Since finishing university, Joe Bradley, aka Latmun, has somewhat arisen to the very top echelon of contemporary house music production. The Nottingham-born DJ and producer has already released on some of the most recognised labels in the scene, particularly Green Velvet’s Relief which included chart-topping ‘Everybody’s Dancin’ plus a remix of the seminal classic ‘Flash’. Latmun’s recent rise should be admired, but it has not come without persistence.
First announcing himself as a resident at Nottingham club, Stealth, Latmun’s career truly progressed following the tech house release of ‘Def’ in 2016 on VIVa LIMITED. It was this EP where Latmun began to define his individualised sound, and subsequent productions have been known for their groove-laden basslines and intricate build-ups. This talent did not go unnoticed and significant support ensued.
His relationship with Detlef, both off and on the decks, has been pivotal to Bradley’s imminent success. The pair have a similar productive style and thoroughly enjoy mixing together, epitomised by their ‘must listen to’ mix from Lee Foss’ Repopulate Mars stage at BPM in January – they also played back-to-back at Green Velvet’s Relief. Likewise to Detlef, Velvet has been instrumental in Latmun’s career. The Chicago-based house and techno ambassador has regularly facilitated Latmun’s growth both as a DJ and producer, typified by inviting him on his US tour in April.
Unfortunately due to a number of visa-related issues in March, Latmun was unable to play at any of his own US tour dates, which made his appearance on Green Velvet’s tour the following month all the more special. Having extensively toured the UK clubbing circuit this year, Latmun is spending the majority of his summer on the White Isle gracing many of Ibiza’s best parties, along with some key gigs back on home soil. We caught up with him ahead of his upcoming events.
What came first, DJing or Production?
I was very much a DJ first, I had been playing out in clubs for a few years before I even opened any DAW! Like many people I started producing to further my career and in the process grew to love the production side as much as the djing itself.
Being a DJ first definitely helped me as I knew exactly what I wanted to make from playing so much music out in clubs, this gave me direction from the start so it was then just a case of learning the software enough to be able to translate the ideas from my head.
What was your first DJ setup and how old where you when you started?
My first DJ set up was actually a relatively a modern day one, the first equipment I ever bought was a pair of Pioneer CDJ 1000’s, I had some mixer that I had already bought from eBay, just because I wanted one in my room as I thought it looked cool… haha, I’m not even sure it had a brand! I used that at first and then soon realised it was about as useful as a concrete parachute so bought a Pioneer DJM 800.
Watching some of your videos on social media I recall you advising prospective DJs to slow down the BPM when producing beats to refine the bassline. Does this mean you personally prefer making tracks compared to mixing in front of a live audience, or vice versa?
I was a DJ before a producer, so my true love lies there. I didn’t like producing at first as I found it a very frustrating process and it took me a really long time to find my sound, longer than most. Now I have found a sound and can make tracks more efficiently as well as effectively get the ideas out of my head and into the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), I love the producing side just as much.
It was the fact that I couldn’t materialize my ideas for many years, as I wasn’t sure how to make certain sounds etc. that meant it took me a while to enjoy the producing. The tip you mentioned about slowing the BPM down when making music is one I use a lot so I will share it again here for any readers who missed it.
When refining the details in the bassline and drums/percussion I find it really effective to make more accurate fine tuning decisions of note placement and length if you slow the BPM down to around 100bpm. This means you can get a tighter final groove as its hard to hear the small details that affect it when its being played at 125bpm for example.
Congratulations on your debut release ‘Footsteps’ on Hot Creations. Is this release something special to you?
The pleasure is mine, I’m a keen reader of Electronic Groove and your interviews have provided me inspiration at various points through my career so I’m happy to be speaking to you!
The release is very special as the tracks were creatively an achievement for me in my opinion, both being very different from each other and from other tracks I’ve produced in the past. To then have them signed to my number one dream label was an amazing feeling.
Many thanks! What was the inspiration to produce it?
The inspiration for the titular track – ‘Footsteps’, came from wanting to produce a piece of music that was focused on a vocal building throughout the track and that creating the main tension and hook for the dancefloor; while keeping a feeling of rolling throughout. This is in contrast to some of my past music being more synth-based and focused on the excitement of the drop. I wrote the track without the vocal first, when I came across the sample it fitted exactly what I wanted the track to sound like in my head, even though I didn’t know what I wanted the words to be at that point! We then found a great vocalist – Amy Douglas to put her own spin on it and then the final piece was born.
You collaborated with Amy Douglas on the vocals. How did you meet and what was the process to record the track?
Amy and I were connected via the Hot Creations labels manager, she has done a number of amazing singles over the past year most notably with Peach Melba, and came to work with me on ‘Footsteps’ fresh off a project with Luke Solomon. We did a lot of takes with the recording as we wanted it to be just right, Amy probably hated me a little bit by taking number 12, but it was worth it as I couldn’t be happier with the final piece.
In previous interviews you have identified Green Velvet as one of your inspirations, how does it feel touring with him in the US following your nightmare-worthy visa issues? Have you played in the States before?
I’m glad you asked about this as I mentioned briefly above, but now you have given me the chance to go all out!
It was my first time properly playing in the States, so all the energy I have saved up over the last three years while waiting to be able to, I released on those 4 shows. Each one was a totally different vibe and all as amazing as the last, there were many after parties and not much sleep making for an amazing first tour in the US.
The final date was playing at a US festival called Mamby On The Beach, I’ve always wanted to play a US festival and that one was the perfect first time as it was Green Velvet’s home city, so amazing to be there with him! I also did a remix of a Simion & Roland Clark – ‘Chicago’, with lyrics about the music and city. I got to play that track at the festival in Chicago, which was a tick off my bucket list.
Who else has helped to push you toward doing what you do, either in the past or more recently?
Detlef has also been a big inspiration to me, he is a great guy and I absolutely love everything he has released. Aside from other producers most of my inspiration for writing new tracks comes from nights out. You know the day after a big night when you can sort of remember a track but you can’t remember every detail? Well, those exact memories of certain sounds, and how the track made you feel, are what have inspired most of my tracks. I sit down and try to recreate what I think I heard (which is never anything like what it actually sounded like, ha ha) and then work with it until I have a track I’m happy with.
You’re beginning to truly fulfill the life of a jet-setting international artist. Do you enjoy travelling to new places and playing to new crowds, or do you still enjoy those home comforts?
I absolutely love the traveling, its one of the parts of the job I love most. Meeting the promoters from all over the world is amazing because they show you their city in a way that you wouldn’t be able to see it if you just visited as a tourist. They can show you their favorite bars/restaurants or take you to an after party at their friend’s house for example. It means you feel like one of the locals for the time you are in each place and I really love that experience.
Playing to different crowds around the world truly makes you a better DJ each time, every city has a slight niche of music that they particularly connect with, dependent on what nights are put on there, what the residents of the clubs have been playing and therefore exposing the party goers too etc.
Finding that niche and really clicking with the crowd in each place increases your versatility and abilities as a DJ. You discover tracks that you may not have thought would work before upon first listening at home, or new styles of playing on a certain kind of soundsystem/club. All this experience and knowledge you collect contributes to make you a better DJ, and the fact you are constantly learning is another part of the job I love as it could never get boring.