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Big Up Podcast 67 ~ LeFtO

Big Up Podcast 67 ~ LeFtO

lefto

Together with the likes of Gilles Peterson, J.Rocc and a few others he’s the personification of the term “Worldwide”. Besides filming, curating and producing LeFtO is probably best known as one of Europe’s leading tastemakers as a DJ. Effortlessly switching between hip hop, funk, neck-snapping beats, future bass or sexy Brazilian rhythms, LeFtO is forever moving forwards, but always keeping an ear in the past. He showcased this eclectic taste in the exclusive mix for Big Up readers. We also sat down with the man himself to chat about genres, boring radio stations and how he evolved as a DJ.

Interview by Jochem Daelman


Obviously you are a tastemaker for a lot of deejays out there, but who are yours? How do you keep on top of everything? Do you get any help?

To be honest, I don’t follow any deejay in particular, I go dig online, listen to deejay sets every now and then, sets of different genres, try to find that special gem that I like. I’ve grown up listening to J.Rocc mixes and Gilles Peterson podcasts, funny, those are actually close to me nowadays. It’s a daily job to search for that one specific song that will make my day, I don’t have personnel helping me out but have a good network all over the world that sends me stuff that might be up my alley. On top of that I take a few hours a day to search, open my mailbox with weekly promos, emails keep coming in on a daily with new gems… I’m so connected I’m blessed, as long as there’s internet.

We had dubstep and all its subgenres a few years ago, there was trap last year and now a house revival seems to be going on. Nothing really new in my opinion. Where do you think we are at the moment?

It is a very interesting time right now, where all styles start to mix with each other, not that I’m a fan of that but it’s good to see it as people will maybe unconsciously start liking different genres of music. I see genres come and go, and I just go with the flow as long as I can play what I like, which shouldn’t be a problem as I like so many different genres of music. The only problem is probably how fast people jump on one genre, to rinse it, and jump on something else, it’s going so quick these days.

Do you ever feel like there’s nothing exciting going on musically? Do you get bored or uninspired sometimes?

There’s a lot of exciting things out there musically, but there’s nothing exciting musically on commercial radio stations. I was just driving through France these days and left the radio on, and I started to skip stations, only to realize there was nothing really good, and if it was, it was a jazz or classical radio station, or a talk show. Radio stations get bored or uninspired, but the music is out there, you just have to look for it, and no better tool than the internet for that.

[toggle title=”Tracklist”]Toddla T – Worst Enemy
Ikebe Shakedown – The Beast
Earl Sweatshirt – Whoa (ft. Tyler The Creator)
Ta-ku – Sway
Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Enemies (ft. The Delfonics)
LTGL – Hat To Be Back
Hudson Mohawke – Tingle
Mala In Cuba – The Tunnel
James Blake – Voyeur
Sun Ra – Enlightenment
Brandt Brauer Frick – Skiffile It Up
Ty – Like You Never
Geology – Diurnal Insomnia
Rashaan Ahmad – Ital
S O H N – Bloodflows
Mount Kimbie – Made To Stray
Rick Poppa Howard – Do What You Have To Do
Motor City Drum Ensemble – Send A Prayer Pt.1[/toggle]

Most producers evolve throughout the years, I’m curious if your DJing has changed during the past years? And in what way?

Well, first, I evolved in what I play, I guess I play more mature music, more genres of music too, so that’s one thing how I changed my DJing. A second thing is definitely the use of Serato, the program that lets you use the technique of records but controlling your computer. It gives me the opportunity to be creative, just what I always wanted. I just love it, it’s like being a musician on turntables.

You’ve got some own productions and edits on your SoundCoud page. Is that something you want to progress on, any releases in the pipeline?

Yes, I need to get an extra course on Ableton, that will help me a lot, so far I do lots of edits and beats too and have something coming out this year if everything turns out well. It should be on a 7″ format, a box of 7″s and would contain only my own productions. Besides that, I’m always thinking about compilations ha.

How do you approach a gig? Do you want people to experience a Lefto set in a certain way?

I’ve witnessed that a lot of my crowd are actually fans of my radio show, so they know what to expect; and those who don’t know me will know me after my set. I don’t try to please anyone but me first. I play what I like and what I want at the moment I want to play it, I don’t accept requests, unless they fit right into what I’m doing. I just go 360 degrees usually, that’s what I really like. What I really try everywhere I go is to make the room as dark as possible so people can only focus on the music.

Compilations, mixes, DJing, promoting, curating and filming. You’ve been up to a lot of projects. Have you done everything on your wishlist or do you still keep dreaming? What are these dreams?

I just want to do this until I retire, there’s hopefully nothing that can stop me unless I get hit by sickness or anything like that. There’s nothing better than doing something you love, and all this is my job. I’m a messenger for the art I’m doing and that’s what counts. There’s endless space on this planet to still let people discover the music you love. Because it’s music coming from the heart, something you can feel and hits you if you are dedicated. It helps people. My dream would be to be able to travel the world, stay in one place for a month or two, share the music, and I would film their lifestyle and I’d share it on the internet like a diary. The reason I’m filming my trips is basically to show everyone that you can make people dance to non commercial music all around the world. I remember a time that people criticized me for playing music that people can’t dance to, which was totally untrue, it probably traumatized me and I think I still have that quote somewhere in me, and that’s why I try to show the opposite. You need to feel the music, you don’t need to know the music that’s playing.

Playing all over the globe sounds awesome but exhausting at the same time. How do you relax once back home?

I never relax at home, home is my working space. I go to sleep, I wake up with a headache as I grind my teeth because my brain never stops thinking. The joy I experience by traveling the planet helps me to forget how exhausting it is but I have to say I take vitamins, magnesium and try to eat healthy to stay on top of it. I’ve had times where my body would give me a hard time, getting dizzy on stage while playing a heavy record was not cool at all but you learn to read your body and know where to take it easy on time.

If someday people with beards were prohibited to throw parties, which artists would you have on your last line-up?

I guess all the artists that have influenced me during all those years and became good friends with.

Is there anyone who you would like to Big Up?

I want to big up every single promoter from the smallest village to the biggest cities in the world, for throwing parties where the music is more important than anything else. Where the promoter loves music more than money, prefers to lose money to present a great artist to its crowd rather than do the obvious and get rich. Those are the soldiers we need. Keep on building the scene in the city you live in, it might take time, sometimes a decade but in the end we are the happiest ones. Stay humble!

Golden words, thanks for the interview.

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