Eric Lau is a London-based producer, known for his work with an array of international artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Guilty Simpson, Oddisee, & more. 2011 looks extremely busy for Lau, who is set to release a follow up to the much loved instrumental LP Makin’ Sound with a new offering called Quadrivium. He will also start work on his second full album entitled One of Many. You can also expect many collaborations, production work and remixes for several other artists. Just as Jay Electronica summed it up: “When I talk with people about London, we talk about Eric Lau.” That’s why we had to feature Eric, as he is a true musical genius. Read below to read more about his creative process and to listen to his amazing instrumentals.
I’m a huge hip-hop fan and it kills me to know I just found out about you and your music a few weeks ago. How hard has it been for you to gain cross-country exposure?
Eric: Firstly, I’m thankful that you came across my music. I have been very fortunate in terms of getting my music to different parts of the world. I’m based in London and it has its negatives and positives like anywhere else. One of the positives things about being in London is that I have had support from Benji B and Gilles Peterson who have a great worldwide following. Their shows have definitely helped a lot of artists gain international exposure. The negatives in regards to getting your music ‘out there’ is that it is more difficult to have face to face/day to day relationships with a lot of the artists/musicians/DJ’s/promoters based in the US. The internet has definitely helped aid this but I feel ‘real’ interaction sometimes goes a lot further.
How far along have you come since using your Hip-Hop DJ program?
Eric: I guess the difference is that I know how to translate whats in my head into reality a lot more now. I also have more appreciation for analog equipment and sonics that I didn’t understand before because I started on software.
You took a brief absence from the scene from ’08-’10, but have really been hitting the ground running since then. How important is it to you to release music consistantly?
Eric: I think in today’s market the consumers almost expect a constant stream of music however I believe that if an artist releases two great albums in ten or more years e.g D’angelo, I’d rather hear two timeless releases than ten albums where I only feel two.
What were your musical influences while creating Quadrivium?
Eric: Mainly just listening to a wide range of music, just taking sounds that were attractive to me and arranging it how I see. I’m a huge fan of instrumental music in the tradition of Dilla Beat Tapes, I feel some of that music is the most beautiful I’ve ever heard.
As a producer, what happens when you have difficulty molding towards the artist?
Eric: Don’t force it. Sometimes if the session/song/artist isn’t flowing then you should leave it and come back to it another time with a fresh mind.
What is the secret to making good chemistry and sound in the studio?
Eric: Good chemistry comes from clear communication. If you have good musicians and set clear objectives in a nice environment you will get good results. In regards to sound, start off with the best ingredients and you will get good sound.
The recording industry is in a tricky and unpredictable time, but how important do you feel it is for us to try and keep classic commercial rooms open, or are we essentially destined for a future of home studios and mixing in-the-box? I feel that production value decreased because the quality of listening (Ipod headphones, laptop speakers) has gone down. Technology has put more emphasis on the visual aspect (HD, 3D) over sonic quality, I pray that they go back and focus on the listening experience again on a mass level. This is turn will provide more demand for better recording/mixing facilities etc.
My knowledge of UK hip hop is quite limited. Off the bat, I know of Roots Manuva, and Skinnyman. Could you recommend us any artists or people you have worked with?
Eric: I’m more into the jazz/broken beat/electronic London scene right now e.g Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Floating Points. In regards to hip hop artists Ty & Jhest have been consistant with their output.
Switching gears, do you watch any Asian films to unwind? If so, hit us with some of your favorites!
Eric: I’m a huge Bruce Lee fan so all of his stuff. I’ve been going back to the Hui brothers films, in my opinion they were comic geniuses!
You’ve worked with the likes of Oddisee, Lupe Fiasco, Muhsinah and have even gotten recognition from Jay Electronica. What is next for you throughout 2011 and into 2012?
Eric: I’m currently wrapping up a project with Guilty Simpson, doing a more uptempo 12” for a Japanese label called Freedom School. After that is the next full length LP.
Eric: Study the greats then find yourself. Also practice, not everything has to be a release. I’m trying to reach 10,000 hours doing what I do to get to a level where I am confident enough to just make music with feeling without having to think too much.
Want to keep tabs on Eric’s music and future projects? Follow his cookie crumb trail below: