On Valentine’s Day 2008, Louis La Roche dropped ‘Love’, a French House banger provoking mass speculation that LLR was actually the side project of either Erol Alkan, Joe Goddard of Hot Chip or Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk. The possibility of it being produced by a Londoner called Brett Ewels seemed pretty unbelievable; not bad for a 17 year old bedroom DJ. Still only 19, Louis La Roche has an album in the works and several EP releases to his name. Last week GottaDanceDirty caught up with Louis for an exclusive interview – Here’s how it went…
GottaDanceDirty: Thanks for taking the time Louis, we really appreciate it. We hear you’ve been busy lately and have just returned from an extensive tour of Europe. How did that go?
Louis La Roche: Yeh, really well thanks. Didn’t enjoy the lack of sleep, but it was worth it!
GDD: Could be a tricky question, but I’ll ask it anyway – how did the French receive an Englishman playing French House for them?
LLR: I don’t really think they care [laughs]. It’s all about the music! It’s strange considering a lot of the original “French Touch” scene weren’t actually French at all. Sedat is Dutch, Patrick Alavi is German, as is Kris Menace. Van Helden, Sneak and Paul Johnson are American and that didn’t stop them. I guess it’s because I’m the first Englishman to do it, other than Stuart Price, but he’s half French!
GDD: I just caught your guest mix for Boris Dlugosch‘s N-Joy show in Germany; pretty dope set man. Of the cities and countries you’ve played, is there a particular one that was head and shoulders above the rest to gig in?
LLR: New York and Paris – Two cities that know their music. It doesn’t matter what you play just as long as that groove is there. It’s all about the feeling of music for them, and that’s how it should be!
GDD: Have your influences always been the Roule label and French House subsitiaries or was it more widespread than that?
LLR: No not at all. The French sound is a big part of my growing up, but its only a part of the whole picture. I was a big fan of Big Beat and Trip-hop at the same time. After my album is out I plan to do several new projects under different names, so hopefully people will see how diverse I can be!
GDD: Play Paul from the Buffalo Bunch was recently credited with saying “We have Louis La Roche to thank for the revival of French Filter House”. Do you want to comment on that?
LLR: Back in 2009, I released the promo for my EP Me & Her, I got a reply from him saying, “It’s good, but we’re not in 1998 anymore”. So I gathered he didn’t like it [laughs]. Bearing in mind this was just as French Filter House was making a comeback to the underground. Then this year I released the EP Super Soaker and I think he understood it more. It’s about taking the old sound and bringing it up to date with the sounds of today. He did an interview for a French magazine last month and that’s where the quote is from. So yeah, it’s a nice compliment.
GDD: So you agree that a revival of French House is taking place? Do you think it’s ever going to receive the level of attention it did in the late 90s, early noughties?
LLR: I definitely think it’s back. It’s been helped by the return of disco as well. I think it will last a good few years yet, but the thing is there are too many genres now. Plus I don’t think it’s helped by the whole ‘Sound over Groove’ scene. Now a days it’s all about the bass sound or how weird the sound is. I like just sitting on a groove and letting it drive into your head [laughs]. To make the French sound commercial again, I think people need to return to vocals. So that’s been the aim for my album: more singers.
GDD: Right, so there is a new album in the pipeline then – I read last year that you scrapped plans to release a full LP. Are you able to tell us why that was, and also how the new record’s sounding?
LLR: It was actually two years ago, in 2008. I released The Peach EP in February and started working on an album that year. There were twelve tracks and we made artwork for it etc. I listened to the final result over 4 or 5 months and just decided I could do better. It’s a debut album, something that you should be proud of and happy with. I rushed it and didn’t give it the time it deserved. Two of the tracks: ‘Be Brave’ and ‘Sunshine Hotel’, made it onto the Me & Her EP in April 2009, the rest were scrapped. The new album it sounding a lot stronger. It has more variety, I haven’t decided on a title yet, but it’s slowly becoming more and more like a 70′s porn soundtrack…in a good way of course! I’m about 60% of the way there. Seven tracks are done that I’m 100% happy with. I’m aiming for about 12 tracks.
GDD: Awesome, we look forward to hearing it. In the meantime though, I noticed you’ve just done a remix for LA-based electro outfit Human Life, and that you’ve recently spent some time in the studio with Cagedbaby. What’s the deal there, can we be expecting a lot of collaborations on the record?
LLR: The two remixes from me out this month are the Human Life one, and my Ocelot remix. Both very different, hopefully they should go down a treat.
GDD: And collab-wise?
LLR: There’s gonna be a lot of names on the album; singers and other producers. A few names have been leaked but I’m trying to keep some a surprise. It means I can be a lot more daring. For example, if there’s a track with a rapper on, it means I can keep that French flavor as a base, but sprinkle it with hip-hop. Wow, it sounds like I’m baking a cake! The same goes for working with other producers who dwell in a different genre. There’s a lot of old names returning. Not only is it a pleasure to work with my heroes but it also shows that although they may not have released anything in years, it doesn’t mean they have stopped writing.
GDD: How did you originally get into production?
LLR: After being a bedroom DJ for 3 years – from the age of 12 up – I started mucking around with four-track recorders. I didn’t start working with computers until I was 16.
GDD: And what’s your current DJ setup when playing out?
LLR: Well, I know I’m not a great DJ. I’m not bad, I’m just not the best [laughs]. I started DJing on vinyl, but nowadays I use Ableton Live with a Behringer BCD3000 midi controller. I’m a producer 1st and a DJ second, so that’s why Ableton suits me the best, because it’s more like a tool. I was anti-Ableton for years, because it took the skill out of the DJ. Now, I’ve come to realise what Ableton loses from a DJing perspective, it gains as a producing tool to play and edit tracks on the go.
GDD: You came out to the US last year, how did this to playing back in the UK and in Europe? and are there any plans to play out here again anytime soon?
LLR: Better weather, hotter girls, and bigger. Much bigger! I’ll be coming over to the States again in the Summer. I want to play the west coast so hopefully that will happen. Fingers crossed.
GDD: Artists that you’re mad about for 2010?
LLR: At the moment: Caribou, Four Tet, Floating Points and Joy Orbison. In the future though: The return of Spiller, the new Priors album, Dre‘s Detox, and Daft Punk‘s secret album track with DJ Falcon…
GDD: Niiice. And a last one: when you’re not spinning, and you’re on the dancefloor as a punter, do you dance dirty?
LLR: I’m extremely shy, so I’m afraid not. Plus I can’t dance to save my life!
GDD: Cheers for taking the time.
Louis’ kindly given us an unreleased original for an exclusive first posting on GottaDanceDirty:
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for his remix of Human Life’s ‘In It Together’, in the meantime here’s a soundcloud preview of his Ocelot remix, which is set to drop later this month:
The most impressive Basement Jaxx remix I’ve heard to date. Banging tune
Highly acclaimed b-side from LLR’s Super Soaker EP