With their sophomore album, Last Night On The Planet dropping on Ninja Tune, Letherette have cemented their status as producers of the highest order. Their eponymous debut album was a tasty introduction to the Wolverhampton productive duo of Richard Roberts and Andrew Harber who had (and remain) with a love of that type of hip-hop made famous by names like Madlib. Cuts off said debut that captured an audience, The One and Space Cuts two numbers which ensured that the album did some great numbers.
2016 and their sophomore album proudly announces that the duo are back with some firing numbers. It’s a seamlessly connected collection of genres. From Momma old skool like hip-hop energy featuring Reijje Snow laying down the bars, to Shanel a number which immediately transports you into disco 80’s energy as synths reverberate through the track while the image of a glitter ball comes racing into the mind. With cuts like the aforementioned, this sophomore will require copious amounts of superlatives and then some to do it any justice.
#itchysilk decided to talk to one half of the duo Andrew, about traversing genres in their latest album and their respect of names like Madlib!
First off you guys have been friends and working colleagues for several years while I assume there is no ‘secret’ what makes this partnership work?
We’ve always had similar taste in music and production, and I think we also like to impress each other with new tracks we make. It’s like a challenge/game that pushes us to keep trying new things musically.
Your last album was in 2013-what have you generally been up to – music, life, parties?
We played a lot of gigs after the first album which was a bit of a learning curve for us both, as through that time we’d stopped making music as much. Making the second album probably took longer because of this. We’ve bought lots of new gear samplers/amps/compressors/synths and we’ve just be playing around with them.
And on that last album when you look back what emotions does it evoke?
Just good laughs, at that point we were house mates so we were constantly making music and pushing our production.
I read somewhere that people consider your – what’s your thoughts on this and what would you say?
Our early work (and even still) is massively influenced by hip-hop and artists like Madlib, Doom, Quasimoto, Dilla were huge influences. Our first ep’s where all mostly hip-hop and the techniques in sampling and chopping used in hip-hop are something we use in all our music whether it be house or making drones/tape loops. Most our music starts with a sample.
Can you break down instrumentation, production techniques on this album?
We started by making beats and chopping up samples, it’s a process I start every day. I can make a lot of beats this way but usually the more inspiring stuff comes from trying new approaches or using new bits of gear. I recently I got hold of a Novation circuit and an Octatrack and I’ve found them very inspiring and if anything, it takes me away from a laptop. Both are full of limitations but push you into processing or sequencing in different ways.
Sophomore albums can be difficult for a multitude of reasons-was it difficult and were there any challenges?
The difficulty always lies in the amount of input/opinions you have to create the final record. This can be detrimental but can also make the record better. I write a lot of music and to whittle it down to 10 tracks that fit a dynamic is always a sensitive process.
Some of the promo verbal seems to suggest that you almost approached this album like some concept album-break down that concept more and why did you decide on that as a type of foundation to the album?
MY music is always varied and lots of people pick up on it, so I wanted to put the music to a concept that warranted the shifts in genres but also connected them to a theme.
The track for Rejjie seems you produced that damn quick, promo states day before – elaborate a bit more on the ideas for the track and why the track was fitting for Rejjie?
I made it the day before we went into the studio together. That is the beauty of hip-hop especially working with a talented rapper that is how simple and melodic you can make the music. I usually find the more spares a track the better it works with a vocal.
Shanel with that intro could have been lifted from some 80’s dance vibe complete with copious amounts of geri curl juice-elaborate a bit on that too?
It has an 80’s vibe but tried to produce it with a difference, make it a little darker. Lots of music can be a little pastiche to stuff from the 80’s and 90’s and although it’s an accomplishment I find I’m more drawn into taking it somewhere else and it not just being an exercise to “make it sound 80’s”
You must have some unreleased gems – what gem would you be so sure would be a hit that you would sell your house – name of track and the vibe, genre of said track?
I have a few tracks I love and I think with the right Vocal or rapper they’d be successful but I don’t think I’d sell my house though the music industry is too random.
And lastly can you remember a music conversation where you thought ‘fuck that’s something we need to do’
Probably something to do with cassette loops or pads. Recently I have been opening out cassettes and making tape loops in the cassette so yes that would be it!
Featured image by Matt Miller.