INTERVIEW: NYC genre-bending studio wiz Les Techno

Hi Les, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

>>Thanks for inviting me on.  I’ve been healthy, keeping my distance. But I am feeling disturbed by seeing ongoing police brutality, especially its repeated use on young black men and women. People are rightfully outraged.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “What Ya Done“?

>> Happy to. I like how it turned out.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

>>I was reading about one of these silicon valley billionaires, talking about their escape jet, always on the tarmac, ready to go, to fly them off to their hideaway in New Zealand if there was revolution in the streets. That was their “solution”.   I thought the entire notion ridiculous in several ways, you know ? Like, why not spend all that money fixing the situation rather than running away from it, and further, if the situation really got out of hand, a zombie apocalypse kind of thing,  the pilot is simply going to fly off without the billionaire anyway, right ? Recently I read that one of these guys got to his fort in New Zealand to escape COVID-19, and couldn’t open the door-hatch to get in.  He had to call the company  back in California for instructions.  Its all such silly, conspicuous consumption.  Too bad the song was done already—I would have tossed that into the mix.   

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

>>Well yes, a basic video we will be dropping shortly.

The single comes off your new album Flowers For  Dystopia – what’s the story behind the title?

>> It popped into my head somehow. Although the English professors tell me that flowers are a symbol often paired with dystopia.  But for me, the title is about how messed up the world is, yet the flowers are hope.  Or are they?  Flowers are delivered to the sick person, right ?  Maybe it’s the end: the funeral for the dystopia.   It’s a mix, I guess.

How was the recording and writing process?

>>For the Flowers song, it was really quick, like something bubbling up from the subconscious.  I heard all the parts in a dream and woke up and recorded it. There was a bit of  that across  the whole  album. And some experimentation and serendipity. Of course some musical ideas were tossed to the side of the road, as it were.

What role does NYC play in your music?

>>The people, the scenes, the dynamism of the place is a great source of ideas. The song “Come Along” is something I’ve seen along the way in NYC.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

>>A lot of it is social and political things. “Flowers for Dystopia” is a reaction to the COVID-19 lockdown. NYC was the epicenter of the epidemic. We talked about “What ya Done.”  The Neo Nazis marching in Charlottesville were the thing that got “Where were You?” going. “Come Along” cane together when I was thinking about this amusing social scene, quite typical in “New York City office culture”, as it is called. Its delivered in first person—to make it funny, in a snarky kinda way.. I remember looking up and thinking, wow, “two long legs perched on impossible heels.”  I wrote it down and it ended up in the song.  The song “Eye on You”, is about surveillance, as in everybody  does it now.

Any plans to hit the road?

>>Well, the live act was being rehearsed, we had some showcases lined up in NYC, but when COVID-19 hit, no more rehearsals, and the gigs were cancelled by the venues. So, like a lot of musicians, its a wait and see situation.

What else is happening next in Les Techno’s world?

>>I just finished making a quick home-video live performance. That was fun. Me, the guitar and an analog tape-loop, all going straight to 2 track.  Its raw with some guitar shredding on it. I don’t have a link for it yet.

Also,   I just released on the DL a dance remix of the single Flowers for Dystopia.  Its sort of a dubby treatment of the material. You can find it here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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