When it comes to future bass, America’s exports are keeping Europe bouncing. If everything the States ship us is as good as Shlohmo, we’re in for a happy future indeed. As one of the co-founders of the WEDIDIT collective, Henry Laufer’s alter ego put out some mighty fine material in 2011, including his Bad Vibes LP and a killer mixtape for Gilles Peterson. His next release is another EP dubbed Vacation, which comes with additional remixes by Nicolas Jaar and Airhead. We sat down with him to get a taste of how he thinks.
EB: LA’s electronic scene is pretty intense right now, with producers like Kingdom and Total Freedom reshaping and redefining bass music. How could you describe the musical atmosphere over there?
Shlohmo: Honestly I haven’t spent too much time in Los Angeles this past year so I’m not quite sure what’s been going on out there as of lately. But when I left, the atmosphere was really unique you know. There’s definitely a lot of great experimental electronic music coming out of there. It’s an inspiring place.
Would you say that your goal is to integrate your releases into European circulation?
It’s one of my goals, definitely. I have huge respect for the whole Euro-electronic scene and I’m trying to make it out there as much as I can. So we’ll see what happens with that.
Tell me a bit about Friends of Friends. What made you chose it as your initial release label?
Leeor just runs a great label all around. I’m happy to have released my stuff on it. He’s got real respect for the music and keeps putting out records that he really gives a shit about, which is mad refreshing.
The release dates of Bad Vibes and Vacation are pretty close to each other. Do you prefer to drop a lot of material at once?
The shit that I try and do with my own production is always changing and I try to release stuff quick before I get bored.
So you probably enjoy the change of remixing other songs and making new melodies out of them.
It lets me try new things. I get weird and stop worrying about making it sound like me or even the artist I’m remixing. I just let it do its thing.
Do you prefer analogue or synthetic forms of producing?
Depends on what I’m trying to do with the song. I use both methods for different outcomes.
On Vacation you used a lot of vocal samples; what’s your main source for those?
I’m a big fan of 90’s and early 2000’s R&B, and I like looking for random bootleg acapellas that people make and put on hulkshare. So if I fuck with a song I’ll just scour the internet ‘til I find some shitty 64kbps acapella of whatever I’m digging for.
Those ‘shitty acapellas’ sounds pretty good to me! It’s definitely hard not to love your distracted, chilled beats.
I just make the melodies I’d want to hear. I try to make simplified versions of real emotive progressions that make you feel all types of things. Making them out of just a few parts that play off each other.
Published April 17, 2012.