Melbourne's LEWIS CANCUT has come back on our radars hard these last few months. The producer's been gearing up to release his forward-thinking new EP in Air Condition. Out via NLV Records, he continues to challenge convention and defy even his own production choices on the stellar five-tracker which officially comes to us in full tomorrow.
The EP sees him teaming up again with Japanese pop artist TIGARAH on 'Lights' and Jordan Variant for a dystopian, post 'i-15' clash in 'Armour'.
The club-commander's explored sounds both within and external to the club realm on this EP. In the same stride as his last EP, 2016's Indoor Rainforest, he never sticks to one mood, but in complete difference, this EP sees him wear his influences on his sleeve for a metallic affair.
On the eve of the EP's release, Lewis is not only gearing up for the EP's release tomorrow, but he's also about to share the video to accompany his single 'Lights' with TIGARAH. That one's out at 7PM tonight. He has also put together a track-by-track breakdown of the EP, taking us through the highs, lows and everything in between of writing the EP. Take a look below.
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Lights (Feat. Tigarah!)
Lights was written and recorded by Tigarah and myself in between shooting the music video for our previous single together, Say OK. We had access to the Red Bull Music Academy studio in Shibuya - Tokyo for just one day in the middle, which we spent swapping demos and talking about what we thought pop music should sound like right now. This track came out of those conversations, and how all kinds of influences can be drawn into pop and then synthesized into something else entirely. Specifically, on this track we tried to showcase Tigarah’s split pop persona; between both the bubble-gum styled pop choruses - and then the rap verses over harsh, metallic drums. It’s an idea I really like. That as people we can be authentically fragmented.
Armour (Feat. Jordan Variant)
After working together on i-15, I was regularly emailing ideas to Jordan. Just really quick sketches for tracks, things to get the whole process of talking about music and writing happening. Really soon though he responded with a fully recorded, incredibly detailed song about a smart-home which comes to life and begins terrorising its owner. He found way to thread it perfectly through the pulsing bass, metallic hooks and fizzy atmospherics of Armour. Lighting flickers across hard surfaces of polished black stone, display screens go blank and tacky chrome detailing glimmers in the dark, while ceiling fans spin lazily. He’s got such a distinct voice and poetic writing. It was a privilege to have him contribute to the project.
Metal On Metal
Metal on Metal started life as a part of the music I was writing specifically for playing in my festival sets following my previous EP. I really wanted to just to wear all of my electro influences clearly on my sleeve here; artists who’ve had a huge impact of me throughout my career such as Mantronix, Kraftwerk and Cybertron. Drawing on those sounds, I set out to write something where cavernous drums tick and rumble around icy bass, and where razor thin synth lines zig zag over vapours from stodgy 80s horror. For me there’s always been something appealing in the chilly side of electro.
In taking a break after my last EP, I ended up (like everyone else on the internet in 2018) listening obsessively to Haruomi Honsono’s solo albums. It was one of those periods where I was thinking - maybe now’s the time in my life where I should just retire and make ambient music for D grade video art and suburban yoga classes? But the important thing is that I came back! Everything else I made during that time was trash, but this track stuck out as actually managing to capture the mood I was after. Plus, I also liked the idea of having an EP title track which is just an atmospheric interlude.
More Than Human
I’ve always had a thing for Freestyle (Latin electro records from mid-80s). Hard drums with pristine pop melodies and sampled vocal stabs. I really think those records have influenced the direction of dance music more than they get credited. Debbie Deb has so much in common with Hannah Diamond it’s not funny – where dissonant vocals and shimmering bells swirl together to form DIY pop masterpieces. Anyway, this closing track to the EP is a kind of love letter to those old records from Miami. That sound has had a huge influence on me and still filters through in my DJ sets. I see that some of those artists are still performing in stadiums almost 35 years later, so it seems the magic lives on.
Photo by Rochelle Flack
Intro by CAITLIN MEDCALF