Interview: Luttrell | Soundspace

Interview: Luttrell

luttrell, anjunadeep, soundspace

You may know Luttrell as one half of The M Machine. The newest member of the Anjunadeep family has been nurturing a creative craft in melodic sound that he is now choosing to venture down in the form of a solo alias.

Luttrell’s debut EP, Need You, was released back in October. It’s romantic aura is being credited with the birthing of one of Anjuna’s rising stars. Two premieres have been heard on Annie Mac and Pete Tong’s radio shows, so the San Francisco bred artist is certainly doing something right.

We sat down with Anjunadeep’s freshest talent to discuss differing sounds, the yearning for creative freedom and the influence of cultural surroundings on music.

Hey Luttrell, first of, where are you from?

I’ve been living in the lovely city of San Francisco for about 8 years now. I was born and raised not too far from SF, so the Bay Area has always been home.

When was your first exposure to music?

My first exposure to music was probably in the late 80’s in the backseat of my parents’ Buick Century listening to 80’s pop radio like Duran Duran, The Cure, etc. I still listen to a ton of 80’s stuff now. I love that era of new wave/alternative/pop. As far as musicians in my family, my Mom is a really great singer-songwriter. She taught me how to play guitar and helped me write songs as a teenager. My grandmother is still a terrific cellist and pianist. The first record I ever bought was Green Day’s ‘Dookie’. I remember going with my dad to the Warehouse Records store and picking it up. Good memories!

When did you first start producing?

I started producing back in 2006. I had been writing songs on guitar and piano for years, but that was the first time I made music on my computer. In 2007, I studied abroad for college in Berlin, Germany. When I was there I was exposed to a lot of techno and house music. Sort of launched me down the path I’ve been on the past 9 or so years.

How does your sound as a solo artist differ from the sound that comes from The M Machine?

The M Machine’s music is generally very dark, cinematic and heavy. With the Luttrell project, things don’t ever get too heavy. It’s still very melodic, and sometimes cinematic, but I’m really just trying to make music that makes people dance and smile.

How did the release on Skrillex’s OWSLA label come about?

Definitely a pretty funny story. We were hanging out with our booking agent at the time in late 2009/early 2010. He told us he had just booked a guy called ‘Skrillex’ at his tiny club in Santa Cruz that was an Italian restaurant by day. Anyway, he told us to come along, so we did. We picked Sonny (Skrillex) up at the San Jose airport and drove him down to Santa Cruz. We had an awesome night. Got sushi before the show and had a Taco Bell fiesta afterwards. He had such a cool, positive vibe. Not an ounce of cynicism, which was really refreshing. We stayed in touch and sent him our first few tracks a few months later. He was into em!

On Anjunadeep’s Explorations series you showcased a wonderful, deep sound. What is your creative process in doing so? How do you achieve this sound?

With ‘Away’, I wanted to write a song that felt like a nice dream. There’s intentionally no big moments. Even the second ‘drop’ just sort of falls into itself. Not too many production tricks there. Just simple elements working together to create a mood.

Your music has a real emotional vibe to it. It drives rather than pounds. How important is it to you that there is this emotional connection with the music?

‘Drives rather than pounds’. That’s a nice way to describe it! The emotional connection with music is super important to me. I’ve always been drawn to what I consider to be beautiful chord progressions. I listen to a lot of movie music for this exact reason. Thomas Newman’s 90’s stuff like Shawshank Redemption’s ‘Stoic Theme’ and the Meet Joe Black’s ‘Whisper of a Thrill’ are probably my favourite of them all. I try to harness the feeling and emotion of songs like that, and incorporate it into house/techno music. They fit surprisingly well together, in my opinion.

Many people believe that an artist’s cultural surroundings directly influence their music. For example, Belfast and Detroit are both traditionally industrial cities so the sound of techno reflects that. How would you say your surroundings influence your music?

Here in SF, I take lots of walks around my neighbourhood and Golden Gate Park. Lots of evenings as the sun goes down, there’s a magic moment when the fog is rolling in and everything gets this misty, pastel-painted look to it. That, combined with all of the Victorian architecture really creates a world and a vibe I’ve yet to experience anywhere else. I definitely try to create music that’s sort of the sonic embodiment of this beautiful place and those dream-like moments.

What is the reason for the solo Need You release? Is it simply a yearning for creative freedom? To reach your maximum potential as an artist?

It’s definitely a combination of the two. It is a great feeling to have the creative control that a solo project allows. And yeah, I have always written music that didn’t really fit under the M Machine, and it was hard to watch it just sit there – never to be released. As an artist, I really want to be able to share the things that I’m proud of, or that I think may add something of value to the world.

How does it feel to now be a part of the Anjunadeep family?

It’s awesome! It’s a great bunch of genuine, music-loving people. Talking to the fans at these Anjunadeep North American Tour shows has really been a treat. If anyone sees me around at the shows, come say hi!

Any gigs or future projects you can tell us about?

Well, there’s a bunch of unreleased Luttrell music lined up for Anjunadeep this winter/spring. If you come out to a set, you’ll be sure to hear some of the new ones! And I’m looking forward to joining up with the Anjuna crew in March for Miami Music Week. Also, the new M Machine album is being released soon with Mat Zo’s ‘Mad Zoo’ label. Should be a busy 2017!

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