Getting To Know… Langton

Getting To Know... Langton

f: Hi Guys, it’s a pleasure to chat with you today, please introduce yourselves?

Langton: Nice to meet you! We’re Langton and we’re based in and around Bristol, UK. There’s three of us (Ben, Ben and Jay), and we love to jam and make music together, with no real direction or end result in mind. We love all aspects of music, whether it’s DJing, producing or playing instruments, and we’re excited to finally get our tracks out there!

f: Please tell us a little about where you’re from and how you started making music together?

Langton: We all grew up in Cornwall and met each other through the Cornish music scene. We’ve each been involved in the scene in one way or another over the years. However, it was only in the last few years that we decided to get together and start this new project. We actually lived together for 6 or 7 years in Bristol and that’s when we realised that we all loved funky, soulful beats, but had never really tried to make anything like that, so thought we’d give it a go.

f: What’s the inspiration behind Langton?

Langton: The name Langton comes from ‘Langton Park’, the road that we lived on together in Bristol, and we’d say our inspiration mainly comes from 90s house music (Larry Heard, Frankie Knuckles, Todd Terry etc.) and old funk and soul records, although we grew up listening to a lot of hip hop, breakbeat, trance and acid house, so we’d like to incorporate elements of these genres into our future releases.

f: And how would you describe your sound?

Langton: It’s a bit of a cliché but we’re not really aiming for a specific sound, we just want to write music that we enjoy making. While our debut release is definitely angled more towards the mainstream, we’ve been experimenting with different flavours – it’s still got funk, soul and a house beat though!

f: Who did you listen to growing up and do they influence your music career at all today?

Ben W: My mum played loads of different stuff while I was a kid so I got a well-rounded introduction to everything really. I remember hearing a lot of Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, The Specials, Fugees etc., then during my teen angst years I listened to a lot of grunge (Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins etc.), then got into hip hop and the funkier side of things. It’s all influenced me in some way but I’d say the hip hop phase has influenced me the most in terms of my love of soulful chords and funky breakbeats.

Jay: Pop music from the 80’s and 90s has always had an influence on my music. I used to skate growing up, so there’s also a lot of influence from hip-hop and skate punk.

Ben S: I listened to a lot of reaaaal cheesy pop growing up! I’m an 80s kid so it’s to be expected. I’d definitely say a lot of that 80s synth work, dark and moody but somehow uplifting, has left it’s mark on me. I’d find it hard to pin down one song or artist that has influenced my career but the late 90s and early 00s were a huge inspiration to me as that’s when I started DJing. Records like Cassius – 1999. 

f: Your brilliant debut release, ‘Your Woman’ is out now on Fool’s Paradise, please tell us a little about how it sounds?

Langton: We started writing a bassline and chords in an attempt to emulate the 90s house vibe that we all love, and it actually started out as a 110BPM funky chugger, but went through a few iterations and ended up as a 120BPM four-to-the-floor disco house track. Once we’d written the drums, bassline and keys we went through a load of old acapellas that were in the same key, and the Gladys Knight classic ‘If I Were Your Woman’ fitted perfectly. It took a while to get the sample cleared and re-sung, but we’re so happy it’s finally finished and out there for everyone to hear!

f: Who does what in the studio?

Ben W: I would generally start by making a basic drum loop using Native Instruments’ Maschine, then I’ll mess around with basslines and noodle around with some keys over the top and see what sticks. I tend to get a general idea of the track down, maybe 16 or 32 bars, then I’ll send it to Jay and get working on the next loop. This way, we can get a few track ideas nailed without getting too bogged down with the details, and work out which tracks we want to continue with and which we’re gonna sack off.

Jay: I spend a bit of time messing around with different variations for basslines, and working out how to expand on the hook of the tune. Sometimes this is about taking what Ben W has put together and creating more of the structure of the track. If a hook is solid enough, it’ll remain interesting even with a simple structure.

Ben S: I guess I’m the engineer type in the group. I do a lot of work in that world these days, so basically, I’m the geek twiddling dials and all that kinda jazz. 

f: What’s your favourite piece of studio kit?

Ben W: Definitely my piano! I’ve got a Yamaha Arius YDP-135 and it does the job nicely. I mainly use it to control various soft synths, including Omnisphere’s Keyscape library and Arturia’s V Collection. Apart from that, the Maschine is great for getting drum and percussion ideas down quickly.

Jay: I leave studio kit to Ben S and his spaceship studio. I keep it simple and streamlined with my bass guitar and my PC – always loved Cubase though, if that classes as studio kit.

Ben S: Almost want to say the same As Ben W here, my Piano is my favourite thing to play but I have a few classic synths like an original Juno 106 and some classic drum machines etc. I’m a big fan of guitar pedals as well. To be honest I love them all, most hardware gets me going.

f: You’re all currently based in Bristol, UK, which is notorious for its musical talent, how is the dance music scene there right now?

Langton: Bristol’s dance music scene has always been amazing, and it’s what drew us all here in the first place. The city has always been a hub for creativity and innovation in electronic music, and it’s showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Some of our favourite clubnights take place here, including Duvet Vous, Club Blanco and Alfresco Disco to name but a few. Every other person in Bristol is either a DJ, a promoter or a music producer so there’s always fresh new music and artists coming out of the city.

f: What’s been your highlight gig this year and where are you most looking forward to playing?

Langton: We took the summer off of gigging in the UK this year as Ben W was in the midst of moving back to the UK from Cambodia, but now that he’s back we’re ready to get in and amongst it all again!

Ben W: I played pretty regularly in Cambodia before moving back and I’d have to say that the New Year’s gig in Kep was a highlight. I got to play a 2-hour acid house set at the end of the night in a beautiful location to a great crowd. Apart from that, my residency at Back Street Bar in Phnom Penh was loads of fun, and playing 5+ hour sets every week was a great way to force myself to dig for new (and old) music. Now that I’m all settled back in the UK we’re taking bookings again, so keep your eyes peeled for some UK Langton gigs soon!

f: Which dance track holds the most precious memories for you?

Ben W: N-Joi – Anthem. It’s such a timeless classic. As soon as you hear that arp, the unmistakeable vocal sample and those raw keys, you just know the club’s gonna kick off. I remember when I first heard it on a night out in Newquay when I was about 18; it absolutely blew my mind and I spent a good couple of weeks trying to find it. Whenever I hear it now I immediately get transported back.

Ben S: Black Legend – You See The Trouble With Me. I mean, there are freaking loads I want to mention but that record has a special place in my memories.

Jay: Bang! – Shooting Star. Back in the 90s, I heard this track at an under 18s nightclub and spent years trying to get hold of it. Every weekend, I’d go to my local record shop and be told it was coming in with the next order. It never arrived and to this day, that record feels like a rare gem. Whilst it may be one of the cheesiest songs in history, it was pretty much responsible for starting my interest in DJing and making music.

f: What’s your favourite record right now?

Ben W: H-Foundation – Sol Searchin’. I’ve been on a bit of a digging mission recently and found this record from 2003 the other day – absolutely stellar production with an infectious bassline, amazing drums and swirling pads.

Ben S: Barry Can’t Swim – How It Feels. Anything by Barry Can’t Swim actually, the guy is a genius! Even if he can’t swim. Can he actually swim? Has anyone even looked into this yet? 

Jay: Fred Again – Tanya (Maybe Life). Love the lo-fi production mixed with emotive and creative chords. It’s a very subtle but effective blend of genres that I rarely hear.

f: Who are your top 5 current producers? 

Langton: Gideön, Boss Priester, Barry Can’t Swim, Cromby, and Floating Points.

f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Langton: We’re currently working on a few different bits, including a follow up to ‘Your Woman’ and some more experimental tracks with acid and breakbeats. We’re also collaborating with some talented vocalists and fellow producers in Bristol, so keep your eyes peeled for more from us in the near future!

Langton ‘Your Woman’ is out now on Fool’s Paradise

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