Jamie Lloyd interview by Matthew Levinson


Jamie Lloyd

This is a question and answer email interview I had with Jamie Lloyd following the release of his debut album Trouble Within. Lloyd started out in a Tool-esque heavy rock band before getting waylaid by Sydney’s Mad Racket house crew. I found his debut a surprising listen and wanted to find out more.

Matt: Who are you?

Jamie: My full name is Jamie Lloyd Allan. I am 25. I was living in the city for the past two years but I am now back home trying to save some cash for a trip to Berlin in June. Home is where I grew up in Castle Hill, Sydney.

Matt: Tell me more about Element, the band you used to play with.

Jamie: The band was formed in high school in 1997. We were in year 10 music class together. The sound was influenced heavily by Tool and other heavy riffing bands like that. We were a six piece for the most part: drums, bass, two guitars, a violin and I sung. We were together for a long time, I think six years in total. And we were together in a part of all our lives where we growing the fastest. I think like any relationship people often grow in different directions and that was the case for us. Most of us are still doing music in one form or another.

Matt: What instruments do you play?

Jamie: No formal training. Just a big love for sound and song. I sing and play guitar and basically bang on anything I can get my hands on.

Matt: How exactly did you wind up getting into dance music? Was there a specific moment when you got it?

Jamie: I got into dance music going out and checking out DJs and later electronic live performance.

Matt: From the outside, the Sydney house scene around nights like Mad Racket and labels like Future Classic seems pretty supportive. How influential was it?

Jamie: Mad Racket has been a huge influence on me. Racket was the first place I heard such a high standard of electronic music and live performance. I was able to check out so much great music and live acts through the parties over the last six years or so I have been going to them.

There is definitely a strong sense of community in the scene. It’s great to find people who are on the same page musically. I think it’s strong “cause at parties like Mad Racket, Future Classic nights, Beef, Late Night Shuffle and Paradise Lost the music comes first so you only get people coming along that want to here something different and are genuinely interested in that sound.

Matt: Jamie Lidell and Arthur Russell seem like obvious influences on your record. I hear that coming through in the sharp snares and the languid songs on the album. I pick bits of 80s funk and disco in there too. Am I imagining that – do you listen to them?

Jamie: Lidell is an influence for sure. I came across Arthur Russell more recently and his sound has had a big impact on me. His music is so deep and different with such a strong sense of melody and cool. Style wise, I love everything… funk, booty, disco, metal, jazz, punk, folk, house, country and so on. There is great music in all styles for me.

Matt: Your first few 12s for Future Classic were straight-ahead house grooves, how did the shift to the stuff on your album happen?

Jamie: When there was talk of maybe doing an album. I wanted to make something that people could check out at home or in the car. Something that was a bit more accessible to people that might not be into dance floor music. It all happened kind of quickly so near the end I was just cranking through the tunes to see what might pop out.

Matt: The tracks have really intricate production. Can you take me through the process of making a track from the first sign of an idea through to production, songwriting and release?

Jamie: When I am writing music it’s a series of reactions to the last action. So I might start by a bleep from a synth and the get some books and drop them on some tiles and I get a wack. So now I have a bleep and then a wack looping so there’s a sense of time.

Then I grab a mic and hit record and run around the house hitting, banging and shaking whatever I can get my hands on. So now I have five minutes of sounds. Underneath that sound library I have just recorded I extend out my bleep wack loop and the treats come in how the loop reacts with the sound library.

I take out all the things that don’t work and leave the bits that have fallen sweetly and reacted well around the bleep wack loop. I find it a great way to get odd grooves happening. I think using this technique you get grooves happening you just can get to if you going about things in a real ordered and structured way.

So after that I might add drums, bass and some melody ideas then work out some form and a vocal last if need be. Then I mix all the sounds. And use automation to shape the track. And then I get it mastered.

I am really interested in how live sonics react with electronic sonics and the marriage of the two. There are so many natural things that we rely on everyday to survive and to draw inspiration from and there so many electronic things we use and rely on from day to day. So it makes sense to me to use both elements when trying to express yourself musically.

Jamie Lloyd’s Trouble Within is out now on Future Classic.