Long before the outbreak of “EDM”, dubstep and electro, there was progressive house. Luke Chable manned the helm of the genre for a few phenomenal years, with his tracks being played regularly by top DJs – such as Anthony Pappa, Dave Seaman, Nick Warren, James Zabiela, Sasha & Digweed and Hernan Cattaneo.
The main man from Melbourne has a new album on the way entitled Kiss The Sun. I asked him how he got his start in music.
Q. Luke, about 10 years ago you took the underground dance music scene by storm, with a slew of prominent remixes and original productions. Many of them were classics that will never be forgotten. They were tracks that defined the sound of progressive house and breaks at the time, with a focus on huge basslines and melody. As one of many serious fans of yours in that era it would be remiss of me not to ask you about them.
Through what good fortune did you find yourself in a position where you could produce so much quality music in such a few short years?
A. Wow thanks for the kind words! To be honest, I was writing music all the time for years, since I was 8 or 9. In high school I never stopped and even skipped school to do it, and I still don’t stop. I think it was a lucky stroke of right place, right time, and a taste that was in line with what the punters were after. I also had great mentors and inspiration for some close colleagues – Ivan Gough, Phil K, and Dan Mangan – all of whom I continually tried to impress.
Q. We know that you’ve been making music for a long time, but how did it begin?
When did you decide that becoming a producer of electronic music was something you’d like to pursue?
A. It began properly when I picked up an Amiga Format Magazine when I was around 8 or 9, which had an article on how to make music on the computer. Prior to that from when I was about 6 I’d just fiddle with my dad’s synthesizer/sequencer, but when I realised I could actually make an entire track. It wasn’t until leaving school and getting so many people telling me I should pursue it that I contacted Ivan Gough through a mutual acquaintance. Ivan was interested early on and one day I just said “eff the man, im going to get signed” And went home, wrote a track for that purpose. Took it to Ivan and later that day he called me with the good news… and I was off!
Q. The first time I saw you DJ was in Brisbane in December 2003. You dropped some of the most monstrous breakbeats my young friends and I had ever heard! One unreleased tune in particular impressed the hell out of us, which we later learned was your remix of Open Day by Steve May.
Back then you collaborated with a heap of popular Aussies, such as PQM, Jono Fernandez, The Dirty Fours and with Phil K under the alias Lostep. What was it like to be part of such a hotbed of amazing musical talent, and how do you feel about the local scene today?
A. Those were the days! There was a different buzz back then. We were a close knit group, and we all egged eachother on to make mad records that would make the other guys go “phwwwoar!”. It wasn’t about image, status, or making money. It was only about making the sickest music we could. To be honest, the whole scene locally & internationally has shifted into a very different realm which is focused on money first for the most part. To have that talent together not just trying to make cash but trying to make something new exciting and different, was something pretty special.
Q. As time has gone by your music has been even more varied, with a few homages to the good old days along the way. You’ve had a number of releases on Mesmeric in keeping with current progressive sounds, as well as more experimental work under your Lokii moniker. But you’ve also dabbled in the commercial, club oriented side of dance music. You’ve done remixes with old production pal Ivan Gough and now have a headlining remix with Glenn Morrison on Sony.
For many years you’ve managed to stay on the fence between underground dance and the commercial stuff. Is that an intentional aspect of your music or has it simply been the result of different opportunities presenting themselves?
A. I moved into the commercial sounds for a time simply because I needed to keep making music, and underground music wasn’t paying the bills. I was a cheesy kid, but aso a kid who had taste that went all the way to heavy hip hop, classical, whacked out jazz rock, and over to hardcore thunderdome, and even jungle. I believe having a grip on music as a whole rather than a narrow tunnel vision will yield a much deeper understanding, and acceptance of why things are the way they are. Ivan & I were speaking only the other day about this – loving an old school trance record that’s 138bpm all the way back to a 122bpm piano house record. A good record is a good record. There was a time when doing the ‘luke chable progressive’ gave me major anxiety because I did way too much of it! I just wanted to get away from it and started a rock band! (with the Shiloh boys)
Q. It’s clear that you still care deeply about modern progressive house, as two years ago you petitioned Beatport to exclude big room and commercial dance songs from the genre to give current artists a fighting chance.
Who are some of the underground progressive house producers you are listening to at the moment?
A. Underground is a tough word to throw around, because our big artists are everyone elses underground! However, in ‘modern progressive’ I’m really enjoying Fehrplay, Grum, Capa, Olander, Prydz… you know, the usual suspects! Ivan & I are actually doing some ‘modern progressive / tech’ so keep your ears peeled!
Q. You’ve got an album on the way that is still very much progressive house, but this time around in keeping with the “epic” style.
What has the experience of making your (long overdue) first artist album been like? How do you keep up the momentum in the studio?
A. I’m making far too many tracks! I’m focusing on creating a portrait of a moniker, so there will be everything to driving dark prog to big epic melodic prog and everything in between. This album is almost entirely club tracks, not your typical sit down and listen artist album.
The process has been a little lengthier than I’d hoped, because I want to bring my best foot forward and not just another bunch of tracks – the perfectionist at play J
Q. The task of connecting with vocalists has been a daunting one for anyone who makes music. You’ve launched a new web site, Vocalizr, which allows singers and producers to network with ease. When it comes to internet startups it seems you’ve really found a niche there.
How is the site performing so far and what are your hopes for the future?
A. Vocalizr has been a massive undertaking but our dedication to delivering a quality useful product is paying off. We’ve just hit 1 year since opening the doors, and we’ve got over 4,000 members worldwide, on every continent. The big features coming this year are the most exciting… The original idea was great, but this is totally game changing. Vocalizr is already the best place to get vocals for your tracks, anywhere on the internet, and we intend on it being the main way singers get discovered on the world stage, and more!
Q. When you’re not making awesome tunes what do you like to do? Besides hanging out with Billy Bob the Bengal of course.
A. Well, yes, Billy takes up a lot of my time! I love running by the river, or hanging with my family and friends. Adventuring, exploring, and of course PS4 – when I get a spare moment I sneak onto Battlefield to blow up baddies and their cronies!
Thanks for the memories and for indulging me Luke! I’m looking forward to hearing your album, Kiss The Sun.
Vocalizr – Connecting Vocalists and Producers
* This article has been syndicated on Change Underground. *