Luke Slater reanimates his L.B. Dub Corp alias for a dynamic, vocal-led ode to the club featuring Robert Owens, Paul St. Hilaire, Miss Kittin and more. + Interview

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Luke Slater’s L.B. Dub Corp Returns with ‘Saturn to Home’: A Dynamic Ode to the Club Featuring Robert Owens, Paul St. Hilaire, Miss Kittin, and More
Luke Slater’s musical journey spans over 30 years, exploring various genres and styles within electronic music. From the atmospheric techno of The 7th Plain to the pioneering machine funk of Planetary Assault Systems, Slater has made significant contributions to the electronic music landscape. His L.B. Dub Corp alias, introduced in 2006, offers a more eclectic and loose approach to club music compared to his other projects.

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With his latest album, marking his debut on Dekmantel, Slater aims to pay homage to the cultural influences that shaped his musical trajectory. Drawing inspiration from his earliest memories of listening to beats in his father’s jazz and funk records, Slater incorporates live drumming for the first time on “Saturn to Home.” This album reflects Slater’s continuous exploration as an artist and his enduring passion for music, showcasing a diverse range of styles from house to dub, all intricately connected to his artistic evolution.
Since his inception as a DJ, Luke Slater has been on a continuous journey of musical exploration, delving into various sources of inspiration that have shaped his sound into one of the most enduring contributions to electronic music over the past thirty years. From the ethereal landscapes of ambient techno with The 7th Plain to the groundbreaking rhythms of machine funk embodied in Planetary Assault Systems, Slater has consistently pushed boundaries and gifted the world with his sonic creations.
In 2006, Slater unveiled yet another facet of his musical persona with the emergence of his L.B. Dub Corp alias. Unlike the formidable, industrial energy of Planetary Assault Systems, L.B. Dub Corp offers a more laid-back, groove-oriented approach to club music. Whether infusing plenty of elements or exploring dub influences, this alter ego remains into Slater’s artistic narrative, reflecting his evolution as both an artist and a passionate music aficionado.
Hello Luke, how are you? What brought you back to L. B . Dub Corp after 5 years?
Im great thanks.
Even though Planetary Assault Systems has become the world touring big event pseudonym I go under in the techno world I always have tentacles out for my other projects,, waiting in the background ready to be set free again when the time is right. I write a lot, always have, ideas for projects often start a year or two before I start writing and I have a good sense or feeling wether working on a certain project makes sense at any given time, because I rely purely on wether I feel inspired to go into the studio and write the music. If it doesn’t feel right then I don’t do it, doesn’t make sense, that would be lying. I always had a new L.B.Dub Corp album on the cards but was waiting for the life sync. After touring PAS live and doing about 11 remixes, L.B .Dub Corp demanded attention and serious attention. I didn’t feel a new L.B.Dub Corp album could just be a straight electronic album, I felt it demanded going a lot further into the zone, the rabbit hole of ideas and possibilities
What led you to choose these artists as vocalists for this album?
To a degree, the album is quite traditional in that it has live drums I played, vocals, and some song structure all based in club music and rhythm. 
The rhythm side was my main drive and capturing the right rhythms was the heart of it, the right feel, I was a kid drummer before electronic music and really wanted to bring in some of that imperfect vibe of rhythm that just makes it so soul diving in us humans. In a way, most of my stuff is rhythm led. I love rhythm. On the other hand it’s quite untraditional in terms of where the formulas for electronic music might be at. I certainly wanted to break a few rules for the right reasons.The album is part homage to the early house music creators like Larry Heard and Robert Owens, and original dub maestros like King Tubby. As well as bringing in my past even before I was making records or DJing. A lot of influences from Dub, new wave, jazz too which I grew up around. I wanted to reach out to some vocalists primarily that were related to the music history I come from, especially around early house music and dub. Then the  underground club scene. I knew I wanted vocals on the album but I didn’t want to go down the usual dance music route of sampling a couple of lines and adding them as extras. I wanted to use vocals as a main attraction to the track, I worked with Benjamin Zephaniah in the past on one track “I have a dream“ with his poem “I have a scheme” and wanted to grow that idea with this album. My first stop was tracking down Robert who for me is the house music vocals Icon, a legend, we worked on “You got me”. Robert really went to town, we had around 15 tracks of vocal layers on that one. 
Each vocalist came about in a different way, Paul St. Hilaire just jammed over one of my old tracks, and it sounded like it should have always been like that. So I didn’t change a thing.  With Caroline, Kittin, we were hanging out at a gig and I happened to be stuck finding vocals for Saturn to Home, I said, I got this new track, its really not what you might expect but I know its for you, she loved the idea. Alex from Baal and Mortimer came at me out of the blue and I really loved her ad-libbing style, reminded me of the Cocteau Twins of which I’ve always been a fan so we worked on Golden Star.  Dealing with the vocals I kinda put on a more producer hat, and stepped back a little,  in that I wanted the vocals to be the main thing that directed the direction of the tracks. With the single Only the Good Times, I had to reach out to my music pal Burial to do a remix, it was written in the stars for that to happen.
It’s the first appearance on Dekmantel, could you tell us the story behind that? Will you be performing with them as well?
Yeah well I’ve played their festival numerous times over the years, there’s been a couple of PAS live gigs we did that quite honestly are imprinted in my memory as total highs of tours, amazing times. I remember one of the shows we got stuck on a train heading to play there, and had 20 minutes to set up and go! . Turned out one of the most amazing sets we did then. Sometimes up against things brings the best out. The festival itself has always been very creative thinking with bringing in new artists too, the event always has the right vibes. I think about 5 -7 years ago Dekmantel mentioned about L.B.Dub Corp and doing an album , but it wasn’t the right time then as other things were rolling but things really synced naturally to work on and release this album.  I’m doing a special LB Dub Corp performance there this year with Robert Owens and really looking forward to that.
We’re here to premiere a track called “Only the Good Times.” Could you tell us about the production process?
This track is to the heart. The original Dutch sample I grabbed from a street Preacher in Central Eindhoven named Arnol Kox. He was a bit of a celebrity  In Eindhoven and for most of his life sat in his wheelchair broadcasting his lines with conviction to all. When you do that you gotta take the rough with the smooth, it’s not online, nowhere to hide, I admire that .
Anyway by the time I caught up with him he wasn’t in the best of health and had his repertoire down to one important line  ‘only the good times’.  I recorded him on my phone with thought of making a track around it later. In that time period, Arnol died and the process became a lot more thoughtful and reflective, sensitive…  The track came out so emotional I shed a tear to it, it’s such a good message and so life-affirming. 
In the studio I wanted to keep things raw and real, not too polished, honest, and almost vibing off of some of the early UK breakbeat ways of working, I used an Isla Sampler to make the beat with some raw drum sounds sampled down, the strings are mostly samples I’ve manipulated with added analogue strings on top, the bass I think came from my old Korg Monopoly which has been used a lot in my tracks over the years. I wanted to try and grab that raw passion in the track , to the heart but also a kind of innocence to it. In a way the process was similar to when I made the track Love in 1996, that kind of thought process. I’d rather make a track that speaks with less polish than an over-polished thought out track that has the soul sucked out of it. And this one is all about the soul.
What are the future plans for your other (many) aliases?
There are a couple of new PAS 12’ and projects on their way, some special ideas going on through the year, and actually some far-reaching plans for Luke Slater and 7th Plain productions down the line. I’ll see which one shouts the loudest.

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