Interview with Speaker Louis


Could you give us a bit of your history? I honestly don’t know much about you, other than you’re from France and I’ve read somewhere recently that you moved to the UK. Is that true? If so, what inspired you to move there?

Yeah that is true, I was born in the south of France and I’ve lived in various french cities such as Nice and Lyon, then moved to London a few years ago. It happened because of work opportunities but I’ve always been a fan of the UK so it was amazing to come and live here. Best decision I ever made! Seeing the scene closely has changed a lot of things in the way I make music.

What is the French DnB/Jungle scene like? I must confess that I don’t know much about it. Is there a lot of support there? Is DnB popular in France? Are there French DnB labels? Festivals? If I was traveling the world (remember what that was like?) and looking for a good Jungle/DnB party in France, where would you tell me to go?

Sadly the French scene is pretty small. There are great DJs and parties, but not everyone knows about DnB. Still, people who are into it are very dedicated. I really recommend checking out Hyperactivity Music, a Marseille-based label ran by BRK. He’s a great guy, works hard and runs parties in the south of France. He’s very well connected with the UK scene and books English DJs regularly. Another big place for French DnB is the city of Toulouse with artists like Monty or Visages. For Jungle it’s a bit harder to find a scene in France – but big up Veak who’s one of the top French junglists!

How did you get involved in Jungle/Drum & Bass? What was your introduction to this music? How did that door open for you? When did you know that you wanted to pursue being a producer?

I was initially into sound system music, reggae and dub and got exposed to all flavors of bass music when moving to Lyon. There were a lot of events and I got lucky enough to attend raves with Andy C, Shy FX or A.M.C. I was already hooked as a listener but at the time I was producing other genres (hip-hop, more experimental stuff). Then when I moved to London I realized the full extent of the DnB culture and history… It was just the most interesting genre ever! So a few years ago I decided that focusing on DnB was the most honest and sensible thing to do. I’ve been working hard on my sound since!

If you could time travel, who you go see play? Why? You can go anywhere at any time.

In terms of bass music, I’d definitely go to a Jungle night in the 90s. I’ve been rinsing tapes of people like Kenny Ken or Randall. And seeing Stevie Hyper D on stage would be mad. Outside DnB, I’d time travel to London in the late 70s to see The Clash live! In both cases it’s because you can’t beat the real experience of their performance.

I can’t help but notice that there are some political themes to some of your music. It’s definitely anti-facist and anti-authoritarian. Jungle has always had a “revolutionary” vibe to it so to speak. Is that intentional in your work, or did it sorta “just happen” that way?

Ah it’s great that you noticed that, yeah I’ve always been sensitive to this kind of “message” in the music. I come from a background of punk rock so for me it makes sense, and I think it’s consistent with Jungle culture. I have to shout out the French reggae singer Daman, we made this “Antifascist Jungle Music” tune together! Apart from this, I’ve joined the French band La Phaze a few years ago, they mix DnB with punk rock and have always been a conscious act, blending political messages with the junglist vibe.

What is your music background? Were you a musician before becoming a producer? Who are some of your bigger influences?

Yes I’ve always played music, mostly guitar and bass in my teenage years but I was also messing around with recording and production for a long time. I played in various bands from hip-hop to punk rock and it really gave me a rich musical background, I’m so happy about all these experiences. Still now, I play a lot of live instruments in my tracks for a real organic vibe, I love it! My influences include The Clash for their ability to mix sound system culture and punk rock attitude, original reggae artists like The Gladiators, and in the world of DnB people like Shy FX, who’s always had the perfect balance of great songwriting and killer club sound.

Saying that you’ve been on a roll lately with releases is an under statement. Knowing that it can take a while for tracks to get released once they’re signed to a label, how long did it take for a steady flow of releases to start coming out for you?

Thank you so much! When I started taking DnB production seriously, it took me about a year to released on small but solid labels, then another year to reach bigger ones. But my production journey started long ago so I guess it can be misleading to count it like this… I already knew how to use Ableton and how to write music, just had to work hard on the DnB sound to reach a professional level.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a producer? Are there things that you know now that you wish you would have known when you started? What advice would you give yourself if you could?

That’s a great question. I’m really lucky because I got some great advice from my La Phaze bandmates who are professional musicians, here are the best things I’ve learned: work hard, be a production nerd and make the music you love in a sincere way. I think that’s the big one for me, you can be tempted to imitate successful stuff but if it’s not 100% you it’s never gonna be a big tune. And then practice, practice, and cultivate good personal connections in the scene. I’ve learned a lot from other producers and I’m so grateful for their support! Big up Conrad Subs, Brian Brainstorm, Liondub and many others who helped me when I was just starting.

DnB/Jungle has such a rich history to it. Particularly in the styles that you champion, there is a real history to all the samples and their origins. Both in music and vocals. How long did it take you to track a lot of those down. Or did you? How did you track them down? Is there still find some mystery and wonder in this process for you?

Yeah I love tracking down samples. I can spend hours in an internet rabbit hole, looking for some obscure soundclash tapes, I think it feeds the music making process in a very creative way. I first found out about this type of sampling by listening to dub and dubstep tunes and looking up their sources online. Then I started sampling them myself and trying to find gems that nobody had used before. And I think it’s very important to know as much as possible about the culture you’re sampling, in my case a lot of Jamaican and UK sound system culture. You have to show respect if you’re gonna use bits of their music!

Looking to the future, once the world opens back up and people come together for music again, what are your ambitions? Is there a festival or venue you’ve never played that you want to? Has the world shutting down given you time to focus on producing more?

It’s been a weird year, it’s given me the time to make music for sure but I was still quite busy with other things (finished my PhD in 2020, which took a lot of my time). I also find it hard to keep being inspired when you never get to hear music on a sound system. For the past year, I’ve mostly listened to tunes in the studio… When things start again, I will probably go on tour with La Phaze (we had to cancel many gigs in 2020) and also hopefully get some DJ bookings! At this point I’d be happy to play any venue with an energetic audience, from South London jungle nights to festivals around the world!

Speaker Louis