Is he the most charismatic DJ around?


By Franc Sayol

Lunice Fermin Pierre II (yes, that's his real name) is a premature talent at a permanent boiling point (the fact that Hudson Mohawke, Rustie and Mike Slott were the ones to help him through the doors of the electronic world says it all). Born in Montreal, Canada and adopted by the Glasgow crew he so admired, Lucky Me, Lunice started his career as a B-boy, and in little over two years he has become one of the most prolific young talents on the beats circuit. His iconoclast productions, always rooted in hip-hop but heavily influenced by a wide range of sounds, are inventive and dancefloor-oriented, and his live show is one of the most magnetic and exciting events one can see these days. Which he proved at Sónar 2010, during which, aware of the fact that the better part of the crowd had no idea who he was, astonished the audience with his incredible charisma and plenty savoir faire on stage, impossible dance moves included. We had a word with the man so that he could explain to us the how and why of his sudden rise to fame, the influence of breakdance on his sound and his relationship with his idol Lil B.

You grew up as a B-Boy. When did you start becoming interested in other forms of dance music? Was there a specific artist or style that really grabbed your attention?

I actually only got beyond the whole soul/breakbeats when I started to play in clubs (which was 2 years ago). I'd say Hudson Mohawke, Rustie & Mike Slott were the 3 people that really brought my sound to where it is now.

How was it growing in Montreal for a music obsessive? Is there a strong scene over there?

A very strong scene in terms of the people who are passionate about what they do. I've been to other cities where people have incredible talent but their passion is all caught up about getting money so in the end they're empty inside no matter how talented they can be.

When did you start making your own beats? Was there like a definitive turning point that made you start making music or it was just another step in your evolution as an artist? Where you a DJ before or was it the other way around?

I'm firstly a producer. I don't really consider myself a DJ because I always play my shows from a Producer's perspective. But it makes it easier for the people if they just think I'm a DJ [laughs]. I just don't use turntables or CDJs.

Your sound is firmly rooted in hip-hop but introduces hints of many other styles or genres. How would you describe your style or main idea when making beats?

Exactly how you said it: "rooted in hip hop but introduces hints of many other styles and genres" is how I describe my music. I'm always looking for the next rhythm and sound that intrigues me and I try to see how I can bridge these sounds together.

What is your studio configuration right now? Is it just a laptop or do you use hardware? Do you always follow a same pattern when producing or it is different for every song?

I mainly use FL Studio on my Desktop PC. Then I chop the parts up and put it in my Ableton Live set on my MacBook Pro. Production wise I like to gather ideas as I go about my day. I sometimes write it down or beatbox/sing it with my recorder whenever I get an idea then I go to the studio and work on the material I've gathered.

You are part of the LuckyMe family. How did you make contact with them in the first place and what does it mean for you to be part of their project?

I initially made contact with them when they came to play our night called Turbo Crunk for the first time in 2009. The line-up went as follows: Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, Mike Slott & The Blessings. I still have the huge flyer as a souvenir hanging up on my wall because it was one of the best nights I've ever had. Being their biggest fan, actually playing with them was an unreal experience.

You have an impressive presence and great charisma on stage. Why do you think it's important to offer “something else” to the crowd than simply “playing some music”? Aside from musical artists, what are your main influences as an entertainer?

Well I just naturally developed my stage presence through Break Dancing and doing shows with my old crew (shout out to 701 Squad). But I've definitely seen other artist be just as energetic and fun because of who they are and how they play their sets. I feel that everyone has their own way of hyping the crowd up.

When you get on stage to perform is everything studied and prepared or do you leave space for improvisation? What about the delirious dance moves? Are they all self-thought and self-taught?

All my sets are improvised, I normally think about the first song or intro to get the people tuned in then I improvise from there. That's why you see me make faces at myself from time to time because I'm constantly mixing up something new that I didn't think of doing. So basically, I already have my sound clips and songs in my set but I just never play them in the same sequence so every night it's something new for every show. And yes, all moves I do are self-thought and self-taught [Laughs].

Your set at Sonar 2010 was a kind of revelation for all the people there. You substituted Mike Slott and in two minutes you had the crowd in your pocket. What memories do you have of that performance?

The biggest thing I can remember was that huge adrenaline rush I had while performing because I’d never performed in front of about 10,000+ people at that time and to see such a huge crowd dancing was an unreal experience.

Also in 2010 you were a participant at the RBMA. Can you briefly explain you experiences there and what that brought to your perspective as an artist?

The RBMA was definitely a once in a lifetime experience where you literally talk, make and listen to music with 29 other participants from around the world for 2 weeks straight. Sounds like a dream right? [Laughs] In terms of what I got from the RBMA, it made my work flow in the studio a lot more consistent and effective. And it also helped push my sound to different grounds because they really encourage you to produce something outside of your usual productions.

I've read you’re a big fan of Lil B and I personally share this admiration for the Based God. Have you contact him to send him beats? Is there any chance you end up working together?

I've sent him stuff but I'm just going to leave it at that. Will he Rap on one of the tunes? No one will ever know. But what I know is that I've spoken to him a few times. About what? Nothing really music related. [Laughs].

What other artists are you listening right now?

I've been listening (and playing out at my gigs) Araab Muzik's record entitled "Electronic Dream". It's just so good!

You will be soon playing in Barcelona at the Desparrame night at Nitsa. How would you explain to someone who has never seen you live what to expect?

Rap music. And a cool show!

What are your immediate future plans? Music and non-music wise.

Non-music wise: I need to get back into fishing [laughs]. Music-wise: expect some Mad Decent related material in the future. New me and Diplo collabs will be coming your way as well. And new material for the Lucky Me family! Also, I got a list of rappers I've been working with - you'll hear about that soon!

Non-music wise: I need to get back into fishing [laughs]. Music-wise: expect some Mad Decent related material in the future. New me and Diplo collabs will be coming your way as well. And new material for the Lucky Me family! Also, I got a list of rappers I've been working with - you'll hear about that soon!

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