Behind the scenes of 'Echolocations'

Think of Lone and slow, ponderous tempos seem to linger in the imagination.

Released back in 2008, the down tempo classic 'Lemurian' defined the young producer when he was still in his teens. Real name Matt Cutler, the Nottingham artist has gradually found a way to move beyond these constraints.

Pushing the tempos back up, a series of EPs have seen Lone reach back to the energy of rave and hardcore. A move to Manchester was followed by the founding of his own label Magic Wire, before legendary Belgian imprint R&S came in search of the producer.

The resulting EP is almost a love letter to the R&S back catalogue. 'Echolocations' is a stunning mixture of rave energy and a lingering sense of melancholy, in line with Lone's previous output but pointing in a host of new directions.

Out now, ClashMusic tracked down the boy wonder to talk about his days as a pubescent raver...

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How did the tie up with R&S happen?
Originally I did this tune which sampled a chord from ‘Kintetic’ by Golden Girls – which came out as a remix later on. I originally signed with Border Community, but I don’t think James Holden was really up for it. At the same time, R&S had asked Holden if he wanted to remix that track, and he said he didn’t have time but he did have this thing that I’d given him. So he passed that on and they put it out as a remix. Then when I did ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ they were like “we would have loved to put that out”. So I gave them a bunch of tracks basically, which became the EP.

Was ‘Echolocations’ complete before signing with R&S?
Kind of. It was kind of produced at the same time as ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ really so it’s quite a coincidence.

It does resemble that classic R&S output. Is that a natural thing?
It is pretty natural really. I’ve always been known for producing hip-hop stuff, although the rave, hardcore thing has always been there. I mean I did a load of hip hop tempo stuff to start with, but then the tempo naturally changed and I found myself going back to all these old records for inspiration. It’s happened naturally really, it wasn’t a conscious effort – which is probably how it seems. I just got bored of doing slow music, basically.

There is a huge shift from ‘Lemurian’.
Totally. It’s through boredom really, though. The stuff I’m working on now is completely different. I plan on doing music for a long time yet, and I’m into so much stuff I want to try everything basically – I don’t want to limit myself to one or two things, I want to do as many things as I can. Whenever I get bored of one thing I always move on, it’s always been like that even before I was signed.

Do you find the need to pick up new challenges?
I guess so. It’s just bored, a short attention span for stuff – switching to different things. I don’t want to get too bogged down in what is expected of my thing. Just to have the freedom to do whatever I fancy doing.

There is a genre game in electronic music.
I try not to pay too much attention to it really. You can get totally stuck. Even when I was doing the slower stuff you can get totally stuck on one thing. The intention was always to do whatever I felt like doing, so I’m going to keep on doing that basically.

How did you get into that early R&S sound?
It was probably about 94 / 95 that I first discovered any type of music that I liked. The first Prodigy album – which had probably come out about three years before – was one of the first things I heard, then I bought an Aphex album. A lot of what I was listening to were old tapes that friends of my sister had, which were two, three years older and had a lot of rave and hardcore on there. I was only about ten at the time so I wasn’t going to raves but just kind of blew my mind.

Was it the energy that hooked you?
Yeah, I guess so. I think – looking back – it’s that before I liked music I used to play a lot of computer games, and electronic music plays a strong role in those computer games. It was never planned or anything like that, but when I heard this dance music to me it didn’t sound too far off this computer game music. It appealed to me, because it wasn’t some guy or a woman singing it just had this crazy energy that computer games had.

Did you carry on collecting as you got older?
Totally. I’m still into it now. Whatever music you first get into holds the most special place in your heart. I still listen to all that hardcore stuff, jungle as well.

Lone - Explorers

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How do you capture the same melancholic feel which R&S was known for?
I’m not sure, to be honest. The way I work, it just seems to seep out – I don’t know where it comes from. That kind of nostalgia has always been there. There’s a bit of sadness to it all, I think, although I’m not sure where that comes from. It could be that a lot of it dwells on the past, and there’s always something sad about the past, in that it’s gone. You’ll never get it back. It could have something to do with that.

Why did you choose ‘Kinetic’?
I just love that sound. The kind of chord stab sound which is in that, I remember listening to that when I was really young, hearing it on the radio. I love that sound. I think it was produced by one of the guys from Orbital. Orbital were a massive deal for me when I first got into music so it could be through that.

Did you catch Orbital live?
No! I was a bit too late for that, unfortunately. I remember I had this kid at school called Joe, and it was bizarre as we were ten and we both loved hardcore. We got tickets to see Orbital, and I think my dad was going to take us but it was Cup Final day and he couldn’t be arsed taking us – so we never got to go!

Seems precocious, when did you start producing?
Basically, I used to do little mixes on a tape deck. I would take my favourite bits of tunes and put them on a tape, do little covers from them and pretend like they were my tracks. In reality, they were my favourite bits of other people’s tracks. I had these little toy keyboards and I would try to jam along, so I guess I started producing straight away in that sense – even though it was terrible, unlistenable stuff.

Why did you found your own label Magic Wire?
Basically me and my friend Tom formed Magic Wire. I was waiting for labels to get back to me, and I already had this track ‘Pineapple Crush’. I thought, instead of waiting for labels to get back to us why not put it out ourselves? The intention was to put one record out, really, and that did alright so then we put our ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’. We’ve just signed my friend who writes under the name Neon Jung. It’s not too established as yet, we’re just scouring the internet trying to find people we want to put out. Because I’m doing stuff for R&S now I won’t be able to do as much for Magic Wire, so it’s a good opportunity to do stuff for other people.

Have you been able to find your niche?
That’s the thing. We don’t know what our niche is yet, really. There’s only me and Tom. We want to find other likeminded people, not necessarily sounding like us but if there’s a feel to it that reminds us of our own stuff. It’s such an early stage though, we’re not even sure if we know what that is yet. We just need to see if there’s anyone out there who fits the bill.

Are you now pushing away from that R&S sound
It’s pretty natural. Like I said before, I get a bit bored. I got fed up of doing straight up hardcore style stuff, so the music I’m doing now is just evolving with that basically. It’s not a million miles away but some of it is faster, while some of it is more chilled out. I’m working on an album so that’s interesting as it’s a different thing in itself. When I sit down to make an album that’s always something you can listen to as home, whereas what I’ve been doing recently is giving it to DJs to play out. I’m just evolving naturally with it I suppose, and not caring too much about where I want to go.

Can you anticipate a point where you reach a final Lone style?
I haven’t got a clue really! I think you can tell it’s me no matter the style, people have told me there’s a stamp there no matter what I do. Whatever I try hopefully sounds like me, it’ll have my stamp on it. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just a natural thing. One day maybe it’ll just end up that I’ve found something I’ll never get bored with. But I don’t know really.

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