Electronic artist Letou talks to Chelsea Monthly about his new EP ‘Oddasphere’
We speak to William Herman, stage name: Letou, and discover how he became an electonic artist, and how his new EP ‘Oddasphere’ came about.
Hi Letou, could you give our readers some history about your music, how did you start out, when did you find your sound and start calling yourself Letou?
Well! I started making music when I was about 14, when I was given an old chunky PC. From then on I was fascinated with production. Letou was created as an experiment in 2009; I just wanted to see what my mates thought really. Then I began to realise how much I enjoyed what I was doing and it went from there. I started trying to create my style after a year packed with Pariah, Joy Orbison, Jacques Greene, Boddika, anything from Minus label, Julio Bashmore, and most berlin style techno. This helped me distinguish what kind of genres I like and which I would take notes from.
You’ve got a new EP out at the moment ‘Oddasphere’; care to talk us through how that came about inspirationally, the creative process, and if you have any plans for it?
I just wanted to make an EP that was fine-tuned, polished and funky. I took most of my inspiration from house, for example; Huxley, Eats Everything and Julio B, I would just listen to all the elements, and try to perfect my own version. These artists really helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the EP. When it comes to plans for the EP, I want as many people as possible to hear it, which would make me the happiest.
How do you incorporate a live element into your music when you play out? Are there many ways of being openly creative on stage with this kind of music?
At the moment I haven’t been playing live a lot, but I’m desperate to get a few loop pedals and incorporate that with my midi controllers, I want to try and nail the same effect as Gold Panda live. He is a fantastic performer to watch, so to achieve what he has created live would be amazing. I should be back gigging over the next year, but for the moment I’m going to keep working at my live set until I know it is ready and polished to a shine.
Where can we find you gigging? Have you got a favorite place to play out, or somewhere that you would like to play in future?
The last time I played was in my town, at the Tunbridge Wells Forum (NMEs Best Small Venue!) which such a mad venue, but the future is held either in London or in Berlin. I am working towards residencies at Tresor or Berghain, which is a huge dream, but is one of my life ambitions. I’m planning to move to Berlin to live with my brother, so a lot of my future gigs will be based over there.
How much of your songs use samples? How much is synthesized? Do you think it’s important to have an element of real world sound in a song?
Yeah definitely, incorporating sounds from the world can give the song a wholesome and rustic effect, which usually sounds amazing. I do use samples from time to time, but only sounds of nature, rain, crowds, or vocal acappellas. I do love my synths, but since Oddasphere I have started to cut back on how much synth melody I use, and concentrate more so on the tempo, beat and groove. This has had a huge effect on the atmosphere of my newer tracks.
How do you manage to balance life and music? Do you often find yourself up late at night thinking “aargh I have to get up early tomorrow?”
Haha, I do that! To be honest I spend most of my days in my production room by the computer anyway, its just somewhere where I can chill out and do what I love. And yeah, most nights I don’t get to bed till 3/4am, just because I genuinely find it easier to get to work in the early hours, it just seems to click better!, as bad as that is for my general mood etc.
What are the main challenges for an up and coming electronic artist? What have you done to overcome these?
The biggest challenge for me is to get music heard by a larger audience, a lot of my fellow musician mates have the same problem, people aren’t buying music anymore, its all online nowadays, and the internet is absolutely huge, so to get your music in the right market (even to get it heard) is a challenge. I like to promote the artists that inspire me, and hope that they return the favour, it often works, but even if it doesn’t it’s my good deed for the day.
Finally, what does the future hold for Letou? Is there a plan, or are you just going to keep doing what you do best?
Hopefully many things! To start playing live as often as I can is one thing, but mainly just to keep producing tracks for fun, it’s always been such a thrill for me. I will be moving to Berlin over the next few years, as my brother lives out there, the scene out there is unforgettable, its like a constant festival atmosphere. So there will be plenty more tunes on the way, that’s for sure!