Lusine, aka Jeff McIlwain, took some time to answer some questions about his new album ‘A Certain Distance’, his creative process, album covers, making albums, and what’s next for Lusine. We also have an exclusive live mix from Lusine to celebrate his latest album ‘A Certain Distance’. Stream the mixHERE. The full interview is below.
Hi Jeff, Thank you for taking the time to speak to us… In a nutshell, what was your musical upbringing?
I played a little piano and violin when I was growing up.
When did you first start making music?
Started just out of high school back in ‘93 or so.
Can you remember the first album you bought that you couldn’t get enough of?
Probably Depeche Mode’s Violator. I think that album pretty much blew me away when it came out.
What attracted you to release your first album under Isophlux?
I sent a demo to him when I lived in California and he liked it and gave me a call. I only new of the label through word of mouth.
Explain why have you decided to become more ‘pop-y’ and vocal in your new album?
It just seemed like something that would be a challenge for me. I got a little bit sick of working with the same structures that were more oriented towards sound and static progressions and wanted to try working more with verse/chorus structures because it’s not something I hear very often with electronic music.
In what direction do you see your next project going?
I’ll probably continue to work with vocalists and maybe incorporate more acoustic instrumentation, but still manipulated and strange.
Have you thought about the fact that in the future your earlier music will be appreciated more than you might realize now?
It would be nice if other people came to appreciate my earlier sound, but I am never 100% satisfied with anything I do, so I’m always trying to evolve and refine my music. When I listen to my older music, it’s interesting, but I feel like personally I’m not really in that space anymore.
It’s so hard to classify music these days when there is such a wealth of textures out there, if you really had to give it your best stab how would you classify your sound?
I guess I would say experimental electronic pop, but it depends on which releases you are pointing to. Some are more ambient, and some are more like experimental dance.
Some people say all good music has a creative vision behind it; others just follow what sounds good… do you have a particular thought process when approaching a new tune?
Well, I’m definitely influenced by what’s going on around me. But, I’d like to think that I bring something new to the table. I generally have an idea of what style and sound I want to try out when I start a new track (maybe based on other music that I‘m hearing), but it eventually veers in other directions once I get going, which I guess I would classify as “my sound”
Now that you’re a refined musical tech-whizz you must be near to having a perfect studio set up…what hard & software do you use?
It’s a very simple setup. I have a few analogs that I use, a couple other hardware synths, a couple guitars, an electric bass, mics and a MiniDisc recorder for field recordings. And I use a combination of Cubase, FL Studio, Soundhack, and Ableton Live for the most part.
How did your relationship with Ghostly International begin?
Sam contacted me back in 2001/2002 to do a 12” and sent me a bit of his catalog. I think he heard a DJ spinning one of my tracks. Then we eventually released the Push EP.
Do Ghostly determine your work or are you completely autonomous?
Totally autonomous, but the music I send to Sam is usually something I feel would work for the label’s aesthetic.
Do you have any future film projects in line? Have you any plans to produce your own film?
No film projects coming up at the moment. No plans to produce a film, that would be something completely beyond me.
Who designs your album artwork? They seem to fit the music perfectly.
A Certain Distance was done by Mike Cina and Benjamin Hriber. They were the designs that I chose, and I asked them to expound on them.
What upcoming producers / DJ’s do you rate?
I think Michna has some really interesting stuff out. I like the sound of this guy Lukid on Werk Discs, and I think Dave Pezzner has some really promising material as well.
Where would you ideally live and which place on earth inspires you the most?
I love Seattle. The Northwest is a really beautiful place to be.
Will we see a remix album of ‘A Certain Distance’?
Maybe a remix 12” And another single for “Twilight”
It has been suggested that Takagi Masakatsu plays a great deal in influencing your sound, is this valid?
I honestly have never heard him. I should check it out. Susumu Yokota’s ambient material is a big influence on my sound.
Your name means ‘factory’, is there a story behind how you chose the name L’Usine?
No, I just thought it was an interesting sounding name with a meaning that kind of contradicted the fluid pronunciation, which I felt worked with my music pretty well.
Finally, Jeff, what can we expect from you through the rest of 2009 and beyond?
Remix 12” on Ghostly, “Twilight” single, remix of Tycho and School of Seven Bells, and hopefully some more music incorporating vocals.
In closing, thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Jeff. We wish you the best of luck with A Certain Distance.