little people
For Rosie DJ mix

There’s just something about listening to an artist over and over again. Song after song. Sound after sound. You seem to gain a confidence that you know exactly what a live performance would be like. Then that moment arrives, when you open up the paper and see them at a venue in your home town. You go to the show and it’s not what you expected. It’s better than what you expected, and in so many ways.

This was the story for this writer when Little People came to Denver. Laurent Clerc aka Little People has one of those sounds that’s incredibly infectious. His downtempo hip hop infused beats carry gracefully over carefully orchestrated woodwind instruments creating a sound that is overwhelmingly atmospheric and experiential.

We had a chance to sit down with the ever so humble Laurent Clerc outside of Larimer Lounge and talked about music over an American Spirit.

TMN: Let’s start of by talking about how the tour is going so far.

LP: Yes, it’s going really well so far. I have been very lucky to jump on board with Emancipator for his west coast dates and he pulls in very big crowds, so I have got the chance to play in amazing spots and locations. We played san Francisco – 800 people, L.A. 1000 people. It’s going really well. Now I am at the end of my Colorado run, played a couple of dates in the mountains. Denver is going to be pretty well tonight, I am looking forward to that. I have played her before, it was my second gig in the us. I opened for Polish Ambassador so it’s nice to be back as the headliner.

TMN: How do US crowds compare to European crowds for you?

LP: My point of view is slightly skewed because bizarrely I’m actually a lot bigger in the US than in the UK (or Europe generally). I actually don’t play that much back in Europe. Crowds in the US are crazy, you get a really good response and with the last few years electronic music blowing up, it’s amazing to hit some random towns that know what I do.

TMN: Have you have a favorite city to date? Any favorite shows in specific?

LP: Playing Sasquatch was pretty amazing! That was crazy.

TMN: We are obviously huge fans of your work, but we just gotta drive this home. You tend to create musical scenarios that are drenched with emotion. What inspires you to produce a track, is it emotional base, is it technical?

LP: It is more technical, bizarrely enough. I started making music in the computer. I had my dad’s computer and I worked out sampling and he had one of those recorder programs that came free and I would do loops and stuff like that. I always had the technical kind of background. I also do IT on the side too so I am fairly technical. I like what I do and I am always trying to find new sounds to generate new sounds and I use something technical and something odd to create something, and then from there I hone it and make it a full track. It is really a technical part that comes first but I guess you can say my music “emotional charged” but I do like that kind of stuff. It definitely ties in later on in the process.

TMN: You talked about listening to hip/hop as you grew up, are there any specific artists that influenced you as you started producing music.

LP: When I got into hip/hop it was sort of the 92-93 Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan and things like that. Then I was very lucky because I grew up and Switzerland (I’m half Swiss, half English) and you might expect that that wasn’t really the place for good hip/hop. But there was one radio station that had this one guy that had all the imports from New York and literally played amazing single that weren’t even released yet. That really tuned my ear for east coast hip/hop and that was the building blocks of what I do. After that I moved to the UK to attend a university in Manchester – obviously massive electronic music heritage there – and I just incorporated the two. I did a couple of soundtracks and it all just ties into what my sound now.

A specific producer I would have to say DJ Premier.

TMN: Who is your favorite member from Wu Tang Clan?

LP: Method man

TMN: A lot of your passed work as you talked are heavily sampled, but we noticed that you pulled away from that a little as of late. What made you start ditching samples.

LP: The use of samples is great but I have also found that in a record, you find the best part of that record and its some else’s genius that you are passing on as your own. I felt like trying to move on from that and now I have taken an interest in making your own sounds that are just similar or lifted from the original sample instead of actually sampling the record. As an artist, it felt like it was the logical step. It can be a hit and miss as a lot of people that start sampling and then they move on and it doesn’t quite work so I am hoping it works.

TMN: Do you feel like it kind of took away from the validity of your music by using samples?

LP: Perhaps. The first album has got a few samples definitely but apart from a couple who was quite recognizable, I reworked the samples to make them my own. So you are right, I felt like I needed to validate what I was doing, putting work in there so it becomes my material, as opposed to someone else.

TMN: Where do you feel like your music is heading next after the latest album?

LP: My stuff on record is kind of downtempo but on the live environment you do have to step it up in tempo and in intensity. I am liking creating stuff that is a bit more up-tempo, so tempos might bump up a bit. But I am going to kind of stay on the same lines in the same lines in terms of the way I work, and also make it more dance floor friendly.

TMN: Your video for Aldgate Patterns is one of our all times favorites, we absolutely love that one, what’s the story behind it?

LP: I am very lucky to have my cousin live in San Francisco. A couple of years ago he did a short film and I did the soundtrack for that. As a means of repaying me (he’s a producer) he decides to take on the task of producing a music video for me. He put out feelers out to a few people, creators, and he got the response of these 2 guys in LA who were up for it. It took a long time because essentially the track was sort of ready. Seven to eight months before the launch of the album we talked about ideas for quite a while. It changed drastically from the first idea we had. Essentially, it was going be animation at the start so yeah… it has changed completely. The concept of the video was sort of the feedback from my cousin, these guys and me. We went to the desert and shot some stuff and it turned out great.

TMN: What was the last album you listened to in its entirety?

LP: I do a lot of driving so I think on the drive down I listened to Holly other Holy Other.

TMN: What’s your favorite album of all time?

LP: DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing with Nas’s Illmatic close second.

TMN: We will wrap this up, anything else you would like to say to our readership or your fans?

LP: I would like to thank everyone that has come to the show and have supported my music [Laughs] sounds kind of trite but generally has been amazing meeting people that like what I do. It is still bizarre to me still.

A Servant chimes in: The Mickey Mouse operation, where did you get the photograph of that little kid?

LP: Yes, that is me! My mom took that picture.

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