Left/Right Breaks Into New Form With ‘Bloom’ EP on IN / ROTATION
Over the last few years, Left/Right has come from every angle, with exemplary original records and remixes that represent a type of sonic mastery seldom seen in dance music. With releases spread across labels like Punks Music, Dirtybird, and his own BRØKEN imprint, he stands toe-to-toe with those who don’t just seek to set trends, but stand so far ahead of them that they create entirely new subgenres of their own.
His Bloom EP sees the producer from Dallas elevating his style across three elegantly crafted tunes that go one step further than just physically moving dancefloors. When looked at as a whole, the entire EP evokes emotion on a deeper level. His sonic palate is made of lush, organic sounds and warm, densely layered chords that, at times, seem as transcendent as they are danceable. It’s evident there was much care taken to create all three cuts on the package, based on how deeply moving they are in every sense. It stands to reason, then, that Left/Right is flexing his power as not just a producer, but as a true composer and master of his craft.
We had a chat with Left/Right about the feelings he wants each song to illustrate, how he harnessed such an organic sound, and the real reason behind his enigmatic persona.
The Bloom EP is a bit of a departure from what you’ve written previously, and you cover a lot of ground in these three songs. What inspired the lush soundscapes you explore throughout the EP?
When I make music, I usually am trying to evoke a feeling. These days, it’s so easy in the industry to get caught up in trending sounds or what you think fans might want. I wanted to use this EP as a way to expand outside of that and just make art I love.
“Bloom,” for example, was really about how surprising, fast, and blindingly beautiful life can be. I was kind of envisioning one of those fast-moving montages when someone’s whole life flashes before their eyes. “Fall” is about powerful connection and loss. And “Burn” is very much about introspection, impermanence, and being out on the open playa.
Did you pull some inspiration from Radiohead?
I’ve always pulled a lot from artists, like Radiohead, that stand out by being a bit different. I even did a remix of their tune “Codex” recently. Some other highly original artists I took a lot of inspiration from on this EP are Throwing Snow, Burial, and Clark. They can really create intense, deep, and captivating soundscapes.
The title track, “Bloom,” has a beautiful, organic sound. How does the natural world fit in your electronic production?
Thank you! Yes, I do try to prioritize organic recorded sounds and live synth recordings that aren’t quantized in my music. I think it contrasts well against the stricter beats and drum machine sounds. I’ve always had a rule to make sure I have one recorded, original sound in my songs. The word “Bloom” in there is actually my voice, pitched up. “Fall” is me, too. “Burn” has some live acoustic guitar of mine (don’t tell anyone, but I recorded that on my phone).
You’ve always had a more melodic sound than many of your contemporaries, but melody even more so took the driver’s seat on this. Where do you see records like this fitting in on the dancefloor?
I’d agree I was definitely more focused on the feeling/experience of these songs over the danceability. That being said, I’ve already found great moments at different shows to play each one. “Bloom” is great for an uplifting mood change or even an edgier festival; “Fall” is great for a darker warmup or an artsy set; “Burn” is late-night, deep sunrise material to me. I’ve always been more of an eclectic collector of music as a DJ and listener. I want my own productions going forward to start reflecting that.
You’ve shared that you have a very extended writing and engineering process. Why do you feel it’s necessary to take your time?
(laughs) I suppose it’s a blessing and a curse, but I’m definitely a mad perfectionist when it comes to presentation. I do studio engineering for clients sometimes, too, so that technical aspect can often take me as long (or longer) than the composition. In electronic music especially, I feel the sound design, mixing, and feel are all delicately intertwined, so I’m a bit obsessive about getting it right.
You’ve expanded your sound into video quite seamlessly. How do you see visual art as a way to extend the impact of your music?
Man, I discovered I LOVE making video. It’s definitely one of my strongest passions right now, and I’m learning as much as I can. I’ve viewed cinematic film as one of the most potent forms of art (since it combines so many disciplines), so getting to expand more into making all-original video has been really exciting for me. I spend a ton of time on that, too, but the combined impact is undeniable. I’ve also gotten to collab with some awesome video artists, like Macroscope Pictures, Shadowplay, JaviPics, and Taylor Hendricks.
Your own voice features prominently in your music, yet you seldom sing in public. Why is that?
Truth be told, I do sing in the studio when I’m by myself, but I’ve always had crippling anxiety about performing voice or instruments live. I’m hoping to change that this next year, though, and start working on a live show. DJing has been a little easier for me to handle… although I still stress gigs pretty hard (perfectionist syndrome rears its head).
What about DJing makes your stage fright easier to handle?
With DJing I feel I have a bit of a barrier, since the songs do a lot of the work, versus performing live. But to be honest, I just don’t like being in the spotlight (note my pictures, haha). I’d much rather people jam out to the music and experience—not focus on me. I’m just a dude.
I heard that you gave some of your Punks Records crew (and a lucky gatekeeper at Glastonbury) a taste of those vocal chops live. Care to share the story?
Haha, good memory. Yeah, at one point at Glastonbury, some of us in the Punks crew got stuck at a gate, and the attendant said we couldn’t get through unless one of us really sang something properly in front of everyone… Somehow, I pulled my heart out of my stomach and belted out a little excerpt of my tune “Puzzle.” We got through the gate.
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