Rough jams, DIY cuts and a few decades worth of house from Zanzibar Chanel's Luis CL.
Arguably Footscray’s most prized possession, second only to Franco Cozzo and his candy-stuffed sofa store are Zanzibar Chanel, the strictly no-bullshit dance duo comprised of the hilarious larger than life front man Zac Segbedzi and his chiller beat making compadre Luis CL. While generally not a fan of the limelight, Luis is now simultaneously having his own name thrown around as a producer to keep close tabs on, thanks largely to an extremely classy solo EP for Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fantastic Man’s Melbourne-via-Berlin/London label Superconscious which dropped earlier in the year. This wasn’t his first rodeo, however, with die-hard ZC fans already well attuned to Luis’ skills on an MPC thanks to a few equally impressive DIY cassette releases under the alias Baba-X, which can still be found over at his Bandcamp. With everything seeming to be coming together at the moment on the back of some crazy tours around Europe and Australia, we threw a few questions at Luis – for what might just be his first solo interview – and he’s turned out a seriously enjoyable two-hour long mix, full of chunky house vibes from the 80s right up until now.
Yo Luis what have you been up to?
Yo Myles! Not much, been taking it easy after gigging pretty hard with Zanzibar this year. When I say busy I don’t mean lazy, I’m always working on new material, and recently been helping my partner produce some tracks for her project En V.
You guys also had a stint over in Europe in April… Did you have any real expectations before heading over, and overall did you feel like the show translated as well as it does at home or around Australia?
Australia has always been good to us, the parties we play here always get a little crazy. I didn’t have any real expectations before going over to Europe, I think the parties were better than I expected though, we never played a dull show. Zac’s magic has always been working a crowd and facilitating people to dance and lose their inhibitions and it was no different over there, especially with Europeans who although love to party, are a bit more reserved than your standard Aussie punter and Zac took it to the next level in coaxing people out of their shells and into the party. What did stand out for me though is the variety of interesting bars and clubs and the amount of work put into making them special places for dancing or getting trashed.
You recently put out a killer EP on Francis Inferno Orchestra and Mic Newman’s new-ish Superconscious label… did you have a particular idea / vibe / theme running through those tracks, and where else might we be seeing new solo material from you out next?
The EP was four tracks that I recorded over the last two and a half years. There wasn’t a particular vibe or theme for it just me choosing four tracks from the vaults that went well together. The recordings are real garage and DIY so I’m surprised by the receptions they’ve gotten. I’m not sure where you’ll be seeing any new solo material, I might chuck some unreleased baba-x stuff up on bandcamp soon. Griff (Francis Inferno Orchestra) and Mic (Fantastic Man) who run Superconscious approached me for tracks so until someone asks or I get my shit together Ill just be working on new material and building up my back catalogue so any labels out there feel free to hit me up!
Zac has spoken about your studio setup consisting mainly of crappy digital synths, keyboards and an MPC…Has that changed much since you guys first started making tracks, and can you see it morphing into anything crazier in future?
Every Zanzibar track so far has used the MPC as a focal point around which we will use whatever we can get our hands on, whether that’s keyboards, synths, or even just strange sounds we’ve recorded with microphones. I cant see our process changing much in the near future but eventually I think we would like to create some more organic stuff outside of the rigid structures of 4/4 dance music, something a little more ambitious to show we are multi faceted artists, take Zanzibar out of the club and into something a little more concrete for the ages.
What can you tell us about this mix you’ve put together for us? Who are some of the artists featuring in the mix?
It’s a pretty rudimentary mix I’ve put together, I’d say most people have heard of the likes of Ron Hardy, Andres, Marcellus Pittman and Juan Atkins and most of the other artists included. I put in one of my own tracks and a little edit I did of an Arthur Russell track but mostly I wanted to put together some songs that I’m into right now and inspire me to do my thing.
What else do you have coming up? I see there’s a ZC concept LP in the works, what can you tell us about that little guy?
We’ve been wanting to do this concept LP for a while now but we are still figuring out how we will go about it, in the meantime we will probably put out some more dance EPs. ZC has been gigging pretty hard over these last few years so at the moment we are taking a little break so we can get our creative juices flowing again and work on new projects together and with other people. Apart from that we’ve been doing a few remixes around town, our remix of Andras & Oscar’s Looking Back is dropping soon on Dopeness Galore and hopefully a few more to come during the year for some other amazing artists.