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Lovefingers Interview / Record Culture Magazine

1-Record_Culture_Magazine_Issue_1_Cover_Lovefingers_David-LekachRecord launches it’s first issue this week.

The magazine looks great – like a music-centric Kennedy or a Polanski you can show your parents – Record’s simple black-on-white text sits comfortably around bright, candid photos of the interviewees, their beautifully decorated homes and studios, records, houseplants, paintings, record sleeves, turntables. And more records.

Handpicked from pockets dotted around the creative sphere, the emphasis veers heavily towards collectors, DJs and musicians – featured we have Joakim, Veronica Vasicka, Kindness, Laila Sakini – but also the ladies behind the award-winning Pageant fashion label. The guests are quite disparate in discipline, scene, and geography, however there is as much consistency in the interviews as there is in the layout – the tone set by editor-in-chief Karl Henkell who, relaxed and inquisitive, teases conversation out of his subjects, each interviewee essentially drawing their own portrait as Henkell and his team leave them plenty of room to speak and respond with astute simplicity.

Here’s an extract of his interview with Andrew “Lovefingers” Hogge to give you an insight into what he’s assembled.


 

You’re now based in LA. How does that compare to living in New York City?

It’s good, I grew up here so I’m used to it. It’s actually kind of boring for me. I miss New York, but had to move back for some business and family stuff four or five years ago. Now when I go to New York I feel like all of my friends are gone, it’s weird.

Have they moved out west, or just moved elsewhere?

A lot of them either moved here, or they moved to Berlin or something. Just everyone getting priced out.


That’s true.

Ready for a new wave. There’s a new music wave, that’s for sure. LA’s got one right now.

Have you seen LA change a fair bit in the past few years?

It’s so much better than it used to be. It’s like night and day.

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Is that because there’s been an influx of people from elsewhere, or is the city itself changing?

I think it’s just a new generation of kids. A lot of the kids who were like ten and twelve when I used to DJ here back then had no clue, and the kids who were my age had really bad taste.

Everywhere you’d go, there would be bad music, it was kind of the norm, so all these kids grew up to be more eclectic and underground, reaching for things. Even though it’s still a little shallow, at least it had a better starting place, so it’s not completely commercial crap like it used to be. There are more underground things going on and people putting together things that are a relief to the constraints the city has — places shutting at two, noise complaints and all that.

Kids have global awareness from looking at the Internet wishing they could do the things that are going on in Europe. So we make it happen in a different way with underground warehouse things and illegal parties. Not having DJ sets that are one hour, ten DJs on the bill and shutting drinks at two. It used to be that cops would be waiting to bust you when you walk out because everyone drives.

How did you make your start in LA?

I started DJ’ing when I was 18 or 19 at this soul and funk club. I would play weird psych records and freakbeat kind of stuff, and I really got into funk and disco. I always played hip-hop, since skateboarding in high school. Basically anything that wasn’t popular. Then I went to art school and started DJ’ing at most of the smaller places around LA before I went to New York. I got fired from most of them.

From the ones in LA?

I would play shit that people didn’t like and they didn’t get it. I would play disco and Italo and things that aren’t even weird now. But people wanted to hear mash-ups, you know?

They were big in the early 2000s.

That was probably the worst thing that ever happened to LA. When I left for New York, I was super happy to get out. In New York a whole bunch of my friends lived there, you could go out and hear good music every night of the week, everyone goes out every night, they hang out together, and it’s a little scene. Here you would just go wherever you’re on the guest list for the night to hear the same mash-ups. To try to get your photo taken for some blogs.

For me, that was sort of the dark period of LA that I was happy to get out of.

Going to New York was like a breath of fresh air?

Totally, it was great. My really good friend Doug [Lee] lived there and we were doing lots of parties together, so I moved close to him. We started doing music together, doing this thing called Stallions, which is on indefinite hold because he moved to Berlin and I moved here.

Are you still planning on recording that?

Yeah, he came out and we were supposed to work on our album, and we just hung out and didn’t do anything because we hadn’t seen each other in so long.

Did you start your website, lovefingers.org, around that time?

I started doing that in 2006. It was actually just a website that I had bought for another project that had nothing on it. I wasn’t calling myself that or anything, I was just going to make a little sound design portfolio with another friend of mine. We ended up not moving forward with it and that URL just sat there for a year, and I started throwing songs up, and it snowballed from there.

I wanted to get jobs doing music supervision for movies and I just couldn’t think of a name. I was looking through my records and was trying to find a song name, and there’s this old record by Silver Apples with the song “Lovefingers” that’s always been something I played out, and that was the one I liked. My friend didn’t really like it so we didn’t do the website, and later on I still had it, started using it and then people started calling me that.

Were you surprised by the reaction you got to the site?

At some point — maybe within a year — I would check and see how many people went on the site and it was like twenty thousand a day or some crazy shit. During the holiday season between Christmas and New Years I’d do this thing a few times where I would just make the whole website available rather than just twenty, thirty songs at a time. Between the first or second time I did that I got some massive bill from my Internet provider.

Because everyone was downloading.

I overshot my bandwidth by some crazy amount of money. I got a three thousand dollar bill. Hundreds of thousands of people on that thing just downloading tons of music, it was kind of crazy. So I didn’t do that again.

It always surprised me how far of a reach that site had. It’s also kind of hard to do a lot of things after because as a DJ people really expect me to DJ like that. If I go to Japan it’s like “please play weird.” They love it, “We love your style … play Lovefingers style.” That’s not really party music all the time.

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People want you to play the stuff you’re posting?

A lot of the time. If it’s somewhere I really love to play I’ll try to make sure that I can do a day party or radio show and actually play more weird stuff and not have to feel the pressure at a nightclub party where I just want to bang it out.

Were they tracks that you were ripping from vinyl?

Most of the stuff was from my records, or I’d find records I really needed and I’d buy them and put them up. They’d be demos from friends sometimes if I really liked them. Most of it is just stuff from my house. Sometimes I would just find something and beg someone to give me a copy of it or something. That’s why the recordings are all kind of half-assed sounding, they’re not really nice rips and I just put them on low bit rate and stuff. They’re not meant to be tools for DJs or anything. It’s reference material for people who want to get into cool music, or things that I like.

Do you feel like it helped your DJ career?

For sure. I got so many emails all the time, like ten, twenty a day. People would be asking me to come play, or saying thank you or something. I remember I got this one email from a soldier in Afghanistan and he was saying, “I can’t believe you put this rock record up by this guy called Mandré, I’m so obsessed with it. I did some research because I’m bored, I’m in Afghanistan and I found Mandré and I’ve been talking to him now and telling him I love his music.” I get amazing emails from everywhere around the world.

That’s really cool.

It’s super nice. If I put up Turkish funk music or something then I just get a bunch of emails from Turkey. A lot of my friends that I’ve met, they heard music on the site. Some of my best friends actually.

Did it push you to travel to those places?

Yeah totally. I’ve done a lot of fucking traveling in the last ten years. I’ve gone through a few passports. I really like traveling. It’s not like I’d get an email from somewhere and be like, “Hey I’m glad you like the song, can I come play in your city?” But a lot of the time it ended up that way. I’ll get into a conversation and they’ll be like, “It would be cool if you came here,” and then somehow I would get an email the next day from some promoter. When I lived in New York it was a lot easier, I would just pop over all the time.

You’re much closer from there.

Now that I’m here I don’t really travel as much, I just consolidate my things into tours instead of popping out for a weekend here and there. It’s still good, it’s just a different kind of focus.

Was there a lot of focus on digging for new records when you were doing the site?

Non-stop, all the time. New York was good for that, and probably still is. The fact that I would travel a bunch. Basically I would go DJ and then spend my entire fee in the record store the next day before I had to go to the airport. I mean I have tons and tons of stuff. I have a lot of weird records that I would just buy really quick because I was in a rush to get out of the city. Then I’d get home and put it on and I’d be like, “I don’t know what is good about this record.”

Have you gotten rid of a few records in the meantime?

I’ve moved around a lot so I had to leave stuff here and there. My records are completely disorganized at this point because I’ve moved so many times. It’s just hundreds of boxes when I move. I’m not organized when I pack them, so I’m even less organized when I unpack. If I ever have a moment when I want to go play and I’m like, “Oh I really want to play this one record,” I literally have to search through the entire shelf to find it. It’s always in the last cube or something.


Record will be available in full on http://record-magazine.com/ and will be distributed by New Distribution House (US) and Antenne Books (UK). You can pre-order from April 1st with copies shipping from the 15th, and appearing in art & design bookshops, record shops, newstands and other selected outlets throughout the month.

David Lekach is responsible for all the above photos, and the interview was by Karl Henkell.

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