Quite simply, Luke Brancaccio is a name synonymous with high end, quality dance music. Whether it be through his early infamous DJ sets or his meteoric escalating production prowess, he has carved out a unique career path over the last two decades.
His musical evolution has lead him from being front man of the British band ‘Suicide Sports Club’, to co-producing arguably one of the biggest records of the 00’s with the chart-topping ‘Lovely Day’ alongside Bruce Aisher, as well as headlining international global events supporting the likes of Sasha, John Digweed and Sven Vath. He has even graced the cover of DJ Magazine for gods sake!
Lukes breathtaking brilliance in the studio has also seen him release tracks and remixes for the creme de la creme of record labels worldwide…. think Bedrock, Selador, Mobilee, Lost & Found, Renaissance and I think you get the drift ;)
As someone who prefers individuality to ubiquity, I believe Luke is undoubtedly one of the key figureheads of the progressive house scene, and through his tenacity, hard work and enviable talent he is one who is here to stay for decades to come.
I hope you enjoy the interview
We finally made this happen mate!! So where are you right now? How you feeling? I’m by the pool in Cyprus, enjoying the sun and nursing a hangover. I’m getting married here next Saturday so I have a tonne of friends & family on the way over which I’m very excited about. Looking forward to a massive party this Saturday with my nearest & dearest.
As always, let’s start at the beginning… Where did you grow up? What kind of music did you listen to? I’ve heard through the grapevine that your mum used to work at Island Records. What kind of music did your parents listen to and do you see their musical influences reflected in the music you make today? If so, how? I grew up in Notting Hill Gate, right next to Portobello Market and slap bang in the middle of Carnival which was a fantastic place to enjoy my younger years. I grew up listening to all kinds of different music from The Doors and Pink Floyd to Kraftwerk. My mother was Chris Blackwell’s assistant at Island records so I grew up around all kinds of music which definitely had an impact on my style today. It may be subtle but it’s definitely there. The main sound I was drawn to was early hip hop. I loved it!
What was the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself? Who were your favourite bands growing up? I bought my first vinyl record with my sister. It was a very cheesy song called ‘Just Buggin’ by a hip hop group called Whistle [it was pretty dreadful] but we combined our pocket money together and walked very proudly into Woolworths [a British shop and institution that isn’t around anymore] and wore that record into the ground. So how and when did you first come about the dance music scene? Can you tell us a little about the transition from your musical beginnings to becoming one of the dance scenes must loyal and trusted DJ/ Producer? I was living in a house with about 6 other people and I was the only one that didn’t listen to dance music. After a while though I started hearing certain tunes like Gat Decor ‘Passion’, Leftfield ‘Not Forgotten’ & ‘Windows’ by Sil and I slowly [but surely] got converted. It wasn't long after that until I realised I was totally and [literally!] obsessed with dance music. I would spend every penny I had on vinyl to the point where I’d go for long periods of time on a baked bean diet.
Obviously when any artist starts out they are influenced by their mentors and the people they look up to. How would you describe your journey and development towards finding your own style? The first DJ I ever saw was Sasha and he totally blew me away! It was in a tiny little club called Ghetto and I was just standing there with my jaw open in awe. Although I have had many different artists influence me from Daft Punk to Leftfield to Chemical Brothers, John Digweed has always been the one artist who had my back and has given me a huge amount of opportunities. I owe a lot to him hence why I almost always send him my stuff first. You have collaborated with quite a few other artists in the past but as of late seem to be having a winning streak working alongside Gai Barone. I’ve only recently heard you guys have never actually met in person! What would we do without the internet?! So what roles do each of you guys play in your approach to making a new track and how does it all work? It must be a fine balance in compromise at times? I much prefer working with other people as I find it a lot easier having someone else to use as a sounding board. I have had the chance to collaboration with so many talented people but with Gai Barone it’s just very easy. We really have such a similar outlook on things and not just the type of music we make. We are often thinking the exact same thing. Gai will actually do most of the programming and I usually come up with a lot of ideas but there are tunes that I have started and he’s finished with us Skyping as we talk most days. It comes very easily and natural to us to work as a duo. We are actually meeting up for the first time at ADE this year and are playing on the Sunday together at Amsterdam’s famous Club NL.
Speaking of collaborating, your [soon to be] wife Kiki Cave put in an incredibly stunning performance on your recent ‘All I Need’ by Air remix lately? What’s it like working with your wife? Is there more husband&wife music coming in future?
Yes, she really knocked that one out the park but it wasn’t easy as the original is [obviously] amazing. We work really well together and a hell of a lot better than we did at the beginning. I’m very quick and want to get things done and sometimes I forget about the fact that she is pretty new to all this. She used to be a singer/songwriter on an acoustic guitar but gave it up to become a Psychologist. We both write lyrics so it’s not just the one person but she has an amazing voice and mine is a bit pants.
Is there a track you wish you wrote? If so, why? There are thousands I could say here but something like ‘Around The World’ by Daft Punk is definitely up there! It is just a tune that makes me very happy every time I hear it. In fact most of Daft Punk’s music makes me happy. Also Glue by Bicep.. that is a work of genius!
Compared to the vinyl era, you must be well aware of the amount of disposable music out there these days. As a DJ and producer do you think it is possible to build meaningful long-term relationships with a particular track or album anymore? Absolutely, I’m a massive Bicep fan [as mentioned above] because they are obviously amazing but you clearly really need to be on top of your game. There are so many ‘run of the mill’ tunes out there as it is so easy to release music these days, however, just because you have a keyboard and you can play a few notes on it that doesn’t make you any good [sorry folks!] On the other hand though, there is so much amazing stuff out there as well. I’m loving the two step/garage beats sound that is crossing over with what we play that is popping up at the moment.
In your own words, what do you think your main compositional and production challenges were when you started out and how have they changed over time? I’ve definitely honed my skills over the years and become a lot better. I went through a long period of time not enjoying the music or not knowing where I wanted to sit within it, but personally I think I’m making the best music I’ve ever made right now. I’m taking more chances with it and enjoying it more than ever. I am the happiest & most comfortable I’ve ever been.
You are seen as one of the scenes most well respected producers and your music has been played by literally every A list DJ on the planet including John Digweed, Sasha, Guy J etc etc.. Reaching that kind of level in your field must feel pretty rewarding! What would you say is your ultimate goal within the music industry? What’s the dream? To be honest I’m pretty much living it! I get to make music for the best labels in the world and I get to travel the globe playing them. I’m very content and happy with my lot. I’d love to do music for a movie, I’ve had singles on films and tv but would like to do a whole soundtrack to maybe a Sci-fi.
There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of an artist other than their music these days, social media for one… How much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? How important do you feel having social ‘cred’ is and do you think this alone may influence who listens to individuals demos these days? Actually, what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry with relation to this topic in general?
Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil, I’m useless at it but I would never stoop to buying likes or followers or anything like that. It looks completely foolish when you have 50 thousand plus followers but have 20 likes and no comments. I’m definitely trying to up my game this year though with regards to other forms of social media as I hardly use anything other than Facebook. Certain promoters will overlook you because you only have certain amount of followers but I’m fine with that as they are the places I’d rather not play anyway.
You seem to have lived quite a ‘rock n roll’ lifestyle… Can tell us something we don’t know about you or a story no-one has heard before? **hahaha I’m dying to hear this one! I once had to pay a £3000 hotel charge after playing in Colours in Glasgow as me and two other extremely famous DJs let a party in my room get completely out of control. One person literally threw the tv at the window while it was closed (luckily it bounced off as it was reinforced glass), the bathroom was also flooded and there was glass and shaving foam all over the place. It was a bloody nightmare. I never did that again.. haha! I learnt my lesson very early on with that one In closing up today Luke, can you tell us what plans you have for 2022? Any upcoming collaborations/releases/events we should know about? What are you most excited about? I am most excited about our album coming out under a new project name. I can’t say too much just yet but it’s been 2 years in the making. I’ve also got a tonne of gigs and lots of new music coming out on label’s like Bedrock, Mobilee, Crosstown, Sudbeat and many more to watch out for.
Thanks so much for your time today mate! And super congrats on your wedding this weekend! xx Thank you so much for having me B x
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