Web of Intrigue

Interview by Charlene Chan
Photography by Matin Latif

Contrary to the title of his debut album Recluse, Louis—better known these days by his stage name Intriguant—comes across as an exceedingly personable character. When I congratulate him on the launch, he is quick to express gratitude; when I ask for clarification on his responses, he is happy to elaborate. His music, whether live or on record, comes across as honest, harbouring no trace of the type of person Louis might have named his album after.

Recluse, in fact, has been a long time coming. Having first presented a preview at the start of 2016, it’s only now, a year later, that Louis has chosen to present his album in full. The record, with its soul, electronica and hip hop influences, is strangely introspective, and flows from one track to the next almost intuitively—a by-product of his time as a DJ and turntablist. He takes some time off the promotion of the album to speak about the events that have led to the creation of Recluse.

Hi Louis, congrats on the album! How did you go from being a DJ and turntablist to launching your own album?

Thank you! I’m glad you like it. I guess it came along organically; I wanted to express myself through sounds, and the laptop was the optimal tool. Being a DJ was an additional skill I had, and I was open to the knowledge of [new ways of making] music. Turntablism and music production kind of belonged to two ends of the musical spectrum when I was first introduced to them, and I still love both music forms. I’m glad that both of them played their part in my growth as an artist.

Did that progression come quite naturally for you? What triggered it?

It was mainly the music that I was listening to that triggered it. There were two significant records that inspired me and got the ball rolling. Blockhead’s Music by Cavelight was the album that opened my eyes to another side of hip hop that you don’t usually get on the radio. It made me dig deeper into the history of hip hop, which led to funk and soul, and it made me fall in love with hip hop again.

Amon Tobin’s Foley Room is an album that was made entirely from recorded sound, and it totally blew my mind. It showed me the possibilities that could come with the experimentation of any sound. It definitely broadened my knowledge of making music.

How has your experience as a DJ/turntablist informed the way you make music now?

It teaches you how to count, haha. DJ-ing is all about counting the bars and beats, and how you transition from one song to another. With these, it helps you to understand a little bit about the structure and form of a song. It gives you a better idea of how to build a song from scratch.

Read more in The U Press N˚15 (Singapore edition).