It’s safe to say that Luke Porter is one of the leading lights of the progressive house scene. Having released on labels including Sudbeat, microCastle, Spherax and Mango Alley, hosted his own hugely popular radio show Alleys and collaborated with the likes of Cid Inc and Medway, earlier this year Luke also started his own label, Temporum, together with progressive prodigy Soundprank. And with his remix of Kobana & Yane3Dots‘ ‘Nuclear Friction‘ out tomorrow on Lowbit Records, now seemed like the perfect time to catch up with Luke and find out more about his music, what he’s working on and what’s coming up next, what the deal is with Temporum and his views on the current state of the dance music industry…
How did you start out DJing/making music and how did you break into the music industry?
Around 6-7 years ago my friends and I were DJing quite a lot at house parties. I bought a couple of CDJs and a mixer which we carted around all over the place. We then started to run a few progressive parties of our own in Melbourne, and I also started to play at a few of the other local nights in the city. It was quite hard pushing that sound as everything was becoming very commercial.
It was around that time that I started to mess around in Cubase. One of my best friends had been periodically writing some music and he showed me the basics. For the next couple of years I just worked hard at it, writing so many terrible 1 minute grooves you wouldn’t believe! So many times I was close to giving up, but after around 2 years things started to sound OK.
Probably the best bit of advice I was given at the time was from Kriece – he said that one of the most important skills to learn is how to finish a track. I could come up with loop after loop but could never finish anything off. After that I really worked on forcing myself to start arranging once I had a groove locked down. That was almost the final piece of the puzzle, and soon after that I had finished off ‘Deja Vu’ – and after a few emails it was signed to Tribal Vision for my first release. A few months after that I moved to London, where I am still based today.
How would you describe your sound, and how has it evolved since you started out?
I’ve always focused on deep sounds and being very bassline driven in a lot of my work. I also try to make things sound as hypnotic as possible as that aspect of dance music really interests me. I try to evolve my music as much as possible by implementing new sounds in each track that I write. I don’t often like to use the exact same patches over and over. There will always be familiar elements and certain motifs that I regularly draw upon, but I like to keep trying new things.
Earlier this year you released ‘Opiate’ on Hernan’s label ‘Sudbeat’, to great success. How did that come about and how did that feel?
It took me weeks of playing with my synths to get the final lead right for ‘Opiate’. Everything else had come together quickly, but I was really searching for a special sound to polish the track off. Once it was done, I sent it to Hernan because it just sounded like something he would be into. I saw a few videos on Youtube of him playing it in a club that weekend, and the next day he asked if I was interested in signing it to Sudbeat. I guess it did the business in the club!
Hernan has been one of my favourite DJs for many years, so to sign with his label and work with him directly was a great honour. For me, the best part of the ‘Opiate’ release was how widely Hernan played the track on his tours for many months. After all the hours spent locked up inside the studio writing music, it’s really cool to think about how many people have listened to that song in particular around the globe.
You’ve also collaborated with Cid Inc, Medway and other stellar figures on the progressive scene – who haven’t you worked with yet who you’d like to?
I’m just starting a new collaboration right now with one of my favourite producers, Arthur Deep. I’ve been a huge fan of his music for a while now, so it’s really exciting to be sending parts back and forth with him at the moment!
Who would be your dream artist to remix, and who would you most like to remix one of your own tracks?
In terms of me remixing – Jamie Stevens. His tracks are so organic and beautifully crafted. I can imagine that the parts themselves would be totally inspiring, even in isolation.
In terms of me being remixed – Dousk. He has always been on another level and one of my biggest influences as a clubber, music lover and musician. Dousk tracks just seem to have something extra when they are played in a club environment.
What are your Top 5 tracks right now?
Karl Johan – Connected
Soundprank – Summit
Franz Kirmann – Liza (Charlie May Atlantic Dub Mix) [microCastle]
Ditto & Robot Humour – Au Fait [Tulipa]
Dark Soul Project – Cordoba [Baires Records]
Tell us more about your remix of Kobana & Yane3Dots’ ‘Nuclear Friction’? And a little birdie tells me you have another release coming up soon on Lowbit, what can you tell me about that?
Well the original is such a high energy track that I wanted to do something a little deeper and moodier. I think one of the comments about the mix was it being “a deep emo rework”. I can dig that.
Not sure how much Erik wants to reveal about any upcoming releases just yet, but I will be remixing one of my favourite artists for Lowbit in the near future. His name starts with ‘L’ and rhymes with ‘Bank’ – so you can extrapolate from there. Can’t wait to get started on that one as the original is funky as hell!
Earlier this year you started your own label, Temporum Music, with Soundprank. How did you two hook up and what made you start Temporum?
I was originally put in touch with Soundprank by Klemen from Spherax a while back when he was just starting to release some records. I have a huge amount of respect for Colin and I’m immensely proud of what he has achieved in such a short space of time. We also share very similar values when it comes to music and wanted to pursue an avenue where we could periodically release tracks that were very personal to us. It was never meant to be a cookie cutter label trying to get releases out the door at every given opportunity. In that sense, it’s been great. We don’t have any set deadlines, but when the time is right we can release on our own terms. The label output will never be too frequent, but we can guarantee that what does get released is quality.
As a label manager as well as an artist, what’s your view on the current challenges being faced by the music industry – piracy, declining sales and so on – do you think there’s a way past it and a way for artists to still make a living from their music?
To be perfectly honest, it’s basically impossible to make a proper living from underground dance music sales. Our section of the industry only exists in no small part due to the amount of goodwill and work that very good artists put into writing and releasing music for next to no reward.
The absolute saturation of releases also further dilutes the impact that a really good record can have on consumers. You really need to have a supreme amount of talent to keep your head and shoulders above the rest, and then hope that you can break into the DJ circuit to supplement your income. Even that is very hard these days, as there has been a real decline in gigs for mid-tier DJs. Clubs are either paying the money to get big headliners who are guaranteed to fill a club, or they just get local DJs to play for free. There is less middle ground on offer. It really does make it hard for those guys who rely on DJ gigs to make a living, as there always seems to be somebody else who will play that slot for free, just to say they’ve had a DJ gig somewhere.
I also think the leading digital music online retailers have a big responsibility to fix up their musical genres. Progressive House in particular has suffered from being used as a genre to classify any old rubbish. At least give good records the chance to be grouped with their rightful peers. I don’t exactly think David Guetta and Calvin Harris are the most suitable ambassadors for Progressive House, do you?
What does the future hold for you – your own music, Temporum, DJing gigs? Give us a glimpse into your crystal ball…
As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on a couple of tracks with Arthur Deep. Cid Inc and I have also nearly completed another collaboration, which will most likely see the light of day on his Replug imprint. After that will be the new remix for Lowbit.
We’re currently debating about a potential release for Temporum in the coming months. If that doesn’t eventuate then perhaps it will be time for Soundprank and I to write a track together (long overdue I think)!
My next gig is in Sydney on December 23rd at The Vault. Really looking forward to be playing back home in Australia over the holiday period! Plus it will be summer when I’m there! Hopefully there will also be some local dates in London in the new year if things go to plan.
Thanks Luke – fingers crossed! It’s definitely time that London had some Luke Porter live…
Luke’s remix of ‘Nuclear Friction’ is released tomorrow on Lowbit Records. Listen to the preview here: