It may not be the biggest brand in the game yet, but I know DJs that would kill to be residents at the party with the most loyal fanbase in London – FUSE. Luke Miskelly has landed himself this coveted position on the underground scene in just a few short years, thanks to a longstanding passion and dedication to music, brilliant skills which were a surprise even to himself and a fortuitous friendship that has since altered the course of his life. Here Luke goes into detail about his story in the music industry thus far, his hopes and plans for the future, his mixed emotions about Ibiza and his enthusiasm and belief in the institution that is FUSE. A genuine character with a very big future, MEOKO is stoked to have not only landed a key interview with the DJ/producer, but also an exclusive mix, so you can hear for yourself why Luke is moving up in the music world at such a cracking pace.
2013 was a really big year for you, what do you consider to be your main achievements, and what do you take as your greatest satisfaction for 2013?
Musically, my biggest achievement was the release of my In Contrast EP on FUSE. I was also happy with the consistency I showed in my DJ sets throughout last year. There were a number of highlights; the FUSE Sonus party and FUSE Ibiza closing party spring to mind. I received a lot of positive feedback from those events. Its an amazing thing when the crowd connects to what is ultimately your personality represented in music.
2013 was also a frustrating year; I was working a time consuming technical career and unfortunately this put my productions on hold. I was extremely unhappy at the continued effort and energy I put into something that I got nothing back from. And so 2013 was a massive year in decisions – what I’m doing, where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. There came a point where I had to make a decision; to continue as an IT consultant or fully focus on my musical career.
Take the plunge basically.
Yeah take the plunge. I wasn’t able to put in the creative effort I desired. So the decision wasn’t about choosing between IT and music, it was just about surviving whilst pursuing my passion. You can always find a way!
How did it transpire to fully focus on your musical career?
I had already made up my mind but when you have financial responsibilities the decision becomes more difficult. In May I was involved in a car accident but it was a positive experience in that it made me re-evaluate what was important; life is worth living by doing what you want and to never reach a point in time when you would look back and regret not making a decision. F**k that…not me at all! Im now fully focused on my productions and DJ’ing. Everything is moving in the direction I want now.
So what have you planned for this year?
I’ve been collaborating with Archie Hamilton so you should see quite a few bits of music coming out this year. I’m loving Archie’s productions at the moment so I’m excited about our end products.
I had some plans to move forward on an idea to launch a label, but that’s become a longer term project mainly due to me prioritizing a number of shorter term production goals to enhance my career. I felt this was paramount in building a new career in music![Smiles…] Archie wants 2 or 3 of my recent productions which will be released on Moscow Records with a remix. I will also release a new EP on FUSE London.
I’ll be spending the entire season in Ibiza this year and hopefully there are a few exciting things that will happen! Im aiming to play at some major parties there. This is something I’m really happy about and hopefully things will go as planned.
All sounds very promising! Will your musical profile this year be like Gutterlove, or are you giving it a different edge?
Gutterlove had really good feedback but was a moment in time. However, myself and Ittetsu are actually working on a new version/remix of it, which is going to be called Gutterslut! It’s basically an even dirtier version! But musically I’m putting a lot of effort into producing more timeless music….and ive started to use a lot of hardware to achieve this…an investment I am really excited about!
Can it get much dirtier?
One of my friends always used to call it Gutterslut and I thought it was a great name for a new version of it. Yes, it can always get much dirtier especially when you turn 30!
Well… let’s talk about something different. How difficult is it for up and coming DJ’s and producers to establish themselves on the London scene and what would your advice to those trying to make a name for themselves be?
The way things happened for me was a very organic process. I had been into the scene for quite a number of years and it was always about the music. I started bedroom DJ’ing after a friend told me: “you should try it, you’re so into it” and this is how it all started. I did it for the love and passion. I loved it but at that point I never thought of doing it professionally. That changed when I met Enzo and he asked for a mix. He phoned me up a week later and told me he really was into my mix whilst running to it in the gym and he proposed if I could do a warm up for his Circuit party at Home Bar. This is how it suddenly went from teaching myself how to DJ in a bedroom to DJ’ing in East London. It happened very quickly. Enzo has been a great mentor from the off and without that initial investment I wouldn’t be where I am today.
To answer your question… all I can say is that the music always shines through…couple that with commitment, dedication and direction and you will achieve what you want. It’s a good feeling to know what you want and where you want to go.
Did FUSE always seem like a natural fit for your style of music?
When my passion for DJ’ing started and while I was developing my own style of music, Fuse wasn’t around. My background was mainly UK garage, so most of my groove and rhythm was based on that sound and its still integral in the music I play today. Back in my raving hey days I enjoyed going to Jaded at Egg, Kubicle at Public Life and all the Secret Sundaze parties. They all inspired me in their own way and have played some part in creating my style. Later on I became a part of Fuse. So, of course it was a natural progression because I was part of a group of similarly like minded people who enjoyed a similar sound but were unique in their own way. My life experiences have ultimately influenced and shaped the sound that is present in my DJ sets today.
How do you think FUSE distinguished themselves from other regular parties in London?
Initially timing was key with FUSE….there was a huge need for a good underground party on Sunday in East London. When the recession hit there was nowhere for us ravers to continue dancing at! FUSE was simply the best underground party in East London and free!
And damn good music for course …
I was about to mention that!! Coupled with the fact that it was excellent underground music and the emphasis actually was on the music. Enzo has to take massive recognition for that because he was so specific about the music that was to be played, the quality of the sound and the productions. He was forever on the dance floor with the engineers saying ‘no it’s not right’ until it sounded as good as it could. That persistence and doggedness in achieving musical perfection was infectious.
I’m guessing you’ve been going to Ibiza for a number of years now, what changes have you noticed?
Oh massively. But its always changed!!
In a positive or negative way?
Interesting really… bits of both. When I first started going to Ibiza there was a sense of complete freedom. You would go to parties and before it ended there was another one starting – it was literally 24 hours partying a day. I met a lot more like-minded people back then. Now it’s changed completely. Over the last few years there has been a dramatic change in how the clubs present themselves and the type of people who frequent those areas. Maybe its just a case that these people have shifted from one area to another. It’s definitely come a little more – I hate to say it – commercial in the areas I originally fell in love with. Certain places have certainly taken a more commercial route. The cost of entering certain venues let alone buying a drink has become absolutely extortionate. But from a positive note I believe there is now a massive gap in the market for underground parties to excel.
Regarding this commerce – do you think it has become more difficult for underground labels, such as FUSE, to make the move to Ibiza?
I don’t think it made it easier. The events that are presented to people via promoters is geared very much towards a commercial aspect, so you’re attracting a lot more people who are initially less aware of what underground music is. Having said that Fuse enjoyed a great last year in Ibiza. Fuse cant and won’t compete with the commercial nights and big bookings, its impossible. The concept is to focus on the residents and friends; an ethos that made Fuse such a success in London. It’s tough but means so much more to everyone involved from us guys to the ravers on the floor. Education is the key to changing perception.
I have one more question for you, and it might be a difficult one, but what do you think the current state of electronic music is at the moment – what do you think is going to be the next big thing?
Bloody ‘ell [Laughs..]. Last year, Music On was a massive success and I think that’s going to go leaps and bounds this year. So I think Marco Carola’s mould of techno is going to be massive – I mean it already is. I know they’re going to other countries now, doing a Music On in London and other cities around the world and it looks like 2014 is going to be a huge year for them and their style of music. A massive reason for their success was due to their residents. Marc Antona was paramount in that success and I’m really digging his sound at the moment. If you look at what Jamie Jones has done, he’s going to build on the success of last season, his Hot Natured parties in Ibiza will no doubt do very well. 2014 will be a massive year for FUSE too and I very much look forward to contributing to that this year.
Personally I feel that electronic music should ironically be as least electronic as it possibly can! By that I mean ensuring that the music is intelligent, emotive and soulful but without taking the dance floor aspect away. Analogue sound creation is something I am massively investing in this year! Neighbours beware!! Ha ha
Soundwise, do you think there is a bit of garage influence coming back?
Regarding Fuse, some of the residents early influences were UK garage so I think that type of rhythm and sound has always been inherent and present in our music. In terms of making a comeback, I’m not so sure. Simply due to the reason it died in the first place. Garage parties had a lot of negative aspects which resulted in bad press that eventually brought the whole sound to its knees. The sound has never gone away, but it will never be what it was.
By Nix Venter, Paul Fluks & Barry-John Daly