An Interview With Loure

LOURE – noun

ˈlu̇(ə)r

A dance in slow triple or sextuple time; the music for such a dance

The opening bars of ‘Hope Circuitry I & II’ off Loure’s new release Avenues seem an apposite nod to the above definition of the Baroque dance – a slow piano refrain begins auspiciously as Gladys Knight’s voice melts into the sphere, cymbals begin to swell and a subtle drumkit gets the hips moving. It feels like Loure’s music was purpose-built for an eternal golden hour – and here in London as the sunsets start to get later, the G&Ts stronger and the nights a little longer, perhaps Loure has arrived just in time for that European summer tingle.

The Melbourne-based producer has been cooking up a slew of releases over the last few years, cultivating a distinctive jazz-soaked house palette that calls to mind the soul and R&B of yesteryear and jazzier contemporaries like Nubya Garcia, Mansur Brown and Seb Wildblood. We spoke to him off the back of two quickfire releases in Avenues on the SlothBoogie label, and 13th Hour, Vol. 3 with Felipe Gordon on Harlem’s 13th Hour Records.

Hi Thom, hope you’re well. How ya going? What have you been up to of late?

I’m doing well thank you. Just the same old really – I’ve been playing quite a bit lately. I recently started performing live with a 4 piece band consisting of horns, sax, bass and myself twisting some knobs and playing some keys haha. So amongst all that, DJing, writing records, and working – I’m keeping pretty busy, it’s good.

Let’s kick off with your most recent release, a four tracker, ‘Avenues’ on SlothBoogie which came out in early February. The standout track for me was ‘Hope Circuitry I & II’, with its sample of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ ‘Neither One Of Us’ – the same track that DJ Koze sampled for last year’s summer anthem ‘Pick Up’ and Midland for his iconic ‘Final Credits’. What is it about this seemingly arbitrary track from 1973 that makes it so damn special and resonates so much on dancefloors today?

Yeah that’s funny to hear, it seems to be a lot people’s favourite – I guess it might be surprising to know that it nearly didn’t make it onto the record haha. Personally, that sample resonated with me because it was relatable. At the time when I was writing Avenues, I was going through a break up – it was an adjustment, and coping with that type of change was really difficult. I feel like that sample expresses the way I was feeling – those were my vibrations. I could be completely wrong but for me it has meaning, and I think it’s universal in that sense – it’s the same for a lot of other people; it’s relatable to them, it relates to their experiences.

House is getting more and more nuanced, intelligent and pensive. The sample in ‘The Beauty Was Always Us’ of Lauryn Hill speaking about unconditional love as “that real love, that sometimes is difficult to have” is impactful, and there’s a kind of sadness which is in a way at odds with the percussive, jazzy beat. Where and when do you imagine the songs from Avenues being played, what is the feeling you want to give people who listen?

Honestly, I’m not too sure. I decided early on that Avenues was going to be something personal – in a strangely selfish way that record is for me and nobody else. I mean that’s not to say I don’t appreciate the love people have shown for it – because I do – but I didn’t write it with any intention of hearing it in clubs. For me, it was music for thought. It was a way for me to alleviate the weight from my chest – I guess it was an outlet.

I wanted people to feel like this music wasn’t meaningless – to understand it had reason. Whether or not people recognise that, I’m not sure. Meaning can sometimes be lost in dance music.

Do you draw your jazz/house/soul inspiration from contemporaries or the artists you grew up with?

A bit of both, I grew up listening to a lot of R&B, soul, and house, which was easy listening – jazz came later but not naturally. It took me a while to find the type of jazz I loved. I found a lot of earlier jams could be a challenging listen – I eventually found my clique though.

I think contemporary jazz has been more so influential to my music, it has this soulful blend that I just connect with it. It’ll always be my jam.

How do you approach your live sets creatively versus when you’re in the studio producing your own music? Is there more scope for experimentation when playing live?

Yeah for sure! When we play live there’s a lot of room for improvisation. Having three other heads up there with me – we’ve had some grooves that drive! Generally whilst transitioning between tracks, we get real caught up in these jams that are a split between the track we were just playing and the one we’re moving into – some real magic happens in those moments.

The studios kind of different – it’s similar in the way that there are definitely those moments of magic but they’re more so cemented – they’re the foundations of the music I’m writing. Where as these jams are more so in the moment, where we are all like “Man, this is reaaal dope – but I don’t wanna hear that for 7 minutes, let’s move on” – Does that make sense haha?

How has the Melbourne and Australian music scene influenced your sound, if any?

It’s hard to say, if you’re speaking specifically about my sound, then not at all. There are definitely some cats around that I really dig – the scene is real tight – but I don’t think I take influence from them.

Anything that has influenced my music generally seems to be from Europe – more often than not, France or the UK. First time I heard French House I was hooked – that was it, haha.

We’ve seen from afar how Australian festivals, nightclubs, live venues and the overall culture have been affected by government intervention. How much do you think the nightlife and associated stringent laws on alcohol and such like in Australia, has hindered the growth of the music scene there?

It has affected the scene in a huge way. Venues are constantly closing down, people are moving overseas to pursue music – it’s becoming near impossible to play shows in particular cities. The issues that the Australian government think they’re addressing are being approached with the wrong solutions – and it’s the nightlife that has had to suffer the consequences.

In saying that, because of these new laws, people are doing things. Park parties and raves are frequent, the community is tight. People really care about the music, there’s something real about it and people are doing it for the right reasons. There’s a lot of support and a lot good people making sure that fire doesn’t burn out.

The sun keeps shining, the scenes progressive and I’m thankful to be a part of it.

In your view, which city you’ve played in has had the best vibe on the dancefloor?

It has to be Melbourne for sure haha. We’ve shared some special moments – I’m looking forward to sharing more.

Lastly, what was, and has been, your favourite track from 2018 and 2019 respectively?

2018: No question – Yussef Dayes X Alfa Mist – ‘Love Is The Message’.
2019: It’s early days but I’ve had S.A.M. – ‘Money Blues’ on heavy rotation.