Revisiting everything from his youth growing up in Eastern Europe to his first big international hit, L Plus is sure to provide inspiration to all the bedroom DJs and producers out there putting in work in hopes of one day hitting it large.
First off, reintroduce yourself to our readers…
Hey readers, it’s L PLUS from Bratislava, Slovakia. At the moment I’m obsessed by my new studio table, which I designed myself, new pair of studio monitors and few gadgets with led lights and knobs. But, of course, I haven’t missed the release of new Thief game.
Before we get into this massive single and mix you’ve got lined up – let’s flash back to your roots. What sort of music were you listening to growing up?
The first tune I can remember is Boney M, ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ on vinyl. I still got that one. My father taught me how to put the needle on it, so I played that record every day even there were other 120 vinyls in his collection.
Now our readers may not know but you were actually born during the communist era and so much of your early exposure and access to music was a bit more difficult than it was for someone growing up in East London, I imagine.
Yeah, I was born behind the eastern border in communist Czechoslovakia. I had a punk group and we played in the basement of our block of flats. I still got that guitar, which looks like black paddle more than a guitar. I can’t imagine how it was growing up in East London, but here we could only listen to censored music, and it wasn’t good, The only way we could listen to music we wanted to was when someone smuggled a tape from Austria which we then shared.
You mentioned the guitar, any other instruments or musical training you had as a youth? Did you have any desire even then to devote your life to music?
I played flute for 2 or 3 years when I was really young. I took music lessons a few blocks from my home and on the way there was a basketball court. I’m not sure if I was looking forward to the trip more than the lesson but then I started to play guitar when I was in high school and I learned it alone.
I reached a pretty good skill level so there were some bands that borrowed me for some concerts and I was quite happy about that. I learned a lot by these experiences. At that time I was a fan of U2 and it was after I listened to their electronic single remixes that I really became inspired.
At what point does drum & bass enter the picture?
The first d&b tune I heard was as a student [at the University of Architecture in Bratislava] and really quickly after that we started practicing on beltdrive turntables. We travelled a lot to the closest vinyl store which was in Vienna and spent all of our money for a few vinyls. But it was pure passion. I remember the first vinyl I bought and played out for a gig: Alex Gopher’s ‘The Child’ remixed by Source Direct.
When did DJing begin? At what point does the Trademark crew come into play. This is the late 1990s and early 2000s right?
Yeah, my first crew was Trademark, a group of guys from university, and we became well known in Czech and Slovakia in a really short period of time. We played only drum & bass, nothing else, that’s why people knew what to expect from us. We started to play Thursday’s in Club Duna, and I remember that there were more than 250 people in the audience for our first gig. From there the number just kept rising. Legendary nights!
At what point do you begin producing music and what kind of setup were you using then? I imagine your access to studio advice, keeping up with the latest trends, and sending demos, etc., was a bit difficult yeah?
I used FastTracker 2 as my first producing software. I first started producing when the owner of a local student radio station told me about an experimental music competition. I brought him my first tune in one week. I didn’t win that competition, but I saw it as winning the opportunity to start making my own tunes.
So I started on a PC-486 running DOS. It was a cool time; I was experimenting with everything that could be connected to the computer via cable. The biggest problem I had in those days was that I was not able to talk to anyone about production. There was nothing relevant on the internet, so I was just using my brain and ears to make my tunes sound good, but it was really hard sometimes.
As for sending demos? When I finally got a relevant address to a UK label, I’d have to send five packages to even have a chance that at least one of the CDs would arrive. Our post office wasn’t an award-winning organisation in those days.
Flash-forward to 2007 – here is where you hit your stride as a producer and land a number of high profile releases that launched you into the international limelight. What do you remember about that year?
That was the year I released ‘Middle East Sun’ on Viper Recordings. It was a bit of fun to see my AIM flashing pretty long. I wasn’t signed to any label at that time, so when I made a tune I would just send it to some labels and wait for reactions. But for this tune I didn’t have to wait very long. Many labels wrote me back with an offer and I was really surprised. Futurebound’s offer was the best for me, so it came out on Viper.
A few weeks after that Andy C chose it for his Nightlife 4 mix and when the tune was released, it held the top spot on Beatport for over a week. It was really big time for me.
Since then you’ve had a solid run appearing on Viper, Ram, Formation, Bad Monkey, and now you’ve been signed exclusively to Technique. Walk us through these past few years and talk a bit about your relationship with Mark and Simon – how did you first link up and at what point does this lead to you being exclusively signed?
After some releases on Viper I had a bad period in production and after that my sound changed a bit. It didn’t seem as if it fit with Viper any more so I started sending tunes to other labels including that of Simon Bassline Smith.
He started playing a lot of my tunes and after I sent him ‘Gas Grenade’ he sent me back an offer to stay with Technique exclusively. I really liked that idea and after that I started to releasing on Technique Recordings, starting with my Timetravel EP, Amazing EP, remixes for Tantrum Desire, Crissy Criss, etc…
This leads us to this massive single you’ve got lined up for Technique. Both tunes seem engineered for maximum impact on the dancefloor with their insane builds before they drop. Now I know that Simon in particular loves massive builds – has he been whispering in your ear or is there a part of you that was secretly hoping to blow his socks off when he heard what you had cooking in the lab?
Thanks man! Yeah, I worked hard on this single and I’m feeling the buildups as well. I received loads of good feedback from all over the world to both of the tunes ‘Lost Moon’ and ‘Everyone’. I talked to Simon about those buildups and I actually tried a few different versions and feel like I chose the right one. I think his socks are blown!
Where do you go from here? Anything in particular we should be looking out for?
I just rebuilt my studio as I mentioned before. My new monitors have a really cool sound but I have to get used to it. As usual, I have plenty of material opened in the studio, including trying to work with some musicians. I finally found a vocalist here in my hometown which is really cool, so I don’t need to use Skype to talk to her. And I’m sure Simon has some surprises for me like remixing jobs or something, so I don’t think I will be bored over the next few years.
I understand you’ve got a monster mix lined up for us as well – what sort of goodies can we expect?
43 bullets of heavy artillery as usual! Loads of new Technique material including big Tantrum Desire’s new release, some new brilliant Viper stuff and of course few oldies but goodies. I always try to mix it as a journey through music I really feel, so I hope you like it. Download it and play it at least for one year in your car set-up.