In The Lab with Chris Luzz

by Isabel Thomson Officer

Chris Luzz is one of a handful of super talented DJs and producers commandeering the New York underground nightlife scene. Currently co-label head at Little Giant with Anna Cavazos, Luzz is on the brink of releasing his solo EP in time for the North American summer. With heavyweights such as Jamie Jones, Maya Jane Coles, and Joris Voorn all counting themselves as fans, Luzz is a name you should familiarize yourself with. He has previous international tours up his sleeve and has a real knack for production, Luzz and his label Little Giant are being well received throughout the industry. We were lucky enough to score an exclusive mix and (which we can’t get enough of!) and got to sit down with him to hear more about his production process, his musical  influences and what’s on the cards for him and Little Giant in 2017 and beyond.

Who are your musical influences?
Boards of Canada, Ulrich Schnauss, Autechre, Nine Inch Nails, DJ Shadow, Fred Everything, Kerri Chandler, Larry Heard, Jimpster, Fred P, The Timewriter, Sasha, Digweed, Sasse, John Tejada, so many more -  I could go on and on….

Can you describe your production process? What’s it like in the studio with you?
Depending on the mood I’m in that day, I’ll load up Ableton or Logic. I use both programs simultaneously as either give me a different set of ideas with how I approach arrangement and engineering. I tend to prefer to lean towards using Logic as I prefer the sound of its audio summing engine but I can always knock out an idea from start to finish in one sitting much more quickly and efficiently in Ableton, so it’s always a battle between which one to use. I’m very impulsive with my creativity, which tends to come and go in spurts but when I’m locked in, without distractions, my studio is my happy place. I do everything in the box, meaning everything is done on my 13’’ Macbook Pro and a midi controller which has its own set of limitations along with endless possibilities. The most important part for me though is to stay focused! Exploration is key, but sometimes I tend to take things a little overboard. I can lose it for days automating a 1/8 note dub-delay on a bus and jamming out with the filter cutoff and ADSR on a synth. I’ve gotten better, but I used to always forget to record full takes on the fly but now, I try to always press record! You never know when that bout of inspiration is going to hit, so you might as well have it recorded.

What made you decide to start your own label Little Giant?
Well, my label partner, Anna Cavazos approached me about starting a label. I was in a transition from running my previous label Stranjjur until 2014 and was looking for new label venture. Little Giant was born in 2015 and we finally launched in October of 2016.

Your label recently released the second release which features a remix from Matthias Vogt, how did that collaboration come about?
It all happened quite naturally. Jules suggested we reach out to Matthias, so we sent Matthias the original and he really dug it and agreed to do the remix. We are really happy with how the release came out.

Which artists would you like to have aboard on your label Little Giant?
Hmm, good question! You will have to wait to find out ;).

What’s on the cards for you and Little Giant for the future?
Right now I’m finalizing my solo EP which will be out next with remixes TBA. I am aiming for a June release date. After that we have a four track LP from Blaq Sons who hail from South Africa, and then an EP from my label mate, Anna Cavazos which should be out by the summer. We are trying not to release too much too soon as I’m finding way too many labels rushing releases out left and right without any quality control. It’s best to take things slow and release quality over quantity. Little Giant’s main prerogative is releasing music that stands the test of time, not riding the trends in favor of making the top 100 charts for the day. We are also planning on doing a few label showcases this summer and fall which will be announced on our website (https://www.littlegiantrecords.com)

What are your thoughts on the New York underground scene? Where do you see it heading in the next couple of years?
I think the scene is predominantly healthy right now, but currently going through a transition period due to gentrification that is happening in Brooklyn. Luxury condos are being built in record breaking time, in parts of Brooklyn that just a few years ago you wouldn’t want to step foot in. With all that comes a whole new generation of wealthy residents which equates to more restrictions that consequently move the underground along with it. The real question is, which neighborhood will be the next Bushwick when everybody gets priced out?

Who are some NYC based artists/DJs/producers to watch?
Definitely check out my buddy Kev OBrien's new alias Raconteur. He's got some dope stuff in the works!

Favorite moment/memory behind the decks?
Tough one but I’d say summer of 2013. I was playing after Stee Downes performed ‘I want you in my soul’ in Zurich in front of a packed dancefloor, which was definitely a highlight. That and going B2B with Sasse and Kev O’Brien all night long at Trust Bar in Berlin that same summer

What are your favorite tracks at the moment?
Space Dimension Controller – Exostack (R&S)
Telephones – DTMF (Call Super Remix) (Running Back)
Jules Etienne – Burning All the Bridges (Little Giant)
beGun –
Whindo (Sau Poler Remix) (Foehn)
Pablo Bolivar –
Dahnser (Endless)

Can you talk to us about this mix you made for FictionLab? Who is featured on this set?
I recorded the mix in Ableton Live. The mix features Little Giant’s latest release, Burning All the Bridges by Jules Etienne, Niksah remix which just came out. It also features one of the tracks from the Blaq Sons LP which is due out this summer, a new remix from Anna Cavazos forthcoming on Union Jack Records, new remixes from Giom, Fort Romeau, John Tejada & more.