Originally published on So So Gay on 23 June 2015.
Last month, London producer Lóbo released his second EP, two.two., as a free download from his SoundCloud page. With its feelgood summery vibes, we were instantly hooked and decided to track down the talented young man behind the music, and find out a little bit more about him.
So So Gay: To new listeners, how would you describe your sound?
Lóbo: I’m not really good at categorising my own sound, to be honest with you, but I do feel that I’m influenced by soul, funk, jazz, and electronic sounds.
Your music seems to be generally marked by a cheerful tone – is this intentional? Do you naturally gravitate toward this sort of music when you’re the listener?
I don’t think it’s really intentional, it just seems to come out like that [laughs] which isn’t a bad thing, I suppose! I like to listen to quite a lot of styles of music; I find that my general emotional mood dictates the type of music that I decide to put on.
What is the inspiration behind your latest EP’s title, two.two.?
A lot happened in my personal life when I was 22, and this was the age when I produced this EP. I also started noticing synchronicities and seeing the number 222 everywhere. I know this may sound unusual, but a Google search of ‘I keep seeing 222’ brings up about 42 million results; so, I’m not the only one! It seems a lot of people worldwide are experiencing this phenomena. Finally, when you flip the first ‘2’ in 22, the shape formed is a love heart, which I thought was pretty cool.
Both of your EPs feature family photos of you as a child with your parents; were they important in your decision to pursue music?
My decision to pursue music as a career was a very personal one, but looking back, I guess my parents always encouraged me because I think they knew that from a young age I loved music. Also, my dad is crazy about music; he loves all musical genres. My parents told me that when I was younger, my dad used to put me to sleep with reggae music!
That reggae sound obviously had an impact, as you can definitely hear it in your music. Your name, on the other hand, ‘Lóbo’ alludes to your Portuguese heritage; has this also been influential in the development of your sound?
Actually, only one of my great grandparents was Portuguese, but the surname stuck through the generations! My mum is English and is from Birmingham, my dad is Kenyan Goan Portuguese and came to England when he was 18. I’d say that it was my Dad’s music collection that I listened to when I was a young kid and which most influenced the shaping of my sound. I never really started discovering music for myself until I had my own laptop and access to YouTube. Before then, the music I had been mainly exposed to was old school Motown, soul, reggae and jazz! And some crazy Goan sounds too!
My biggest musical influences – I’m going to name three! [laughs] – are Bob Marley, FKJ and Stevie Wonder.
You’ve spoken before about the importance of music giving artists a voice; what are you hoping to convey with your music?
As a producer, I think it’s more a case of using the music to gain a voice in the world, rather than using the music as a voice? I guess it’s because as a producer, you don’t have the option of writing lyrics to go with the music – unless you were to work with a singer with conscious wordplay.
There is some lyrical content to your songs, though; have you allowed the vocalists you’ve collaborated with to compose their own words? How did you choose/find your singers?
That’s true, I actually create the lyrics using chopped samples, but I guess it’s very limiting in comparison to being able to write the lyrics from scratch and working with a singer! Interestingly, the track I worked on with RIVRS – one of whom is an old school friend – started off as a remix track for their single, and in the end we decided we would release it as a single, so in that instance I was working with lyrics that were already written.
Speaking of which, alongside your EPs you’ve also remixed a few well-known tracks; how did you go about choosing your remix subjects? Have you got any new remixes in the pipeline?
Quite often I find myself wanting to remix a track because I like the vocal tone and melodic lines of the singer: I like to play around with the voice and really treat it like a musical instrument! I have a few ideas for new remixes and plan to drop one before summer’s out