Vancouver Weekly caught up with FaltyDL ahead of his gig in support of James Blake this Thursday, April 25 at The Commodore Ballroom. His album Hardcourage has been one of the stand-out albums of the year so far, and his already swelling back catalog of releases on a number of different labels is also worth noting. This is an artist who has an abdominal technique to production and continues to gather momentum with his high calibre output. The man born Drew Lustman was nice enough to answer a few questions. Check it out.
Vancouver Weekly: What’s your favourite city/country to play in so far on this tour, or ever?
Drew Lustman: I’d have to say Hamburg, Germany definite. And it’s probably my favourite ever actually. There is a club there called the Golden Poodle which I really enjoyed playing in.
Vancouver Weekly: What item do you always bring with you on the road?
DL: Well, I always bring emergency supplies like vitamin C tabs or whatever. I always anticipate getting sick so I start on the vitamins from day 1.
Vancouver Weekly: What’s it like working with Ninja Tune compared to past labels?
DL: It’s a much bigger label then Planet Mu or any of the other labels I have ever dealt with in the past, so there is a lot more people involved and a lot more emails, but that means a lot more exposure so it’s totally worth it.
Vancouver Weekly: Ninja Tune just released an app called “Ninja Jamm”. Have you messed with it yet?
DL: Actually, no, I haven’t. I downloaded it but haven’t had the chance. They actually have a tune of mine on there from a year or two called “Atlantis”.
Vancouver Weekly: Who for you would be a dream collaborator?
DL: Yeah, I’d really love to work with Jill Scott. When I listen to Theo Parrish’s remix of her track “Slowly Surely”, to me, that’s like the prefect dance music producer working with a vocalist track. The voicemail from her to him dubbed over the top is a great touch. It moves me to tears almost, it’s so good.
Vancouver Weekly: Any past encounters with Vancouver?
DL: Ah, yeah, actually. I spent a really nice weekend out there supporting Gaslamp Killer in 2009 and that was probably the only time I’ve been there. I really enjoyed my day off with the air being so fresh and walking around in the park, it was just beautiful.
Vancouver Weekly: How do you find playing live vs. DJing? Which do you prefer?
DL: I think, to be honest, the lines between the two have been blurred for myself. I mean, I’m not really a DJ, I’m like 98% producer. I like to preform, but for me it’s all about selection, then how I’m mixing, and I look through the lens of a producer so I am mostly playing through Ableton. It’s just what I always do. Although, I think when there is less of a pressure to play my own music, I do sort of enjoy the freedom of that, so maybe I prefer DJing; but I’m not up there with two turntables – I’m up there with my laptop and stuff, so that’s what I’m always doing.
Vancouver Weekly: The artwork for Hardcourage has an interesting design. What was the idea behind it?
DL: Yeah, well, there is an outline of the woman’s face on the front and it’s a gatefold record sleeve, so if you open it up on the back its got my face on there so they sort of meld together; it’s my girlfriend and myself, which was nice to put on the record.
Vancouver Weekly: You are an NYC boy – what’s your favorite New York club to play?
DL: Well it used to be Club Love – I loved playing there – but then it sort of fell apart and became really awful. I just played at this new venue called Output the other day and it’s really good. It was just opened up by these guys who run Cielo so it’s got this full brand new Funktion One sound system in there. It’s custom made for the venue and what they do; like, I think the studio monitors are nowhere else in the world, they just built them for there, it’s so incredible. The other place I like play is definitely Francois K’s night at Cielo.
Vancouver Weekly: What differences do you see between the dance scenes in North America and Europe?
DL: Basically, I think there is a stereotype of the American raver that is so ridiculous, but there is also a stereotype of the European raver which is pretty ridiculous as well… I just think that good solid dance music has had more of a part in popular culture in Europe, a little wider than… outside cities like Detroit, Chicago, L.A. and just a couple other cities in America… On the whole, the country is kind of a caricature of a rave whereas in Europe, it has a little more history.
Vancouver Weekly: You’ve been known to put out a remix or two in your time. Anything interesting coming up?
DL: Yeah, actually, I just put out this Alice Russell remix I’m really happy with. Also, I have a remix coming up for José James that’s gonna come on Blue Note, which is a lifelong dream of mine because I have always been such a jazz head my whole life. That should come in a couple of months. Recently, I did a house remix for James Zabiela, and oh yeah, I did one for the Dirty Projectors, which is due out soon. I’m also in the midst of trying to finish this one for Toro Y Moi, but I’m not sure if I’m gonna be able to get it out. I actually did a remix for Vondelpark recently, which I’m happy with, that came out on White Label, I think.
Vancouver Weekly: Favourite track off the new album to play live? Favourite track from previous releases to play live?
DL: The one I think goes down really well is this track called “Uncea”; the subs in it make it. When I write a bass line, I never really know what it’s going to sound like until I hear it out on a big system, the first time I played it out I knew it was special. It’s also fun to play live. Also, “For Karme”; people react well to that. From really older stuff, probably “Freakaflex” from an old Planet Mu record.
Vancouver Weekly: I see you are a Vine user/maker. What are your thoughts on it?
DL: I think it’s awesome, it’s at the tipping point already. It’s gonna get annoying in about two months so I’m going to try get as much fun out of it as possible until then. I just started following this rapper called Riff Raff, he is so hilarious. I think he is genius, some of the stuff he is saying is unreal. Check him out.
Vancouver Weekly: What are your thoughts on the impact Daft Punk’s return has had?
DL: It is refreshing to see a campaign for a big record on a major label done in such a different way. I think it just started with a few billboards dotted around London with a picture of the masks and everybody was like, “What? New Daft Punk album!?” And now it’s continued to this video of them from Coachella with Pharrell and Nile Rodgers playing to 100,000 people on YouTube. It’s all interesting ways of promoting records. We will see how the good the album is… I’m sure at least half of it will be amazing.
Vancouver Weekly: Have you ever played with James Blake before? How did this tour come about?
DL: I have had the opportunity to play a couple of shows with him in New York last December when he was premiering a lot of his new album and I opened for him there. It was sort of a test, I guess, to see if I should be the opener for this tour, which i didn’t know at the time, but it worked out well. He is such a sweet guy and he’s really, really talented. I mean, he is only 20 something years old and he knows how to mix down a record and knows how to play the piano… I look up to him as a producer. I think he’s great.