Artist Interviews


L.A. StylezLA STYLEZ has been producing other artists for years, and finally stepped out on his own with The LA Style Project (Clay Records/Nippon TV Music Corp. Japan) ?a collaborative album recorded with some of the world's most famous and influential Dance, R&B and BigBeat artists and producers including Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), DJ Louie Vega and Kenny Dope (Masters at Work), Maysa Leak (Incognito) and diva Jocelyn Brown. LA STYLEZ offers a unique, new style that might best be described as "West Coast Nu-Yorican Soul" ?a sound that combines the atmosphere of 80's LA Funk and Soul with the cool of Electro and the beauty of Fusion in a contemporary blend of today's music.

What are your musical influences?

I appreciate all kinds of music, but my largest influences are Rock, Soul, Funk and Fusion -especially stuff from the latter half of the 70's to the mid-80's. Earth, Wind and Fire were a big influence, so getting to work with Maurice White on the LA Style Project was like a dream come true. My music definitely comes from my influences, but I also try to create a strong concept and stick to it through the whole project - I spend a lot of time choosing and creating sounds and that helps keep the sound consistent.

What is your musical background, and how did you come to play electronic keyboards and synthesizers?

I studied classical piano when I was child and when I was a high school student I bought my first synthesizer which was a Roland JUNO-6. After that I got into sampling with the Ensoniq EPS and never looked back - they had those great signature series sounds with Maurice White and Jeff Lorber. I started programming in the late 80's using an ATARI and Cubase, and after that I moved to the Mac with Cubase and PARIS. For the past couple of years I use a combination of PCs and Macs with Cubase and Logic. I still have a couple of older synths and samplers that I still keep around like the ASR's and the MS2000, but the Triton Extreme and Emulator X2 are my main instruments now.

What is it that attracts you to the E-MU products that you're using and what are some of the things they let you do that are unique?

Jocelyn Brown
Jocelyn Brown
I like to treat all my tracks like a remix, so I'm always sampling and resampling elements, even vocals. I started programming parts like I do with sounds while using the Ensoniq ASR's, and this approach gives me the flexibility to modify sounds in a way that a linear sequencer just doesn't let me do. I initially like to lay out the track in such a way that the vocalist can easily sing to it, but then start removing track elements and strip it back down. I'll sample the vocal performance, giving me much more flexibility in how I use the vocal. This approach lets me deconstruct and reconstruct the song in a way that would have been impossible for a singer to sing their original performance to. I had been trying out a lot of software instruments over the past few years, and was initially attracted to the Emulator X because of the outstanding sound quality, and the abundance and quality of the sound library. To me E-MU has always had an "American" sound ?fat, pumping and crystal clear. I'm a big fan of American cars and the sound kind of reminds me of a 300M with the big wheels! (laughs). Once I started to dig into it more, I found the filters and sampling features to be the best that I've ever used. The various sampling features in Emulator X really streamline the way I work, letting me quickly load samples get them onto the keyboard really fast. The “Synthswipe" feature is definitely unique and something I'm using more and more when making sounds. For imported audio, the "Beat Analysis" tool is very accurate and the time stretching is clean, so I can use my entire library of samples regardless of tempo.

I also like the Xboard 61 because its controllers are already mapped to all of the parameters in Emulator X, and the action feels like a real synth. It's also compact and fits in front of the computer monitors, which is important. I recently checked out the speakers as well. I was a little skeptical at first, but after I A/B'd them against my Fostex NF1A's, they won. Along with my Triton, the whole system sounds amazing and is so compact, I can work anywhere.

What are you looking forward to in 2007?

Louie Vega
Louie Vega
I think the next album will have a stronger electro flavor and a little more of an underground feel. I love collaborating with other artists so I'm really looking forward to that. I just want to create a sound that honors and extends the musical influences that I have received.

For more information on LA STYLEZ, visit him on the web:

Myspace(UK): click here
Myspace(JAPAN): click here