LUXE: Unexpected Blends

Brighton-bred, London-based producer LUXE has been turning clubs on their head. With a hybrid approach to her sets and productions that see the emerging artist float somewhere between proggy trance, breaks, techno, grime and 2-step & speed garage, making it look easy as she does.

A classically trained musician, LUXE has released on Radical New Theory (with support coming in from Mary-Anne Hobbs at BBC Radio 6), but it’s her edit of Ciara’s ‘Got Me Good’ that first got us all LUXE’d up. It’s effectively three tracks in one – which is very representative of her sets too – conjuring up the unexpected in new and interesting ways.

We caught up with LUXE a few weeks back to talk all about blends, Risen Festival and moving from the classical world to the dance music world.

What was your beginning into dance music? Where you going to many parties from early?

When I was at school I started listening to UK garage and not really realising what I was listening to, that kind of thing. Patterns in Brighton was my childhood club, so I started going there more and more. I moved to Manchester for university and I started to get super into it. I was exposed to so much stuff there; White Hotel and Soup Kitchen are very much venues that have shaped my introduction to dance music.

I saw some of the videos from Risen festival, it looked absolutely amazing. What was the experience of playing on an all-female line-up, must have been amazing?

It was pretty amazing. There was quite a unique energy, it felt very different walking around Queen’s Yard. Walking into every place and seeing a female, trans or non-binary person playing was very special.

Your debut EP has just come out on HAAi’s Radical New Theory label – I can’t remember the last time I heard so many differing dance music sounds, that are still united, on one release. I feel your sets take a similar angle – the Keep Hush set starts super bassy, works into electro and some proggy trance stuff and then goes back into grime. What’s the inspo for blending so many of these genres together?

It comes from really hating the idea of being pigeonholed and playing a certain genre. I love so many different types of music, and I love the challenge of having to think a little outside the box for unique and refreshing blends. I get a lot of joy when something works that shouldn’t and it goes down really well. It’s a combination of wanting to keep things a bit different and not being too bogged down by genres. 

People ask me what I play and I say everything. That isn’t a helpful answer at all, but I kinda do. I love so many types of music beyond electronic music, so I’ve always been open to everything really.

I read that you’re a classically trained musician – what do you play and do you feel that has helped you at all when creating dance music?

I play the flute and the piano, and I sing as well. I spent my whole life up to the age of eighteen playing six hours a day and having in my head that I was definitely going to be a classical musician. It was an intense period of formative years.

It’s definitely informed and influenced the music I make, and my approach to mixing. Most of the time though I don’t realise how much it does, a lot of it is coming from knowledge that I keep forgetting I have. It’s easy to take for granted because I’ve had the privilege of a lot of training and understanding of how melodies are structured and all of that stuff.

Was your decision to move to dance music met with any backlash from those in the classical community? It’s easy to forget how stigmatised dance music still is in some creative communities when you love it so much, but it still is quite a bit.

When I studied at university in Manchester I did feel a little like an outsider in my own world. I was composing lots of contemporary classical stuff and was existing in all those circles. I was probably seen as a bit of a loose cannon, I guess. I’d be turning up to composition seminars after being at White Hotel since Tuesday night. 

You just have to trust and believe that it’s so much more than the stigmatisation. There are times where I have struggled or felt really shit about moving away from such a traditionally musical world, but I had to trust that all of the electronic stuff is equally as important, serious and profound as any classical stuff I was doing. It’s taken me until recently to fully feel like that’s the case, it’s been a big learning process in realising that it never truly matters what a person does as long as that thing means something to them and can impact other people in a positive way.

You recently collaborated with Ell Murphy who we’re big fans of, what was that collaboration process like?

Me and Ell met through the London scene. When lockdown was finally ending and things were opening we bumped into each other a lot at events. She invited me to play at her residency and then she asked if I wanted to the production for our track ‘Deeper Love’. It was a really amazing process, she’s so great and talented, I think we’ll definitely work together again soon.

What’s next for LUXE?

I’m going to be finishing lot’s of music. I’m working on an EP for a label currently that I can’t reveal just yet, but it’s a label that I’ve been wanting to release on since I was eighteen, so that’s super exciting. I have a collaborative EP with Tom Chase coming out too, and there’s a cheeky remix on there from Angel D’lite. She’s one of my best friends so it’s so cool to have a remix from her 🙂

8th September 2022