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Lowpass Luke

Producer

Photos (of Lowpass Luke) & Interview: @tannytlou

Photos and Music Video: @steveroe_

Music & Meaning

I watched him glare at an oxblood leaf. He then rested his finger on its surface to establish its texture and said, “I once created a beat using the sound of leaves”. Taken back by this, I put my camera to the side and listened to him take me through the process. I was spending time with someone who pays close attention to the finer details in life. Someone who analyses critically in order to gain an understanding of life. I spent two days with Luke, and on the second day I gave him my notebook and pen to draw me as a flower (an activity I like to do in order to visualise how others view me). I teased him about his drawing skills but the justification of why he did what he did was nothing short of amazing. He presented an imperfect illustration that was accurate in explaining the characteristics of my being. When it was my turn to illustrate the man opposite me as a flower, it looked nothing like what I had seen before: unique. His ovule was squared; nothing like a normal plant and I explained that he was someone boxed up, with so much going on inside of him but the fear of being vulnerable with his craft scared him. His petal was round, with an extra leaf standing its ground above the plant, to resemble a man of pride. A man proud of where he has been, and what he's been able to produce from those surroundings. I drew tiny sepals outside the petals, to put emphasis on a shell that gets him through life. The sepals were also an illustrated representation of his deep and masculine voice, paired with his blue eyes that are almost electrifying. Luke was a flower with two hearts, one inside of the other but both completely him. The one at face value to represent his ability to do things out of love, with a full heart. The one inside to represent his delicate side, a side with hidden colours. Beautiful Colours that only the close ones will be exposed to. Once I was done, I looked at him waiting for him to tell me I was crazy to which he replied:

That is pretty accurate, I'm not even going to lie as soon as you said that bit, (pointing towards a very messy part of the illustration) I thought yes I am a very frantic person. That is very accurate.

Shall we begin?

Let's do this.

How did you come up with the name Lowpass Luke?

It was given to me by a friend called Mitchell when I was at college. It’s like a geeky reference. A Lowpass filter is basically a filter used in music that cuts out all the high frequencies, like high notes… It’s because I’ve got a deep voice.

What’s the most important element involved in a song? Would you say it’s the lyrical content in the song or the beat?

The beat. I don’t know whether that’s bias because I’m a producer. The beat is like the base. The canvas you’re doing everything on. If you don’t have a good canvas I don’t think the song can be very good.

How long does it take you to judge whether a song is good for you or not?

I’m still judging if I like the songs. I don’t think there’s ever a point where I stop judging the song. I don’t think there’s ever a point where I’m truly happy with something.

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You’ve travelled a lot, has that influenced your musical journey?

I’d say so. I love that music is like a common theme in humanity. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be in the U.K listening to pop music, or in Fiji listening to Fijian music, or whatever it is. It is a constant throughout humanity. I like taking the elements of those cultures, I try to anyway. So like in Little City, I sampled a Fijian chant in it to bring that in, and to try and put it in there because it was about Sane's hometown, and for me, I feel at home in the South Pacific and I wanted to bring a bit of that into the beat.

Isn’t it fantastic that you can bring two completely different worlds into one and have it make sense? It’s not even just a beat, it’s a culture into someone who is representing something else. It’s interesting.

You have a signature sound which really shines on the album, how do you maintain keeping that style?

It’s not really conscious. I don’t try and emulate what’s sort of hot right now. I like making chords, and a lot of this is down to one producer in Leicester whose name is Maniscooler. He’s my best friend, and he got me into music properly. He got me producing. His sound is very similar to that. I learnt from him and then from that, I adapted it to my own sort of style. It’s the formula of how I make music. It’s based around the chords. So when I’m building a song, I’ll make my own sound for the chords and then I’ll record the chords in, and then I add to the chords. The chords are the root of the song, and then I add the layers in from there.

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Could you create a beat from this topic?

Yes, I think so. Not on this album but other ones, someone’s basically thrown a few concepts at me and we’ve had a conversation about it and then I’ve taken that away and built a beat from that.

And then if I said what kind of tone would you try to communicate to your listeners from that?

I’d want to sample a singing bowl, which is like a Buddhist Tibetan instrument that makes noise, it has a really peaceful tone and then I’d base it around that. It’s a constant sound but it’s not hurting your ears and it's peaceful.

What was the first song you listened to that moved you the most?

Redemption Song.

Can you tell me about the journey in producing this album?

So it started a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago. I’d made a beat whilst I was on holiday in Fiji when I went to visit my dad, and then sent it to Sane to listen to and then from there I sent him many other ones. I didn’t know many artists and I knew Sane through Maniscooler, and so we made a project out of it. We bounced things back and forth, I’d send him a beat and he would tell me what he wants different, what he wants to keep the same etc. then it would be back and forth like that until we polished it off.

What does “Growing Backwards” mean for you?

For me, it’s taking my past experiences and learning from them. Sane’s got that depth when it comes to lyrics and content, that way I can make a minimalistic beat that compliments it and sits underneath it and that’s why I really enjoyed working with him.

Were there any challenges whilst working on the project?

No, I wouldn’t say so, not working with him. The only thing I’d say is money but we dealt with that and we got it done.

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Tell me how living in Leicester has influenced your music?

The people I hung around with and the experiences I had in Leicester. Being with my ex and then her supporting me through all of it because I would’ve packed it in if it wasn’t for her. She gave me advice. A lot of what I am today is specifically down to Maniscooler and my ex because they’re the ones who supported me through it.

Where is your safe haven?

My bed, or walks in a country.

If you were to do a gig showcasing your music, where would it be?

I’d want it in a small intimate place like a café where people can sit down and listen to it.

If your craft was in human form how would he/she look?

A reclusive person. I can’t put a gender on it. I can’t put a race on it because of its influences from all over. I think that it would just be a person that would blend into the crowd but when you open it up there’d be a lot to be said.

How do you want people to feel when they listen to you?

I want them to feel a connection. This is just my love and passion, if people vibe with it then that’s all I want.

If you could pick someone to be on your track, who would it be?

SZA. At the moment I’m into RNB and I prefer working with singers at the moment. SZA or Daniel Ceasar.

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Do you ever just listen? Because your theory is based on producing a song, do you ever just listen to listen, because it may be subconscious for you to be a critique? This is with other music too.

Yes, 100%. But if the beats dope, I’ll start being like how did they do this? But if it’s something I’m not entirely familiar with making, like a soul or funk track then I’ll just listen. Because it’s not the sort of stuff I make, I’ll allow it to wash over me and think this is dope.

What does it mean to find yourself?

You’re asking the wrong person, I still haven’t found myself.

Do you think you can ever find yourself?

Yes, I think it’s possible with a lot of work and self-reflection. That’s the stage I’m at, where I’m just trying to find myself, and find where I fit into the whole grand scheme of things.

What song were you listening to before we met?

I was listening to a history podcast.

Wow, history on what?

It was about the First World War, but the part I’m on is about the history of Russia. It’s great.

Can you tell me about your journey into music? How did you start, and where did you start?

It started way back when I was a kid. My Dad plays guitar, he loves music. He listens to the sort of stuff I don’t listen to like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. It’s good, but it’s not my sort of stuff. Bob Marley was the first CD I owned, and that’s when I got really into it and I found people like 2pac when I was in primary school and then from there it blossomed. In secondary school, I didn’t have too many friends so I just spent all my time in the music room. Especially in my final year, I was just in the music room just doing my work trying to make music. It’s just been constant throughout my life and I just decided that music is what I want to do. It’s one thing I’ve found joy out of.

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I asked you what does it mean to find yourself and you’re still on that journey, I want to know what you think the meaning of life is?

Do good. I think if you make the world a better place in whatever tiny way you can that’s what everyone should be striving to do.

How do you feel you can make the world a better place through your craft?

I want to set up a charity in working and preserving cultural music around the world. So I’ve been trying for the past year to get a grand to go out to Fiji and record singing and traditional music because their culture has been lost a little bit. I want to preserve it and make it so it’s accessible to people. You know how I showed you the plant thing; I want to make a similar sound installation with their music. That’s how I want to use my skills and then if not I’d like to build accessible technology to help people to make music. So you may have like hearing impairments or physical disabilities for example, so I would be looking to do a PhD in that as well.

What do you want to be remembered for?

For trying. For trying to do something worthwhile. I want to try and be good; I want people to think that I tried to do good. But we are not all perfect.

What’s your greatest fear?

Loneliness.

What’s going to happen when the world ends?

When the world ends, I don’t know. I don’t know at all.

How does it make you feel?

Scared, I don’t feel at peace with it but maybe that’s because I don’t feel like I’ve done what I need to do yet.

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How would you describe the album to someone who hasn’t listened to it before?

I’d say if you need something to listen to on a long drive, or on a quiet Sunday after you’ve been on a night out, and you need something to relax to, whether it’s background music or you want to listen to it; I think it works well as both. I think it’s a nice sort of wave that comes over you. You can just sit back and absorb if that makes sense.

What do you think about the first song you ever produced?

It was funny. This wasn’t proper producing but we used loops, I was about 14. We used lots of samples from country music and made some weird hip-hop country songs in my friend’s bedroom.

What artists are significant to you and who are your influences?

A guy called Shlohmo who’s a producer, Maniscooler, and other individuals who are not musicians who have influenced me. People close to my heart. People like Bob Marley, 2pac, old reggae, old soul and Motown, Marvin Gaye. These people have never been phases. They're people I listened to when I was like six, but can still listen to now.

You’re on an island for two weeks. What will you carry in a bag?

Is there food?

Yeh

I’d take my laptop, keyboard, and a book. A book about Geopolitics, giving you an insight into the world. A comfy mattress because I like to sleep, and a few more instruments.

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Thank you very much, that concludes my questions.

Watch the music video shot by @steveroe_ for 'Hey Ya', the music video was shot around Seoul and Incheon of South Korea