Luomo Dishes About Upcoming Album “Convivial” and the Future of Dance Music

Whether you know him as Luomo, Vladislav Delay, Uusitalo, or his given name, Sasu Ripatti, sit back and enjoy the dancilicious track “Love You All (feat. Apparat)” as The Rind chats with the man of many names.

Panda Bear (Pitchfork’s #1 artist/album of last year) made mention of how Luomo was one of his influences on the record, Person Pitch. Was that a surprise to hear, or do you feel that electronic and indie rock artists are starting to cross into each other’s genres more?
This is great to hear! I didn’t know about this, and to be honest I don’t know Panda Bear, but I will check him out for sure. To a certain extent it seems that more and more fusion is about. That might be because electronic music, by itself at least, has been having a bit of a problem trying to reinvent the wheel lately.  I see many purely electronic artists forming bands and collaborating with indie artists, or at least using more instrumentation to get forward.

There are some early 80’s electro and techno-pop elements on Convivial. Was there any particular artist from that period that inspired you on this album?
I don’t really have direct influences from that period/style, but for example some of the early Michael Jackson, Prince, etc. influence actually comes into play on the production of Convivial.  Because I’m using quite the same instruments and methods as were used in 80’s electronic productions, it can easily sound similar.
Electro and techno-pop from the 80’s was for sure hugely influenced by Jackson et al. as well.  As far as 80’s techno or electro pop goes, I am not really aware of any particular artists that I would mention as influences, but maybe I have begun warming to music made by Depeche Mode or even Pet Shop Boys as I have gotten a bit older.  I have never really listened to that kind of electronic music, but recently if I come across it on the radio or hear it when I’m out, it actually sounds good to me.  So maybe there has been a subconscious influence there, who knows?

What were some of the production techniques you used on Convivial that are unique to this album?
I actually tried to avoid the “unique” methods and techniques I have gotten accustomed to and been relying on.  I wanted to challenge myself to do stuff I haven’t done before or wouldn’t even normally like to do, and still turn the result into something that is me and represents what I’m about. So there might also be a reason why the album sounds more techno-pop or electro-pop than my productions usually do.
One thing I always try to do though, even on Convivial, is to rely on random accidents and moments; I let the moment decide what will happen and then pick the beauty out of there somewhere. I try not to force things too much in any direction, but rather try to play around and see what it leads to, because from there I can tweak the results further for my musical needs.
One other thing that isn’t unique to my productions, but might not be so common anymore these days, is that I actually play the notes and beats that you hear in my music, instead of programming everything on the computer.

Name 5 albums you’re listening to right now on your ipod.
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
Metallica – Death Magnetic
Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
Tricky – Knowle West Boy
Vladimir Horowitz – Horowitz At Home

The Luomo project has always been a perfect mix of IDM/Glitch and House music, making it more cerebral then most traditional dance music. When you’re working, do you envision your music being listened to at clubs, or more on headphones? Do you feel that some club music is dumbed down?
Since I have begun making “dance” or “club” music, I have faced the difficulty that I don’t make simple enough music. Or that I try to make music where music is not needed.
I find it sad and a shame because I come from a background where you dance to music, not just bass drum and something funny that triggers your MDMA spirals. But this is not of course the whole of it, and there are still many people who appreciate good dance music – although they might be a bit older already and maybe don’t feel comfortable at a minimal dance night anymore.
So all that said, I have never really cared about the where/why/how regarding where my music is being played. I try to focus on making the best music I can based on my vision and needs, and how it works or how/where it is received is secondary.
Luomo for me is still more about the music than anything else, including any aspect of winning over the club, although I do like to create rhythms and musical pieces that should inspire one to dance in a club or at home.
I dance more at home than elsewhere to these songs…

Where do you see dance music heading in the future?
Having seen it go through these ultra-trendy minimal, electro-clash, Ed Banger-type phases, and more, it seems music itself has less and less to do with anything, and it’s more about marketing and hype and getting kids to follow one simple bandwagon. Which is fine – it’s business and it’s how things are being done – but it isn’t really the way I’d wish for it to go. In trying to foresee where dance music will go, I’d play it safe and bet my money on something very predictable and marketable. Of course there will always be something besides the mainstream, and there you will most likely still find interesting stuff in the future. But on the more commercial side of it, I’d say dance music will be about either re-inventing something that was hot already in the past, or it will be a clever mixture of a few ingredients so you can’t really go wrong.

As a former jazz drummer, do you find any relationship between playing jazz in a band setting and producing music in the studio?  Or do you feel more like a sound-architect, putting pieces together to create a whole, rather than feeding off the energy of other musicians?
I never really reached the momentum that you can have with several people feeding off each other when producing music alone, or when working with just a singer.
I have tried doing what I can to set myself up with machines in a way that I let them feed off of each other, and I also try to react to what machines give me in semi-random ways, but it all is just scratching the surface.  So really I try to look for something you can’t find in a band setting when producing electronic music alone.  I also still play drums in bands, so I don’t really miss that feeling too much when i produce music alone.
When making music alone, I most enjoy being the producer who can make more or less whatever I wish musically and technically – to hold the keys to all the doors – which is not possible in a band setting.  Or, I should say, not in the kind of democratic band setting which I like.  With bands, you most likely would concentrate on a bigger picture, and when doing stuff alone it’s nice to be able to zoom in and out of small elements and build up and paint the picture in fragments, and maybe not even in a normal order. Of course that can create the risk that the end result doesn’t sound like what you wanted; it should sound like a complete piece of music and not a puzzle where you still hear the pieces all over the place.

What, if any, elements of improvised music do you make use of in your Luomo compositions?
Like I mentioned earlier, I really try to force myself into situations where I don’t know what is going to happen and what to expect, and then just react to those like I would in a band setting. “Solving problems in real-time” is something I always try to do when making music alone. This philosophy extends to lots of Luomo productions, whether I’m writing lyrics, making sounds, mixing, working with vocalists, etc.  I have begun to trust myself enough that I believe things will work out the way they are supposed as long as I remain true to myself and don’t get lazy.

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