Take 5 – Lukas Lyrestam
We recently sat down with Clouded House label boss and producer Lukas Lyrestam to discuss the music scene in his native Sweden, starting his own label and his upcoming release ‘Dear House, With Love!‘. Here’s what he had to say;
Joseph Barnes: We’ve been reading a lot recently about the scene in Sweden, especially regarding the closing times and restrictions being placed on large-scale festivals. So as someone who is from the country, we wanted to ask, is the scene there on the up or down do you think?
Lukas Lyrestam: To be completely honest sometimes it’s sometimes difficult to tell. There is no shortage of great artists and big rave shows coming through the country and that’s fantastic – but as far as creating a self-sustaining and perpetual nightlife culture I still think Sweden has a little ways to go. Things are on the up for sure and I’m really excited to see little mini-scenes and pockets of music lovers grow into their own unique thing rather than just booking the big names – that’s what I’m looking forward to in terms of Sweden’s nightlife, dreaming big and going hard.
Joseph Barnes: Yes, because on the one hand you’ve got so many amazing musicians in practically every genre but on the other hand your government doesn’t seem to want to foster this talent.
Lukas Lyrestam: The government in Sweden takes a very conservative view of music and alternative culture in general, putting breaks on festivals and events because of antiquated opinions about dance music without considering the benefits to both people and the local economy. It’s pretty tragic actually and I’d love for this stigma to disappear with a new generation of politicians. Some of it stems from the Swedish government’s view of alcohol and drugs. It is of the opinion that the public can’t be trusted and have to be regulated for their own good, something which I think is undemocratic and reprehensible.
Joseph Barnes: How influential do you think the long, winter night and the weather are on the amount of sheer brilliant music that emits from Sweden these days?
Lukas Lyrestam: Hugely so I guess! You’ve got nothing to do for about 5 months of the year except perfect that kick drum… There is also quite a big history of popular music in Sweden so there is no shortage of talented and passionate people to help you materialise your musical dream, from a production standpoint that is.
Joseph Barnes: Was coming to London a bit of a breath of fresh air in that regard? Did you suddenly feel like you could express yourself better?
Lukas Lyrestam: Culturally London is a melting pot and there are so many other people who have the same dream and passion as you – that creates a really good comradery and community around what you want to do. What was really refreshing for me was the ability to be so close and part of the music scene that I loved. For someone who really likes electronic music, that is much easier in London than in Sweden.
Joseph Barnes: Was it in London that you decided to set up the label? Was there one moment where you realised you wanted to set up your own label or was it more a coming together of a lot of things over a certain time?
Lukas Lyrestam: Mostly, like a lot of artists, it had to do with the lack of care and presentation I felt the music deserved. When you spend so much time working on something you really want to give it the best presentation it could possibly get – with my own label I was in total control of that element. Plus it’s a very rewarding activity, seeing the record come together, giving it to people, really seeing people enjoy something tangible.
Joseph Barnes: You’re a resident of Dansa. Is this your party or what’s your involvement with it and can you tell us a bit about it all?
Lukas Lyrestam: I run Dansa with three friends Mark, Patrick and Ben who have been vinyl and music lovers for a very long time. We are all approaching or passing our thirties and we wanted to create a party that could cater to both the hardcore raver and the rare-groove enthusiast deep inside of us. We create a comfortable, inviting space that sounds great and get the chance to book some our favourite artists to get to stretch their muscles a little bit.
Joseph Barnes: Can you tell us a bit about the label’s releases so far, who’s been supporting them, the highlights to date etc.? Do you generally run the whole operation yourself or has anyone else helped in that regard?
Lukas Lyrestam: We’ve had some top-tier DJs and Musicians supporting the music from day one which has been super rewarding – Move D, Gerd Janson, DJ Sprinkles, DJ T., Joyce Muniz and Todd Edwards just to name a few. For me personally, that has been a highlight as those people are my heroes. Ladies if you like Clouded House I want to hear from you!
I run the day-to-day stuff, Hannes ‘Gideon’ Forceman does most of the artwork with a few bits of input from artistic friends and photographers. It is generally a family affair and I like to give back to the people around me if I can. Lobster Distribution(of Lobster Theremin) does all the distribution and you can find our records in some of the best stores in the world!
Joseph Barnes: The artwork on each release is also very striking. Do you think the importance of artwork is something that’s been unfortunately overlooked these days?
Lukas Lyrestam: It’s a chance to communicate with someone that’s never heard the music before, plus you remember a great looking record instinctively. Pretentious as it may sound it helps to tell a story about the music and where it came from – all of the artwork has some significance to my life at the time and what I want the music to represent.
Joseph Barnes: Is there any artwork from your childhood that you remember particularly fondly? What do you think makes an expert cover?
Lukas Lyrestam: There are some classic record covers out there which are super iconic but the ones I like most are the ones that are narrative as well as political in some way. Perlon, for example, makes really striking instinctive covers that partly communicate the label angular, expansive aesthetic and the music whereas Trilogy Tapes goes beyond that to their love of curious and rare books. Those two labels are fantastic at not taking themselves too seriously with the artwork while making intriguing record covers that complement the music.
Joseph Barnes: The latest release sees four different producers, including yourself on there. Can you give us a small introduction to each individual, and talk us through their tracks a bit?
Lukas Lyrestam: Poth0les is an old friend of mine and a top-notch producer who sadly doesn’t get the hype that he deserves! Viberations is classic 90s fair that rarely gets old. Pelati Riviera is a side project to DJ Soch (whose Black Angus record label is great by the way) and I think the title track ‘Love For The Party’ speaks for itself.
On the flip is French house-indebted jam by myself with just the right amount of weird thrown in. The final track on the EP is by Monologues boss Ben Gomori, who on top of being a super solid producer used to be basically my neighbour in Victoria Park, London.
Joseph Barnes: And is there an idea behind the name, Clouded House?
Lukas Lyrestam: House music with a twist, is my ethos behind all the music that goes on there. Partially obscured by the clouds but still very much the music that you know and love.
Joseph Barnes: We read online that the label is a ‘not for profit’ label. Does everything you earn go back to the next release then or what’s the thinking behind that statement?
Lukas Lyrestam: It does indeed; all the money earned by the label goes into elaborate PR campaigns, expensive sleeves and advances for new and upcoming artists.
Joseph Barnes: Finally, can you give us some insight into the tracks that are going down a treat in your sets at the moment?
Lukas Lyrestam: In no order of importance, these are the bangers going down a treat in my sets these days!
Interview by Joseph Barnes
‘Dear House, With Love!’ is out soon on Clouded House. Pre-Order your copy here.