Roots & Influences Mix Series: Llorca (Art of Tones)

Introducing the Roots & Influences series; a mix showcasing the music driving and inspiring some of Melodic Distraction’s favourite artists and DJ’s. In this edition we showcase the talents of French producer Llorca also known for his dance music creations under the alias Art Of Tones… 

With over 25 releases since his first record came out in 1995, it’s fair to say that Ludovic Llorca is no stranger to dance music. The Frenchman is behind a myriad of high-grade releases under his Llorca alias, with 9 singles and an LP dropping on Laurent Garnier’s F Communications. Using his more recent Art of Tones moniker, the producer has taken a more club-oriented approach, with releases on 20:20 Vision and Local Talk Records. However, we are happy to hear that he  is preparing to drop ‘The Garden’ on April 7th under the more improvisational title of Llorca.  The first new Llorca material in 15 years, the album will be released on Must Have, a sub-label of Membran.

In his Roots & Influences mix, Llorca takes us through tracks that have impacted and informed his development as a musician. From Public Enemy to Kevin Saunderson, Llorca demonstrates his broad taste and provides an insight into the diversity that influences his productions today. To accompany the Roots & Influences mix, we spoke to him about the new album release and his musical upbringing.

The last Llorca record was released in 2001 and, whilst producing a continuous stream of club releases as Art Of Tones in the meantime, it felt like his primary alias had been put to one side. However, it was simply a matter of patience. “I had this Llorca album on my mind for years. I knew where I wanted to go with it, the vision was clear.” It’s clearly important that everything was done properly, and with his Art of Tones releases, it meant that he was in no rush to fire things out.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to release very different styles of music under a single moniker, and I don’t want these tracks to be some kind of shot in the dark… I guess when you’re doing it alone, making an album from A to Z is very long, hard work. Especially if you want to master every stage of the process. Then you have to find the right label, wisely choose a mastering engineer… Being a composer is one thing but producing your own album is something else entirely!” This ear for detail is evident in all of his productions.

Throughout the Roots & Influences mix, inspiration integral to his music career can be heard: “When I was very young, I was a big Elvis Presley fan. I don’t remember exactly where it came from but I remember asking my parents to buy some more for me.” This passion for records grew as he did: “My friend David Duriez and I were trying to promote parties when we were teenagers. We used to go to Paris and listen to “Radio FG” or “Nova” in the car. We would  go to record stores, buy a load of tunes and then head home”. Llorca would often return to Saint Quentin with a stack of new record that were simply unattainable in his quaint home town.

“My father bought one of the first home computers when I was 8 or 9. That was the first time I heard a computer playing music.” Songs such as Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ and Jens Christian Huus’ C64 compositions had a lasting effect on him. “That’s what I wanted to do with my life; to make music. I didn’t know how and I wasn’t aware of the challenge at the time, but I started composing computer music anyway.” This fascination with ‘computer’ music clearly influenced his earliest Llorca releases, with Llorca citing DJ Pierre and Hardfloor as significant in his understanding of house and techno.

However, there really is a plethora of styles which influenced the Frenchman. “I grew up listening to funk and soul music, because that’s what my mother was listening to at home. On TV, you can hear some incredible Herbie Hancock influences. I still have vibrant memories of Captain Future’s soundtrack and I remember being scared and amazed by it as a kid. I guess these early influences really shaped my ear and played a big role in the music I compose today.” The preview of his new album does highlight these influences, as he prepares a live show to accompany the Llorca album launch.

As far as his ‘Art Of Tones’ alias goes, Llorca hinted at a number of remixes, including one for Nickodemus’ new album. Additionally, we can expect another album release at some point in the future, likely on Local Talk. As with ‘The Garden’, he will be taking his time on that one. “I want to listen to my tracks in 10 years and still be able to enjoy them.” Don’t fret though, you can expect an exclusive Art Of Tones track on Local Talk’s 5 year anniversary compilation this year. It’s clear the man does not worry about pushing releases out, as long as they are done correctly. By allowing his productions to come around organically, it provides a longevity and freshness to each new release. “I’m realising that it’s hard to focus solely on club oriented music. You don’t always choose where inspiration can lead you.”