Nakagin (Hugh Luscombe to the ATO) is a beat producer from Sydney. Intertoto had a Facebook conversation with the lad. We discussed Dilla, acrostic poetry, warehouse vs. club gigs and other shit. Verdict: Good bloke.
How’s it going?
I’m good, how’re you?
I’m good, just finished work. I was thinking about what to ask you but I have only seen you play once. I dug it. You are very talented. Are you familiar with acrostic poems?
If you’re on your way home, I can wait for you to get there. I’m at home all night, I have an exam tomorrow
Can you make an acrostic poem out of the name Nakagin to describe your musical vision and worldview?
No it’s ok, I’ve been thinking about this interview all day. I don’t know when I’m going to be home.
Alright. Damn acrostic poems are hard for the letters in Nakagin. Does it have to be a sentence?
No. The only rule with the acrostic poem is it must be acrostic
Yeah cool, good poem. So what are you studying?
Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science, it’s like a horrible arts offshoot.
What is horrible about it?
It’s just badly organised. Not as much flexibility as I’d like and it has awful compulsory subjects
Does is motivate you to work on music more or are the two things completely separate?
Well up until this year they were but I did a subject called digital music techniques this semester. And for my last assignment I had to write an original piece of music and mix it. So I just wrote some new Nakagin stuff and handed it in.
How do you write generally?
Whenever I’m focused enough to sit down for a few hours I write some new stuff, which isn’t often. But generally I work with samples and put them through keyboards to get weird repitched kind of sounds. But I’m starting to incorporate a lot more live, self-recorded stuff, like percussion and glockenspiel. Also I got a moog recently, so there’s a bit more synth on the new stuff.
What got you into beat making? Was it hip hop or more idm (I hate that term…) artists who got you started?
I actually started making really bad ambient music on garageband. shoegaze and that sort of thing. but in year 12 I had been getting into various rap groups, Flying Lotus and J Dilla and so I guess my inclusion of beats was just sort of product of what I was listening to. But I first really got into the style of music I make when that Ghostly Swim compilation came out. It has some really great artists on it that I still listen to like Dabrye and Tycho.
What is your favourite era of Dilla’s career?
Oh, that’s hard man! I really like the stuff he made around the early 2000′s like Common’s The Light. I dunno, it’s all good ha-ha.
The good die young…I like ruff draft,it’s his rock album. Hilariously brilliant.
Yeah it’s good. People seem to be really into his big bass stuff which is cool. But I much prefer the chilled stuff. Like this:
It’s really repetitive cause it’s a rap beat but it’s such a nice jazzy loop. That being the really weird beats were completely ahead of their time and I like those a lot too.
Yeah that MPC3000 tape had loads of beats like this. There is so much gold on that I haven’t heard anyone use yet…
Yeah, all being held in the archives haha. I mean there have been plenty of bad attempts at posthumous releases with rappers that aren’t really doing him justice
So this show coming up…what’s the deal?
Do you mean the fundraiser at Red Rattler for Dirty Shirlows?
Well you know it’s an opportunity to support some great local venues and play with some lovely friends. So you know, I couldn’t say no. I hope everyone makes it down.
What’s your favourite Dirty Shirlows experience?
I haven’t actually been to a show there! So many times I’ve wanted to go to a show or been invited, I’ve had something on. I’ve seen many photos and it looks amazing though.
Yeah it’s a good place run by lovely people who simply believe in helping artists and bringing good music to people. That’s really nice I think.
What do you think of the warehouse scene in Sydney? Do you prefer those gigs to club gigs?
Whilst the sound isn’t always the best, the crowd is better almost every time in warehouse gigs. clubs can be a bit annoying, no one is really relaxed because of the whole “being seen” thing and drinks are expensive, so people rarely dance.
What’s your best story about a gig you have played?
Well a good story would be the time I supported Matthewdavid. He was a really awesome guy and gave a free tape!
But a bad story would be when I played goodgod once and some girl got on stage and started harassing me to play party tunes and then asked when I was getting off.
And I’d been playing for like 10 minutes haha.
Interview by Jasper Clifford-Smith