He’ll arrive relatively unnoticed by jet, a svelte British man, the tools of his trade stashed covertly in his luggage. He might pause for a moment to take a drag off a cigarette. Then he’ll quickly be ushered to an awaiting vehicle and whisked away to an imposing glass and steel installation hanging over the side of a hill in a small college town. It’s the kind of place that keeps the natives whispering about what just goes on inside. The mysterious British gentleman goes by the name Lapalux (for lap of luxury) and on Friday, Dec. 16, the producer who is known for constructing glitchy, sexy dance soundscapes, will employ his audio arsenal on the lucky few who decide to catch him ply his trade at EMPAC in Troy.
Lapalux was kind enough to take the time to chat with The Alt last week. We were warned to alert him by text that we would be calling because otherwise he wouldn’t recognize the number and would likely disregard the call. It felt mysterious, cloak and dagger, a little bit dangerous but as most things tend to be, it was all in our mind. “Hey this is Dave from The Alt. Going to give you a call in a minute,” we texted Lapalux. “Hello mate. Nice one just having a cigarette give me 5.”
We waited and then placed the call, the cold and robotic voice on the other end said the call was not authorized. A wave of panic hit us, more mystery, the authorities didn’t want this connection to be made. We recalled that Lapalux was unable to secure a visa in earlier this year and was forced to postpone the EMPAC gig and cancel an appearance at a festival in Miami. The Man was clearly thwarting us at every turn. Then we realized we didn’t have an international calling plan. After a few minutes chatting with Sprint customer service we’d secured the rights to call Britain and lost a solid chunk of change.
When we finally connected with Lapalux the cloak of mystery and danger quickly came to end. Lapalux as it turns out is a quiet, thoughtful and all around chill dude. In fact Lapalux, who has made his name by being the first British producer signed to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, has made sure that his gig at EMPAC will be a surprise for him.
“I have some friends in New York I spoke to the other day and they found it pretty fucking strange I was playing the gig,” said Lapalux. “‘Why the fuck you playing there?’ I like to keep a distance from the venue so that either it’s a nice surprise or it’s a shithole and I’m asking ‘What the fuck am I doing here?’ I like to keep my mind open.”
Lapalux’s set will be unique to EMPAC, not just because of the building’s amazing acoustics and imposing infrastructure but because Lapalux will be performing a show based on what he can actually fit in his luggage.
“I’ll have a drum machine, I got a percussion pad, mini keyboard, a few effects units depending on what fits in my luggage, two laptops and a bunch of fucking cables.” Hometown gigs in London afford Lapalux the chance to experiment with a wide range of electronic toys, at times the addition of new tools can impact the direction of his sound. “The only time I get to practice and add gear is for London gigs because I can take whatever I want on the Uber or tube. What I bring with me to other gigs is limited by space and it provides different parameters.”
Lapalux’s mix of ambient and sexy synths with off-step beats is always ever evolving, as is the technology he uses to compose. But since he began as a producer and DJ he’s reconsidered his approach to getting his music to the masses has retrofied.
“When I started out Soundcloud had just came out and it was the early days of streaming, well that was only six years ago but then, with the whole social media blow up and my association with Brainfeeder I was pushing things out there every day to get people to listen. But now a days it’s more about finding fun ways to get the music out there, to get it into people’s ears and what I’m doing now is making a premium product that people really want to own. For me now, it’s quality over quantity. Soundcloud is great fun and I love to do it but these days I’m focused on putting out an item that is cohesive.”
In fact Lapalux has become increasingly concerned about permanence and legacy, in some ways in direct opposition to the ethereal nature of his music.
“The point of vinyl is you want something to touch. As a kid I used to go to the library and record store and take a random record. My thought is, if the net ever does gets completely fucked up specific things might be totally forgotten like the most recent president, there might be no physical record of them being president, it’s sort of like back in the day you had the scriptures to hold on to, so if it does all fucked up in some way, if ISPs take it all down, or governments shut it down it won’t all be lost, we will have a tangible record that proves we did exist.”
Lapalux will play EMPAC on Dec. 16 at 8 PM.