Len Lewis is a London-based DJ/producer who’s been heavily involved in electronic music since the early ‘90s. Indeed, he’s also someone who’s enjoying a career renaissance of late, with a whole new bunch of collectives and DJs advocating for his unpredictable, engaging and dancefloor driven sounds. From the Suena Hermosa label to Subwax (who distribute Len’s label out of Barcelona) to DJs such as Anna Wall and Moxie, it’s clear that Len’s music is again making moves in the right places. Music aside, Len is also an engaging conversationalist, as we found out recently when we put some questions his way. We also premiered music from his latest EP, which you can check out on our Soundcloud page here…
Hi Len, with the new year now upon us, do you make resolutions related to music? If so, what are they?
Every year I make the same music new years resolutions:
a) Get over my djing block of playing out with my own music (something i have been trying to conquer for many years,
b) record my Emris album, a personal album of songs for violin, guitar, voice and traditional folk instruments from around the world. The songs are already written in my head but I have never had the balls to record them due to fear of rejection.
So this year my resolutions are :
a) drop my ego
b) become supremely fearless (which starts with complete trust in myself). These 2 resolutions will not only help with my music but affect every aspect of my life
Talk to us a bit about your formative years in dance music. What was it about the sound and the scene that so enthralled you back then?
All I know is that one day I was a lead singer in a band just about to accept a scholarship to Goldsmiths music university in London. I went to my first rave, Phantasy in 1990, and heard (and more importantly, felt) sounds and frequencies that I had never experienced before. It was like my whole body was a receiver for this wall of energetic sound that made my body move uncontrollable, and everyone in the warehouse was all tuned in to the same frequency. without mobile phones or Internet you had no choice but to fully immerse yourself in the music without distractions.
Anyway, after this I declined my place at university, quit the band and jumped feet first into the world of electronic music.
As you’ve become more established within electronic music, how have your tastes and opinions changed?
My tastes haven’t changed one bit over the years; the only change is an expansion of taste. Every year I find a new genre/sub genre, a new sound, a new way of doing things etc. I’m a firm believer in not staying static, for growth only comes from an ongoing appreciation of all things.
DJ-wise, do you tend to focus more on seeking contemporary music or do you tend to go backwards more? Or a mix of both?
When it comes to djing I tend to struggle with what i want to play due to the fact there is so much great music available now.
When I started I would spend hours in Swag records; everytime i heard a record i wanted I would raise my hand in the air along with others in the shop for the dj to add it to my pile. sometimes it would take months even years to find a record. Now I can get an online pile in 20 clicks of the mouse.
So what i’ve been secretly doing for the past few years is take tracks i like and remix them just for when I play out. There are so many great technically spot on DJs now i have to come with something unique and tracks that no one has or won’t ever have if i am to to compete with the technical wizardry that can be done on the new mixers and CDJs
Your latest is coming via the 666 Recordings label, you’re known for Sinister Tech House and you also recorded by Stonehenge. So tell us… are you a superstitious guy? And are there more positive or negative connotations here? Or are we looking in to things too much?!
Now this is a great question Ii get asked this a lot by people that assume that because of the label name and the S!TH (sinistertechhouse) darkside connotations, that i’m into the devil and engage in negative low frequency activities and beliefs.
This could not be further from the truth. To me, 666 is the number of carbon based life,
6 neutrons, 6 electrons and 6 protons. I don’t even believe in the devil/god as an external deity, but rather they are just aspects of the necessary polarity of life as I know it. ‘As above ,so below’ – hermes trismegistus, from the emerald tablet.
As far as superstition goes I’m more of a believer in fate through personal life choices rather than coincidence and wishful thinking.
Talk to us a bit about the awesome artwork that adorns the Many Voices EP, as it’s definitely in keeping with a Stonehenge vibe…
The logo for 666 recordings is called a triskelion. This symbol is an ancient symbol that represents energies in motion, progress, revolution completion, life death rebirth, body mind spirit, mother father child. past present future, creation preservation and destruction. to name a few.
Tell us a bit too about your deal with Subwax; how important do you think these relationships are to a modern label? And how did this come about first?
What subwax brings to the table for the label could best be described as the cable that connects the speaker to the mixer which will enable the music to be heard on a worldwide scale (lots of rhyming there.
Even though there is more money to be made by keeping everything in house and by bi-passing the distributor, for me i wouldnt be able to run the label at this point without them. Having Subwax on the payroll means I can spend more time writing and manifesting the next EP knowing that artwork/pressing/contacts with record shops and promotion are all taken care of.
The arms of a distributor have far more reach that I have time to grow myself. I have dealt with Subwax in Barcelona since Baldo approached me (as did Ruslan from minim records in New York) in 2019 to get me back out of the wilderness to start re-releasing old tracks and making new stuff. And for this I am truly grateful.
That’s why i’m loyal. you scratch my back and i will build you a back scratcher worthy of kings and queens.
What is the ultimate aim for the label? Who inspires you in this way? Ie. are there any labels you really look to as doing things in a great way that really resonates with you?
The ultimate goal for the label is to grow a long catalogue of records that embodies the S!TH sound. Every release must have an underlying multiversal angle. I’m not interested in who you are, where you come from, what you do, the colour of your skin or your beliefs. A great track is a great track. I absolutely love giving anyone a chance to showcase their talent as was given to me when I had my first vinyl release in 1993 on the label ‘Jumpin and Pumpin’.
2023 will also hopefully see the start of S!TH parties alongside Anna Wall’s The Bricks label. I have always had a vision of showcasing the sith sound with the right venue, DJs and backdrops etc. The plan is to bring the old school feel back to a night out as in no frills just raw vibes, minimal lighting, minibus travel to and from the venue so no one has to worry about getting there or going home, a family collective where everyone is welcome.
Finally, if you were to introduce your sound in one track, what one would it be and why?
This is the question that had made me listen to every single track I released! I tried to pick a track that I could actually listen to all the way through without having sections of the track I don’t like anymore.
As a big fan of breakbeat i will have to say the track ‘Amazon Flow on the ‘Rule of 2 E.p on discobar has all the flavours i like in a track. minimal repetitive stripped down grooves coupled with breakbeat and a deep message about existence and our planet..
i would also like to add the track ‘Vampires at Dawn’ on the Many Voices EP as well. Prior to writing Vampires at Dawn i had been in a writers block for a few weeks. When this happened i have to eliminate something from my life that is causing this.
After attending the summer solstice at Stonehenge and recording the moment the sun hits the stones, I went home and decided to write a track that has all the elements I like: a sub bass face melting drop, a snare that cracks me in the face so hard that it hurts, layer upon layer of drum patterns that fry my brain trying to understand how it even works as a complete sound ( pain is so close to pleasure sometimes!)
The result, combined with the fact I recently found Akasha again (someone who I’ve known since my first skin bag incarnation) best describes the S!TH sound as of today….tomorrow however is a new day.