Today we’re excited to present to you an incredible BAM duo coming straight from Montréal, Luminous. They recently joined our BAM Artist Series Label and as per usual, we will be uncovering some crispy details about them in our interview. Let’s get started!
#Hey Luminous, could you introduce yourselves?
“Hi! I’m Barbara, a composer, producer, and drummer…
..and I’m Xyle. Together we form Luminous, a duo producer team from Montreal.”
Short and simple, just like we like it.
#When did you start composing, and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Barbara began “I started composing at home, around age 14, making drum and bass using Cakewalk’s Sonar DAW. But I came from a band background playing in punk and metal bands.” Punk and Metal bands? Wow, we didn’t see that one coming. She continued, “Having the opportunity to make music at any time of day or night using a computer was an incredibly eye-opening experience at the time.”
“As for me,” Xyle added, “I started composing as a teenager, messing around with samplers and old Yamaha and Casio synthesizers. My early influences were mostly hip hop and are still perceptible in my sound I think; think Kanye West, the Neptunes, and Timbaland.“
Who would have thought that hip-hop and punk could become the essence of two incredible electronic music artists?
#What does it bring to work as a duo?
“Well, working as a duo, especially when it’s the right combination of personalities and skills, is so useful as each of us has different strengths. It generally means that we’re better than the sum of our individual parts.” Such a poetic way to define it, Barbara, well done.
“Yeah, it definitely helps to have a different perspective on things like arrangement and mixing. I think we complete each other musically, giving each other feedback and ideas.”
Could someone check if this enters the definition of symbiosis? From what we remember of biology class, this duo clearly completes each other in that kind of way.
#What would you guys be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Xyle quickly answered, “Not working in music has never really been an option for me. Probably something music-related if it wasn’t producing and composing.” Now that’s passion, am I right?
On the other hand, Barbara was more pragmatic – “As well as composing and producing music, I also teach music which I get a lot of satisfaction from. So even if I wasn’t musical at all I would still want to work with people, possibly as a social worker helping to improve young peoples’ opportunities and outcomes.” We were definitely moved by her noble words.
#How do you guys deal with differences of opinion when producing music?
Barbara responded, “It’s rare nowadays that we actually disagree as over the years we’ve developed a good understanding of each other’s strengths and personal tastes. However, we have an agreement that unless both of us are happy with the track or the parts within a track, then we have to simply delete it and start again.”
“Exactly, we only put music out that the two of us are proud of, no exceptions.” – Xyle.
#The track of this EP you’re the most proud of and why?
“For me, it’s the opening track ‘Endless’ – I think it’s quite laid-back while being powerful and hopeful. We used a lot of synths going into guitar pedals in this one to create evolving textures/atmospheres.” – Xyle.
“Really? Well, I was particularly pleased with the emotion we managed to portray with ‘Tangle’. I feel that it has a great sense of longing and yearning but also momentum and a solid sense of progress.” -Barbara.
No need to fight, we were absolutely taken aback with every single track of the whole EP.
#The track of this EP which was the most difficult to finish and why?
Barbara couldn’t think of any so she simply replied, “To be honest, working as a duo generally means tracks just somehow end up working and being finished. If one of us is stuck for inspiration or struggling with a certain element, the other takes over and things start progressing again.” Still not sold on the whole symbiosis thing? Okay.
“That’s absolutely true,” said Xyle with a big smile. “But if I had to choose it would also be Endless. There were so many tracks, textures, and automations going on. Lots of overdubbing between organic and electronic elements. It was a nice challenge to mix these over-100 tracks together.”
It did sound like a challenge but the end result is astonishing. So we’re guessing it was worth it.
#Your secret to fuel your creativity when you feel in lack of inspiration?
Both artists had two very different approaches on the subject. (So if you’re ever stuck yourself, try one of these.)
“I just mess around with synths, guitar pedals, samplers… Just like when I was a teenager. By playing a simple synth note into a Chase Bliss Audio Mood pedal followed by a Red Panda Particle, it can create a whole ambiance to get started with.”
But if that doesn’t work to get you in the groove, Barbara’s way might be your answer. “I’ve always found that not trying to force the inspiration is the best way, and to do something completely unrelated as a break. Whether that’s going for a run or even just watching something on Netflix, it’s a good way to clear my mind and when I return, I’m often much more inspired.”
#The last musical example that stayed in your mind? Could be in advertising, a movie…
“I loved the sonic spaces that Daniel Lopatin explores in the soundtrack of ‘Uncut Gems’.“
“That recent Apple ad with Whethan’s « Drumdown Mambo » track. Soooo powerful and unique, and such a unique blend of organic/electronic, vintage/modern.“ – Xyle.
#One track you wish you had produced and why?
“Black Skinhead » by Kanye West. I think it has a raw energy feel to it while being super modern production-wise. It definitely feels unique to me. I remember being blown away when listening to YEEZUS for the first time and hearing sounds I hadn’t heard before.” – Xyle.
“Floating Point’s “Falaise” is a recent example of a track where I’ve found myself thinking ‘I wish I had the creative intelligence to create something so well controlled and beautiful.“
#Tell us about a musical accomplishment you are most proud of?
“That’s hard to answer whilst not talking about real-life experiences… We’re like Batman and Robin, we don’t want people to know who we are behind our aliases,” exclaimed Barbara and Xyle while laughing. We’ll let it slide this time since we don’t want to take the magic away. 😉
#Your current guilty pleasure?
Once again, both artists had very different answers. On one hand, Barbara associated it with music while Xyle… was more about the lifestyle.
“Recently I’ve been forced to listen to a lot of the music that my 5-year-old daughter likes (Taylor Swift, Frozen etc.) and have to admit that I’ve weirdly enjoyed the awful MIDI sounding sax part in Jason Derulo’s “Savage Love’. It’s awful from a technical perspective but is a serious earworm.” – Barbara.
“Spending my morning skiing and working until very late in the night. Doing sports helps to keep the mind clear and focused.” – Xyle
#Your Top 3 tracks of the moment?
- Class of Deja – Kano (feat. D Double E & Ghetts)
- Articulation – Rival Consoles
- Bias – Floating Points
- In The Summer – Whetnan (feat. Jaymes Young)
- Eat Them Apples – Suzi Wu
- Hello Hello Hello (Polo & Pan Remix) – Remi Wolf
#Same with 3 movies or Tv shows?
Here both artists decided to gives a more complete answer.
“I’ve only recently got round to watching the film ‘Parasite’ and it blew me away. One of my all-time favorite series has to be “The Virtues’ by Shane Meadows. It’s very dark and quite slow-moving in parts but evokes such intense emotions. On the other end of the spectrum, I really enjoyed the series ‘Modern Love’. It’s a selection of short stories about very different relationships but the characters and themes discussed are very interesting.” – Barbara
“I really liked the new « I Care A Lot » movie – what an amazing performance by Rosamund Pike and a creative score by Marc Canham. I also enjoyed the Yellowstone TV Series and the new Billie Eilish documentary. So inspiring!” – Xyle
Well there you have it folks! We hope you got to know a little bit more the duo that forms Luminous. We’re absolutely convinced that they will continue creating incredible music during their time at BAM and we wish them the best.