We had the pleasure to follow Luke (El. Train) in the course of several years for his journey through soulful electronica. "wantyouback." instantly made us fall in love with his sound, "Tell Me Where" became a constant addition to our parties and his production gave a special touch to fika's "Out Of My Head" - a track we simply can't get out of our heads.
So, it was an honour to chat with the Brighton-based producer and radio host (yeah, we talked about that, too), who also put together a gorgeous fresh mix for us, consisting of tracks that influenced his new single "MAD" (out this Friday) - the first track from his upcoming EP.
- LYNDA DAWN - Fonk Street
- Planet Giza - Hands On
- Missing Hito - From The Top
- DKVPZ - Throwback
- Turna - Sly's Dream
- Sean McCabe - Infinity
- Lucy Pearl - Without You (Berkeley Bonheur Edit)
- Henry Wu - Shahada
- Fouk - Lefty's Bar (Brame & Hamo Remix)
- El. Train & KALLITECHNIS - MAD
- Neue Grafik - Organic Food
- Mind Of A Dragon - Do 4 Luv
- salute - Fortress
- Hudson East - Got Me (Greace Remix)
Hey Luke, how's your life at the moment, given the situation?
Hey, surprisingly I feel like I've been busier than ever. I spend the majority of my time working from home, so it hasn’t been too much of a change for me. I think the biggest change has been that my girlfriend has moved in during the lockdown period, luckily she’s not half bad, so it’s been fun!
It’s definitely given me more time to work on new music, but I think what I’m really gonna take from this period, is a whole load of useless general knowledge facts from the 1000’s of pub quizzes I’ve done!
Where's the 'El Train' coming from/headed to? What's the story behind the name?
So it’s a bit of a ridiculous story really. The name actually comes from a character from a little known American TV show called "City Guys". He was the bully on the show, so I used to use his name to name wrestlers I made on the old N64 wrestling games. When I then started music, that was obviously the only logical name to use...
Where does your love for music come from?
Originally I guess it comes from the music my parents used to listen to when I was growing up, mainly soul records and lots of Motown. My sister then got the first N.E.R.D. album and I think that’s the first time I heard music that made me want to know more about how it was actually made. My taste can definitely be brought back to hearing that album for the first time.
What's the link between soul & electronic music?
I think it’s similar to the previous answer, the soul comes from the records my parents were listening to whereas the electronic music came when I started to develop my own tastes. Combining of the two has always been the goal for me, something I think KAYTRANADA achieves better than anybody else!
Who, would you say, influenced you the most?
If I had to name 3 producers that are the biggest influence on the music I make, I’d say The Neptunes, KAYTRANADA, and Dilla. Anybody that wants to argue that they aren’t the best producers of all time, I am willing to fight them!
You've got some amazing edits, did you dive into music production through that?
Really it all started when I was learning to play guitar. Myself and a friend wanted to find a way to record a few little song ideas that we wrote. We’d record ourselves singing and playing the guitar and then use this weird drum looping software to add a drum beat on top. During lockdown I actually found my old hard drive with music from around that time. I was also completely obsessed with Harry Potter, so there is a whole project of me rapping Harry Potter raps over my old (awful) beats. Maybe I should put that out to keep people entertained for the next few months?
"Out Of My Head" with fika is a track we instantly fell in love with. How did you guys happen to collaborate?
Initially, the guys slid into my DM’s and I instantly sent them over some beats after hearing their music. We then got in the studio and wrote their track "Free" which came out last year and then "Out of My Head" was another track which came from those initial beats. We weren’t initially gonna put it out, but felt it worked well as a cool little single.
Dropping "MAD" this Friday, which is the first taste from your upcoming EP (no name yet, right?). Can you please shed some light on it?
Yeah, so Mad is a collaboration between myself and singer KALLITECHNIS. I’ve been a big fan of her music for a few years so I hit her up and asked if she’d be up for working on some music, "MAD" was the first song that came out of that!
As for the EP, it is sort of a similar story, collaborating with artists that I love but hopefully, the music has progressed on from the album and I’ve also got some cool musicians on there as well.
Your debut album Puzzles (2019) was quite the ride, so many great artists in there. Why did you name it like this? (or that's "the puzzle", haha)
So the idea behind the name Puzzles was that it felt like putting that album together was like trying to fit a puzzle together. It was about 2 years of work, taking pieces out, bringing pieces in, and figuring out how I could actually get it all to work as one.
You also host a monthly radio show on Soho Radio. Where does your love for broadcasting come from and what's the main reason you're doing it?
Really, the idea of starting a radio show is just a platform to share music that I love, from artists that I love! I’ve always loved discovering new music from shows like Benji B, Giles Peterson, Complexion’s ‘Future Beats Show’, LEFTO and others. This is just my take on that. Another huge factor is that it gives me the opportunity to talk to/interview some of my favourite DJs, producers, and artists, really getting to pick their brains about their creative process (and hopefully steal some of their little gems of advice!)
Thanks for the chat, man, a real pleasure! If there's one really important thing you want to tell people, now's your chance!
I just hope everyone is staying safe, as long as we all follow all the guidelines, this will be over in no time! Also, try and learn something new with all this down time you’ve got!