117 - Luke Elliott
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Luke Elliott
Coming from Amsterdam, he is into music since… always. But he also recognises that making music is not an automated process. There’s always mistakes to be made and unlimited options to take. So, he knows his way around that and tells us how 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
Hey, my name is Luke Elliott, currently located in Amsterdam (NL), but originally from Leeds (UK).
Generally speaking I have always felt moved by music, my mum and dad said that I would sit in the back of the car as a 3 y/o and sing every word of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" among others (Celine D ofc) - LOL.
As a kid I remember begging for instruments, so I started playing trumpet around 4 y/o because my auntie had a trumpet (hated it). I got a Yamaha keyboard around 5 or 6 y/o (learned The Searchers - Sweets for my Sweet but mainly pressed the "DJ" button) eventually my parents caved and got me my first guitar around 11 y/o.
The guitar defined me, I found a community, a band, ect, a way to get out of Phys Ed with "guitar lessons", everything seemed to make sense - but all that changed years later when I got my mind blown at a 65 Days Of Static show and had to know what the hell was going on with that computer on stage. Ableton Live has been the one ever since, thankfully now I can afford the legit version.
My solo stuff under my name is a reasonably new venture, finally felt confident enough to put things by me into the ether around 3 years back and here we are.
I make my living working in Tech, I tried making music my income for a short while, it killed my intrigue and I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I am much happier now having a somewhat stable job that allows me to live & make my art.
Grateful to be here.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Ultimately, I couldn't be without Ableton Live (or any DAW tbh) & my laptop. I'd never finish anything without these.
The hardware is cool and all, blessed to have built up the gear I have over my lifetime - but I think its important to not let it be a barrier to creation.
There is a million ways of doing things, find what works for you.
To quote a good friend, "by any means possible" - Ryan J Raffa. If I didn't have a laptop, I'd be making stuff on my phone, or borrow a friends, anything to create.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
Meng Qi's - Wingie MkII - it covers a lot of ground, contact mics, line in, playable resonator pings, different firmware (blippoo) and I believe you can code on it. Annddd you get to support Meng Qi and keep him pushing boundaries for us ppl.
I can't step over software here also, recently, a truly deep and free (ish) product I have been getting endless results from is ppooll in Max. I would urge anyone to give that a go if you have the energy to sit down for a moment and figure that shit out.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
Its all trial and error, baby, haha. First thing I tend to do is set limitations and rules around what I am making, gamifying the process.
E.g. Today, I want to make a song only out of white noise, using X synth or X soft instrument, and no more than 6 layers, 3 mins long ect. Then over time I made those rules a lot more complex.
As a result, I find I tend to work/explore in search of a formula, and let that dictate where I go over a body of work. How can I push them as far as I can. Where that starts though could be anywhere at all, a sound I hear in my head, a synth sound I like, a chord or progression, an image even, depends what I'm doing too.
At best those explorations bear fruit and I get a formula that is replicable that I can vary a ton, and an album appears with an overarching theme. Helps me move fast, get out of my own way, and actually finish stuff with the aim always in view.
At worst, I discover a cool new technique to bring out when the moment is right, or something to avoid tbh.
I also think this helps with "time management" - you can devote 10 mins a day to these games, and be shocked how far you came in a year.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Sampling & re-sampling myself.
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How would you describe your style?
I would probably describe my musical style as journeying Ambient Experimental, I tend to cover a lot of ground across pieces & records.
I like to imagine that I am telling a story, even if I don’t share the dialogue and let the listener make that story themselves.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
Getting out of my own way - I think most artists I speak to struggle with this or something similar. You can become your own worst enemy, and for years this would stop me putting out anything into the world.
Step out of your own way and put your art out there, its still art, you're just as worthy, who cares, learn from it and fix things on the next attempt.
Trial and error, trial and error, haha.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Ηardware has definitely changed or rather added to the many different ways I approach making music.
With each new instrument comes with it a new learning curve, and that tends to shed light on new techniques or thought processes.
The biggest of which was probably my journey with modular, things just seemed to click all of a sudden, and that helped me re-apply many of these techniques outside of my modular rig. This is code for me now applying LFOs to everything.
As for life, I wouldn’t say any particular piece of gear has changed my life, but what it did show me is that there is a community that sits behind it. Often times I get more from speaking to ppl than I do from the objects, and thats why I am here. Always happy to talk someone down from the ledge of buying something they dont need :D.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Try something completely different.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
Transitional by Munroe Bergdorf | Noise: A Human History by Matt Thompson | How to with John Wilson
Music: An Evening Stroll to the Garden Party - Ki Oni | 4 e and a - Ryan J Raffa | Scry - Cole Pulice | remnants - Abandoned Bees
Pictures by Luis Martins
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
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