Lucas Unklevon speaks to Playful about what took him to electronic music, producing and AI-technology as well as hopes and dreams for the future.
What has your musical journey looked like? I started listening to electronic music and rap when I was 13-14 years old. At school every Friday lunchtime we spent time digging and playing music with my friend Marius on the school speakers, that was fun. Then I started to play music and then I wanted to learn how the music I was listening to was constructed, so I learned how to produce music by myself. And year after year I had opportunities to play for events with music collectives in my city, in France, and at bigger and bigger events outside of the city like Astropolis Festival, and then i signed my music on Boys Noize's label, Jensen Interceptor's label for a collab with Salome, and on Nastia's label as well and I started to export and play my music outside of my country in Europe and America. Alex (Boys Noize) trusted my vision and my music and I’m very thankful for that.
What drew you to producing Electro music?
I think that by listening to albums of Underground Resistance, Kraftwerk, Dopplereffekt, Detroit in Effect, 2LC, Drexciya, Zwischenwelt, Arpanet… I really fell in love with the music which for me has a real soul. I visualise a lot when I listen or produce music and this genre is the one that gives me the most thrill. I am indirectly inspired by all these projects because it’s a part of my culture, but I do it with my own vision, in a new way, I try to blend old school electro sound and next gen electro.
What is your creative process when producing a new track? For me when I create music it has to be instinctive. I can start by recording my voice and transforming it robotically and start from that loop and create a song around it, or it can start from a synth or drums or a vocal. When I talk about instinct, I need to feel the song live when I'm building it, and if I start to find it boring I delete everything even if I've spent days on it. I can be inspired by a lot of things around me, the environment, peoples, or technology, space documentaries, if I hear interesting noises inside, I can sample it and integrate it in my music to create a very robotic atmosphere, that’s why some of my tracks have names that is connected to technology and space like Planet Robot Choices, Cyborg Romance, Frequence Zero or Meta Synapse and that’s why you can hear a lot of robot voices in my tracks or in my livesets.
How do you approach incorporating new technologies and techniques into your productions? What’s your view on AI when it comes to productions in the future, for example? I think that there are many interesting things to use from technologies, for example to be able to capture sounds inaudible with the human ear. I think that in the future we will be able to integrate sounds that react with the body according to certain frequencies, which can lead to having an even more intense experience with the music. As far as AI is concerned, I think it's very interesting for jobs like science and medicine to succeed in finding solutions for health problems or helping people. As far as music is concerned, maybe it's gonna be interesting for some reasons, create new machines or plugins, but I think, in the other side, that it can be the door to more lies, there are already enough lazy DJs who paid ghost producers so imagine if they just have to pay a machine to make the sound for them…
Is it important for you to stay true to your sound, or what’s your view on that and the whole “staying true to techno” conversation? For me it's important to stay true to the music I defend. Because I want to prove that Electro (in a wide spectrum) can be as powerful on a dance floor as any other genre. But it's important to stay open to listen to many different types of music, music is always evolving. About my global vision, I think that everyone is free to do whatever they want, Music is an infinite space of freedom, nobody has any order to give.
What I think is bad on the « techno scene » it’s all the dj’s who played the tiktok trends hits inside their sets, some artists are following these trends, to stay bankable, I encourage them to make the music they really like and to stop being followers but leaders of a music they really defend. Music should be timeless, not ephemeral. But you know, do what you want, I just gave my opinion..
What has been your biggest challenge as a producer so far, and how have you overcome it? I had the chance to travel a lot these last months for music and gigs, and I was able to collaborate for my next tracks with producers/singers from North and South America which made me go out of my comfort zone by working differently by mixing my vision and their musical culture whether it is EBM, Rap, Pop, or something else. It's a challenge that I love and I want to do it again and again.
How do you approach collaborations with other artists, and what are some names you dream of working with? For the collaborations I've already done it was quite natural, It needs to be a real connection and a shared vision. When it comes to the artists that I dream about collaborating with, there are some, but I keep them to myself, I’m too shy to say it ahah, let’s see what happens.. I trust life, if I get to work with them one day I will be happy, but just chatting with some of them is always very enriching.
What are your upcoming projects or releases that we can look forward to? There are a lot of projects on the way. My next EP « PARIS75 » on Boys Noize Records is coming out the 26th may, and I have some very exciting collaborations coming up too. Then I've got releases on compilations, remixes and most of all I'm currently working on my own label. The first release will be out at the end of the year with a very strong line up, I’m really grateful to work with these legends for my first release. I'm so excited, I want to write my own vision, my own story with this label.
What’s your hopes and dreams for the future? In a large perspective, I want people to open their eyes a little more to the problems of our planet and that they respect everyone's choices, cultures, and make more places for the minorities.
From a very professional perspective I want to be able to continue playing my music, to continue discovering new countries and meeting new people, culture, and exploring new stages. To be able to share my vision with my future label, staying true and happy. To be honest, it's already a dream for me to travel with music, i couldn't have imagined this when I started making music, and I feel very lucky and grateful about that. That's why when I go far away from France for gigs I try to stay few weeks to meet the local artists, make studio sessions, and visit, instead of taking 2 planes of 11 000km during the same weekend. It makes no sense to do this.
What would you like to change within the techno scene? That the promoters propose more eclectic lineup where you can have different kind of electronic music represented, like in a « festival » way, and more spaces for minorities. And another point, that people focus on their own business and make it evolve, stop wasting time comparing themselves and waste energy for nothing, Everyone has their own path, some go faster than others, and others come down as fast as they went up, it's not a race. And especially put your ego aside. It's crazy, the number of assholes that we can meet in this environment. You should be proud of yourself, that’s true, but please, stay humble.