Drew Lustman grew up in New Haven a bit of band geek, learning the ins and outs of a plethora of instruments. Since his interest in electronic music blossomed, that mix of curiosity and ability has served him well, allowing him to dabble aptly in a host of genres, many under the general umbrella of UK dance. But Lustman, releasing records as FaltyDL, is a New Yorker, and, as he points out, not necessarily restricted to the “dubstep” demarcation that originally followed his songs. He’s recently become an incredibly prolific producer and frequent DJ, one of the few in the states who seems to earn both the respect and interest of his UK and European peers. Because he’s just a subway ride away, we invited Lustman up to our office to talk about what he has coming up, how he got interested in producing and the necessity of place within music.
So you’re busy.
Planet Mu and I just did two 12-inches, one of them called “Phreqaflex” came out about a month and a half ago, it was like sort of my take on garage and 2-step and stuff like that. And I think that’s been pretty well received. My next 12-inch on Planet Mu “Endeavour” just came out. It’s like my take on house music, like really slow 110-112 BPM house music, that druggy slow sludgy house music. A bunch of remixes in the pipeline still coming out, one I did for Zed Bias, one I did for Gonjasufi at Warp that they pulled, but I got paid for it so that’s cool. Album for Planet Mu February-ish, 12-inch for SWAMP’81, Loefah’s label, called “Mean Streets.” I’m really excited about that, it’s one of my favorite tracks I’ve ever made. It’s a sort of slow burner, a real afrobeat tune.
Why is it, “It’s my take on this, my take on that,” instead of, “Here are some songs”?
I’m forced to think like that because I read so much genre-fication these days, so I think about like what is it, and I think I don’t have necessarily the courage to just say this is what I made, I feel like people want to put it in some sort of corner, so I say well this is what it’s like. It doesn’t even matter anymore. I just caught someone, this digital distribution company, selling my next 12-inch, this house one, saying it’s dubstep, and I’m like, It’s not even close. I understand if it’s relatively around the same tempo, or it has some similarities, but this just couldn’t be further from that. I have no problem with that, dubstep, at all, I love it. It’s just I feel like it’s kind of a joke at this point.
Dubstep is what you got lumped in with when I first started hearing your name, and I felt that was a fair enough demarcation.
Definitely. At the time I was making the tracks for that album, in 2007, 2008, dubstep was a lot different than what it has become now, or what people say it is now, so it sort of depends on when you hear it and when you’re comparing to what you think is dubstep. A lot of the artists that were releasing dubstep at the time I looked up to, and I still look up to, and I appreciate what they’re doing.
Why do you think there are so few successful dubstep producers in the US?
Dubstep is huge in the United States, but interestingly enough, since I’ve been lumped in with dubstep at this stage of my career, when I go play cities in the US now, if I’m lucky enough to headline, the openers are playing some pretty aggressive, tear-up dubstep, the chainsaw bass type stuff. And the crowd is loving it, so that’s great for them, that’s wonderful, but for me it’s like, okay you booked me to play this show and I’m assuming—or I’m hoping—you listened to at least a few tracks of what I’ve released to know that’s pretty far from what I do, I’m just a little confused of what it is you want me to be. At this point I can get away with it a little more, because I have a little bit more of a following in the states where I can do my own thing, but that was so terrifying the beginning, following some crazy tear-up dubstep set and starting it with, I don’t know, something chill. Digging myself a grave every set. I used to clear floors, but not so much anymore. That’s good.