Striding into his third musical decade, Luke Solomon’s influence stretches far and wide across a scene that’s been embedded in his DNA since the early 90s. The rebirth of Classic Records in recent times has brought one of the UK’s most intriguing and respected artists to new audiences, ensuring his fingerprints remain indelibly imprinted on house music.
Classic’s reemergence has proven a musical renaissance for Solomon. While his DJing’s never taken a back seat – “I can be having the worst day, and then that moment that I go in to play music to a bunch of people, it just makes that all go away” – reviving the label in 2012 sowed the seeds for the emergence of his acclaimed second album, ‘Timelines’. It was a labour of love that highlighted the passion and positivity of an artist that invests much more than just studio hours in his records. Resident Advisor noted it “candidly advertises the joy Solomon takes in making music, a rumbunctious, far-reaching extension of his DJ sets, unshackled from the sonic confines of the club.”
Following its success, 2014 saw Classic embark on two new compilation projects: ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Through The Eyes Of’. The former gives Luke a chance to highlight what is still the bedrock of his career: being behind the turntables. A mixture of Classic and material external to the label, it’s Solomon distilling his wandering sets into 74 minutes. ‘Through The Eyes Of’ allows him to bring more heads to the crowded Classic Records table, embracing those artists they respect, and letting them create a mix in their own image. While in the same free-flowing vein as their previous compilations, it expands beyond the imprint’s own catalogue, “less Classic, more of a manifesto of stuff that’s ‘classic’ to us”.
Solomon’s certainly earned the lines around the eyes. His infamous 90s midweek London ‘Space’ parties at Bar Rhumba alongside Kenny Hawkes introduced him to Derrick Carter, with whom he’d go on to form their seminal Classic imprint. As Freaks, with Justin Harris, he’s tasted the dizzying delights and inevitable pitfalls of fame, but in many he’s ways still a throwback to the simpler days when people just played records. “I bear so much of my soul in my music, it’s such a personal thing for me.” Having first started while at Middlesex University at the start of the 90s, he now regularly graces global behemoths Panorama Bar, D-Edge and Fabric, but is just as likely to be found in boltholes in Sheffield, Portsmouth or at Dalston Superstore, where Classic hold an ad-hoc residency. It’s the one element of his career that’s no different from when he was a fresh-faced debutant, and one that gives him just as much pleasure: “just a good fucking mix, it’s one of these indescribable things”.
As a producer, his output spans the spectrum from warm, deep grooves to boisterous dark room techno, on famed labels Crosstown Rebels, Playhouse, Classic’s own expansive stable and Rekids, home to his first album, 2008’s The Difference Engine. His work with Justin Harris as Freaks has seen a prolific output on their eponymous imprint, with their single, ‘The Creeps’ catapulting them into the UK charts. 2014 saw appropriately a final Freaks album emerge, which saw the cherished project – “a whole story in itself” – come to a fitting end. As these chapters close, focus falls into what remains: fresh solo EPs – “just warm, straight up house music” –
Luke has recently just finished an album with his new band with Nick Maurer from Greenskeepers named “Powerdance.” Featuring a host of wonderful studio and live musicians including Al Doyle from Hot Chip, Terry grant, amongst others.
Luke also has new solo releases forthcoming on Optimo, Good For You, Futuireboogie, and Ultrammagnetique…and remixes coming on Crosstown Rebels amongst others..
And some new Freaks material on the horizon.