Since All My Love/Rolling Sideways dropped on Spearhead, LSB’s planted himself firmly up there as one of my favourite producers. With a rolling liquid style that pays homage to sample culture to form hypnotizing slices of drum and bass, he’s secured releases on Deep Soul, Spearhead, Demand Records and Integral, the label releasing his upcoming 12 inch alongside Technicolour and Komatic. I caught up with him to chat influences, advice and creative processes amongst other things.
Easy Luke. Can you explain a bit about yourself as a person firstly. Do you have a day job? What else do you get up to outside of production?
Well, I am Luke Beavon, from Essex now living in East London, via Norwich. I am the Finance Manager for a small IT firm in East London. Aside from production I play a fair bit of sport, go to gigs and chill with my girlfriend and our cats.
Can you remember the tune that first got you hooked on drum and bass?
The first tunes that truly got my hooked would be Freenote by Zinc, Space Quest by D Kay and Together by Logistics. They are all from a similar era and pushed D&B beyond just being a music I liked to hear in clubs to a music I loved to hear all the time.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up and who would you describe as key musical influences throughout your life?
Well I was buying vinyl from a very young age, but mainly pop stuff in the 80’s. In my teens I was a bit of an ‘Emo’ to my friends, a huge Radiohead fan as well as getting into classic bands like Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles. I’d cite albums such as Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized, Six by Mansun, The Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast by Badly Drawn Boy and Is This It by The Strokes as key influences during this period in my life. Nowadays my horizons have been broadened massively, I still love a good band but in generally I just love listening to good music, without being confined within genre barriers. I’d say Foals are currently my biggest influence, I love the way their tracks layer lots of simple hooks to create complex melodies and it’s something I’m trying to bring to my production.
What made you decide to bite the bullet and start producing?
I always wanted to make music, but never really knew how to go about it as I had never played an instrument and despite my love of singing, I‘m really awful at it. I taught myself the basics of guitar whilst at uni and then was convinced to get Reason by Logistics (terrible name drop I know) and I just sat in front of it until I understood what did what and then I got to work sampling.
Explain a bit about your name, I understand it stands for ‘The Least Significant Bit’? Why did you settle on that?
To be honest, it’s a lot simpler than that as It’s just my initials and what I’d used on forums, I never really settled on a name as I’m terrible with names. The Least Significant Bit is actually a term banded around digital music, I like the ring of it, and it’s a blend between 2 of my loves, music and self depreciative humor. It’s also the name of my (poorly updated) blog. I think I’m most comfortable being called Luke, maybe that should’ve been my producer alias too!
How would you describe your sound, and what elements of the mix are most important to you, or rather, which do you most enjoy focusing on?
Tough question, I think atmosphere and vibes are the parts I enjoy focusing on. I’m no good at mixing drums and yet I spend most of the time doing it!
How would you describe a typical LSB dj set?
My sets are just simply a blend of music that I love, hopefully people find them thoughtfully constructed and mixed with a good diverse range of D&B.
You went to uni in Norwich, did you study something related to music or entirely irrelevant?
I studied economics and business. It’s pretty irrelevant, but I do think there is some tenuous link between numbers and music.
You ran a night there for a while called Bounce, did you enjoy promoting and is it something you’d think about doing again? Do you feel the contacts you made through that have been very important for your career?
I loved it, although it was very stressful yet extremely rewarding. I would do it in the future, but not on the same level as Bounce. Building up a new night is a tough tasks and I’m not sure I quite have the same energy as I did when I was 22.
As for the contacts, I’m not so sure; I made a friend for life in Kerry (N3gus) and met a lot of great people whilst doing it but it was so long ago now I don’t think anyone really remembers the guy running round like a madman at Bounce.
I read in a previous interview with you that you feel having Lower Ground signed by Zinc’s Bingo imprint came too early in your career. What advice would you give to budding producers who aren’t sure whether or not they’re ready to start pushing their tunes to industry heads?
It’s never a bad thing to have a tune on Bingo, but i just didn’t have the tunes to follow up with, nor the skills to make any. In terms of advice, I think it all depends what you want to get out of it. Is your goal just to get tunes signed or to make music you are proud of? I’m in the latter category and I do have faith that if you make music good enough, labels and releases will follow. I also think that up & coming producers could spend their time better trying to build up a fan base rather than being desperate to have music signed. The digital worlds means you can just go alone if you don’t think you can find a label that shares your vision.
Personally I barely send my music to anyone, mainly because I’m still not confident with it but when I do, I try to pick DJ’s and producers that I think will like it. The feeling of rejection when you hear nothing back is something you have to get over and hopefully one day I will!
You source samples rather than using sample packs, do you still crate dig for records or is this all done digitally? Do you still collect/mix vinyl at all?
I do collect and mix vinyl, although I don’t buy anywhere near as much vinyl as I used to. Back in the early 2000’s I spent more than I could afford on vinyl, in fact I’ve only just finished paying for it all! A lot of my crate digging is done digitally, but to find the real gems you probably have to go out into the real world and get your fingers dusty.
You’ve got a 12″ forthcoming with Technicolour & Komatic, how did you link with them two and what’s the vibe of the tune like?
Well we first linked through D&BArena. We are similar age, have similar musical taste and we all took up producing around the same time. It’s a wonder it took us so long to get in the studio actually! The 2 tunes are both sample based numbers and you might expect, Rotary Motion is more dance floor pressure, where as Serendipity is a bit more laid back. We’re all really happy with them.
If you could collab with any artist, be it producer or mc, past or present, who would it be?
I’d probably go try and get Kate Bush & Stevie Nicks on vocals, Johnny Greenwood on guitar & effects, Herbie Hancock on keys, John Paul Johns on bass and arrangement. I’d come in and layer a sampled Think break over the top and take credit for the whole thing…
What tunes or gigs have you got forthcoming?
There is the single with Technicolour and Komatic that’s coming out on Integral in June. Followed by an EP on Spearhead shortly afterwards. You can catch me playing in Norwich late April, then London at the end of May (Café 1001) and at Plan B Brixton in July. For more details check my Facebook.
Ok lastly, can you give us a current top ten?
1) Technicolour, Komatic & LSB – Serendipity – Integral
2) Rockwell – Tripwire – Shogun Audio
3) LSB & Sian Sanderson – Overthinking – Spearhead
4) BCee – Keep The Faith (Marcus Intalex Remix) – Spearhead
5) Sabre, Stray & Halogenix Feat Frank Carter III – Oblique – Critical
6) Spectrasoul – Light in the Dark – Shogun Audio
7) Break – They’re Wrong – Symmetry
8) LSB – All of My Love (Technicolour & Komatic Remix) – Spearhead
9) Eastcolors – Things Inside – Demand
10) Marcus Intalex – The Guillotine – Soul:r