Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Catching Up With Lil' Louis

The space that Lil’ Louis occupies in the vast world of electronic music, is up there amongst the legends and those founding fathers of the music that brings our club to life every single weekend. His personality oozes the calmness and sincerity of a wise soul and when it comes to his music you can feel it – it’s real and powerful. 

You know he’s always going to bring it in style and substance and this is what makes him especially suitable for Room One on New Year’s Eve and is also why we feel especially privileged to have been granted some time with him. Gaining an insight into his inspirations, history and even some treasured advice; we can all take a piece of Louis for the next year that we are celebrating the birth of tomorrow night, here in Farringdon. Read on to get inspired by the wise words of Lil’Louis. 

Let’s start from the beginning; your father was a famous blues player in Chicago, would you say this played a major role in your discovery of music at an early age?
My dad played a very significant role in my life, and is perhaps the biggest influence on my musically.

Let's focus on the period when you started to discover Chicago’s clubs. What was that like? Who were some of the faces you saw regularly?
I started discovering clubs in 1974. I started DJing in summer of that year, and by the end of the year, a few people liked what I was playing and hired me.

In the 70s, it was tough. Every DJ back then was told what to play. And for some reason, I already though I was a star, so subsequently, I got a lot of bottles thrown at me, and subsequently fired from every club I played. But it was fun, changing the culture.

House legends like Ron Hardy, Chez Damier, Ron Trent that are still on the scene today, what do you all embody musically and spiritually that no-one else can touch on? Do you still go and check out these guys when you can..?
I didn’t go to clubs to check out other DJs, and the DJs that were out back then were not playing dance music. I was the first one in Chicago really to play uptempo music, which was, hence the reason for the bottles.

Ron Hardy is passed away. And Chez and Ron are much younger than me. They came up actually going to Frankie, Ronnie and my parties. Ironically, I have never gone out to clubs, unless I am playing at it; or own it.

Obviously you are highly regarded for a slew of dancefloor gems, including "French Kiss" and "Club Lonely” and LPs "From the Mind of Lil' Louis" which included contributions from Larry Heard and "Journey with the Lonely.” For you personally, which of your releases hold the best memories and still fill you with happiness…?
My favorites are “Never Ending Song” on my new album and “Do You Love Me,” on Journey.

Your known for your collaborations with the likes of "Little" Louie Vega and Babyface. What did you enjoy most about the collaboration process and if you could collaborate with anyone today who would it be and why..?
I love collaborations because they expand your approach to music. I would probably forgo working with someone now, and if I could, instead go back and work with Led Zeppelin, The doors and Satie.

Back at the start of your career you had your own club, the Future, where you began working on editing techniques, thanks to a cassette deck and later a reel-to-reel recorder. That’s an endearing story right there… can you tell us more about this time and what has excited you most about the changing in technology since then? If you could look into a crystal ball…where do you see it all going..?
The start of my career was 1974. I opened the Future in 1985. The changing in technology is bittersweet. Sweet, as in it is clearly easier to edit than on cassette deck, but bitter, in that it makes most people lazier. And I think that reflects in the music.

Crystal ball. I kind of did that in 1992, with a song called New Dance Beat, where before Napster I predicted the r ecord company recession, and copy machines spitting out song after song. That was depressing enough, so… I’ll put down the ball, and try to change music for the better…. once again

If there was a fire in your house and you had to save just five records what would you save and why?
Five records. Too difficult. But they wouldn’t be what you think.

How are you feeling about playing on New Years Eve at fabric, one of the biggest nights of the year? Any New Years resolutions you can share with us?
I am very excited to play fabric. I plan on bringing it, so tell your crowd to rest before they come.
New Year’s Resolution? I don’t do that. I already know what I want before Dec. 31st. I just figure out each year a better way to get it. 

Have you quit making house music? What other projects have you been working on that others may not know about- we want to know what the future holds for you..!
I haven’t quit making house music, but my focus is on Directing Film now. I have a film coming out about House music in 2012… Stay tuned…

We were very intrigued by the news a few years back when you published your own book, ‘A Mans Diary’ with the album “Two Sides to Every Story”, that’s taking your talents to the next level…. Were you happy with how both projects were received? 
I was very pleased with the result of the book and CD. It’s not done yet though…. Stay tuned…

The most important thing in my view from the book was, that every thing happens for a lesson, not a reason, and the moment you learn the lesson, start like a tree in spring, turn new leaves.

What’s the best piece of music advice you have ever received over the last 20 years or more? 
Enjoy the space as much as the notes. God gave that to me.

Finally, if you could ask for anything for Christmas what would it be? 
To be closer to my Father, I have everything else I need.

Written by Annie Buckle

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