrast’s True Colours was a big album. Logistics, Calibre, Marcus Intalex; the second golden era of liquid… Around 2003. Logistics get me into actually making tunes. I bugged him for a few tips and he sent me on my way! 10 years of sitting in a dark room on my own followed… I wish someone told me the moment I took the snares out and put a rim shot in and I’d be on my way. All those years wasted on snares.
Matt: All you needed was a bit of rim.
LSB: They do say rimming will get you far in drum & bass…
Matt & Josh: Ha!
LSB: My question now… So how did you go from being Sensa & Haste to the guys we know and love today?
Matt: It was a similar story to your rimming really. We were trying to make it with the heavier, club stuff but felt we were flogging a dead horse. Then we added pianos into the music and things took off!
LSB: The first track of yours that really caught my attention was The Place and then suddenly Lost just blew up.
Josh: UKF helped with that one! That was a great moment for us as writers with original tracks.
Matt: Yeah, before Lost we had very loose perceptions of what’s good creative use of a sample and what’s essentially a bootleg.
LSB: It’s a fine line! All it takes is a one extra tweak and you’ve got a sample-based original and not a bootleg.
Matt: How about that one on Hospital? If You’re Here…
LSB: The one that everyone says is just Calvin Harris pitched down?
LSB: Everyone says it’s a Calvin Harris bootleg but Jakwob did a track called Fade which had the same chord progression. I wanted to do a fusion of the two and took all the samples out and replayed them. I had an idea of making something really dreamy and spacy so got the vocals re-done and…
Josh: Put a Calvin Harris donk on it?
LSB: Well… Yeah! It’s one of those things; people are always commenting like ‘nice tune Calvin’ on YouTube. But Hospital are super strict about sampling so if they’re happy with it then so am I. And anyway I think that chord progression came from an early 90s Scottish trance tune.
I was with my wife in the club and when it dropped I marched us out of the club home. I was like ‘shit! This sound exactly like a Calibre tune!’I dragged her out of the club and went through every Calibre tune to see which one it was. That’s how the tune got its name… I got so pranged out that I’d ripped him off accidentally.
Josh: Would you agree that nothing is original any more now?
LSB: Basically, yeah. It’s about putting an atmosphere around a melody. Every melody must have been done before, there’s so much music being made constantly that it’s impossible to be 100 per cent original now. It’s how you build everything else around it.
Matt: We get it all the time… We’re making something and suddenly think ‘Hold up! This sounds like something else we know!’ But you never know what it is… You’re thinking ‘have we ripped something subconsciously?’
LSB: Okay this is a mad true story… The first time I heard Leave was Marcus playing it in Fabric. About a year before it came out. I was with my wife in the club and when it dropped I marched us out of the club home. I was like ‘shit! This sound exactly like a Calibre tune!’
I dragged her out of the club and went through every Calibre tune to see which one it was. That’s how the tune got its name… I got so pranged out that I’d ripped him off accidentally. That’s why I don’t sample any soul or funk records because you know the big samples have already been used and you’re just unaware. I usually send any samples I find to Technicolour… He’s the guru on samples.
Matt: he’s so clued up isn’t he! Do you have a sample library?
LSB: Massively. It’s my biggest asset as a producer. I’ve been building it up for years and years. I do it a lot on trains going to gigs. I try and do it every couple of months to refresh it; sometimes you go through a hundred albums and find one sample. Other times there can be two massive samples in one track. It get addictive doesn’t it? I’m constantly searching for new sounds!
Matt: I’m a bit jealous… You’re ahead of yourself. If we want a sample we have to do some digging there and then.
LSB: I have to be. Because one sample doesn’t make a tune. You need a few to play off each other. Then you build something up around them and end up dropping the original sample because it’s not relevant any more.
Josh: We’ve stopped using samples a lot now. If we think a track is missing something then we’ll start looking for one. But it gets hard because we don’t know what we’re looking for!
LSB: Your sound lends itself well to that type of musicality. I normally find myself trying to force something that doesn’t fit!
Josh: Bollocks mate, everything fits on your tracks! So… How are you going to follow up The View?
LSB: There’s an EP on Spearhead which is done now and me, DRS and Tyler have indeed done a follow up… We’re hoping to debut it at Sun And Bass. Whether it will go down quite as well or not who knows? But the reaction has been so good for The View we had to do something…
Josh: Will it be under an alias?
LSB: Potentially yeah… LSB and DRS is a bit consonant heavy isn’t it? We need some vowels in there! I’ve got a similar question to for you… Lifted has been smashing it in the clubs for bit so tell me about your collaboration with Matt Banks.
Josh: Thanks. It was good fun. We actually recorded the vocals in a windmill.
LSB: A windmill?
Josh: Yeah. Bcee said it would be a good idea. He was like ‘let’s go and record this in a windmill it will be fun!’ And it was.
LSB: So is Lifted the new direction for you guys?
Josh: We’ve got some different bits on the boil at the moment but piano tracks just really lend themselves to vocals don’t they?
LSB: They do with you guys. So… Big Alan Partridge question now… When are you working on a second album?
Josh: When’s the LSB album coming, though?
LSB: If I started an album now, it wouldn’t get finished in years. I love EPs. The biggest problem with albums is making sure all the tunes get good exposure. But if you do EPs then you can get tunes in DJ’s boxes more often. Anyway… I asked you about your album!
Josh: We’re just enjoying making music at the moment aren’t we?
Matt: Yeah we’ve been thinking about the album, it’s been three years since we started the last one. But, like you, we’re really into EPs at the moment. We’re so OCD with albums; you can’t throw random things in together, it has to be consistent and really develop as you listen through it. And at this stage we haven’t found that spark that could trigger a whole album project. So we’re just making tracks and seeing where we go. Mind you, the last album started as an EP then got bigger and bigger.
LSB: Just enjoy making tracks. Like it should be!