GIVE LOVE is fronted by former illusionist and London-born DJ and producer Simon K, who spent the last five years producing dancefloor-filling remixes and bootlegs, honing his sound and racking up hundreds of thousands of plays. With a recent release on Music To Die For Recordings, we caught up with him to find out more…
Hey GIVE LOVE, how are you, how has 2022 treated you so far?
GL: Hello! I’m doing well thanks. 2022 is off to a great start, I’ve released my debut singles and my first EP ‘Disco Air’ is launching very soon.
How was the pandemic for you and what affect did it have on your music taste and style?
Well actually its been super productive and allowed me to literally get my house in order as I’ve been working on a body of work for an album for some time, and it allowed me to really dig in and experiment with my sound as well as finish lots of productions. I’ve also been able to dig even deeper for obscure samples which is something of a mad obsession of mine.
Tell us about your life as a former illusionist?
GL: I used perform, but also write illusions. It’s a bizarre but interesting world which I fell into from a young age. When I was 15/16, I then started working in clubs and backstage at parties. I’d be meeting my idols at the time (Justice / DJ Medhi / Boys Noize and more) and would be blowing their minds.
I then worked on a number of shows, mostly that didn’t have any spoken parts, so music was a huge part of it to, and it helped set the mood and build the tension for the audience. A few of the DJs and producers I had met along the way helped with what I was doing, and my love for producing music grew from there.
Are there and skills from that world you can bring to music?
GL: There are a lot more similarities than you’d first think. Writing illusions for yourself and others you only have a handful of basic principles to do something interesting, so the thing that really makes it for the audience is being able to create an interesting story. Music is the same, especially trying to keep it interesting and bring unexpected twists to what people experience in a club.
You are known for big bootlegs and remixes – why have you always enjoyed that side of things?
GL: When I was getting into electronic music, Forums, Hypem, Blogs and Bootlegs were the big thing, so throwing a bootleg or a remix together was the social currency of the time. The beauty of bootlegs is you don’t need anyone’s permission, it’s purely down to your ability to hunt through every official version of a track to find the best and most interesting elements and deconstruct them to build them all back togehter.
What inspired this new one on Music To Die For Recordings?
GL: Over the past few years I’ve been building up a library of hundreds of sample based demos, and the team at Music To Die For went through all these with me, looking for some of the more dance floor focused tracks. Most of the tracks are sample based, and you can definitly hear the throwback to bootlegs on them.
One track in particular: Boys/Girls was inspired by a night out in Adonis. It was one of those moments where the next day you look in the notes in your phone and I’d written what I’d overheard in the smoking area:
‘Boys just wanna be girls // they’ll do anything they can to be a queen’
Cut to – recording in the living rooom in Bethnal Green with my Lithuanian friend Jogile, the remainder of the track really just fell into place around it.
Where and when was it written for? Did you have an audience in mind?
GL: For the lead singles on the EP (Boys / Girls and Hit It), it was designed for parties exactly like Adonis. Sweaty dance floors on sunday mornings.
Give U Love on the other hand was maybe the 5th version I’d made using the same sample. I wanted something that could both exist on it’s own, but also be made better when being mixed and used as a tool in a club. Seeing some of the videos of DJs playing it out has been interesting as it really feels like more of a ‘liquid than a solid’ – it fills the container and adapts to the set it’s played in.
What gear do you use currently, does that matter to you?
It’s a combination of things. I’m on the move a lot, so largely I’m working ‘in the box’ on Ableton, but there are a few things that you can’t quite recreate with the same level of fidelity, so for certain parts, especially for Acid and certain synth lines, I’ll rerecord them in the studio using a modded TB-303, Korg MonoPoly, MS20 and a Roland 106.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
I’m finishing up the next EP right now, as well as starting to gather my thoughts on an album. The process for these two things are so different. It’s back to that same point I was talking about before on storytelling. With an LP, you want to be embarking on a journey – to me that’s what takes an album from being good to being great.
What is next for you after this interview?
I’m just about to head to the US to spend some time in NYC and Detroit – I’m headed to Movement festival which is a first time for me. I can’t wait.