UK Tech House legend Len Lewis joins us for our next interview. Over multiple decades Len has been honing his craft, constructing his complex sound, delivering tracks that have been welcomed with open arms around the globe.
His most recent body of work is a fantastic three tracker on brand new NYC label, Deep Sleep Robot. However, the tracks are far from new, dusted off and extracted from the archives. ‘The Orbalisk’ EP (listen here) showcases Lewis’ mysterious dance floor energy, something we discuss in the interview amongst several other subjects…
Hi Len, thanks for chatting with us today. How has the summer been for you?
Apart from the lack of sun and the ridiculous amount of rain this year in the UK, it’s been fantastic so far.
What did your first ever studio set up look like?
A Dell PC, reason and a behringer desk. I remember saving up for months to buy a pair of Dynaudio active monitors which revolutionised my production and made me realise how much I didn’t know.
What urged you to learn to produce?
Hearing tunes when I went out and thinking at the time of all the bits missing in the track that would make it epic. So I decided to give up singing in a band, and give up my scholarship place at the Goldsmiths music university of London (much to the annoyance of my family!) and get locked into the world of electronic sounds.
What would you say are some pros and cons of the scene back in the 90s, in comparison with the modern electronic music industry?
Pros – first and foremost I believe there was more freedom with regards to musical content. When you’re less concerned about the clinical precision of everything, what genre it is and more focused on the overall big picture, what may be completely out of time in the computer actually creates a new sound as it phases within the track, especially on a big rig. ”if it sounds good leave it in and record it now”.
This freedom inside the groove migrates and expands out to everyone at the party creating a vibe of collectiveness ( plus there weren’t any mobile phones which made you get stuck in and locked on for hours without distractions.
Cons – back then just getting hold of anyone was a nightmare, with no social media getting ‘boots on the ground’ for a party was predominantly word of mouth and who you knew.
Carrying 10 tons of vinyl, in a bag that snaps or the wheels on your records box carrier buckles!!! Not the one when you’re in a remote field.
USB sticks all day long.
Since returning to music in the last years, have you found yourself taking a new approach, or did you slip back into your old ways in regards to your creative processes, studio gear etc?
With regards to the creative process I have no control of what or how to create, it either happens or it doesn’t, so in that way I went straight back to exactly where I left off, only now I have upped my game and realised that when dealing with otherworldly forces and vibrations it’s not a joke so I have become very disciplined, humbled and respectful to those ‘upstairs and downstairs’.
As far as studio gear goes, all I know is there is so much amazing stuff on the market that I would like, but as of now don’t have the money to buy it, so as with life, you make the best of what you have. Last year I wrote a remix in a forest living with gypsies and got my electricity from a generator!!!
This is what keeps me grinding, to keep pushing forward I have to adapt, with better equipment comes more opportunities and more fun.
Your EP on New York label, Deep Sleep Robot features some tracks from the archives, The Orbalisk EP, how does it feel to know two decades later your music is still being adored and recognised? Is this something you imagined when you created it back then?
I had no idea anyone even still liked my house music until 2019 after speaking to Ruslan (Deep Sleep Robot). This first track ‘Illicus’ was written when I was very ill with the flu and decided to write about how I wanted to go to a rave at a farm but was too ill.
It brings such joy to my heart to know that what was created back then is still understood and appreciated now. I truly believe that any form of art when created with 100% passion, love and complete dedication no matter what the general mass consensus may be, will always ignite a spark in another human being at some point.
No one or any ‘thing’ can ever be misunderstood and this is what I have now finally begun to understand. As for being adored and recognised, yes every day people keep throwing rose petals in my path when I walk , bringing my offerings and chanting my name…………… oh you meant my in relation to my music…
…..no I haven’t noticed that yet 🙂
Tell us a little about the SiTH sound? How can one recognise this sound?
The SiTH sound is basically a track that when you listen gives you that deep feeling of connectedness, it’s generally in a minor key, your hairs should rise up, the bassline is filthy, no 100 hour drum roll breakdowns, you should scrunch up your face at a drop, laugh at the absurdity of what the noises and frequency are saying to you. SiTH a feeling as well as a way of life.
You have been actively releasing in the last periods, and we have been loving it. What is some of your favourite material you have released lately? And what can we expect from you moving forward this year/next?
Big question for me because I generally can’t stand hearing most of my tracks. You have to remember that for me I have heard them for 20 years! I know every minute detail down to the ‘air in the background’ sound, so It can actually be very painful to mix with them.
However, with this current interest in my music, I have listened with different ears this time around. I appreciate and enjoy every track that I work on but there are a few that I’m drawn to more in relation to the SiTH sound.. The ones that stand out for me are-
Obviously the whole Orbalisk EP
Rule of two e.p – Amazon Flow (Discobar)
Critical Mass e.p -Critical mass (Drifted Records)
Joy EP -Joy (Physical Education)
Various artists EP – Macrobe (Druzhba)
Going forward I’m looking forward to the relaunch of my label 666recordings. Expect some real SiTH music with a hybrid of old days and future days. Not giving too much away but the first release has a Len Lewis/Grant Dell hybrid collaboration! Other forthcoming releases include
a remix on Italian label Futura, a track on UK label The Bricks, as well as EPs on other various labels, so let’s say there’s going to be Len Lewis in the shops for a while yet 😉
If you are going to a club, can you describe your ideal set you like to hear on the dancefloor? Which DJs have inspired you over the years after witnessing them?
Ok so I’ve looked at the time, it’s 2.39, the club shuts at 7am, I’m in the middle of the dance floor perfectly placed in relation to all the speakers for maximum effect. No one is around me who I know so no one will talk to me, The next 2 hours are a build up of stripped back minimal beats, repetitive grooves that get layered with noises, that then mould together to create another groove, ooof where did that baseline come from, minor pads, snare skip, on and on it keeps building, interspersed with choice spoken words that hook my attention before I’m broken down to a break that doesn’t have any drum rolls but keeps me in suspense and on the edge until I’m ……maybe I should quit music and write porn!
Order ‘The Orbalisk’ Now: https://linktr.ee/deepsleeprobot
DEEP SLEEP ROBOT LINKS:
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