TF Archives

Luke Slater

Author: Alias
Sunday, January 1, 1995
"Well, when I was five, I had a set of drums. And that was my firstinstrument, drums you know," comments Luke Slater, the UK technooriginator soon to be heading back to Australian shores. "I used tohave piano lessons as a kid, and I hated it. I joined a rock band when Iwas 13, and playing the drums was really cool. What happened was thekeyboard player in the band had a drum machine, a Roland CO 78, which islike a really old drum machine, and we were doing this gig at collegeand he didn't turn up and because I was the drummer I had to program thedrum machine."

He continues. "I thought to myself who needs a drummer, you know thisdrum machine can do everything that a drummer does, but you can do itquicker on the drum machine. That was the start."

Since humble beginnings, Slater has moved onto bigger and better things.In 1997 he delivered a landmark album, Freek Funk. I know that is acliche attached to many long players nowadays, but Freek Funk is analbum which is so amazingly great that it seems the only correct way toexpress the sounds within. An opus which well and truly establishedSlater as the resident alien on the UK's (if not the worlds) technoblock, and an affirmative statement which signalled to the worldwidedance music community that a major new player had arrived.

Freek Funk was full of originality and creativity, Slater going toamazing lengths to find just the right sounds. Even as far as carrying aportable DAT recorder around the streets with him and just recordingwhatever took his fancy. "If I hear a nice sound when I am walkingaround the streets, or anywhere for that matter, if I have a recorder Iwill record it and set about trying to replicate that sound in thestudio," describes Luke. "The best sounds on Freek Funk, are actuallythose kind of sounds. Like when you are sitting in a propelleraeroplane, and you get the sound from both the engines which is like'ararara' (make propeller sound which is difficult to replicate inwords). You are actually getting a sound from both sides, stereo. Irecreated that sound on the album."

Slater's audio magic on Freek Funk lead to a few people taking notice.One was the reborn Queen of pop, Madonna, who commissioned Slater toremix her album track Power Of Goodbye. The result was magic, ditto forDepeche Mode's Headcharge. However, Slater was far from an overnightsuccess story. He has been cutting tunes under various alias' since1988, trading under such names as 7thPlain, Machine, Clementine andPlanetary Assault Systems. His early forays were released on such labelsas Jelly Jam, Irdial, Djaz-Up-Beats, Tresor and Peacefrog. Yet it washis first album under his own name, released on the highly respectedNovaMute label (home to Space DJ'z, Speedy J, JB3, Steve Stoll, EmmanuelTop, Plastikman, and Fawn) which brought his works to prominence. Suchwas the demand for Luke Slater to replicate the sublime textures ofFreek Funk in the flesh, that he set about planning a live show.

The result is Luke Slater Freek Funk, the live techno onslaught thatSlater and his cohorts will be bringing down to Melbourne for a seriesof appearances at the Big Day Out. Whilst many claim that techno haslost its creative spark and now all can aspire to is become banging clubfodder, Slater believes that the so-called 'death of techno' has beengreatly exaggerated, and is keen to prove it. Whilst Slater's three deckwizardry at Pure Flow 4 sent Melbourne crowds wild, his minimalexcursions into jumbled rhythms and funk propelled minimal techno liveis set to blow minds.

Just ask any of the people in attendance at such world renownedfestivals as the UK's Glastonbury, Denmark's Roskilde, French stapleBorealis, Belgium's Pukklepop, and Lowlands (Holland). Slater also dj'edalongside New Order, Underworld, Chemical Brothers, and Andy Weatherallat the New Years Eve celebrations at Alexandra Palace. "We