I meet with Thierry and Luis over fries to talk with them about their first, collaborative EP. After settling on a spot of dry grass to lie down in, we went from catching up to diving into a thorough Q&A about a project they have been working on for a month, which releases on October 14th. They are a creative duo based in Amsterdam, churning out feel-good-soulful-organic-electronic music. Although from different, cultural backgrounds, the two have a lot in common and this shines through in their rigorous work ethic and even on this laid-back Wednesday afternoon.

How is The Netherland’s music scene different than your home countries’ music scene? Where do you feel you can experiment most and why?
Thierry: The music scene is pretty much the opposite. In Suriname, people are very conservative. They like a certain type of style and that’s it. When I started, people would just get off the dance floor. In the Netherlands though, you can be what the fuck you want and that starts from a personal level. People can be more themselves here, especially in Amsterdam.

Luis: There’s a pretty big music scene in Bonaire but it’s strictly Caribbean music or whatever is trending. Outside of that, there’s not much of a spectrum of people’s different tastes in music. But in Amsterdam, you get all kinds of people with all kinds of different tastes in music so no matter what you’re making, there’s always a bit of a crowd that will be listening. I love that. I can really experiment in Amsterdam because I’m exposed to more music and that makes me want to experiment with different sounds, as opposed to Bonaire, where you’re just hearing reggae or mainstream hip hop.

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What is your recording process like in the studio? Why is doing everything in one take so important to you?
Luis: Our recording process goes hand in hand with our writing process. Even though we work electronically, I still want to give off the feeling you would get from a live performance. We do things in one take so that you get the organic, original sound that you’re getting at that moment and not three different moments combined.

Thierry: I know people who record in parts and there is nothing wrong with that but doing something at once gives me a better picture of where I’m going while I’m singing.

Luis: It challenges you to do your best take because that’s the take you’re going to have on the record so it’s going to be there forever. It motivates you to get your best take out of yourself.

Is there a general theme to the EP?
Thierry: Luis and I, we don’t come together and say, okay, what’s the theme of the song we are going to create. Since we make the beats from scratch, you kind of know where you’re going to start. But for me it [the EP] sounds different, and never in my life would I have thought that I would make this music. People might perceive it differently, but for me it’s about bringing the past to now and starting from here, this is the beginning. The start.

Luis: It’s the combination of two different perspectives into one.

How would you describe your sound/genre?
Luis: Soulful, bouncy, groovy, feel good, organic and electronic.

Thierry: Bringing the old and the new together. Basically, we are just experimenting with every song we make. We just bring out what’s in us. When we write a song, we usually do it in a couple of hours. We make the beats and then we write immediately. It’s finished in one day, which is why it has the live vibe.

Luis: Very freestyle, very spontaneous.

What are your future milestones after the release of the EP?
Luis: I’d like to sign a deal somewhere so that I can focus on creating. I would also like to play some festivals. I’m pretty happy with the way things are. I just hope it can continue and grow.

Thierry: I would love to just create music… be able to eat and create. That’s all we’re going for, to be able to create and experiment with music.

What is the creative process like that goes into a song? How do each of you work to get that final product?

Luis: Our creative process usually starts out with some drums. We usually lay down some drums and then we start experimenting from there until we get a sound we like. Then we argue and fight about it until we agree. Then we wait till it’s late and we’re nice and tired… for some reason that’s when our creative juices really flow. And then we just start recording.

Thierry: Sometimes we also cook before we record because recording on an empty stomach is only good if you’re going to write or sing something sad. Then you can be hungry.

Interview: Katherine Marciniak

MORE INFO:
soundcloud.com/hatobranch/leleman-x-thierry-ganz-bonus

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