Adam Hewitt speaks to Lxury about growing up in Croydon, COVID, and producing his new EP, Trinity Lounge.
Back in 2013, the UK charts saw an explosion of house, garage, and drum & bass. Pioneered by artists like Duke Dumont, Route 94, Rudimental, and, most notably, Disclosure, this movement transformed the sound coming out of festivals and basement clubs across the country. Whilst the limelight has now been given up to more soul and folk acts such as George Ezra and Lewis Capaldi, along with a steady stream of contemporary R&B and Hip Hop coming from America, the legacy of the mid-2010s deluge can still be heard in the latest dance music.
Croydon-based garage and house producer Andy Smith, aka. Lxury, has been steadily releasing tracks in the spirit of these revolutionary days. I spoke with him about his beginnings on the scene, his memories working with genre giants Disclosure, and the creative process behind his newest release on the indie Bandcamp label Shall Not Fade Records.
Smith grew up in the South London cacophony of grime, jungle and garage. A devoted follower of local pirate radio stations, he started making music during the MySpace era. By 14, he was releasing garage, house, and grime tracks on the platform and was recognised by Jme, the seminal grime artist and founder of the institutional label Boy Better Know (BBK). Smith even released an EP (titled Safe & Sound) on BBK under the alias ‘Grime Reaper’ in 2007, when he was just 16 years old.
We may even have him to thank for the energy in [Disclosure’s] productions, as they were apparently big fans of the garage and house that Smith was putting out at the time.
In college, Smith was in a band with Guy Lawrence, one half of the brothers Disclosure. He claims to have briefly tutored Howard, Guy’s brother, in the use of Logic Pro, the digital audio workstation software and MIDI sequencer for macOS. We may even have him to thank for the energy in the brothers’ productions, as they were apparently big fans of the garage and house that Smith was putting out at the time. It was around this time that the Lxury alias came into being. According to Smith, “When I started a brand-new dance project under my ‘Lxury’ alias I sent some demos across to Guy and he then he offered to release J.A.W.S/We Do.”
As is typical for most electronic music production, Smith was creating all his music on a Macbook. He was creating beats on programs like LogicPro, but the finished tracks still required mixing and mastering, like all professionally produced music. This process requires studio equipment and Smith mentions how “it was hard to get my demos up to a professional standard with the equipment I had.” That’s where Disclosure stepped in again to lend a hand: “Both tracks were pretty much fully formed, but just needed to be mixed properly, so we worked from Guy’s studio to fix them up.”
Since then, Lxury has been releasing fairly regularly on big labels like Greco Roman and Fools Gold. His latest EP, Trinity Lounge, is out on a pretty niche indie imprint named Shall Not Fade Records. Although it’s a small outfit, Shall Not Fade has put out vinyl for some of the biggest names in the underground scene. Harrison DBP, Mall Grab, and DJ Boring are just a few of the artists who appear on the label’s Bandcamp catalogue, all heavy hitters in the ‘low-fi’ vanguard of contemporary dance music. When asked if he was still interested in making a name in the mainstream, Smith replied, “I always try and just go with the flow and produce music that matches my current headspace… I currently have no plans to take things in a more mainstream direction, although if it heads in that direction, I’ll go with it!” It’s great to see that his head is still firmly in the space it was in when making the breezy, bassy classics that were blasted all over the country in the summer of 2014.
“I always try and just go with the flow and produce music that matches my current headspace… I currently have no plans to take things in a more mainstream direction, although if it heads in that direction, I’ll go with it!”
The new EP is almost a nostalgic trip back to that era, but with enough of today’s styling to sound fresh and rich. The record’s A side comprises of ‘Skydance’ and ‘Blue Orchid’, two tracks with driving beats and a rising feel to them, like the first minute of a rollercoaster. The EP climaxes with ‘Dimly Lit’, the first track on the B side. This track combines tinkling keys and pitched-up, chant-like vocals, with the big swinging bass drums that are signature Lxury style. The breaks have floaty violins that elevate the track out of an otherwise earthy sound. It’s a heavy track whilst simultaneously sounding clear and airy.
The rest of the B side follows suit. ‘Memphis’ also has a chopped, rhythmic, and mesmerising vocals, this time in the Gujarati language. It is high-pitched and repetitive in the best way, accompanied at points with warm chords that sound like they are coming from an old electric organ. This is where today’s low-fidelity aesthetic makes a welcome appearance. Chiming synths and groovy bass returns in full force in the aptly named ‘Go’. The dynamism is infectious. Smith says that some of Trinity Lounge was made during a trip to Morocco last year. You can feel the sun in the production.
At his most productive, Smith can be found making music as early as 6am, though his Olympian routine did take a knock during the early months of lockdown. “Once the hysteria surrounding the situation had died down my productivity shot right back up and I was able to spend solid days in the studio again.” Now he’s working on even more bubbly records that will hopefully have us all bouncing round a field at a festival in the future.
Trinity Lounge is out on beautiful marbled purple vinyl over at Shall Not Fade’s Bandcamp page.