Misconceptions & Privacy: Len Leise Talks
There is a peculiar sense of mystery surrounding Len Leise. Little is known of the Australian artist who somehow managed to capture the ears of pioneering musician and International Feel label boss, Mark Barrott.
In fact, for some time many were even convinced that Len was a mysterious moniker under which Mark himself was producing music. However, it is fairly safe to say that this is in fact not the case.
In the dying embers of last year Len Leise released his debut LP titled ‘Lingua Franca’. This followed a series of EP’s and edits which he both self-released and worked on for labels such as Aficionado Recording and International Feel. Several of which have gone on to fetch some rather extortionate prices on the online record store Discogs.
He is bemused by the concept of people reselling his Edits EP for far beyond a suitable asking price.
“It’s pretty ridiculous to be honest. To clarify all of that, I pressed that record myself at a local pressing plant here in Melbourne; I only did one hundred and fifty because I didn’t think anyone would really like it. I didn’t expect it to take off at all. When I see people selling it for over a hundred dollars on Discogs I’m obviously not seeing any of that money but those people that bought a couple of copies are. That’s kind of the way it goes with records I guess.”
He expands upon this describing how he is now more aware of the value in ownership and respectability when it comes to buying records as a result.
“I guess it’s changed my opinion on reissues. When I see an official reissue now I kind of like it. I like the idea that some of the money goes back to the original artist or their families as opposed to some vinyl hustler.”
Len’s music falls somewhere between the realms of Balearic, Downtempo, House, Disco and Dub. It’s hard to construct a narrative around his musical progression or to pinpoint his sound, although it does make sense when listening to in a sun kissed climate. This may be why his music held such an impact on the now Ibiza based Mark Barrott. Len jokes as he explains the pair’s relationship.
“A lot of people don’t even think I’m real and a lot of people think I’m him. I find that whole thing kind of weird. There are a few websites that I won’t mention that have reviewed my records and think it’s just a weaker version of Marks productions. I just ignore those kind of comments.”
The two have never met but Len laughs as he reflects on people’s misconceptions of the pair.
“It pisses me off but at the same time I don’t like to show my face that much. I care less about that these days. I kind of just like people to focus on the music and not on my appearance or anything else I do in my life, I don’t feel any need to talk about that or promote it. I’m just interested in people listening to my music and if people want to think I’m Mark then that’s fine, they can think that.”
He laughs at this point.
“They’ll see me DJ eventually and realise.”
‘Lingua Franca’ has just received the remix treatment on a new EP which features a self expanded edit of ‘O Caminho’ from Len, alongside a remix of ‘El Modelo’ from experienced Frenchman and Versatile Records boss Gilb’r.
“To me, I was stoked that someone of his caliber agreed to do it and did something as good as he did. I like how he used my track as a small sample and totally transformed it. It sounds like his own track with some of my samples, its awesome. He’s such a legend and to be on the same record as him, I’m stoked”
He goes on to describe the rather confusing and complex process of remixing one of his own productions.
“I took an old school dub engineers approach to it. I sat down with a desk and cut it up, added new parts, canned others and tried to reinterpret it in a way that would sound like a traditional dub B-side, but it ended up sounding quite different."
Throughout the conversation it becomes clear that that there is an element of frustration towards the hot air and gossip being passed around. Len Leise is an artist whose sense of self has been called in to question on one too many occasions.
Despite this, the music he makes continues to become ever more relevant and inspired. Its fascinating to watch an artist respond to criticism in such a positive manner, taking it in his stride and using it to form an independent sense of self and musical expression. It’s time for the whispering to stop, let the music speak for itself and listen beyond the chitter chatter of others. Len Leise is on the right track, that’s for sure.