Both as a DJ and as a producer, London-based Luke Porter’s star is clearly on the rise. This native of Melbourne, Australia champions a unique, groove-driven sound that has rapidly propelled him to the forefront of today’s global dance music community, winning his records attention from the likes of Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren and Armin Van Buuren. As a DJ, Luke’s attention to detail and ability to win the hearts and feet of clubbers worldwide have seen him deliver at some of the biggest clubs and festivals in the world. From John Digweed’s Bedrock in the UK, Australia, Greece and Hungary, to Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Hong Kong and the Czech Republic.
Luke’s remixes and original productions have been featured on some of the finest underground labels. A huge moment came in August of 2011 when Luke’s ‘Opiate’ was signed by Hernan Cattaneo for his Sudbeat imprint. Hernan championed the track in his sets for months and it went down as one of the biggest releases on Sudbeat that year. More recently Luke has been busy in the studio with his ‘Sardonica’ track coming out on his own newly re-launched Temporum Music imprint and also his remix for Vinayak A’s ‘You May Sit and Wonder’ on Dopamine Music both of which enjoyed extended stays in the Beatport Progressive House chart. We had a chance to catch up with Luke following his massive remix of Vinayak A’s ‘You May Sit and Wonder’. A transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
1. How old are you and how long have you been producing / DJing?
Luke: I’m 32 years old and I’ve been DJing for about 10 years and producing for about 7 years.
2. What are your earliest memories of music, what did you listen to growing up? How did you get involved in electronic music and what made you decide to pursue it seriously?
Luke: I was into pop music when I was really young, listening to a lot of Duran Duran and stuff like that in the late 80s and early 90’s. When I hit the teenage years I became massively into alternative rock. Tool, Rage Against the Machine – those sorts of groups. Tool is still the best live experience I’ve ever had. Once I hit University I started to listen to techno and a lot of dance music because a bunch of my friends were into it. I started going to raves initially because everyone else was, but then it started to be more about the music for me. That led on to DJing at various house parties and then clubs in Melbourne. At that point I wanted to write my own music and set some goals in order to teach myself sound engineering. After a few years of hard work I felt I could successfully release music commercially and it’s just continued on from there.
3. You’ve been living in the UK for quite some time now but we hear you are on your way back to Australian for good in the near future. Is this something you’re looking forward to and how do the respective countries electronic music scenes compare to one another? Do you think it will have any impact on the number of gigs you can potentially get?
Luke: The weather in the UK has finally broken my spirit 🙂 As an Australian, it is in my DNA to crave sunlight! In all seriousness, I am looking forward to the move back home for many other reasons such as family and friends who I have been missing a lot lately.
London has been an amazing experience and I will forever cherish my time here. The music scene is great, and there are always fantastic acts playing seemingly every week. The scene in Australia is obviously not on the same scale as London, but I think in recent years the rising Australian dollar has made it more lucrative for artists to make the long journey to Oz and perform.
I’m not sure how the move will impact gigs. I’ve been lucky to play a lot of London shows with Lowbit records recently, culminating with the Bedrock Anniversary show last October. I will certainly be contacting a bunch of the guys back home to establish which parties might be right for my sound back home. I’m sure a lot has changed in the last 6 or so years. Sadly it will mean no more European shows in the foreseeable future, but hopefully some other areas such as Asian and India will open up for me to visit.
4. You started your own imprint ‘Temporum Music’ in early 2011, the label had two solid releases that year the latter of which being a collaboration from yourself and Cid Inc. Then the label disappeared so to speak for about 20 months and reappeared in 2013 with your ‘Sardonica’ single. Why was there such a lull between releases and can we expect to see a more regular release schedule from the label in the future?
Luke: Colin and I started off the label full of energy but to be perfectly honest our time started to get taken up on other projects. Colin was off doing amazing things on Anjunadeep and I had a lot of RealLife(tm) things to focus on.
I had a really creative period over the 2012 xmas break, and wanted to not only release my own records on my own terms, but to release records from some of my favourite producers. We’ve got a ton of stuff signed at the moment which is coming up this year including originals and remixes from Nikko.Z, Audiotox & Watson, David Duque, Progress Inn & Steve Slight.
5. After years of appearing on other peoples labels what was it that made you want to start your own imprint (in conjunction with Colin Fisher aka Soundprank)? And is Colin still involved in the label now that it’s restarted?
Luke: I was getting frustrated at how some other labels were operating. I wanted to have more control over the promotion and marketing aspects of releasing music. Colin and I thought it would be a great platform to showcase our music.
Running a label is no different to a bricks and mortar business. You have to invest money to make something successful. Some people don’t seem to draw that parallel. I recognise that it is very hard to make money from underground dance tracks, but at the very least the label owes it to the producers to do everything in their power to promote and market their records. Especially towards those who are writing music for free!
There are, of course, many labels out there who are doing an amazing job and it would be any artist’s dream to release on those labels. microCastle, Proton & Lowbit are a few that spring to mind. Consistently excellent music, great promotional channels and intelligent marketing. Sonic Union from Lowbit also works on a bunch of label tools in his spare time which he shares with the community.
Colin has been less involved this time around as he’s super busy with a bunch of projects. I’m really proud of what he’s achieved over the last few years. He’s really taken things to the next level in so many ways. That said, he’s just as likely to shoot me an email out of the blue in a few weeks with 3 or 4 tracks he wants to put out on Temporum – and we’d release them straight away.
6. What advice would you give to producers hoping to get their tracks signed to Temporum? How would you suggest they approach it?
Luke: OK, here is Luke’s guide to getting your music heard by a record label:
– DO NOT send a Facebook message containing nothing but a link to your SoundCloud clip. That is so ridiculous. I know you’ve just sent that same link to just about everyone on your contact list. I hate this so much!
– In fact, DO NOT try to sign music via Facebook! Try to find out a contact email for the label at the very least!
– DO NOT send a mass group email with about 30 labels CC’d! BCC is just as bad! Labels want to sign unique material that has not been sent around town to everybody in existence!
– DO NOT send the shitty electro-dubstep-krautrock track you wrote to a Progressive House label! It’s a waste of everybody’s time! I can’t tell you how irritating it is when I click play on a demo and it’s some cheesy trance power chord rubbish or something else equally inappropriate. If you can’t even send the right style of music to the right label, you are going to last all of 5 minutes in the industry.
– DO send a personal email to the label contact! I get hundreds of emails and promos in my music mailboxes, so I will ALWAYS prioritise reading and answering emails that are directly addressed to me. It shows the person has taken the time to contact you personally, and that means a great deal.
– Focus on ONE LABEL at a time when you want to sign your track. Avoid sending out 20 emails at the same time. If your first choice is not interested, move to the next one.
– Be REALISTIC about your music. Compare it to commercially released tracks you like by your favourite artists. Does it stack up? Would you play it out? If you aren’t sure then you need to work on the track some more, or spend some more time learning how to write dance music. Don’t waste everybody’s time by trying to get something signed that sucks. You’ll look like an amateur and will potentially jeopardize any future dealings with a label when you genuinely do improve.
The above points may sound overly harsh, but consider the insane amount of music that is written and emailed around to labels these days. It’s not that hard to match your tracks to the right label and then draft a nice short email to the label owner. Put in that little bit of extra effort and you will certainly be receiving more replies.
7. In August of 2011 your ‘Opiate’ production was released on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat label. This must have been a huge moment in your career, talk a bit about what that meant to you to have one of the world’s biggest DJs showcase your production on his own imprint.
Luke: Opiate was a special track. When it came together in the studio I felt a lot of people would be into it. It’s rare that I genuinely feel satisfied with anything I write, but I am so fond of that record.
It was a massive thrill when I saw on Youtube that Hernan had been playing it at every one of his shows since I sent it to him. When he wanted to sign it, that was a dream come true! I was just so happy that many thousands of people around the world had heard it at his shows. The remixes from Kassey Voorn and Silinder were simply brilliant as well. They are 2 of my favourite artists.
It was fantastic to meet Hernan in person later that year at Ministry of Sound in London after working together on the release. I’m considering doing a fresh 2013 version of Opiate when I setup my new studio in Australia later this year.
8. Many of our readers are probably curious about your current studio setup, what does it look like right now?
Luke: I’m pretty much all ITB. I’ll run through some of the hardware and software I use.
– Intel Q9650 CPU / 4 GB RAM
– UAD-1 DSP Card
– KRK VXT8 Monitors
– RME Babyface Audio Interface
– Beyer DT770 Pro headphones
– Window 7 64bit
– Cubase 6
– Absynth 5
– Sasha Soundlab
– Analogic Delay
– Fabfilter Pro-C
– Fabfilter Pro-L
– Gliss EQ
– Ozone 5
– The Glue
– PSP MixSaturator
– PSP Oldtimer
– UAD 1176
– UAD EMT 140
– UAD Neve 88RS
– UAD Pultec-Pro
– UAD EMT 140
9. What artist or track would you love to remix?
Luke: Dousk. He’s my hero. And I’m actually in the middle of remixing him right now 🙂
10. How often do you turn down remix offers?
Luke: A lot. Many are from labels I have never heard of. I’d rather be selective and work with label owners I already have a history with or ones that have a good reputation. I used to say yes to almost every remix offer, but I was burned a number of times so I just avoid those situations now.
11. Your productions always have elements of progressive and techno, they have a pretty large scope in terms of who can play them. Where do you get studio inspiration from? What producers consistently inspire you? Who are some of your favourites?
Luke: When I’m low on inspiration I like to either go out and listen to a really good DJ set in the clubs, or simply start listening to a lot of music. It helps to get ideas flowing. There’s nothing worse that sitting in front of an empty Cubase window trying to force something creative! I also tend to write in bursts. I can go a long time devoid of inspiration, so as soon as it hits, I just try to write as much as possible!
As I mentioned before, Dousk is a huge hero of mine. I will never be anywhere near his level of songwriting, but listening to his tracks always inspires me. Cid Inc still manages to inspire me with everything he does. We have been good friends for many years, and I love nothing better than discovering the latest groove he has come up with. He’s truly brilliant. Collaborating with him in the past has contributed massively to my development as a producer, as it really forced me to try and up my game.
I have been working a lot with Nikko.Z in recent times also. His productions are excellent. Sonic Union is putting together some great stuff lately as well. Guy J, Henry Saiz, Beckers, Audiotox & Watson, Rodrigo Mateo, Rodskeez, Dosem, Pig & Dan…I could go on forever. So many great artists around.
12. Production wise what are you working on right now, anything you can tell us about?
Luke: As I mentioned before I am currently remixing Dousk for Lowbit records. Just trying to clean up the mixdown and it should be ready for mastering pretty soon. I’ve got another remix coming out on Proton in a few months which I’m quite excited about too. Apart from my own productions, I’ve been working on the label. Next up we’ve got a Progress Inn track being remixed by Steve Slight, followed by David Duque being remixed by Nikko.Z. Some really great stuff coming up on Temporum.
13. Do any particular gigs from your DJ history stand out for you? and if so why?
Luke: The Bedrock Anniversary party was certainly a big highlight last year. It was fantastic to be involved with such a seminal brand.
However, my most memorable gig was probably a few years ago in Novi Sad, Serbia when I played at the Avantgarde club. Just before I was due to start, the police turned up and tried to shut the club down. The owner argued with them for a while then agreed to turn it into a lock in. The main room only held about 300 people, but those who were there just absolutely went for it when we started the music back up. The energy and vibe in this tunnel-like main room was intense and it just turned into total chaos.
This was literally a day after a bunch of riots in Belgrade against Western companies. I was a little apprehensive about travelling there due to those events, but in the end it turned out to be an unforgettable experience. I’ve never had as much fun performing before or since thanks to everyone who was there that night.
14. What do you like to do for fun outside of the music? and do you have a regular job? What is a typical day like for Luke Porter?
Luke: I do have a regular job. If I relied on music to make a living I think I’d be destitute on the street 🙂 I work full time in IT, so I have to fit music in around that. For fun I really enjoy playing cricket in the summer as it’s my favourite sport (shout out to the Gary Sizzle Cricket Club!). Although I am placing a ban on Praveen Achary from talking about the recent India vs Australia Cricket Test Series! I also watch a lot of films in my spare time.
15. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? How big of an influence are other styles of music when it comes to composing your own tracks? Could you give any examples?
Luke: I like to listen to ambient electronica. Really nice to have that playing in the background when doing other things and a much needed break from thumping 4/4 kick drums. I also like to listen to a lot of movie soundtracks too. The Prestige and Inception are both great. The soundtracks on those films are amazing. Sometimes I will hear elements even in orchestral tracks that trigger ideas for me to start playing with in my own work.
16. Luke Porter Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
Food: Truffled Egg Toast from Spuntino in London
Drink: Monmouth Coffee
TV Show: Louie, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad
Movie: Django Unchained
Video Game: Phantasy Star (1987)
Album: Sasha – Involv3r
Track / Song: Douze – Cha (Sparkling, With Diamonds)
Producer / Band: Audiotox & Watson
Record Label: Dopamine
Nightclub: Ushuaia Ibiza
DJ: Guy J
17. If the final DJ set of your career was next week what would be your last record be?
Luke: Quivver – These Are The Days (Vocal Mix)
18. What can we expect to see in 2013 from Luke Porter and Temporum?
Luke: Lots of new productions from me and a bunch of big releases on Temporum. I’ve also got some gigs coming up in the UK and Greece which should be great. In terms of what happens after I move back to Melbourne in August – your guess is as good as mine! The start of more new adventures I guess 🙂
Interview courtesy of: Release Promo
Luke’s remix of Vinayak A’s ‘You May Sit and Wonder’ is out now on Nikko Z’s Dopamine Music, you can purchase the release: here