A talk with Jeff McIlwain aka Lusine
Unique and different is what you get when you actually close your eyes for a minute and listen to the instinctive and vibrant music of Lusine. Combining orchestral to computerized music for a great, clear sonority that will get you daydreaming, Lusine’s unique sound will lift you up in a transcendent dance in those gloomy days. His sounds definitely reveal a sense of reverie.
Jeff McIlwain, a.k.a. Lusine, is a Texas native producer based in Seattle. He has been releasing his music on Ghostly International since 2002. After growing up playing the violin, his producing career started off in the 90’s. «I started listening to a lot of break beat stuff on the radio and was trying to figure out how to reproduce the sounds, and so, I bought myself a drum machine», said the abstract electronic producer. Made of instruments recordings, vinyl samples, distant vocals and electronic beats, the unique pieces he finely constructs always possesses the most intriguing sounds. From electro to ambiant with a hint of trap, pop or indie/rock inspirations, this eclectic artist is definitely a plus to the electronic scene. «People tend to categorize things or music styles, because they feel the need to. I just like to keep it different and unique!» explains McIlwain about his industry. Alongside his studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles and 15 years of experience in the field, Lusine delivers a great variety of electronic music and mixes to keep your sad winter days ambient and relaxing.
When starting to produce, it’s sometimes hard to unearth your style, your «identity» as an artist, as your inspiration changes and varies throughout the years. Lusine’s inspirations changed from artist to artist, but he still managed to maintain a certain technique, an originality that reflects his tastes in tune. The usual withdrawn vocals and instinctual choice of material is what distinct him from the other electronic producers. «I like My Bloody Valentine distant vocals a lot, just like in my song: Quiet day.» McIlwain uses a lot of string instruments and modulates their echo to make them strangely irreconcilable, which gives it a more electronic feel while keeping a sincerer sound. This is exactly what his music is all about.
Inspiration wise, I was not surprised when Lusine said that Bonobo was one of his inspirations. «I’m really into the new Caribou album too!» says Lusine. Electronic is not his first choice of music when it comes to actually listening. He has been really enjoying indie/rock music lately. Lusine also loves to translate that style to his downbeat electronic approach by using actual instrument sounds and mingling them up to some electronic ones, which gives you a warmer, richer reverberation while keeping the original electronic feel that is genuinely easy-going for the ears. String instruments or «out of the ordinary» noises, are the type of sonorities Lusine likes to work with.
It’s with a pop/experimental approach that Lusine clashes in with his latest EP: Arterial. The Seattle based producer really sets the mood with his modulated cello sample, great rhythms and detached vocals. There is a more experimental feel to Arterial, which I, personally, love! «I’m actually working on a new track using my new cello again…» spills the artist. That means his songs will be garnished by more of this style, which gets you pensive and just resonates beautifully!
Here’s a look on his latest EP and my personal pick from his last album: The Waiting Room.
I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything! He is currently working on a new album, a new track that should be out really soon plus probable collaborations with vocalists and drummer from Seattle, Trent Moorman for live performances and more tour dates to come.
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Written by Erika-Elyzabeth