Latmun spoke to James Bate about career beginnings, working with Green Velvet, Ibiza and much more ahead of his abundance of summer gigs.
Last updated: 18th Jul 2017. Originally published: 11th Jul 2017
Since finishing university, Joe Bradley, aka Latmun, has somewhat arisen to the very top echelon of contemporary house music production. The Nottingham-born DJ and producer has already released on some of the most recognised labels in the scene, particularly Green Velvet’s Relief which included chart-topping ‘Everybody’s Dancin’ plus a remix of the seminal classic ‘Flash’. Latmun’s recent rise should be admired, but it has not come without persistence.
First announcing himself as a resident at Nottingham club, Stealth, Latmun’s career truly progressed following the tech house release of ‘Def’ in 2016 on VIVa LIMITED. It was this EP where Latmun began to define his individualised sound, and subsequent productions have been known for their groove-laden basslines and intricate build-ups. This talent did not go unnoticed and significant support ensued.
His relationship with Detlef, both off and on the decks, has been pivotal to Bradley’s imminent success. The pair have a similar productive style and thoroughly enjoy mixing together, epitomised by their ‘must listen to’ mix from Lee Foss’ Repopulate Mars stage at BPM in January – they also played back-to-back at Green Velvet’s Relief. Likewise to Detlef, Velvet has been instrumental in Latmun’s career. The Chicago-based house and techno ambassador has regularly facilitated Latmun’s growth both as a DJ and producer, typified by inviting him on his US tour in April.
Unfortunately due to a number of visa-related issues in March, Latmun was unable to play at any of his own US tour dates, which made his appearance on Green Velvet’s tour the following month all the more special. Having extensively toured the UK clubbing circuit this year, Latmun is spending the majority of his summer on the White Isle gracing many of Ibiza’s best parties, along with some key gigs back on home soil. We caught up with him ahead of his upcoming events.
So, to start things off how did you first get into DJing? Was mixing something you did in your spare time at university, taking priority over studying, and do you think you’ll put your degree to use in the future?
Well, my first encounter with decks was actually prior to university, in my last year of post 16 (which is the year you turn 18 and first start partying every week) I was encouraged to take on a summer placement, where I had to work 9-5 and didn’t have as much time/energy to go out partying during that period.
It was a period where the music was really new to me so it felt extra exciting, I just couldn’t be away from it. I therefore decided to spend the money I was earning on the placement on some decks and a mixer to bring the party home.
I learnt to DJ from trial and error over the next few months and got friendly with some local promoters to land my first few sets. When I was at Loughborough I was playing weekly at Stealth in Nottingham, so I guess you could say I was more interested in that than the studying! I remember playing till 4am the night before an exam once, I felt like I had the devil on one shoulder telling me to do it and an angel on the other making me feel bad but I passed the exam in the end you may be pleased to know.
I did a year working as a project manager in London at GlaxoSmithKline as a result of my degree – which was Information Technology Management For Business. The marketing and some of the business elements that I learnt have actually come in useful for my DJ career so far but I will admit I hope I don’t have to put them to use as a project manager again.
Watching some of your videos on social media I recall you advising prospective DJs to slow down the BPM when producing beats to refine the bassline. Does this mean you personally prefer making tracks compared to mixing in front of a live audience, or vice versa?
I was a DJ before a producer, so my true love lies there. I didn’t like producing at first as I found it a very frustrating process and it took me a really long time to find my sound, longer than most. Now I have found a sound and can make tracks more efficiently as well as effectively get the ideas out of my head and into the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), I love the producing side just as much.
It was the fact that I couldn’t materialize my ideas for many years, as I wasn’t sure how to make certain sounds etc. that meant it took me a while to enjoy the producing. The tip you mentioned about slowing the BPM down when making music is one I use a lot so I will share it again here for any readers who missed it.
When refining the details in the bassline and drums/percussion I find it really effective to make more accurate fine tuning decisions of note placement and length if you slow the BPM down to around 100bpm. This means you can get a tighter final groove as its hard to hear the small details that affect it when its being played at 125bpm for example.
This year has witnessed you release EPs on some of the most recognised labels in tech house such as Green Velvet’s Relief and obviously Steve Lawler’s VIVa, therefore, does this year rank top in your DJing career?
I would definitely say so, many things have happened this year which were only distant dreams in my head until they materialised. The first of which to name was playing Paradise at DC10 this summer, that has been a dream for me for as long as I can remember and I didn’t stop smiling once throughout the whole of last week after playing. I also just completed a US tour with the ‘one and only’ Green Velvet who I can now actually call a friend which feels strange to say!
In previous interviews you have identified Green Velvet as one of your inspirations, how does it feel touring with him in the US following your nightmare-worthy visa issues? Have you played in the States before?
I’m glad you asked about this as I mentioned briefly above, but now you have given me the chance to go all out!
It was my first time properly playing in the States, so all the energy I have saved up over the last three years while waiting to be able to, I released on those 4 shows. Each one was a totally different vibe and all as amazing as the last, there were many after parties and not much sleep making for an amazing first tour in the US.
The final date was playing at a US festival called Mamby On The Beach, I’ve always wanted to play a US festival and that one was the perfect first time as it was Green Velvet’s home city, so amazing to be there with him! I also did a remix of a Simion & Roland Clark – 'Chicago', with lyrics about the music and city. I got to play that track at the festival in Chicago, which was a tick off my bucket list.
You’re beginning to truly fulfill the life of a jet-setting international artist. Do you enjoy travelling to new places and playing to new crowds, or do you still enjoy those home comforts?
I absolutely love the traveling, its one of the parts of the job I love most. Meeting the promoters from all over the world is amazing because they show you their city in a way that you wouldn’t be able to see it if you just visited as a tourist. They can show you their favorite bars/restaurants or take you to an after party at their friend’s house for example. It means you feel like one of the locals for the time you are in each place and I really love that experience.
Playing to different crowds around the world truly makes you a better DJ each time, every city has a slight niche of music that they particularly connect with, dependent on what nights are put on there, what the residents of the clubs have been playing and therefore exposing the party goers too etc.
Finding that niche and really clicking with the crowd in each place increases your versatility and abilities as a DJ. You discover tracks that you may not have thought would work before upon first listening at home, or new styles of playing on a certain kind of soundsystem/club. All this experience and knowledge you collect contributes to make you a better DJ, and the fact you are constantly learning is another part of the job I love as it could never get boring.
Ibiza is a destination you’re travelling to quite frequently this summer - playing at the coveted Paradise parties three times and as the lead resident at Do Not Sleep’s Cockoo Lands pool parties, what is so special about the White Isle?
I think what makes it so special is the fact that everyone is going there for the same fundamental reason – the love of the music. All the people traveling (including me) are so excited in the build up to their time there and they bring all this energy to the Island, where they release it while partying. This is why the vibe is always so amazing there and you can really feel it in the atmosphere.
One of the most amazing times of the day on the island is just as the sun goes down, you can literally feel the mood on the island change as everyone excitedly anticipates their nights ahead.
I also hear you have a release lined up on house-leading record label Hot Creations, is there any more information you can give to us about this EP?
I do indeed, it’s two tracks and it will be coming out at the start of October to close off my summer. I can’t give any information about the tracks at this point but if you are at one of mine or Jamie Jones’s sets over the next few months, listen out for any new tracks in my style and you may be able to guess.
Lastly, what is the best piece of advice you’d give to DJs wanting to make it ‘big’?
I think the best advice I was given and stuck to, was to not rush it. You simply can’t learn to make tracks overnight, and the time you spend finding your sound is critical. If you just try to emulate other peoples sound you will always be second in line and will only get so far in the industry despite how good the quality of your production is.
Having your own unique sound means that you can contribute to push the sound in the scene forwards and don’t have to worry about making things that sound like others. It will mean you can have a much longer, more rewarding career and stand out from the crowd.