Disco-house tastemaker LEFTI talks ‘Toolroom Miami 2020’-gracing cut, ‘4ever’ [Q&A]
Boasting a funk-exuding track record of disco-house groove, LEFTI has entered the electronic scene with verve. Making a splash with live instrumentation that to date has earned LEFTI nods from underground mavens such as Claptone, CID, Disclosure, and Annie Mac, among others, the producer’s boogie-driven sound captures the old-school soul of disco with a contemporary twist.
The glittering, nu-disco sonic personality that colors LEFTI’s catalog evidences the New York native’s ear for constructions that will infallibly set dancers in motion, and not without notice. After ushering in French Horn Rebellion‘s then newly minted imprint, Toucan Sounds, with an electro-funk candidate for heavy rotation, “Every Time,” in December 2019, LEFTI followed the lead single with the four-track EP from which the cut hailed, Discoteca.
Most recently, LEFTI’s enticing approach to disco-house hybridization secured his collaboration with Hoodboi, “4ever,” a place on Toolroom Records‘ annual Miami Music Week compilation, Toolroom Miami 2020. Of note, “4ever” also graced volume 135 of Dancing Astronaut managing editor Robyn Dexter’s serial, Dexter’s Beat Laboratory. LEFTI delineated the making of the fluid, feel-good contribution to the compilation in an interview with Dancing Astronaut, touching also on the sonic goals that define how he shapes his sound and abandoning a blueprint for 2020.
Your record, “4ever” just graced a Toolroom compilation, congratulations! How did you approach the production of this record?
Thank you! Hoodboi had reached out to me to collaborate, and of course I was down. He sent a few short starter ideas, and we went on from there. It started with a sampled instrumental bed that we [collaboratively] expanded. Later, we replaced the instrumental sample with a new original progression/recording that we made. The vocal sample is from a song that I wrote with Australian singer Brendan Maclean. We added that bit last—it just fit perfectly.
You’ve been lauded for your use of live instrumentation in your productions by those who have identified this as a quality of your sound that sets you apart from other producers. Can you say a little bit about what your live instrumentation creative process consists of when you’re making a song?
I always try to incorporate live playing in my music one way or another. I think it can really help develop the groove. If it’s not tracking guitar or live bass, it’s synth pads, leads, or synth bass. Percussion is always good too. At least 1 thing needs to be [live]. Live instrumentation takes the song out of the box and gives it life. I even like to record or “play” live automation (sends and filtering). It makes the whole thing feel less computerized.
What, specifically, do you set out to have your specific sound embody?
For me, it’s all about the groove, and a fairly high energy groove at that! I want my music to make people want to dance and feel the vibration, [to] feel good and not give a sh*t about anything in that moment but having a good time.
What would you like those who are unfamiliar with your sound to know about it/you as a creative force in modern house circles?
I think my production style and sound are a nice balance of old and new, disco and house, and groove and melody. I try to bring authenticity—and a good time—to my production and my DJ sets.
As you continue to develop your sound over the next year, and in the extended future, are there any particular subgenres or artistic approaches with which you hope to experiment?
My approach this year is to not really have an approach and instead just go with what feels right. Usually, I plan a little more. So far, a lot of unexpected things have occurred and I’m riding that wave for now. I do want to experiment with a some classic sounds for some house records.
What’s in the cards for LEFTI in 2020?
2020 is going to be a year loaded with collaborations and some other very exciting [productions] of my own. Collaborations with Mark Lower, Hoodboi, and N2N are on the way, and I am wrapping up something very special that I’m doing with Sleeping Bag Records.
Expect some more music with the amazing team over at Toolroom as well. With my release schedule pretty stacked, I’m really excited to focus on turning up my live touring profile. It’s time to hit the streets and I hope to see everyone’s beautiful faces when this pandemic is over and people are ready to party again.