An interview with Locked Groove

The last couple of years have seen Berlin-based producer Locked Groove cause quite a stir. Releases on HotflushTurbo, and We Play House have placed the producer’s energetic flirtations with everything from deep house to industrial techno at the forefront of an exciting electronic music scene, in Berlin and beyond.

Locked Groove is now set to bolster his portfolio with brand new material scheduled to drop on September 26th. Named the Thesseus EP, the release is the producer’s debut EP for highly acclaimed Munich-based label, Permanent Vacation. Title track Thesseus and Meditations in an Emergency take centre stage, with able support from Italian producer Clockwork on remix duties.

Ahead of the EP’s release, we caught up with Locked Groove to find out more:

Tell us about your forthcoming release on Permanent Vacation: what was the production process? What can listeners expect?

The whole process was pretty fast & smooth actually. When I started the EP I was listening a lot to Mark Pritchard’s alias ‘Link’. So, it’s hugely influenced by that. 
Thesseus is a long stretched out club track, really stripped back and moody. 
Meditations in an Emergency is not really a ‘club track’, although it is 120 bpm so in theory you could easily play it in a club, if you wanted to. 
Clockwork took the harder parts of Meditations in an Emergency & built a very nice breaky pattern around it.

What is it that’s different about this release compared with your previous work?

I think every release is a learning process. This time I pushed myself even more than usual to really take it somewhere else. 
In terms of sound, I hope people still hear it’s me. 
But I think that won’t be a problem. Every release should push you out of your comfort zone as a producer in my opinion. That’s basically the only way you can grow & progress.

Given your successful string of releases on Hotflush and Turbo, what brought about this partnership with Permanent Vacation?

I first got in touch with the PV guys through my friend & WPH label boss Red D. Initially I just wanted them to sign a track called Rêverie, which got released a while a go on a compilation called ‘If This is House I Want My Money Back Vol 3’. 
After I signed that track I just sent them some more demos. Those demos evolved into an EP, and that’s about it really. Pretty standard stuff, it’s not like we rode to battle together on mythical beasts and formed a partnership like that or something, haha.

You’ve previously said that growing up in Belgium has shaped your sound. What made you decide to move to Berlin?

I think your sound as a musician is always somewhat influenced by where you grow up, maybe more in some places than others. Belgium is a country with a lot of electronic heritage. So in my case it’s definitely made it’s mark. 
My girlfriend got a job offer here, so that’s when we decided to leave Belgium for what it is & move to Berlin.

Since the 90s it could be argued that much interest and innovation has drifted away from Belgium into other areas of Europe. What do you think about the dance music scenes that are in Belgium at the moment?

I wouldn’t say innovation. There’s still some really interesting people doing music in Belgium. The vlekrecords guys are doing really interesting stuff & there’s Token Records releasing some proper techno to just name two. 
As far as scenes it’s obviously a bit dependent on what clubs, festivals and parties book. But I have the feeling that it’s really picking up again. People are starting to appreciate the not so obvious bookings more and more again. So I’m confident the ‘scene’ – if that’s how you like to call it- will become stronger and continue growing in the years to come.

You’ve mentioned before that you were a DJ before you were a producer – a fact that you consider important. How has DJ-ing informed your production work?

Not as much as you’d think actually, haha! My tunes are mostly a pain to mix. I still try to make most of it somewhat club/DJ friendly. But I don’t always succeed in doing that. Especially in the DJ friendly part. 
I get bored fairly easily so I always do my best in making a song an actual song and not just a club tool.

Vinyl has widely been reported to be experiencing resurgence over recent years. With this in mind, are websites like Discogs a good thing? Or do they simply put money in the pockets of those who see it as a profit opportunity, rather than the artists involved on a record?

I think it can be viewed as both a good and bad thing, really. 
It’s a great tool for people to discover old stuff that they would never have found out about otherwise. At the same time it pains me to see that people are selling releases that are out 2 weeks for € 50 +.

How much does the music that you make owe to your ability to play the piano? Do you have an opinion on the fact that anyone can pick up a laptop with a cracked copy of Ableton and make music despite not being musically trained?

For me personally, it’s certainly made things a lot easier: instead of drawing in melodies I can usually just play a melody that’s in my head. Of course there are no real set rules for making music. Music should be for everyone & everyone should be ‘allowed’ to make it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good thing everyone shares their music. In general I think a lot of people should rethink sending out demo’s for a bit longer. There’s so much music floating about that it’s hard enough to get noticed as a sort of ‘established’ producer (don’t know if I can call myself that actually!) – so that a lot of people get discouraged if their first demo they ever make isn’t any good or doesn’t get noticed by a label.

Finally, what has been your most memorable gig this summer and why?

I’d say Kindergarten in Holland. I was playing there with two of my friends Avatism & Clockwork, who were doing their liveset. After the festival we embarked on a pretty hectic car ride to Rotterdam & crashed Avatism’s next gig there, haha. That whole night was pretty crazy!

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us!