Keep it Local: Louis Marlo / Felt Sense Recordings

We sat down with Melbourne producer Louis Marlo (aka Louis Kennedy), the label head of new local imprint ‘Felt Sense’, as part of our favourite editorial series ‘Keep it Local’. He’s also been kind enough to put together an hour of deep burners to soundtrack your reading experience.

Fiona: I’m really interested in your concept. The first thing that struck me when listening to the first release was a feeling of sensory deprivation and suspension in a static white space.

I did a bit of research on your name and found a great deal of information on healing and mental trauma. Google told me that the “Felt Sense” seems to be an inner knowledge that’s not verbalised and something experienced in the body that is equally as visceral but not the same as emotion. It seems it has a lot to do with dissociation, internal awareness and nothingness. 

Was this your intention? If so, your music seems to completely reflect these concepts.  

Louis: Yes! My relationship with the term ‘felt sense’ came from growing up in a household where healing and ‘awareness’ were big themes. My Mum has worked in alternative healing therapies for most of my life and the term ‘felt sense’ is central to her philosophy about how we experience the world.

As you said, it refers to an inner ‘knowing’. This idea, that our body has a relationship with our lived experience that exists outside of language and culture.

What prompted you to head in this general direction? And how do you see this growing/changing?

I’ve played and studied music most of my life in various capacities and I’ve always felt that these concepts were really applicable to the way that I connect with music. I’ve spent a lot of time at Uni trying to intellectualise music- trying to pull it apart and examine it, defining the roles of musical elements and determining their effectiveness. I feel like it’s useful to talk about art and music in this way, but ultimately you either connect with what’s coming out of the speaker or you don’t. You can talk a track to death but it either resonates and makes you feel something or it doesn’t at all. More often than not this ‘feeling’ exists beyond language. This is particularly true of club music, which is all about inviting a bodily response. It’s not a ‘direction’ as such, but it’s definitely something that I’m thinking about a lot.

In terms of a musical direction, what you mentioned earlier about suspension in a static white space really resonates with me, as well as the feeling of sensory deprivation. I’m finding that the music I’m writing is becoming more and more minimal, with fewer elements and a greater emphasis on space. That’s the direction I’m constantly moving in it seems.

I’ve also been doing a lot of field recordings in interesting enclosed spaces, and re-recording synthesized elements in reverberant rooms and concrete passages. Exploring space in this way, in the place of artificial reverb, is something I’m becoming more and more interested in.

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When coming up with content, where/how do you draw inspiration (from surroundings/experiences)?

Ummmmm, everywhere. I’m constantly inspired by the people around me who are making things and writing music. Obviously records I’m listening to, films, books, interviews, sounds- anything I can get my hands on.

Outline to me your studio process, where do you begin? Is your process meticulous and planned or more organic and free flowing? Do you have any weird studio rituals or needs?

My studio process is ever changing. I work with old machines a lot so something is always broken. I’m always having to work around a sampler or a synthesiser that isn’t behaving the way it’s supposed to, which keeps things pretty interesting.

In terms of a starting point, I always seem to work from background to foreground. I don’t like introducing musical elements on top of silence, it feels so abrupt! Often I’ll record some subtle noise to begin with- something soft and textured in the background to build from, almost like a room tone or something, just a quiet and constant presence that lives beneath everything else. Regarding studio rituals, it’s all about tea. Lots of tea, all of the time. 

You mentioned you collect records! What are the prizes of your collection and where did you score them!

I wish I had some crazy digging stories to tell you but I don’t really. Most of the real gems in my collection I’ve just bought on the net. I have a number of records from an NZ label called Nurture, which released a dozen or so records in the late 90’s. A few of these are definite favourites- really beautiful, dubby stuff…way ahead of its time.

I’ve also got a few 12’’s from Terre Thaemlitz that I really love, she makes awesome records. It’s worth while reading some of her essays and checking out some interviews. Her ideas around culture and creation are really interesting.

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What are you all time favourite Dub techno releases and what other artist have been influential in shaping your sound?

The Upekah EP from Son.Sine is a clear favourite for me, a real tear jerker. I actually wrote to him expressing my gratitude for that record and he got back to me with a thorough response. All of his projects are great but this record in particular really resonates with me. Another favourite is Rod Modell’s ‘Kettle Point’ EP. It’s SO good.

I know one of your associates, Eugene! We used to work together at the Grace Darling, he once threw an entire wine bottle at me! This studio project you’re collaborating on sounds really cool, where is it going to be and how are you looking to expand it commercially?

It’s located in Northcote not too far from High St. We will be running the studio as a small business- engineering recordings, mixing, writing and producing, as well as hiring out the space. Eugene and I both wanted a designated place for making music. A functional room with lots of instruments, where we could churn out records. We also exist in a community of artists, which we felt could really benefit from a studio space like this. It’s looking like we will be up and running before the end of December!

Where did you begin and how did you develop the tracks for your new record?

The tracks for this 12’’ came about during a time when my housemate had just bought a Roland Space Echo. I was also buying a lot of dub techno records around that time and one thing led to another.

The tunes are all quite old. The decision to release them as an EP came from my desire to have a physical record of the things I was making at that time. It was a pretty interesting few months in my life and I felt like it would be nice to have some work released which I could tie back to it.

As for the remix, Ru has been a friend since high school. We’ve tried to collaborate on a few different things in the past but nothing that we felt was worth releasing. I love the stuff he’s been making. I feel like its quite different from what I do so I thought it would be cool to get his take on something I’d been writing.

And finally, where can I buy everything?

Pre Orders are up on all the big online stores. You will also be able to pick it up at all the good local spots in Melbourne.

JUNO     – http://bit.ly/2ffmPfz

DECKS  – http://bit.ly/2fQYeNV

DEEJAY – http://bit.ly/2fTwFoJ

REDEYE – http://bit.ly/2fUOPVG