No stranger to the techno scene, Lars has been one of Scotland’s essential techno heavyweights over the past decade, he’s now based in Barcelona where he rates “the climate, the beach, palm trees, San Miguel on tap, Sonar, siestas and the laid back attitude”. For the record, he misses the great clubs of Glasgow and cheese and onion pasties.
The background check finds that Lars was always an early absorber of music. Initially from his classically trained pianist Mother, then from the days as a body popping hip hop and electro teenager and eventually into a love of stringing records together as a DJ. The 7 year stint as a record shop buyer with Fopp saw him became addicted to absorbing every which way sound from jazz, funk and soul. He caught the house bug early and then techno from Detroit’s Derrick May and his ‘Nude Photo’ record. Turning his hand to production, he was eventually persuaded by friend Richard Brown (Label Manager of Soma) to turn in a demo.
It blew the roof, or more specially, “Jack Me Off” lifted the roof and remains an absolute belter and classic. With a name derived from the George Clinton character – Sir Nose Devoid of Funk – Lars was off and had the opportunity to DJ and produce music around the figures in the dance community whose records he’d bought for years.
There were the Chaser days with Nigel Hayes back on Soma, producing long term winners like “Sides of Iron” EP, “Life in Loisaida” and the LP “Game On”.
But as the techno character Funk D’Void, Lars was off in 1996 and 1997, producing tracks like Soul Man and Bad Coffee which had the music industry reaching to place a trophy on the techno top shelf. Off the back of this success and the media’s love for Funk D’Void, a live tour rolled out across Europe to rave reviews and the debut album Technoir hit the sheleves with ace reviews.
The rest is history; a string of killers tracks, remixes for heavyweights like New Order, Slam, Kevin Saunderson and a second album Dos.
But it was the rise of Diabla that perhaps launched Lars into the stratosphere and the ‘Heavenly’ mix to be precise is what went intergalactic. Hailed as one of the best tracks of 2001 by Pete Tong and Carl Cox, its leads us here to the release of his third longplayer Volume Freak.
It’s a tough act to follow. But Volume Freak is quite simply that. Its laden full of loud, funked up gut wrenching bass, soaring keys and strings, and vocals. Yep. Vocals. And for the record, there’s still plenty of that Funk D’Void trademark club oompf. Listen to it loud. So says Lars….
Your tracks often get the top jocks raving and salivating which I imagine is very satisfying for a producer. Is it overwhelming when you approach the production of new Funk D'Void tracks?
Yes there is the pressure to produce big tracks, but I try not to think about it when I'm banging away at the keyboards. It is pure luck!!
How did you approach the making of your latest album "Volume Freak" in comparison to your previous Soma efforts?
Well the inclusion of vocals was one thing; it seems to be the next step for a lot of instrumental making producers to do. The other was to approach each track with deeper arrangements and key-changes, also to cater for the dancefloor with some tracks. It's not a great departure for me, but I had to get this out of my system before I start on a more radical approach on the next LP.
There's a rumour that vocals make an appearance on ‘Volume Freak’. What's the details?
One track I wrote with Mark Bell, the other with a Swedish dude called Martin Landquist. They're two upbeat tech-house songs that we co-wrote over the summer, hopefully people will like'em!
"Volume Freak" seems like a fitting title. Music's mean't to be listened too loud?!
Hell yeah! Hence this annoying loud ringing in my ears! I reckon I've got a decent 10 years of normal hearing to go before I get an "aid"! Doh! I fucking love listening to music loud, and screw these ear protectors! Strictly for pussies only...famous last words.
Diabla (Hevenly mix) raises its funky head again on the new long player. How has that track in particular had an influence on your profile in the techno scene both as a live & DJ outfit?
It touched a lot of people and crossed over to some extent, so basically more people are familiar with the name and this gives an enormous amount of pressure to deliver! Of course I'm glad that my profile is bigger now but I've always been a fan of bubbling under rather than peaking during your career so it's a double-edged sword. You can't stop progress, but I approach success with very tentative steps, hence the space in between my productions.
You've mentioned before that the techno scene started lacking soul. What's your feeling on the current state of the techno scene?
It's better now, thanks to Vince Watson, Fabrice Lig, Alexander Kowalski, Heiko Laux, John Tejada et al. Loads of soul to go around now! Techno with soul breeds longevity and greater satisfaction. This is a personal opinion of course.
Who do you think is pushing the boundaries - Producers / DJs?
Ricardo Villalobos, Cristian Vogel, Richie Hawtin, loads of people. The rest of us are just coasting!!
What were your highlights of 2003?
Becoming a dad, buying a house, emotional content mate!
Barcelona being your home town now sounds like the right lifestyle mix. Can you give us a 'day in the life' of Funk D'Void Espanol style?
Louie wakes us up at 7.30 am, bathe the lil'un, change his nappies, get his food prepared, go to shops, walk the dog, prepare lunch, eat lunch, try and get a siesta, fail, take Louie for a pram ride, he nods off to sleep, go home, feed dog, try and get a siesta, wake up after 10 mins, go to supermarket, carry 10 bags of groceries back home, walk dog, prepare dinner, stick on Kids' DVD, play with Louie, play with dog, argue with neighbour over noise, spend some QT with wife, put Louie in cot, collapse on bed 10pm. Who says I don't have a glamorous lifestyle? Barcelona rocks mate!
Volume Freak is out Monday 23rd of February on Soma Records.
01. Emotional Content (Funk D' Void Remix)
02. 5 to 12
03. Can't Get Enough Of A Bad Thing
04. Diabla (Heavenly Remix) (CD Only)
05. Way Up High
06. All That Matters
07. Electriz 313
08. Endless (CD Only)
09. Beat The Bleep
10. Jack Me Off (Old School Remix)
11. Sueno For Somebody (CD Only)