Luke Abbott Talks


Luke Abbott's 2010 'Holkham Drones' LP was firmly lodged on R$N's stereo for a few years now, and the more recent musical outing ‘Modern Driveway’ on Gold Panda's Notown imprint winning over convert upon convert… ahead of his appearance this Friday at The Waiting Room in N16 IA's Tom Durston caught up with Luke for R$N for a low down on Norfolk, artistic retreats and reading your own reviews..

So Luke, what have you been up to?
I've been in studio. Some of it for me and I'm doing some production work and some remix stuff… and kind of doing my own stuff. I've put together an EP which is going to come out on No town I think… the follow up to Modern Driveway. I've got half way through a new album but I can't rush that. I think it needs time to gather its own momentum.

Talking about Notown, how did you get involved with them? 
I was just chatting to Derwin (Gold Panda) about something else and I mentioned to him about doing a new EP and that Border Community were really busy at the time because they've got a crazy schedule with albums at the moment and they simply don't have the man power to release singles when they have these coming out. Nathan's got a new album out shortly. And I mentioned to Derwin that I was looking for another label to work with and he wanted to do it… so we did it. 

The artwork for that release seems to be taken from an analogue modular synth, is that right?
I really like textile design. It's just an opportunity to do some design work which i really enjoy doing. Swatch patterns and ideas for fabric design which seem to end up on the record instead…

As you're now releasing on Notwon, is your music going to be noticeably different?
Well I mean obviously my sound is going to progress regardless of who I'm releasing on. And it's not like I'm making particular types of music for a particular lable… it's just not that calculated. Wherever it gets released it gets released. People talk about Border Community having a particular sound but it's not something that's forced it's just something that comes from being with like-minded people being in contact and working within a shared pallete. It's not engineered that way, it's just how it arises. 

What about your show? You said you'd been experimenting on stuff?
I've had a bit of time away from gigs… and taken the opportunity to re-examine my life a bit. I'm doing a lot to re-engineer it and change it… but I don't know what I'll do for the London show. I haven't come to any conclusive points yet… we'll see!  There'll be music and I'll be there! 

What about Rival Consoles, have you come across his stuff before?
I don't tend to listen to a lot of similar contemporary ideas… it's too distracting. When you spend all day working on your own music, the last thing you want to do is listen to something similar. You need to disengage your brain.

You've been in Norwich 13 years is it? What is it that attracts you to the place?
I came here to study, to the arts school and I haven't left because it's just a nice place. I don't think I'd move to London because I couldn't afford it. Norwich offers you lower overheads, it's got a really vibrant creative scene. There's a lot of space for artists here. There's a very close social network of people. You run into people you know all the time. That sense of community I really like about the place.

Why do you think Nathan moved away?
You'd have to ask him! Nathan's from North Norfolk and I grew up in South Norfolk. World's apart anyway! 

You're doing Mutek Mexico soon aren't you, what other festivals have you done this year?
I'm looking forward to that.  I did Creamfields Spain the other week and it was really weird… the weird thing was the line-up on our stage was pheomenal. I was playing, James (Holden) playing, Kieran Hebden and Dan Snaith b2b. Africa Hi-Tech played, John Talabot was playing… but our stage had no audience the whole day because the festival was just full of people that wanted to see Tiesto. I had a great time and heard some great music… It was amazing to hear Kieran playing. I played with him before in Amsterdam recently too and he was completely mind-blowing. 
It's really nice to play with them but at the same time he's one of those people I feel quite funny around still as I grew up listening to his music.

What about the current state of journalism? 
What about it? 

Do you think journalists should get paid?
I think it's shit that journalists don't get paid… everyone should get paid but if you're operating a business within a non-sustainable model then you should switch and do something else.

Do you read your reviews?
I tend not to read what people think. It can be either something which you don't want to read or something that gives you an ego… neither of these things are useful or constructive. Trends come and go and a lot of people in their listening habits are quite fickle. You kind of hope that you're going to connect with someone… it's great that people enjoy it.  I don't generally worry too much about how I'm perceived. I wouldn't be putting something out if I wasn't happy with it… 

Forthcoming EP drops when on Notown?
November/December time hopefully… I've got half an album sketched out but finding the time to do it is always the challenge! Finding a chunk of time to work on an album is almost impossible sometimes…
I'm going on a bit of an artist's retreat later in the year. I'm going to do a compositional residency at a place callled Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeshire. Hoping that'll be a nice place to go and write some music… but ideas come to you… you never know where. Wherever I go something'll happen. 


Luke plays the IA/44 night at The Waiting Room, London this weekend alongside video artist Dan Tomb creating visuals generated through manipulating video feedback loops through hardware video mixers.
Advance tickets have sold out but there's tickets on the door from 9pm.
Full details of the event here.