Wall of Sound hit the musical jackpot yet again with the sunshine sound of the summer
Interview by Dan Prince
Comprising of the estimable Soho-based Portuguese musicians, producers and TV ad composers Danny de Matos and Rui da Silva, electronica duo Lisbon Kid are now gearing up to release their eponymously titled debut album. Made from a beguiling mix of electronica and acoustic instruments, often with ambient landscaping and elements of sound design added to a huge song-based pop sensibility and emotional lyrical content, Lisbon Kid have created a consummate debut record which is as diverse as it is adventurous. And every fucker loves it. Dan Prince checks in…
“…An intriguing album of downtempo gems” – Chris CoCo
“…I’ll be playing it all summer” – Phil Mison
“…I love it” – Rob da Bank
Danny, Rui welcome back to DMCWORLD…where on the planet are you both today?
Hey Dan, Rui is at home in Soho, London and Danny is at home in the Balearic county of Berkshire, England.
Oh how very cool and posh. What is the best piece of new music you have heard since rolling out of bed?
Rui – Alcantara by Indian Wells on Bad Panda
Danny – Amira by Submotion Orchestra on Ninja Tune
Well, you have hot the ground running this year with the release of the first tune from your forthcoming self-titled debut album coming out in April via Wall of Sound. But before we get into all that let’s set the foundations for you two. Both from Portugal, you have obviously both had huge success on a worldwide level as award winning writers and producers over a wide range of genres and projects. How did the whole Lisbon Kid project begin…?
We were both obviously already aware of one another’s work prior to meeting and we’d regularly been just missing each other by days or even hours at various studios in London, then one day we literally bumped into each other at a studio in Lisbon. A loooong languid lunch ensued lubricated by some beautiful Alentejo and Douro wines. We talked about working together sometime on something…it soon became clear that we had a lot in common despite coming from such different musical roots. It was inevitable we’d make a great record together…and we decided to do something longer term that eventually turned into an album and our project Lisbon Kid. We wanted to be proud of what we were doing again and free from briefs and outside expectations. We wanted to challenge ourselves and widen our respective sonic pallets and make something lasting and beautiful. We’re so relieved and proud to be able to say we’ve done that.
How important and challenging was it for you to embark other sonics, BPMS and let’s be honest, do something bloody different?
Rui – After many years of exclusively making dancefloor records it was very liberating for me to be able to explore other BPMs and sonics and try many ideas that have been locked away for so long. No limitations no formulas.
Danny – I hadn’t worked with many dance records in my time (Chad Jackson was my first and last proper success when I was a mere strapling) so I certainly had a real hankering to get back more deeply into synths, beats and electronica in general. I’ve really enjoyed the learning curve and loved experimenting with the textures and elements of sound design too. We made some lovely backdrops that made it easier to write lyrics and melodies to.
The live shows have been uber cool. James Craise joining you at London’s Canvas Art Gallery, supporting M+A in Shoreditch, a sneaky after party for Scarlet Johannson’s ‘Under The Skin’ at Soho House and your international live debut at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. What are the live plans for the rest of the year?
We’ve been very fortunate to have started by playing at such great parties and events and in such great company. Our current focus though, is with the promotion of our debut album. Sadly we recently departed from our live and DJ agent due to some changes in his personal life, so we’re currently looking for someone new that sees our vision to come onboard with us. However, we’ll soon be able to announce a few festival dates for the summer.
So let’s get stuck into the music and single numero uno in the form of ‘Sunburst’, a track that has already been snapped up by a zillion Ibiza comps, it’s a beautiful sun kissed ambient groover. People have been likening it to Air, Pink Floyd, Zero 7 and Groove Armada. You guys described the track “as an ode to package holidays”…tell us more…
Lol. We didn’t quite describe it as that but we guess it does remind you of sun, sand and salty red skin. It’s an intricately layered melodic acoustic electronica tune, that quickly becomes an ear-worm. Postmen everywhere will be whistling it down a street near you very soon. We were initially very surprised at the reception the track got internationally. It was one of the very first songs we did together once we started writing the album. Having appeared on so many compilations kinda forced our hand to release the album version with an added remix package now.
The album swings our way on April 22nd. Why is this ground breaking label that has brought us the likes of Propellerheads, Human League and Aeroplane the perfect home for you?
Wall Of Sound are probably the most eclectic label of all time. We listen to and enjoy a really wide range of (admittedly mostly left of centre) music ourselves that has hidden hooks and just grows and grows on you. Wall Of Sound fit that brief perfectly. More importantly for us, in working with label head honcho Mark Jones, we’ve found someone who let’s us do what we need to do the way we need to do it. He’s a maverick as everyone knows, but he’s always understood the artist’s point of view and gives them a platform from which to launch their art. It’s all about the music.
Please talk us through the rest of the album, there are some estimable guest appearances from the likes of Sarah Cracknell, Lisa Billson and Hafdis Huld all adding even more personality to a wonderful piece of work…
We love unusual and interesting voices of beauty. We’ve known Sarah for a long time since earliest St Etienne days. Her gentle and dulcet tones suited ‘We Look At The Stars’ perfectly and we finished writing the lyrics and recording them with her in the studio in just a matter of hours. Hafdis Huld was a dream target for a longtime. We’ve always adored her unique sound from when we first heard GusGus and obviously her accent is totally addictive. We were totally stoked when she agreed to appear on the album. Whilst she was in London one day, we decided to do record her for ‘Event Horizon’, she ended up doing 2 songs and worked on ‘In The Room Where You Are’ too. Lisa Billson had worked with Orbital but we knew her from her work with country-folkers The Loose Salute on Heavenly. She’s an old mate too and we just knew she’s be perfect for the beautifully yearning romance of ‘Heading Home’.
‘At The End Of The Day’ is the most cinematic of the tracks on the album. We’d had the lush and delicious piano chords for a while, so we recorded a really nice expensive old piano in Soho and wrote the rest of the track and added it later. It’s a big warm woody soundscape of a track. Feels like it’s already form a movie.
‘Last Weekend’ is our next single and its a but unusual in that it’s a monologue Danny wrote and we set to music. It was performed by Tony Bignell from BBC3’s ‘Coming Of Age’. He did a great job. A totally convincing oscar-worthy performance.
Tell us about the remix projects Lisbon Kid are in the middle of…
Ekkoes have just released ‘You Just Walked Away’ on he Kids label. We’ve just completed an electronica smasher for them. The band are very excited about it. It’s great to get that reaction. It’ll be out in the next couple of weeks. We’re also just finishing a remix for The Woodentops of their Balearic classic ‘Why Why Why’. We can guarantee this is gonna be a smash in Ibiza this year. It comes out in April. Rolo McGinty from the band is totally over the moon with it, so we’re chuffed about that too. We’ve agreed to do a special DJ set for them when they perform ‘Giant’ again at The 100 Club on 21 April.
“We wanted to make a record that we loved that would move people and bring a smile to their faces and a tear to their eye.” A recent quote from you regarding the album. Does the world need more feel good music like this right now?
It feels like there is so much uncertainty and fear in the world right now. People seem to be being pushed and pulled all ways. These can be quite scary times. It’s like this album gives you a metaphorical warm hug and makes everything OK for a while…so you just start it over again.
So head we back to one of your cribs on a lazy Sunday afternoon. What would be a typical Lisbon Kid Back To Mine Top 10 you spin us to keep that mellow groove…
Keaton Henson – Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us?
Zen Baboon – La Maison Vert
Chris Coco – Portmerion Tide Flow
Richard Hawley – The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Was A Train Coming)
Kiasmos – Looped
HVOB – Azrael
Howling – Sacred Ground
And finally…what was it like working together on this project. Was it all plain sailing, was it just two ace producers under one groove…?
We come from very different musical backgrounds. One from the club world of Techno and Deep House smashes, the other from alternative/indie music and TV ads. We have very different personalities. One a quiet level-headed boffin, the other a loud and emotional instinctive artisan. Two opposites that collided and completed a jigsaw puzzle they found, happy to learn they had all the pieces and that they fit snugly together. The album was a pleasure to make and flowed easily (the remix projects we’ve done too), mostly due to the complementary fit of skills and ideas we have. We’re also both enthusiastic life-long learners that also enjoyed learning from each other during the great journey of making this record. Looking forward to the next one.