Redefining techno, deep and progressive minimal genre lines, Miami-based DJ/producer and FRISKY’s newest resident, Luke Hunter connects with listeners invoking audible journeys that spark emotion. Born and raised in in Florida, Luke grew up having interests in music as he became aware how sounds connected people through laughter and creativity. He started playing guitar in his formative teenage years. His metamorphosis into the underground dance music scene occurred while a student at University of Florida. Upon moving to Miami, Luke started to dive deeper into the music and event production world. More than 15 years later of self-taught music and production knowledge, he eventually linked up with other like-minded creatives – Franccesco Cardenas & Alex Zinn (aka SpinnZinn) to form Typ3 Records in late 2013.
Since then, Luke has managed to rack up an impressive CV with countless memorable performances. “There have been some very exciting gigs over the years”, he shares. From performing alongside artists like Len Faki, Richie Hawtin, ArtBat, Lee Burridge, Timo Maas, Guy J, Dave Seaman, CID Inc, Guy Mantzur, Scuba, Nick Curly, Chris Fortier, Stryke, Popof, Darin Epsilon, Dance Spirit, Arjun Vagale, and Desyn Masiello and more – his most notable gigs have been playing alongside these big names at one of south Florida’s premier nightclubs, Treehouse Miami.
Every musical endeavor is an opportunity to create new experiences through sound. “There is a magical quality to electronic music that evokes a sense of wonder and excitement, especially when it is the first time hearing a song”, Luke reflects and adds, “sharing feeling with others is what makes for a new, elevated, and collective human experience … especially on a sound system where your entire body feels the music moving the air around you.”
He strives to maintain and exceed his high standard of production and discerning ear that first led him to his love of music. His DJ sets and productions venture through a range of sounds from techno, tech, deep, progressive and minimal, while blurring genre lines.
Luke’s slamming progressive tunes with crunchy driving basslines deliver musical intuitive perception into realities – our own “epiphanies”. As Luke says, “these full circle moments continue to occur the more time goes by while remaining dedicated to the music”.
Below is our full interview:
Hi Luke and welcome to the FRISKY family! Representing Florida’s 305, the MIA – thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me and FRISKY News.
Hello Frisky crew, first of all thanks for having me as a new resident!
I see that your initial love affair with electronic music started in the late 90’s with early appreciation for artists like that of Robert Miles. Describe that moment when you knew the music hit your soul.
For me the music connection started in the early 90’s when I was in 7th grade. At the time I was subscribed to “Colombia House Records” CD service where you buy several CDs at a time and get some free ones also. While building up my collection of favorites in one of my orders I got the Robert Miles “Dreamland” CD after hearing the song “Children” on the radio. I was already captivated by the title track but when I listened to the whole album, I was undeniably captivated. As a teenager I was also into magic tricks and embarrassingly enough I stayed in my room listening to the Robert Miles CD on repeat while doing magic tricks and finding a shared fascination in both magic and music with elements of surprise, wonder, and awe. That excitement still stays with me today as a feeling that only electronic music can create.
Is this when you started venturing into House, Techno and Progressive?
After my initial connection with what would (nowadays) be considered “Trance”, I kept digging deeper. In my early teens most of the music I could hear was on the radio with some late-night radio DJ shows in Central Florida and the surrounding area like Gainesville and Orlando. The obligatory hits like “Sandstorm”, “Better Off Alone”, and “Around The World” were on regular radio airplay and while I was into most all genres, these dance hits began a pulsing rhythm in me that become more complex and sophisticated into High School and College where I discovered Paul Van Dyke, John Digweed, Sasha, Aphex Twin, Chemical Brothers, and the like. From there music and my tastes kept evolving with each decade leading me into what I enjoy now considered Progressive, Techno, House and such.
And on that note, before you began your music career, what’s your most favorite concert or festival that you attended?
While I was in College at the University of Florida in Gainesville, I was able to enjoy the music scene there with small club shows and student focused music events. But it was actually when a friend invited me to attend Ultra Music Festival in Miami circa 2004 that I really felt the massive scale and energy of a music festival. The energy of the people paired with the impressive lighting design and amplified sound just blew me away and it was unlike anything I had experienced before. That became a pivotal moment for me to really get excited about electronic music as something I could see myself pursuing more than just as a fan or casual listener. I found myself moving to Miami in early 2006 and eventually DJing at Ultra for 6 consecutive years from 2009-2014 my friend as the “SanedracHunter” duo.
So, what was the influential force behind that very moment you knew you wanted to start producing music?
After attending Ultra Music Festival, I returned to Miami with a real passion to play and create more of the electronic music style. I had already been playing acoustic guitar at that point for 6 years or so and enjoyed it but felt bored playing alone without other instruments or percussion to feed off of. I started experimenting with Reason and Ableton Live to capture audio and add my own elements over the top. I also shifted my major from a Film/ Video focus into a more Audio/Radio Telecom role and then attended “The Recording Workshop” in Ohio where I got hooked on the recording studio vibe. After that I was all in working at a Gainesville recording studio “Skylab” and making rough cuts of my own music. That creation would continue to evolve as I moved to Miami and eventually started getting music production results that were good enough for releases.
You have an impressive CV. You’ve performed alongside and opened for artists including Len Faki, Richie Hawtin, ArtBat, Lee Burridge, Timo Maas, Guy J, Dave Seaman, CID Inc, Guy Mantzur, Scuba, Nick Curly, Robert Babicz, Chris Fortier, Stryke, Popof, Darin Epsilon, Dance Spirit, Arjun Vagale, and Desyn Masiello. Which gig would you describe as topping the list of being your most memorable?
One particular gig opening for Robert Babicz was a real magical night where we connected over dinner before the show and then continued to stay in contact after the party. The night itself was an electric excitement where the dancefloor is dialed in fully and responsive to the music subtleties from the start to the end of the night. From there years down the line I ended up collaborating with Robert as he remixed my track “Divine Vibration” on Laika Sounds in 2018 and I recently remixed his track “One Mind” which is set to release later in November of this year.
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, did you have any other live gigs scheduled for 2020 besides Burning Man? Once COVID-19 dies down, which music festivals would you like to perform at the most?
The pandemic hit at an awful time for everyone, especially Miami. The whole city was on the cusp of starting Winter Music Conference’s 35th year anniversary and Ultra year 21 with droves of parties on the books. We actually held a “Typ3 Records” label party 2 nights before the full shutdown. And little did I know that would be one of the last times playing for quite some time. I had an island party with the “Castaways” crew in Miami cancel and then another WMC Showcase event canceled immediately that week. As the seriousness of the situation grew, other gigs in the year all started to cancel. In addition to Soon after that, plans of returning to play again at Kremlin Club in Lisbon along with other European venues all disappeared.
While things are cautiously opening back up, I’m unsure how the large festival market will look for 2021 but I certainly look forward to playing to audiences again. I really want to venture down to Argentina to play some gigs there and as well hope to return to Amsterdam Dance Event to play show showcases. Smaller club venues seem like they will be more able to open but It would be great to be a part of large festivals reopening like Creamfields, SXM, Electric Zoom, CRSSD, and many more.
With that said, what philosophies shape your creative musical mindset? Basically, what drives you to keep pushing the creative threshold and your approach when making new tracks?
My creative mindset in production has often been to make music that is inspired by a real-life scenarios or feelings I can express through sound. I’m always trying to push that creative line of groove and melody while making sounds and songs that connect with an individual to make them think. When you move the mind to thought, the body reacts, and dancing becomes a natural experience. Personally, I like to make and play music that stays classy, never cheesy, and it has to be something I feel represents what I stand for as a person. There can be no compromise to please others if it doesn’t align with my vision.
So then, what challenges have you faced within the industry? And how do you look back on your experiences?
The industry is full of challenges on various levels of my music career. Starting out I struggled just to get opportunities to play, to be heard, and to have a voice. I spent over 10 years hosting my own small events and building a following, to then building a record label and carving out my own path. It can be a difficult path to navigate through all the industry noise and the competition of locals battling for the same piece of the local audience pie. I look back very grateful for all the support from fans and fellow musicians along the way and still keep working to improve. The music industry if much like treading water, as long as you keep moving you stay afloat, but as soon as you let off you start to sink.
Let’s focus on your show EPIPHANIES. By definition epiphany means intuitive perception of insight into reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. How did you come up with the name for your show and what would you say is behind the meaning?
The idea of “Epiphanies” as a show title came about as a way to express the deeper introspective journey of the mind that my favorite electronic music and DJs provide. The consistent rhythm and melody are very much like a meditation. As each beat keeps you in the present moment, the mind opens up with thoughts, feelings, memories, and realizations. Listening experiences become like cinematic movies for the ears and help us block out the external noise then allowing us to tune into the now.
Kindly share with me how the project got started with FRISKY? What will we hear from your show? Anything special FRISKY listeners should look out for and take away from your music?
I have followed FRISKY for over a decade and in the industry have inevitably crossed paths with some staff and artists from time to time in different parts of the globe. Back in June of this year I was invited to be the featured FRISKY “Artist of the Week” where I put together a special 2-hour set. The mix was well received and a few months later I was thrilled to get a personal invite from FRISKY to start a monthly radio residency.
Listeners can expect to be taken on a Progressive/ Melodic House and Techno journey with deep emotive influences mixed seamlessly to pull you further into the music. Turn it up loud and dance in your living room or put in your favorite headphones and go inside your mind. I hope everyone takes away a story from the music and maybe even an Epiphany that enriches your life and those around you in some positive way.
What do you look for when discovering new tracks or DJs? Any advice for new and aspiring DJ/producers?
When I’m looking for new music, I try to start by browsing specifically with artists and genres I like and then branch out from there to discover new artists or DJs that resonate with a similar but unique vibe and sound. Music shopping can easily become exhausting digging through random genres or songs you don’t like. Some days new music will really connect with me and other times it can be a flat experience. Overall tracks have to be well mixed and sonically balanced, so the end result is a high-quality audio experience.
My advice for aspiring DJs would be to practice as much as you can and organize your music to know how to navigate your collection. Also, you should be versatile but within range stick with only the music you love and avoid trends or external influences to play a certain way or style that isn’t you. Also don’t be afraid to take risks and evolve as an artist.
For new producers out there, I would say get the basic setup and then learn how to push what you have to the max before upgrading and spending more money. Most DAWs like Ableton come with a bunch of factory instruments and effects that are fully capable of making great music. Start with simple ideas then do your sound design and make parts that can build up to big moments.
Most would agree the industry regardless of genre has seen shifts. In your opinion, what are the biggest changes within the industry from the past 10 years and is there anything that perhaps has stayed the same?
I think the biggest change in the past decade has been the rise of how social media drives the industry. For artists there is a constant demand of time to have new and relevant content for your audience on a variety of platforms. This alone can be a full-time job, but it also spills onto the dancefloor where we see parties that 90% of the room is holding up a phone and staring at a screen to get a video or photo they can post online. All of these are distractions instead of being fully into the present moment.
What’s next for Luke Hunter and where do you see yourself five years from now?
This is an exciting time for me! As we speak now, I’m gearing up for one of the biggest days of my life as I am getting married to the love of my life this first weekend of November. We both met through music and I am blessed to continue our life’s adventure together. In addition to personal life I am looking forward to some great releases upcoming with a remix I did of “One Mind” by Robert Babicz coming Nov 27th and also a new original of mine releasing on Markus Schulz’ label Coldharbor Records in December. I’m slowly working in the studio again and hoping to get back into playing gigs again soon, granted things open up after the Covid shutdown. In five years from now, I see myself with an arsenal of solid productions flowing and sharing that music with people all over the world in a cutting-edge way.
Now for what I like to call, Fun Question Time. If you were able to turn your DJ persona into a graphic novel/comic superhero, what would your superpowers be?
I guess my music superhero powers would be a mixture of things like the ability to make people smile and be happy. The ability to bring back memories and relive the feeling of those memories all over again and to deeply connect with a person you have never met and to make music with your mind only. And maybe to dance endlessly without getting tired.
Lots of great food in Miami, what’s your favorite dish?
There are so many great places to eat in Miami and undoubtedly Cuban dishes like ‘vaca frita’ with plantains has been a favorite for this gringo.
You’re given 3 wishes, what would they be and why?
Well since I can’t ask for more wishes this one is tough. In no particular order I would wish for full financial independence for myself, family, and loved ones not having to work another day. Then as cheesy as it sounds, I would wish for world peace and shared empathy for one another. Finally, I suppose I would wish for the skill to be able to play any instrument fluently so I could create endlessly with no bounds.
Thank you so much, Luke, for taking time with me and FRISKY. It’s been fun! Before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts?
Thanks, so much Rhanda, Giuliano, Lauren, and the whole Frisky crew for the interview and opportunity to start my monthly radio residency! I’m excited to share new and old musical favorites with everyone whom has supported me for all the years so far and for all the new listeners joining in on this journey. I hope you love what you hear, and it continues to make your feet move and your mind to come alive with “Epiphanies” that take you into the best parts of your life.
Don’t forget to catch Luke Hunter’s EPIPHANIES every 1st Tuesday of each month right here on FRISKY: