Le Motel first came to our attention with the excellent Pollen, a collaboration track released with Yellowstraps, whose dreamy, slomo beats close to melancholic pop immediately got them noticed by early adopters like Lefto, 22tracks and blogs with an ear close to the ground. While his cohorts kept surfing on the same subtle vibe (and clocking up hit after hit because of it), he kept on surprising the more demanding listener out there with a stream of tracks that straddled every genre to create its own. With releases last year on labels based in Los Angeles, Montreal and Brussels, the young wunderkind is steadily working his way up the global beats scene hierarchy.
This interview was published in our latest issue, The Fourth Quarter edition, as part of an extended feature on Belgium’s emerging beat scene. The issue is available to order here.
Listen to the Exclusive Mix Le Motel made for us.
On finding his own sound.
I use samples, synth sounds and a lot of audio captured with my portable recorder. This gives me a more organic and personal sound. I record on the street, in my kitchen, … Earlier this year on a big trip I stayed in a jungle for a while where I recorded a lot of sounds which will help me a lot in my future projects which are rather ethnic.
Ethnic music has always intrigued me. I like to mix that with my electronic influences. I do a lot related to voodoo because I think there’s a link between that culture and electronic music. The DJ as master of ceremony getting everybody in a trance. Their rhythms are interesting and progressive and connect well with the way I make music. I already used to collect this sort of music before I started producing. On vinyl but also from the library. I try to explore different countries and cultures. People like Hugh Tracey who recorded pygmies in the ‘50s are a starting point from where I dig deeper. Some hip hop producers hunt for jazz samples, I do the same with ethnic music.
When I make music I don’t start with a fixed idea. I change tempos all the time. I can start with a hip hop beat but end up with a footwork track. It goes in all directions, all kinds of bpm’s. With usually an ethnic thread running through it all. It would be difficult to restrict myself to one style.
On performing live.
I do a hybrid between a live gig and a DJ-set. Mainly my tracks, electronic music with ethnic influences, mixed with pure ethnic sounds that fit well. Old stuff that is sometimes almost like pure footwork. I use both my laptop as well as records. Sometimes with forest or bird sounds.
Visuals are an integral part of my music. I’m a graphic designer. I wish it would be more coherent than it is now. I’ve got a voodoo-based project almost ready for which I would like to design the cover myself and create a screen-printed booklet to go with it. As an entity. Even if it doesn’t get released. Because voodoo is as interesting visually as it is rhythmically.
On the internet.
I don’t think it’s necessary. I didn’t have a Facebook account until the label asked me to. I’m not on Twitter. I waste enough time as it is. I’ve learned to appreciate `soundcloud. It’s the best way to share my music. I make music for myself first and foremost. It makes me feel good when I learn, make progression, but it’s nice to get heard, to get feedback and, most of all, to connect with other producers. I wouldn’t have been able to get in touch with someone like Italian producer Clap! Clap! who’s music I adore and who has been listening to what I put online for a while now. It would probably not have happened without Soundcloud. It makes crossing borders easier. My release on TAR records, out of Los Angeles, took only a few mails to get done. But I try not to spend too much time on the net. It’s useful but not indispensable.
On the future.
I’m interested in working with others. Which is something different as Le Motel solo. Making music with Yellowstraps is a very interesting experience. There is an EP planned with what we’ve already done but also with more electronic sounds. A new direction. I’m working on something with Romeo Elvis, one of the MC’s of L’Or Du Commun, something completely different to my usual stuff. Collaborations force you to adapt, to make something together.