We were fortunate enough to have a chat with Luka Smooth about where he’s headed as an artist, how he feels playing some of the world’s largest festivals, and if he’ll ever invest in a better CPU. Big shouts to our good friends Sonorous Events and shouts to the Business Entertainment for throwing a wicked Canadian debut for Smooth. You can also grab yourself a free download of Smooth’s latest track “Yesterday” below!
Dose: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you’re doing?
Smooth: Hey, I’m Luka also known as Smooth and I’m doing good thanks!
Dose: You’ve been producing music for nearly a decade now under different alias’, how does it feel to start from humble beginnings in a small Slovenian village to now playing festivals like EDC to being included on the commemorative Viper 50 release?
Smooth: Ya it’s sort of a really crazy experience because I never really imagined I would be playing somewhere like Toronto and festivals in the US and all over the world. It almost feels like a dream that I never dreamt before and I’m still living it! I’m not quite sure where it’s headed, but I’m hoping it’s something that will last forever!
Dose: If you’re not producing, what are you doing in your spare time?
Smooth: I produce a lot man! If I manage to have some free time I may ride my bicycle and stuff, but I try to produce as much as possible though. I don’t really give myself lots of free time!
Dose: It must be nice being from a quiet village though since so many producers are based out of the UK and are booked to play in another large city only to return back to their home that’s just as fast paced and densely populated. You on the other hand have the opposite and return to fresh air, quietness, and a nice landscape that’s fit for unwinding.
Smooth: Yeah it’s really small, and to be honest I like it like that! It’s a big change and I had to really sort of adapt to going and playing the big cities because I’m from a small village with a population of only 600 people.
Dose: You just played EDC Chicago and EDC New York a few weeks back, how surreal was that?
Smooth: That was really wicked man! Although I have to say New York was a bit better, but both of them we’re really-really good shows! I love to play in the US and I loved tonight’s show here in Toronto! Tonight was fucking wicked!
Dose: We’re glad you had a great time! You have some forthcoming material on Viper that again showcases how stylistically diverse your productions are. You previewed some of that material including “Nothingess” which is a liquid roller with Shaz Sparks along with “Bug;” a banging electro track. On your last EP you had Shifting Sands part 1 and 2, one being a dubstep version and the other drum and bass. How do you find yourself balancing the different styles again on your next release without displeasing any fans?
Smooth: I don’t know exactly, when it comes to Viper stuff usually Brandon (Futurebound) will usually make the final decision in terms of what the next single will be and when. For me I just make the tunes, and I trust he will make the best decision.
Dose: You’re also releasing the Judgement Day EP as Telekinesis on Black Sun Empire’s Blackout Music Label, how do you find time to collaborate now that your schedule is getting increasingly busier?
Smooth: Well basically about half a year ago I quit my job to do music full-time. Basically I’m just making music and if I’m not busy with my solo stuff then it’s easy to find time to make Telekinesis tunes. I’ve always been producing that darker stuff and I was Telekinesis before I was Smooth, but producing full-time allows me to do both easily.
Dose: You’re also steadily working away on your album, do you have a name for it yet and can you share any details about it?
Smooth: At the moment there are actually no details yet; it’s still sort of in the works. There’s no name and nothing’s concrete. I’m sort of just making tunes and the best ones will make the album and the rest of them may not even see the light of day.
Dose: You’re notorious for having a ridiculous amount of layers to your tracks, what’s the most amount of layers you’ve had in a single track and when will you invest in a better CPU?
Smooth: Hahaha; that’s a good one! I’m not sure how many layers, but I actually did buy a new computer except the problem is it still can’t handle my shit! If I buy a new PC I’m going to have like 5% of space before it starts to clip and fuck about. I’ll use that free space in my second production session on the new computer so it’s hopeless. I don’t even mind the glitches either because I can like loop the first two bars of something forever if I want to, but the worst problem is when it completely dies! When it does that I lose all the progress made and I can’t mixdown the track any better!
Dose: You’ve mentioned before that Bad Company’s “Planet Dust” was one of the first dnb tracks that sparked your interest in the genre and you can hear influences of that sound in some of your productions. You’re also known for having a metal/hardcore background, but where does your happier and more feel-good sounding style come from?
Smooth: I always listened to metal and hardcore; I also listen to a lot of indie rock and even some emo. I guess it was when I first listened to Matrix and Futurebound’s album and after I heard that I felt like I wanted to make stuff like that. This was way before I was signed to Viper and I just wanted to try making some more melodic stuff. My neighbours and friends really supported me so I decided to continue in that direction. At the same time I also wanted to keep the old Telekinesis sound, but I wanted to have two names because it’s difficult to not alienate your fans when trying to do two completely different styles. For me it was the smarter move and I’m happy with how it’s turned out.
Dose: Where do you find your greatest amount of inspiration from?
Smooth: I find inspiration from anything and everything! Especially when I’m listening to music because I will definitely find some part that will inspire me in some way. I’m finding it hard though because in terms of melodic stuff…it’s all been done before to a certain extent. I’m really trying hard to make something new within drum and bass, but at the same time I’m still developing as an artist. The boundary for me is that it’s hard to be original so the engineering and everything that goes in to a tune has to be unique in its own way. It’s hard to please people because they have certain expectations, so it’s the best for me having two different aliases that are attached to two different styles because if I feel really angry I can bang out a Telekinesis tune and if I want to make something catchier I can operate as Smooth. I’m really trying to do myself and it’s hard, but a guy like Matrix is a huge inspiration for me because I fucking love neurofunk and for a guy like him to have his darker roots yet know how to produce some of the catchiest songs is something I look up to.
Dose: What can you tell us about the Slovenian drum and bass scene and are there any producers we should be keeping our eye on?
Smooth: As you can imagine Slovenian’s population is not the biggest. There are more people here in Toronto than in Slovenia, so the scene isn’t too big. Although about 5 or 7 years ago the scene was really big, but at the moment there’s no one really I can think of that’s not currently developing still and in terms of parties though it’s still us throwing shows.
Dose: What are some pros and cons of producing solo versus producing as a duo?
Smooth: The pro to producing solo is I don’t have anyone who says something should sound a specific way and I don’t have to listen to anybody. The con is that although Marko is not the guy who’s going to finish a track; he is an excellent sound designer and he’s going to make the sickest bass sound. In terms of Telekinesis, I’m more of the engineer and I’ll send him my drums, he’ll make a bassline on top of it and mix it into the drums, then I’ll say bring that session over to my place and we’ll nail the track down together. It’s nice working with someone like Marko because our skills bounce off one another in a way that allows us to make tunes easily.
Dose: Can you enlighten us on your Toronto connection before you were even signed to Viper?
Smooth: Yeah! It was actually Peter of NC-17 that really pushed my tunes to Tim Viper and got the ball rolling. It was funny because although I was a 25 year old producer from Slovenia, Peter put them under the impression that I was some crazy 17 year old Slovakian producer they should sign. Big ups to Peter!
Dose: Your touring has picked up more and more and has brought you to some interesting places. Where would you say is the most eye-opening place you’ve visited thus far?
Smooth: I would have to say New York! It was surreal to me and EDC New York was my first stateside gig ever and the crowd was wicked! As a little Slovenian boy and having the ability to play my own tunes out to a crowd of that size in a place like New York is something I still can’t believe and it makes me love what I do and appreciate it even more!
Dose: Can you recall the best drum and bass set you ever heard as a youth and by what DJ?
Smooth: I think it was Ed Rush at K4 Club; that was definitely an all-time favourite! I can also recall missing Pendulum when they were on their second album tour in Slovenia and I don’t know why I missed that show, but the club recorded the set so I downloaded it later and I played the shit out of it!
Dose: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever sustained from skating or biking?
Smooth: I’ve never actually broken any bones so I can’t really say! I should knock on wood so it stays that way *knocks on plastic,* but that’s not wood so that won’t help! There was one time though a path I was riding was wet and my bike got caught up in some roots. I ended up slipping with the handlebars and came close to fucking up my balls man!
Dose: Last question, traditional Pizza or Pizza-Burek?
Smooth: Fucking Pizza-Burek man! It’s the way to go! You can’t even compare the two really because it’s sort of like a calzone and is really thin and flakier. Anyone from Bosnia, Serbia, or Slovenia will tell you that you have to try a burek!
Dose: When we visit Slovenia we most definitely will! Thank you for the interview!