Fiction Lab Austarlia LABCAST 07 - Luke Stein

by Isabel Thomson Officer

Since jumping behind the decks back in 2001, Luke Stein has firmly established himself as an ever-evolving producer and music lover. A staple of the Melbourne underground scene and a long-time resident at Revolver Upstairs, Luke Stein has shared the decks with some of the industries biggest and most impressive mainstays including DVS1, Dixon, Moodymann and John Collins.

So where can you find Luke outside Revolver? You can catch him at any one of these Melbourne venues including My Aeon, New Guernica, and The Mercat. Luke has also previously made guest appearances at Tokyo’s Tusk Bar and at renowned party brand Circoloco during their tour Down Under.

Forever eager to expand his musical horizons, Luke has now added two side projects to his repertoire. Taking his DJ sets to the next level, he has introduced a modular and TR909 to his live setup allowing for improvised performances.

His new live modular project alongside Alexander Nettelbeck on keyboard has been well-received, delivering a future jazz sound while combining his love of house and techno. Eager to pass along his knowledge and share his passion for collecting vintage synths, Luke also hosts modular synthesizer workshops across Melbourne for aspiring producers.

A strong supporter of Melbourne’s burgeoning talent, we were stoked to have Luke put together a mix that puts Melbourne producers front and center. Also when Mike Callander tells us to check someone out, we drop everything and listen.

Fiction Lab caught up with Luke Stein to chat about his music career to date, what’s happening with the Melbourne sound and why he’s expanding from Djing into live performance.

What inspired you to become a DJ/producer when you got started in 2001?
It was by accident really. I was collecting records from a young age and a guy that managed the record store where I would shop asked if I was a DJ. I had no experience but I told him yes so he booked me for a gig at a club he also managed. After that gig they gave me a residency and I’ve never looked back.

Any releases in the pipeline for 2018 that you can share with us?
I’m still finding out what I would like to put forward as my music before I put my name to it. I might do an alter ego if I do so we will see.

You’ve supported big names in the underground scene like KiNK and Dixon, what was it like playing alongside those guys?
KiNK is a friend and a huge influence of mine so it’s always a pleasure to catch up with him when he is in town. As for the likes of Dixon, well you know the crowd is always going to be on point with his name on the bill.

Most memorable moment of your career to date?
This is a hard one as I don’t take any of it too seriously. I guess though it would have to be the first time I played live at Section 8 for the Autosea crew. I wasn’t booked to play live but I asked them about an hour before my set if I could play live and they were down with it. The crowd had such a great vibe that day so it was a really good feeling to play to them.

Tell us about the Melbourne underground scene. Who’s really coming up and doing something different? (could be promoters/clubs, DJs, producers)
I wouldn’t say these artists are ‘coming up’ as they have already cemented their feet in the industry, but they are who I really think deserve a mention.
To kick of my list I would have to say ACM. Andy’s always evolving his live shows and he really pushes the boundaries every time he plays.
Another name to add would be Mike Callander. This man does so much work in and behind the scenes and a lot of it goes unnoticed - I think everyone can learn a few things from Mike.
As for promoters I would have to give a shout out to Stable Music. They are always pushing the local artists and coming up with new and exciting concepts and they make you follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with new shows. Some other honorable mentions would be Louay, Honeysmack and Sly Faux. These guys are all doing amazing work.

What can we expect from you during one of your live shows?
I have two different live shows at the moment and both are always fully improvised so nothing is planned - I feel that keeps me on edge with the crowd and I can move with them. My solo show is more club based moving around house, acid and maybe touching on some techno at times. I try to keep my set up small using a modular synth, TR-909 and a looper. 
Then I have a duo with Alexander Nettelbeck on Rhodes piano as well as using drum machines and modular. I love this as it flows in and out of improvised jazz moving into house and acid. I really want to head more down this path with my music and involve more musicians, so if anyone on cello or harp wants to be involved, please get in touch!

Tell us about this exclusive mix you put together (vibe, inspiration, crowd if there was one, artists/labels featured)
With this mix I really wanted to show what music my friends have been producing here in Melbourne and just how much talent we have coming from this tight community.

Track list:
Avery Kempken – Luft
Sleep D – Mustard
Jani Ho – Coburg Hmmm Song
Tornado Wallace – Twirl & The Beanstalk
Jani Ho – Bell Street
Chiara Kickdrum – Moebius
Vohkinne – Device One
H4L – Sahara Pump Theory
Louay – Dark Matter
Sly Faux – Violence Is Too Damn Hard
Joey Sarantis – Wishful Tip