We caught up with 25-year-old Lukas Freeman: A true Londoner.
Lukas Freeman’s fusion of electronic and hip-hop music has quickly established him as a modern-day trip-hop troubadour.
London born and bred, the young music-maker grew up enveloped in early noughties grime. He was solely responsible for creating beats for his old crew PMR (Playing my Role) but the last few years has seen him transition from his 9-5 in Advertising and truly master the art of melody, as well as sharpen his skills as a producer.
The debut EP ‘Rough Love’ was released late last year and was Freeman’s first offering a vocalist. ‘Rough Love’ captures the apathetic nature that drives this way of life in a way that is yet to truly be heard in music and it’s complexities and intricacies has already been championed by many. Wonderland went in to find out more about the mystery behind the music.
Tell us something that may surprise us about you.
I work as a re-toucher and photographer. I worked on the ‘Myths, Monsters And Legends’ book with Rankin and Damien Hirst a few years ago, which was fun… You’ve probably come across a few things I’ve done at some point but you just don’t know it.
How did the transition to music happen?
I grew up MCing in youth clubs just as grime started to not sound like garage anymore; all the weird Eski and Pulse X stuff. I used to go halves on tape packs with my pals, tossing coins for who’d take the Slimzee set home. I remember grime as just being this exciting new platform for creating unique, experimental madness – duck quack snares, and all sorts. It was easy to get inspiration to want to start doing it myself, so I got a Fruity Loops demo and started playing around with it.
What was the first song you wrote and what was it about?
Probably just before I did the Rough Love EP, I wrote a couple of songs about roaming and changing. It sounding alright, but I messed the computer file up and couldn’t figure it back it out.
Do you prefer production duties or do you enjoy being an Artist in your own right?
I definitely prefer production duties. I want to do some more instrumental things down the line, actually. Right now, I’m working on a more electronic, behind decks set with Akais and laptops. I don’t like big lights on, jumping up and down in front of people’s faces… My music’s not that kind of vibe.
Who were your main inspirations as you were growing up and how do they differ to what you’re into now?
It started off with So Solid Crew, Wiley, Kano. Those artists definitely influenced me a lot. In my house, though, my mum would play soul music, Motown, and swing. I loved the contrast of my love for angry, cocky music with the smooth, sexy stuff. I’ve never really been into technically amazing musicians, though. To cut a long story short, I eventually grew out of what grime was turning into and ended up being inspired by whatever was fresh at the time. My biggest inspiration since then was an Animal Collective album. Although I didn’t have a clue what they were going on about, it took all the formula out of music and made it exciting for me again.
First and last record you bought?
I remember getting Ludacris’ Word Of Mouf with a Virgin voucher in Kilburn. The CD cover had a pitbull on it with a human mouth and gold tooth, and it was honestly the best thing I had ever seen. All 13 tracks were perfect – to me, anyway. I just loved Luda’s early rawness. And the last record I bought was N.E.R.D’s 2008 Seeing Sounds album. I wanted this one tune from it as a ringtone when iPhones just came out.
If you could have any other artists guest on a Lukas Freeman track, who would be an ideal candidate?
I’ve always loved Sade and it would be amazing to do a crazy tune with/for her. She has the sexiest voice and her general vibe is so smooth and honest, it would be great to play around with.
How do you think you’d fair as an artist without the power of Social Media?
I’m not sure, but it’s what I’ve been using since thinking about perusing anything. I’ve always worked behind-the-scenes in advertising and been creating all sort of digital media… It’s what works best for what I can bring together, I think, so I couldn’t really imagine life without it.
Do you think it’s an advantage for artists now in comparison to a decade ago?
Probably an advantage for some, and not for others. But I definitely lose interest when I come across a sick new artist and their whole life’s already online. All of the magic’s gone, then. Nothing wrong with having a bit of mystery about you.
Tell us more about the Rough Love EP?
I randomly started to slowly write full songs over a course of a year, while I was living with a couple of my pals in Brockley. The inspiration behind it just came from going out partying a lot, and experiencing love in different kinds of ways. I moved out of where I was a couple of months ago and just started to push the songs out. It’s been well-received so far, which I’m super happy about.
What can we expect from you this forthcoming year?
Well, I’ve just finished shooting my own first video and I’ll be working on a few more videos and getting some more songs finished. And I want to gig as much as possible, too.
Words: Shane Hawkins – Follow Shane on Twitter – @piccadilly_boy