Long been a favourite at London House Music, it’s a pleasure to speak to the French deep house producer this week. This month Laroye is backfor the second time on London label Freerange Records with his ‘First Sight’ EP. Here we talk to Laroye about his love of living in the UK, his Qwestlife project, and how he made one of the late summers most essential cuts – ‘UKU DANCE’.
LHM – It’s great to talk you Laroye. Where are you this moment and how are you spending today?
Laroye – Great to speak to you too. I’m in my home studio in Brighton and I’m about to go to the sea front having a swim, making the most of that Indian summer!
LHM – Where are you from originally? How are enjoying life in the UK?
Laroye – I’m from Sète, Located in South of France – It’s actually where Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival is running every year. And yes… I love living here in th UK.
LHM – Do you see yourself staying a while?
Laroye – I have my little family here. My son is 6 years old now and he goes to school and he’s bilingual. Living in Brighton is a great experience because you have a great quality of life you can get from a small town on the coast and still have an easy connection with London, just 1 hour by train.
LHM – How is the music scene in Brighton, what’s going on?
Laroye – The music scene there is so interesting, a lot of experimental and alternative movements and some amazing talents, singers, and amazing musicians too. It’s such a vibrant place. Of course, there are not as many things you can have in the great London. I think the deep and soulful club scene could definitely be developed. But there are plenty of things to do.
LHM – What projects have been filling your time this last year?
Laroye – I kept producing most of the time. Still writing some original materials for myself and also, doing some remixes under my Qwestlife Disco project. I also started to produce a young singer and songwriter from Brighton called Rifka. I’ve produced filmed and directed an entire music video for her which we launched this summer.
LHM – You’ve been a musician, DJ and producer for some time now. How long have you actually been releasing music?
Laroye – My first release was for Dj Stephane Pompougnac, a track called “Closer to Julie” released on his Hotel Costes compilation No4. It was in 2001 so 22 years ago I signed my first contract with a label.
LHM – Do you think what it takes to be a successful artist has changed from a decade ago or have the fundamentals remained the same?
Laroye – I think there are so many factors that need to be combined at the right time. Yes, it has changed from a decade because of social media. The relationship of artist and fan has become a key factor in success. By building our own community we have more control now at so many levels, but it demands us to be more entrepreneurial than just being artists in the studio. I think the fundamentals are quite the same: be patient, work consistently and stay true to yourself the most you can.
LHM – Where was you most recent DJ gig?
Laroye – In venue on the beach in Sète called “La Ola” where all the Worldwide closing parties are happening every year.
LHM – What kind of vibe might we hear in a Laroye DJ set currently?
Laroye – It really depends of the venue, the context and the crowd. I would definitely play some unreleased materials and my own edits to keep the uniqueness and also try to offer my experience and background on the dancefloor. I will drop some classic House, Broken beat, Jazz, Detroit Techno, Latin, Afro rhythms, Balearic deep, Disco Boogie and even some 80’s groovy Stuff.
LHM – What’s the most recent record you bought?
Laroye – I bought this Vinyl – Sandman & riverside Feat Jeremy Ellis “Into your Story” after I heard Kay Alce playing it at “We Out Here” festival.
LHM – Who do you think is making great music right now?
Laroye – Hard to tell what is great music, as there are so many tastes and music is something really personal. But maybe let’s say something that touches a lot of people at an emotional level and most of all, that stays forever in people’s favourites and not just a trend.
LHM – How do you go about sourcing new music?
Laroye – Even if I don’t really agree with the rates and how they pay the artists, Spotify is a great place to discover new things and of course Bandcamp is a wonderful place to dig. And we there is still the old school way to go to a music shop and flea markets or vinyl conventions.
LHM – Tell us about your live set up and how you incorporate/ blend instrumentation?
Laroye – I recently did a live set to play my album “Let It Go” released on Local talk. This time I had a full 8 piece band with me. Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard and 3 singers. The keyboard player was launching a couple of stems from the studio recording and then we were playing all the rest. I was on the congas and slide guitar. For a more minimal set up I play with Ableton and a couple of instruments on stage.
LHM – When was the most recent live you did and did that go for you?
Laroye – It was for the Rifka’s video Premiere the 5 th of July. It was a fantastic one and really emotional, because it was the first time she was presenting the music we worked on together for 6 years. The set up was a mix of Ableton with stems from the studio with her on vocal, Louis Squire on Guitar, Ben Hadwen on Flute/sax, Marc Clayton on Tablas and myself orchestrating Ableton and playing percussion and Lap steel guitar.
LHM – Who are the artists who have inspired the music you are making?
Laroye – A bit of everything but I would say the more I grow up as a producer. I’m trying to blend a wider variety of styles. To give you names : Herbie Hancock, Jamiroquai, Al Jarreau, Ray Baretto, Louie Vega & MAW, Ron Trent, Kerri Chandler, Leroy Burgess, Blaze, D train … and many more.
LHM – Your new release ‘First Sight’ is an incredibly strong EP on Freerange. Tell us about UKU DANCE, its inspiration, how the track came together?
Laroye – “Uku Dance” has been made to create a powerful energy on the dance floor. The dubbiesque atmosphere came by using some classic Jamaican radio vocal FX , and some I found on vinyl. Then I’ve added plenty of fills from Indian percussion ensembles and finally, I played some congas on top and recorded a couple of chants with my voice to reinforce the groove of the drums. The final stages were when Jimpster came with this amazing chopped cosmic Rhodes and infectious bass synth. A couple of Lapsteel slides and funky guitars by yours truly and the “Uku Dance” was born!
LHM – What other projects is Laroye working on right now?
Laroye – Finished a couple of remixes for Makin’ Moves, Soul n Pepa and starting to work on some new Afro House tunes and more heavy club tunes. I really want to keep exploring some new mixtures of styles and bring that on stage in a close future. I’m also finishing Rifka’s first EP “Both Worlds” to be released by 2024.
LHM – Tell us something we might never know about you?
Laroye – My parents had a restaurant on the beach a long time ago and I managed the sun beds, installing and serving customers for a couple of years!
Laroye’s new “First Sight” EP is out now on Freerange here.