No-one could debate Luke Solomon’s dance music credentials. From setting up the seminal label Classic Recordings with Derrick Carter to taking quirky house to the UK Top 10 and international charts, with his band Freaks, to DJing around the globe and performing live, Luke has been there for many of the more interesting 4/4 moments of the last decade.
After kicking off his DJ career at Middlesex University in the early 90’s, it wasn’t long before Luke was moving in the upper reaches of house music. A gig with Derrick Carter led the two to become friends, after which Classic Recordings was born. For 9 years, the label introduced the world to the likes of DJ Sneak, Tiefschwarz, Isolee and Freeform 5 and garnered a cult following until distribution difficulties led to the last single issuing forth in 2006.
Running alongside this was the birth and growth of Freaks, the production team Luke started with Justin Harris in 1996. Under the Freaks moniker, Luke & Justin have turned out a slew of singles and longplayers on their own Music For Freaks imprint to include the albums, The Beat Diaries, Meanwhile Back At The Disco and The Man Who Lived Underground. These albums spawned some of Freaks seminal singles such as Turning Orange, Where Were You When The Lights Went Out and of course their huge underground hit, The Creeps. They have also found themselves remixing the likes of Alison Limerick, Pulp, Damon Alban, Kasabian, The Streets & Duran Duran.
After a bidding war between the majors for The Creeps, Ministry Of Sound snapped up the 4 year old track and released it into the mainstream with a new quirky vocal from Freaks singer Stella Attar. But as the dance puritans sharpened their claws, what does Luke have to say on achieving a No 9 UK chart hit and potentially being accused of “selling out” ?
“It was a weird one for me. When Ministry picked it up, we said fine but we want to write a new vocal for it which we did. Let’s face it you get bands like Groove Armada, Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx and it’s all credible music which hits the charts and the radiowaves. They all have their own take on what they do and it works and I don’t think there’s any reason why Freaks can’t do that aswell.”
However, besides having chart success throughout the world and running a successful label, Luke really feels like his own career is just beginning. As a solo artist he has had releases on a variety of labels to include the very respected Crosstown Rebels. His 1st artist album “The Difference Engine” was released in 2008 on Radio Slave’s much applauded Rekids label. A sprawling trip of an album, the 13 tracks span all manners of genre and moods with the dancefloor energy offset by an experimental ambience not normally associated with house. While Solomon productions of old were filled with an off kilter sense of fun, there is a serious side to “The Difference Engine” that belies the cheerful confidance of the man behind it. The personal feel of the album is further fuelled by the lyrical content and one of the standout moments is “The Darkest Secret”, a track featuring Earl Gateshead of Trojan Soundsystem and reminiscent of John Cooper Clark, the 70’s punk poet. For Luke, Earl was an obvious choice to work with as he filled the role of the poet perfectly, so they ended up writing the song together in an ice cream shop in Chalk Farm !
The Difference Engine received high praise amongst the UK’s music journalists and saw The Guardian featuring the album in it’s revered review section.
“The Difference Engine finds Solomon indulging his passion for acid house, detroit techno and post-punk without ever being in thrall to them. It is a relaxed, loose limbed affair, inventive and astonishingly hooky, at times reminiscent of a less mannered, less middle-aged LCD Soundsystem.” Alex Macpherson
This album led Luke to team up with Damian Lazarus on his own artist album and Luke co-wrote and co-produced a selection of tracks for the longplayer, working alongside the highly talented Arthur Jeffes, son of Simon Jeffes from the hugely influential, The Penguin Café Orchestra. The album entitled, “Smoke The Monster Out” has since been released worldwide via Get Physical Records, based in Berlin, and as Dazed and Confused noted “It is a truly inventive, deviant and uncompromising” piece of work.
But what does the future hold for Mr Solomon. Well besides continuing to travel around the world to DJ (playing the likes of Panama Bar, Berlin, Fabric, London, Moxa Club, Italy, Zukunft, Switzerland, D-Edge, Brazil) releasing new material from Freaks on Rebirth Records, creating a new club moniker, Lukatron which will see it’s first release on Quintessential and continuing to remix under Luke Solomon and Freaks guises, Luke has also just finished recording his 2nd artist album “ Timelines” which features the likes of Jon Marsh from The Beloved, Tiger,Tiger & Natalie Broomes on vocals.
So whether it’s a second coming or not, one things for sure, Luke’s credentials are most certainly not to be argued with.