He doesn’t actually consider it an album, in fact he didn’t even give it an official title… But LSB is back with an eight-track collection of deep bubblers and graceful grooves. It’s his first proper body of work since his and DRS’s evergreen Blue Hour way back in 2019.
Sporadic remixes aside, it’s the longest we’ve ever had to wait for a full release from the Footnotes founder since his productions emerged on labels such as Spearhead and Integral well over a decade ago. Naturally it’s arrived in the most ridiculously understated way ever.
“Understated is just a generous way of saying mediocre,” he jokes when we spoke on the day of release last week.
You can use your own scale of mediocrity and judge that yourself. If you were eagle-eyed and quick enough you may well have already formed that opinion last month. On June 8, for one day only, he gave the release away for free to celebrate his birthday. For those of us who aren’t so quick off the social media draw (or know LSB’s birthday) it’s out now, following the big teases of track Bell Tune and Lose Yourself. 1 More Thing called him to find out if we have to wait another three years for his next big missive. (Spoiler: we probably won’t)
You’ve gone back to basics on this one. Nice that you gave it away on your birthday for a day, too…
I never considered it an album. Everyone keeps calling it that, but for me it’s an EP. I don’t really mind, but I did want the music to be understated and removed from the whole promo cycle of singles and this instant gratification thing. The whole content side of things… I don’t think this style of music suits that process anyway. So I sat it on it for ages and thought, ‘What should I do?’ Then I thought, ‘Ah I’ll just give it away.’ It was my 40th as well. A few people tried to discourage me but I did it. I can understand people saying it will devalue the music but it was nice to give it to people who’ve supported me. I did it in an understated way because the music’s understated. I’m not massively on the ball with promoting my own music or even sure when it’s out.
It’s been a while between releases!
Yeah it has been. The Blue Hour was a concept album. One in the sense of theme and two in the sense of how it was a complete collaboration. I’m not certain anyone in drum & bass had done the producer / MC album like that before. Del messaged me saying he’d listened to it for the first time in years and how he loved it. He hadn’t been able to listen to it for two years, it was written during a certain time in his life but he’d made peace with that now. I thought I’d check it again and quite enjoyed it.
From my point it was a very ambitious album. We were working with lots of musicians and I was quite outside my comfort zone. As a teenager I liked prog rock – the usual suspects like Pink Floyd and stuff – and its ambition reminded me of that. Quite an indulgent album. It wasn’t exhausting but it did make me think a lot about what I can do next. I wanted the next release to be all me. I toyed with a lot of tracks – some are quite old, I tried to get a common theme and instead of trying to force something into a 12 track album, I stripped it back to something you could fit on two 12s. it hasn’t even got a name. It’s called LSB – LSB because, in the digital world, you can’t leave the title blank. I wanted it to be nameless. Completely anonymous.
I guess it’s the extremes I operate in – one was a full vocal album, the other an instrumental. Stripped back liquid. Not even really dancefloor. I’ve only just started playing some of these out. A lot of the tunes were started on the road in airport lounges and hotel rooms. I was in limbo writing a lot of these tunes.
Yeah. I really didn’t want to mention covid in this interview because it feels like everyone is talking about it. Obviously it impacted so many things and had such an influence on everyone’s lives, but I’m quite conscious of it being everyone’s reference point. But yeah this music was largely written back then, when I was on the road a lot. I was in these places all the time – not the type of places you’d write dancefloor bubblers. I would listen to it a lot of it with walking. Late night walking. Much more than I do a club.
Would love to hear Bell Tune or Piano Jazz in the club though…
I’m opening my sets with Bell Tune, it’s a nice reset track because of its long intro. If the person playing before me I playing heavy, this can reset the dancefloor and set a different mood. I play Piano Jazz and Something Else, the amen-y tune, too. Bell Tune I actually made playing around on my laptop on a train to a gig in Leeds. They all reference that particular mindset that you get when you’re in transit. That feeling and headspace you get into on the road
Sometimes a feeling of saudade, which you named a track after…
That’s right. I talk to Pete Technicolour a lot about this. I get that feeling a lot. It’s Portuguese and it essentially means a deep melancholy. Like when people got lost at war and it’s the longing of their loved ones.
That’s the feeling on the road… Missing family, meeting new friends only to say goodbye just as you’re getting to know them.
Exactly that. It’s all very transient. It’s totally that feeling.
Are we going to have to wait another three years between releases?
No one knows – that’s the beauty of it! I got enough tunes that could possible make an EP. I’m doing something for Spearhead. I’m not really releasing on other people’s labels very much but Steve BCee was the first person to support me initially.
Yeah he was a very early supporter wasn’t he
Absolutely. Naturally if he asks for something then I’m going to do it. Things like that are more important to me than doing something for my career or sticking to any type of vision. If it wasn’t for Steve I might not be doing this at all! But releases-wise I think I’ll go back to the EP format for a while.
Any artists coming up on Footnotes?
I’d love for Anile to return but he’s in a different place and doesn’t make as much music as I’d like. I don’t have an objective plan with footnotes. I’ve not set any goals or ambitions or gone to myself, ‘I need to release x amount of singles every year’ or anything like that. It’s not a business in that sense to me, it’s a passion project, when it’s ready it’s ready.
That sums you up. It’s that understated vibe again.
Yeah it’s very understated. If you keep expectations low then you’re less likely to disappoint people. There’s a number of factors in it – there’s the purity in it, in a musical sense. But also every label has become so much more visible and making so much content. It becomes this endless cycle. I admire the work ethic but I find it too stressful. It’s not me. I won’t put a video of someone doing a silly dance to one of my tunes for example.
Haha. I did some silly dances at a show last year which you played it.. DRS at the Jazz Café
Oh that was wicked. It’s so great to see Del recognised as an artist on that level. Not side-lined to the bottom of flyers. He’s flipped everything. It’s his time to shine and it’s brilliant to see. I’m glad it’s going down so well. He’s such a hard worker and so sick, he deserves all this. We’re actually hoping to take Space Age on the road at some point.
I love those mixes!
I really enjoyed doing them and we’ve talked about doing a tour. We’d like to recreate the mixes as such – the bars he was doing, the music I was playing – so it’s familiar but also live.
Love how he intros bars for future songs on the mixes. By the time On Sight and Comme Ci Comme Ca came out, it already felt like I knew them.
Yeah he subverts that a lot. Comme Ci Comme Ca is over a pretty deep Calibre tune on Space Age 5 but the actual record is really lashing. I love how he restyles vocals over different vibes. It gives it a whole different feeling and depth to what he does. I love the contrast he creates.
When do you reckon can we catch you creating contrasts together?
When we find space in each other’s schedule, really. Like I said, that is the beauty of this… Who knows what’s going to come next?