Interview: Five minutes with Louis La Roche

Hailing from Norwich, UK Louis La Roche has sprung forth with his latest single, ‘Better ft. Lucy Pearson’ via Ever After Records. The track, premiered via Magnetic Magazine, is a playful spin on a breakup song set in a French house meets funk style.

Born as Brett Ewels, the entrepreneur bought his first pair of turntables at age 12 before he started producing his own music at 14. A few short years later saw him start his own record label, Ever After Records following which the remixes started flowing. The British talent has received over 40 Million Youtube views, with his remix for Crystal Bats receiving over 1.8 Million views alone, and over 23 Million plays on Spotify in total the stage has been set for Louis La Roche to becoming a household name.

Eager to learn more about this shooting star, we sat down for an exclusive interview with the prolific nu-disco producer.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Mainly because that’s all I know! I’ve been doing this full-time since I was 17. I enjoy the escapism, the challenge, and it’s just a lot of fun. I write music most days, so it’s a job but it’s also a passion.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The idea, the sound comes later. I always start with an interesting chord progression first, then I like to dig deep into creating sounds that are nostalgia but also forgotten. I often research oldskool tricks and production techniques from the ‘80s/’90s and try to see what a modern take on them would be.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

There are 11 tracks on the new album and seven collaborators. Every song has vocals on and there are no instrumentals. All but one collaboration was done remotely, with people from LA, New York, London, and Norwich. There’s a couple of big names too, UK Synth- pop singer-songwriter Frankmusik (producer for Ellie Goulding/Erasure/Tinchy Stryder), and LA singer/musician Ryland Blackinton (Ex-member of Cobra Starship, songwriter for Kelly Clarkson/Goldroom/The Night Game).

What’s on your current playlist?

Paul Epworth’s debut ‘Voyager’ is great

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I always talk to anyone that approaches me. Sometimes people travel really far just to come to one of my shows, so I always try to live up to whatever their expectation of me is. People often come up to me when I’m playing and just want to shake my hand. I try to make my shows a happy, carefree and fun experience, it’s all about the music.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Layering, detuning, tape saturation, quintuplet swing, gated reverb, and just sticking to a few synths that I know like the back of my hand. It’s that knowledge of the few tools in front of me, and that limitation, that gives me my sound.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I usually sit down to write around eleven in the morning, and then it either starts with a drum groove or a chord progression. Once I’ve got a foundation that I’m happy with, I’ll add in overdubs of guitar, vocals, maybe some bass or hand percussion. I love putting my beatboxing somewhere in the mix too, it’s cool to be hidden in there somewhere amongst the percussion, it just brings a human element to it all. Songs can take anywhere from a day or two, or sometimes a month to complete. I don’t really like going back to songs, so the quicker I can finish it, the better really.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I don’t really know about a specific moment, but there is definitely a time. Around 2001. Listening to Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, Royksopp, Jamiroquai, Basement Jaxx, and Radiohead. Electronic music was really cool around that time and a lot of ‘Alternative’ than it is now. It was closer to indie and way before the whole EDM thing. It all played a huge part in influencing me, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. 

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Earplugs. I bring them to every show but I never end up wearing them. Even if I do remember to put them in, I always end up taking them out!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Kindness, Courage, Phairo, Louis Cole

What gets your creative juices flowing?

New sounds, new toys and plugins, and just being inspired. Inspiration comes from different places too, It could be a feeling, a place, a film, anything really.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I use FL Studio and Ableton. As for Hardware, I have a Roland Juno 60, Korg MS-20, MicroKorg, a SM7B microphone, a John Hornby Vintage Bass Guitar, a cheap Yamaha guitar, lots of FX pedals, a Rocktron 2 Talkbox and a couple of shitty Roland samplers.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I have so much unreleased music, but I constantly worry that a lot of it is too ‘different’ from what people know me for. So I think eventually I’d like to put some of it out under an alias. I’ve tried it before but never really stuck at it, but I haven’t found the right name yet!

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I started out in House music and sampled a lot of records. Sampling Funk and Disco really helped me to better understand what makes those records so great. So in time, I got better at writing original music, and I’ve become good at making my music sound like a sample. It’s great fun to fool the listener into thinking what they’re hearing is some obscure 80’s boogie funk record or something. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

A single this year, an album next year, hopefully, some tour dates later down the line and just more music and collaborations. I’m also planning on releasing other artists music on my own label too, something that I’ve never done until now.

Famous last words?

Sacre bleu

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