Separated by continents but united by sound, the duo behind LADS represent the unique power of underground electronic music to cross boundaries and create brothers of strangers. From South Africa to Germany, what began as the exchanging of tracks has resulted in epic productions that have been released on labels like Lost & Found, Nie Wieder Schlafen, Magician on Duty, Mango Alley and more. Their definitive sound is the result of their collaborative creativity, with the use of “diverse and unpredictable” elements coming from analog and digital sources and mixed with an emphasis on emotion.
With guest mixes on Bespoke Musik and feature as Artist of the Week introducing their style to FRISKY’s listeners, LADS will be going even deeper into fresh selections and exclusive previews on their new show The Shaka Series. The Shaka Series premieres on DEEP on February 26th @ 2 PM EST [convert timezone].
Tune in live or stream in hi-res on-demand with FRISKY Premium and get to know the LADS below:
Thanks so much for taking the time for us to get to know you better before the launch of The Shaka Series. 🙂 I’m so curious to know, what is the story behind your show name?
Firstly, thank you for inviting us to be a part of this wonderful platform! We are looking forward to curating many exciting projects together. Shaka was the Zulu king in South Africa and we wanted to create our own little empire with this series of shoes. It is also a play on the word “shaker.”
What are you looking forward to about having your own monthly show on FRISKY?
We are excited about curating mixes that tell stories that feature music from friends, artists and labels that we hold dear to us and of course sneak peaks into some of our own material too. It’ll also be interesting to see the direction we take our sound in the next few years as our sound is constantly evolving.
What is important to you for each episode to include or feature? For you, what makes for a quality or successful mix?
Mixes need to take the listener on a journey and hopefully captivate and evoke their current emotions. Song selection and song order of course are very important and catchy intro and outros are great too.
You definitely have a definitive vibe and style – what do you think are the key factors which comprise the “LADS sound”?
Our sound is diverse and unpredictable as we create according to what we are feeling in the moment. We have distinct factors that we try to include in every production such as foley sounds, pitched synths, textured percussions and automation… and well the rest kinda just happens.
How did you two first get connected and what drove the decision to create LADS together? Was there a point when you knew you had something special going on?
Gary heard one of Luc’s tracks played out at a gig he was performing at in South Africa. The track peaked his interest and he got into contact with Luc who at the time was streaming live on Twitch. We exchanged messages and tracks via email. Gary then sent a snippet of our now released track “She” to Luc and we decided to collaborate on it. Luc then suggested we form a duo and LADS was born. The timing was right as we both had the same vision and Luc was looking for someone to collaborate with.
What is one of the things that you most appreciate about each other?
Gary: Luc taught me a lot about arrangement and understanding our strengths. To my mind, he is one of the best producers on the planet. He is a complete audiophile and musical perfectionist and all about the small details. In a world where music is churned out rapidly, having this quality control freak in my corner is super important. Outside of our musical lives, he is an amazing person and friend and I couldn’t have hoped for a better brother to be blessed with.
Luc: There is more than one thing to be mentioned here. Gary helped me perform live for the first time and get over the nerves associated with it at a festival we played in Germany. He is the reason that my life still is connected to music. He keeps me motivated, pushes me to do more and to be honest I can’t think of a better friend to share this journey with.
What is your collaborative process like? Do you take on different roles in the studio and behind the decks?
We both have our strengths in this production game. Usually one of us will start a project and work on it until we are stuck and then we swap. We have selected roles for mixing and starting remixes but other than that we usually do whatever we feel like. However, Gary will take on the roles of mixing and Luc will arrange. At the end of the production we’ll both usually listen closely to the track and note any last changes.
What has been one of your favorite career moments, such as hearing one of your releases played out or a special performance?
There are too many to list here but some stand out moments include our first ever gig where we played at a festival in Germany to 1000 odd people. Having never performed together before to rocking the floor was great! Then playing a 4 hour set in Moyn Moyn after a massive rainstorm was pretty cool. Of course the release of our debut vinyl “Bamboo” in 2020 was a highlight along with releasing one of our tracks on the infamous Buddha Bar compilations. Releasing on Lost & Found and doing livestreams for their Echos shows are always a good time. Mostly having people and artists we have looked up to for years play and appreciate our music is the ultimate satisfaction.
How has this pandemic time supported or challenged your creative work?
Of course our plans for overseas gigs were all ruined. This of course confined us to our studios and we managed to get a lot of music released. The downfall is we miss performing but the upside it gives us time to grow and mature our sound and grow our base so that when things do eventually open up again we’ll be on top of our game.
You’ve been signed to many of the industry’s top labels – what advice would you give to producers who are trying to do the same? Do you have any “keys to success”?
Unfortunately there is no magic formula to this. You have to pay your dues and be patient. The keys to being successful in this day and age are to release consistently, have a good quality output, put your ego aside, collaborate with artists you admire and do something just a little different.
Keep on pushing. Don’t ever give up. Success will come eventually and often when you don’t expect it.
If you could only choose three words to describe LADS, what would they be?
Ridiculously good looking!