The Cantenbury based producer, Guy Barlow, stage name LTHL, has been on our radar for some time now. His shattered compositions are hard to pin down to a specific genre, his innovative music sheds conspicuous genres trapping them and stripping off their layers to make something more intriguing, often it hardly sounds like grime. We’ve been lucky enough to have a chat before the release of his “XXIII” EP which is due to come out on the 25th of March.

 

JZFirst of all, could you tell us about your background, where you grew up and where you are from helped you shape your musical palette?

GB: I was brought up by my mum in Hampshire in a place inbetween Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester which meant I was able to discover all sorts of music in my formative years, as these cites all have differing music scenes frequented by a variety of subcultures. I have my brother to thank for the shaping of my musical taste. As a child he would play me all sorts, from Air to The Cooper Temples Clause. My music taste was quite odd for someone who hadn’t even left primary school yet. When he left home, I was left to my own devices (musically speaking) and one day picked up Hospital Records ‘Weapons of Mass Creation Vol.1’ in MVC, at the age of 12. This lead to to explore electronic music more by starting producing – although, not seriously at all – shortly after and even work for a brief period in a drum and bass record shore in Southampton. This is where I discovered 140 bpm electronic music – which at the time was a foreign concept to me. One day I took home a promo – out of curiosity – of D1 – V1 from the store and that was it. I was hooked. Ever since then I have just kept exploring and delving deeper into whatever music takes my fancy. D1’s release taught me to open my mind more when it comes to music, and not just to palm something off because its a different genre, which I found to happen a lot in the scene I used to be in as a teenager.

JZ: How did you get started producing music?

GB: As I said, it was my fascination of electronic music which lead me to production. In my teenage years, I used to go round a friends after school and him and I would try to make tunes on Reason 2. We didn’t really set out to make anything, just stuff that we thought sounded cool to us. I didn’t have it as I didn’t have a computer that could run it at the time (Windows 95 – 98 days) and then when I was a little older and I got my own computer for my birthday, it was the first thing I installed. From then on, Reason was a nightly activity.

JZ: What do you normally use to produce tracks?

GB: I’m still running Reason. Not 2. But also, not the latest version. I’m on Reason 5. I guess I’m just far to comfortable with it and I’m worried that my production might take a bit of a hit if I decide to change it up. Its got to happen at some point soon though. Hahaha.

JZ: Your two tracks on the forthcoming ‘XXIII’ EP are touching on the topic of religion, could you tell us how you got inspired to make both ‘Yama’ and ‘Prophet’?

GB: Yeah, you got. I’m not a religious man myself, but I’m currently reading Theology so find myself reading about religion constantly. I mean, no time at all to read something I actually want, but thankfully I find the stuff interesting 80% of the time. My down time from working is to produce, so I sometimes find myself translating whatever I have been reading about into music, or just the frustration of whatever it may have been that I was working on/reading.

 

JZ: How would you describe your sound to the readers?

GB: Well, ummm maybe like, Grime meets Wave meets Dungeon meets Baroque? Garnished with copious amounts of square waves?! [Hahahah]

 

 

JZ: How important is it for you to feel part of some coherent scene or musical movement? Do you think you’d still be producing the same type of music if you were the only person?

GB: To be honest I haven’t really witnessed much of the scene so far, but what I have witnessed I love. This is down to the fact that I’m a bit of a recluse and actually quite shy until you get to know me, or I’ve got a drink down me. I guess yeah, it is great to find a scene that I can connect with on a personal and aesthetic level, and it actually really nice to be heard and to hear that people appreciate my music. It means a lot. Its also great for the fact that everyone seems to get along and that what I find most important. Everyone communicates and helps each other out. I guess if I were the only one producing this style, I might find myself just bored. Because (shyness aside) I do actually love hearing and speaking to other people with similar interests in music. That common interest is a gateway to friendship.

 

JZ: Up and coming producers in the grime scene are swapping endless amounts of dubs, Plastician and Spooky have been spinning your records on their radio shows. There seem to be a real community spirit in the emerging scene right now.

GB: It’s been a real privilege to have those guys play my music. Properly grateful to have their support. Yeah, there is a huge community spirit. Like I said, everyone is engaging with each other in such a great way, that the scene I progressing leaps and bounds. To me, its actually really surprising as to the size of the scene, in terms of the producers and djs. And that is another aspect I really love. I can go visit friends in London and end up meeting someone who’s music or mixes I’ve been listening to for ages, but haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet or chat to. The next thing you know is that everyone knows everyone, and that is great for the scene.

JZ: Could you tell us about the relationship that you have with District Sound, the label that is due to release your EP very soon.

GB: I got involved with District Sound through Sheik. I met him in Canterbury (where I now live) and kept in contact with him and once I started to take my music production seriously (having produced under some other aliases, but no where near as truthfully as I do now) I collaborated with him. Steffan from District Sound then got in contact and ask for some dubs, so I sent him over some stuff including my then forthcoming track ‘Tell Me‘ (which is out on Angry Youth. Go check them out, it’s another great label). He then picked me up for an EP which has been in the work for – I want to say – about 9 months up until now. So the release shows my progression over this time as the scene and my production as evolved. So its turned out to be a real fun and interesting release to make. But District Sound is more than a label to me. I have met some seriously wonderful people through it who I intend to keep in contact with them for a long time to come.

JZ: What are the producers or artists that you look up to and get inspired by at the moment?

GB: It’s really just any kind of music that makes me go think ‘I want to produce right this moment‘. There are so many, but if I had to pick a few that have inspired my recent production I would say Kareful, Glacci and Harmful Logic.

JZ: What is your dream music-wise that you would consider to be your biggest accomplishment once you get there?

GB: When I bought my first pair of decks aged 12 or 13 (can’t remember which age) I used to dream of just playing somewhere in London. I remember thinking that it was the place I needed to be. Had my younger self known that I would do that multiple times in a year he probably would have passed out from excitement of what was to come. Its by no means a big dream, but it was something I always wanted to do growing up. What with everything going on recently, I honestly have no idea what my dream is for my music. For the fact that it started out as a hobby which has got out of hand [hahaha]. But in a good way of course. Couldn’t be happier with the things are going and I’m pretty content at the moment.

 

JZ: If you were to play your last ever record, what would it be?

 

GB: Easy hahahah, Peverelist – ‘Roll With The Punches‘. That tune holds a very special place in my heart.

JZ: What’s on the cards in the coming months for you?

I got the District Sound EP out later this month along with a couple of single releases and another EP soon enough. I’m keeping it all somewhat hush-hush for the time though.

 

 

JZ: Lastly tell us about the mix you’ve put together for the RTE Pulse.

GB: The mix is a pretty much the tunes that I have been really into recently and tunes that I have been playing out. It’s a cross between Wave and Grime, as I find the two – although somewhat different – go hand in hand, with a couple of bits by myself in there also.

Tracklist:

Mssingno – Scope
LTHL – Solar
Sombra – Obsidian
Tom E Vercetti – Future Perfect
Kareful – Glacier
LTHL – Yama
Dark0 – Black Rose
Jammin – Singin’ (Bulma x Msn Emu Remix)
Rapture 4D – Mishaviour
Nights – Iced Out
Swimful – Bounce
Mssingno – Fones
You can listen back to the mix below!

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