Interview: Lee Walker
Lee Walker has really been rising up through the ranks recently.
He is a UK producer who has held residencies at key clubs and can do it all from deep and warm to more peak time and techno. Proving that will be his entry into Cr2’s newly revived mix series, which is a fantastic selection that covers plenty of ground in great and coherent fashion. As well as this Lee is a solid producer with some great work behind him and two new cuts featured on this mix.
As it is released we speak to him about how it came together, how he approaches making music, what an average day in his life is like and what he has coming up.
“…right now I’m all about TUNESSSSSS.”
Introduce yourself for anyone who might not know – what are you all about right now?
I’m Lee Walker, 25, DJ/Producer from Middlesbrough in the UK, I’ve been doing this for around 10/11 years, I did “that track” Freak Like Me and I’ve had a slew of releases on labels like Hotflush, Circus, Hot Creations, Defected and many more, right now I’m all about TUNESSSSSS.
You have had support from the likes of Seth Troxler and Loco Dice before now – what does that mean to you? Does it enter your head then in the studio?
The support was mad, and to actually capture it is a very rare and lucky thing, without the massive support I got I think I’d still be frustrated at my lack of progress, so I can’t thank them enough. It doesn’t really enter my head, no, I generally have a small part of an idea that I’ve been humming to myself for a couple of minutes and that’ll be my foundation to sit down and do something.
What does? Do you know how you want a track to sound when you first start on it?
Apart from the aforementioned humming, not really, I sit down, start with a kick drum and a bassline and work up from there, sometimes it’s different, sometimes I’ll have a chord pattern or a vocal I want to record in first and build up around that, but it’s usually a case of something from nothing.
What gear do you have in the studio – are you a hardware of software guy and why?
Not much in the way of gear, a pair of Yamaha HS7 monitors, a Carbon 61 MIDI keyboard and an AKAI MPK Mini MIDI Keyboard, I do like hardware, I’ve just never personally had a reason to go out and purchase any, it can be a big purchase buying a decent bit of hardware and I’m not sure it’d actually make £1500 worth of difference, but that’s just me, there are plenty of cases for it, and I’m not so much against it, maybe when I’ve got a very secure amount of money in the bank I’ll go nuts!
What is an average day in your life like – do you have set schedules for finding new music, making music, doing boring accounting etc?
Well it usually starts with me waking up, most days can’t start if you don’t do that, coffee, sit down in the studio and stare at my monitor in a dazed state for 30 minutes then actually open my DAW and start about 30 ideas, 15 of which will never leave the 8 bar loop stage. In my spare time it’s generally gaming, spending time with my girlfriend or annoying the cat until it scratches me and then wondering why my pet would treat me this way.
As for finding new music I just do it when I have a gig coming up, it takes hours to go through promos and do Beatport trawls, I don’t schedule things, I’m a bit scatterbrained when it comes to organisation and sticking to schedules, and accounting is just…Please don’t bring numbers up they’re the work of the devil.
You have your own new label right? Tell us about that, what will the aim be, what will you release and from whom?
I do! It’s called We, The People, it’ll be launching at some point this year and our first release is from a Manc producer based in Dublin called NANCY, she sent some really great music over I can’t wait to put it out and see the reaction! The aim with the label is to release from up and coming talent and give people who haven’t had much of a push, a push. There are a lot of record labels and a lot of labels are releasing great music from great artists, but they’re all already massive, I’m the only person gaining from releasing their music and it shouldn’t really be that way, I’d rather provide a platform for other people to grow.
Why did you do the Cr2 in four sections – what does each one represent?
Each one represents a particularly memorable type of room I’ve played in, there’s the dark basement in the first section, the housier more bar orientated stuff in the second, summery, outdoor Ibiza style house/tech house in the third and the darker and heavier stuff in the 4th. This worked out really well, there was the possibility of it potentially going tits up giving the varying styles of each section but it all gels together really well and represents the original concept perfectly.
Of all the different times in the night you cover in the mix – which is your personal favourite, which would you like to play most often?
I’d say the first one, the dubbier tech house sound that you get from Fuse, Little Helpers and so on, give me that, a smoke machine, a strobe and a scruffy basement and I’m all over it.
You also work as Groove Syndicate right? How does that project differ to your own name?
I did yeah, with Lee Pennington, we’ve since decided because of time constraints we haven’t really got the time to give it as much energy as we’d like so instead of half-arsing it decided to give it a bit of a back seat, at least for the next couple of years. This was a live project, *riffraff had a live party coming up with Saytek, me and Penno decided to try our hand at putting a live show together to do the warm up slot, after a week of all nighters and sleeping in the studio, Groove Syndicate was born, I think all in all we made around 25/30 track ideas that we could progress and manipulate live so it was a little different every time, and having to remember what 50/60 plus midi controls were assigned to without individual screens to tell you was a nightmare but it was great fun playing live.
Whats next for you after this compilation is out?
Tunes, proper loads of tunes, playing them, releasing them, making them. I’m looking forward to my residency with Taste The Punch in Ibiza over the coming season as well as playing Amnesia Terrace, also I have an EP with Huxleys No Ideas Original label as well as a few other things that aren’t quite at the “tell Deep House Amsterdam all about it” stage but should be really damn good!