We caught up with Phoenix, Arizona-based Johnlukeirl, a collective Member of Anima and Resident DJ for Limbic Groove. Earlier this year John released his Vandalism II EP on Daedelus' imprint Magical Properties.
The four track release accelerates into insanity in Vandalism II and it's definitely worth checking out. Chaos is captured and then throttled between carefully selected synths, juicy juke elements, and a heavy dose of delirium. Johnlukeirl’s aggressive, wild-man approach is paired with a keen eye for detail, creating tracks of uncompromising style.
So John Luke is obviously your name, what does the IRL stand for?
In real life. I used to be DJ Clap but that name overstayed its welcome. I took on my own name and IRL stood out and sounded good to me at the time.
Tell me about your latest release
So the whole idea came about five years ago, when I made a song called aim for the stars. It was a big bassy track and I was doing a lot of Footwork and Juke inspired halftime music and seeing what I could do with samples. This second EP is this really cool sounding group of tracks, really colourful and lush and pretty intense.
How did you get connected with the people at Alpha Pup/Magical Properties?
Alpha Pup was a connection through Daedelus. I opened for him ages ago and since then he’s helped me out loads. Everything that's happened in my music career has largely been through him.
What's your local scene like?
I’m based in Phoenix, Arizona, as of late the scene is small. The electronic scene focuses more on trap and like big bangers, but there’s a good movement as the city is growing so fast. It's getting modernized and a lot of influences are coming into the city. Back in the day (five years ago) I remember trying to put on warehouse shows and we’d have like four people there, but now there’s a crowd.
We're still putting on shows, I've got a show with Machine Girl coming up.
So what’s next on the agenda for you in terms of releases?
So the next thing is 'Vandalism 3' which is going to be another series of tracks. Beyond that I’m working on some new music. Lately I'm just listening to music and to get new inspiration and see what I can do to make things. I'm trying to challenge myself to do different things so I'm hoping it will be really cool.
Vandalism 3 will be out on Alpha Pup, probably in Spring time.
What about DJing – have you got a busy run up to the end of the year/start of 2018?
Not right now, the shows are sporadic, I play locally, a few shows here and there. The big dream is to get out there and do some touring. I am a musician full time, but to pay the bills I’m also an actor. I mostly just teach, student projects or commercials and stuff like that, but my main focus is coaching.
If you had to pick some tracks from your DJ bag to smash any dancefloor, what would you go for?
Have courage is really big, I love that I always like to RP Boo tracks. RP boo is awesome. Anything by DJ Rashad. Every show I try and change it up as much as possible. If I like one thing I might put it in a show once or twice, but I tend to mix things up.
What does your current studio setup look like?
A laptop and headphones, in terms of performance I use the monome. I use FruityLoops (FL Studio) to produce
Are there any bits of kit that you desperately want to add?
I’m happy with my setup for the time being, in the future want to get some real instruments into the show though.
Since you started producing have you changed the way you work much?
I’ve tried using other things, but FL is very familiar for me. I have at times used ableton to do some mixing as well.
Are there any areas where you think you could improve a lot?
I’m trying to work on new drums and percussive styles. I was researching South American percussion techniques just as a new way to bring in beats into a track. I also try using different samples as its mostly sampling K-pop and J-pop and I want to go beyond that. Really trying to challenge myself.
Have you got any collaborations lined up?
I mean like I’ve asked a lot of people to remix my stuff over the years. Slow magic is the one person I’ve been in touch with the most in terms of remixes,
Do you enjoy collaborating or are you someone who prefers to work alone?
I want to do my style and it's hard to do things with other people at times. If I work with another person it has to be 50-50. Saying that I’m open to every genre and I do love collaborating.
Who are your biggest influences?
I grew up a lot with electronic music, my parents listened to it. I found an Aphex Twin record and then bought everything. My brothers were always into music, grew up with metal too. Classical music was also a big influence. My whole life has been pretty musical really.