Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I Love Ugly x LORD ECHO



Hailing from Wellington, NZ, Lord Echo's funk filled grooves are taking over airwaves and winning over audiences both in New Zealand and abroad.
We recently caught up with the NYC-based artist about his inspiration & style, and we also got the scoop on his recently released album Curiosities.
ILU: You’re originally from Wellington, NZ but you now live between your hometown and NYC. What brought you to NYC and how does living there influence your music and creative output?

LE: Love! Love brought me to New York. It's not so much the place as the people that have had a big influence and more than anything being in NY has made me consider myself an international artist, where as I previously felt very much like a local producer. And the only difference between those two things is realising that for all their differences, places and more to the point people are mostly very similar. Scenes are small. People are approachable and generous with their time and knowledge. Working with people whose work I have followed for years in NY has shown me that, undoubtedly. And on a broader level, I think I've seen that people all over the world essentially want to be loved, to be respected and to be able to live in dignity and have some measure of control over the circumstances of their lives.

ILU: What inspires you to do what you do? Has this always been the same or has it changed over time?

LE: Inspiration is two fold - you're inspired by what's happening in your field. The things other people produce, the way they produce them. Some new sound you're discovering for the first time. And then of course the personal conditions of your life. The immense tragedy and humour of the whole human experience. The highs! The lows! The total insignificance of it all!

ILU: I hear obvious funk, soul and dub influences in Lord Echo. Is there something about this music that resonates with you? What artists/music in particular has influenced you the most?

LE: It's difficult to say ultimately what attracts you to something. It's a combination of many different elements, some obvious, some obscure. But I guess something that a lot lot of Black music has in common is that because of the genius of the interlocking rhythmic parts, it's more than the sum of its parts. It like a magic equation where 2 + 2 = 5. There's the parts themselves and then there's relationships between them which are strong enough to become parts in their own right. But I listen to music very widely, and if you're producer or a song writer I think they easiest way to have an edge is to make sure you're influences are not confined to the field your working in.

ILU: Was there ever a career defining moment for you, when you realised what you were put here to do?

LE: I have a very distinct memory of my Mum saying to my Dad 'look how quickly he's picked that up, I just taught him that' after teaching me something on the guitar. Naturally this made me feel good. But I'm trying to get out of the habit of constantly looking outside myself for external approval or validation and I'm sure this is the source of it all! (Laughs)

ILU: Your second album Curiosities is about to drop on the Japanese based label Wonderful Noise. How did you hook up with the Wonderful Noise guys?

LE: I believe a DJ named Andy Mitchell sent some of my stuff to Kenji, who's based in Osaka. I'd been constantly making and recording music for a good 7 odd years and never releasing most of it, as it didn't live up to my expectations. Anyway, Kenji approached me about doing an album, and because it was for Japan and I imagined that no one in NZ would hear it felt liberated to finish some stuff. That was 2010. The record was called Melodies and it's achieved something of a cult status.The second record, Curiosities, is being released by Wonderful Noise in Japan, Bastard Jazz in New York, Jakarta in Europe and Economy here in NZ.

ILU: Is Curiosities a continuation of your first album Melodies or a new direction?

LE: It's a continuation, for sure. Some artists are always trying to do something entirely new. I'm all about limiting myself to a restricted palate or pool of ideas and seeing how much I can squeeze out of it. It's a challenge. That's why the art work format is the same on both records, and why I'll keep working with the same people. Of course, even if you have this goal in mind it's inevitable that you will produce different work and that you will progress. But I think that one of the challenges facing artists today is how to navigate through the immense amount of choices and options that technology has created, and one of the ways to do that is by having self imposed restrictions. And on an aside, I really enjoyed working with photographer Blake Dunlop on these photos, because the process of shooting on medium format film is very similar to recording onto magnetic tape, which I often do. It forces you to spend time getting it right in real life, it forces you to be decisive and it introduces an element of risk.

Curiosities by Lord Echo is out now on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
Find Lord Echo:
Photography by Blake Dunlop
Lord Echo wears pieces from the I Love Ugly November & December collections1496004_804380256254214_876698209_o1553561_804380272920879_169591795_o1553239_804380252920881_777570251_o