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Luca Musto – groove architect of the underground

  • Laura
  • 5 June 2024
Luca Musto – groove architect of the underground

In the ever-evolving landscape of electronic music, few artists manage to stand out as distinctly as Luca Musto. An enthusiast of soul, jazz, and blues, Musto’s unique take on 'slow-house' is a breath of fresh air. His music, characterized by grooving beats and hypnotizing melodies, invites listeners into a world where they can lay back, relax, and dance—all at once. This paradox perfectly encapsulates the complexity and richness of Musto’s sound.

With Italian roots deeply embedded in his musical identity, Musto crafts cozy, grounded atmospheres that feel both familiar and innovative. Unlike many of his peers who rely on established formulas, Musto thrives on originality. From his creative haven in the vibrant underground of Berlin, he infuses the city’s eclectic musical essence with his own artistic nuances. The result is a symphony of impressions that merge the resilience of modernity with the authenticity of timeless influences.

Musto’s catalogue is a testament to his ability to blend the preferences of our generation with subtle sophistication. Each track feels like a masterclass in electronic music, reflecting his deep appreciation for creative sampling and the merging of diverse influences. Fans of his work often find themselves drawn to the familiarity and expertise that underpin his music.

With every new release, it becomes clear that Luca Musto does not rest on his laurels. Instead, he views his undeniable talent as a foundation for ever-higher aspirations. As he continues to push the boundaries of electronic music, Musto's journey is one that promises to captivate and inspire, leaving an indelible mark on the genre.

Your music is often described as a fusion of soul, jazz, blues, and electronic elements. How did you come to develop this unique blend of genres, and what draws you to these particular influences?

Thanks for having me here! Yeah, I’d say that comes from my roots growing up, pretty much listening to all kinds of genres really. From old Italian folk records to Carlos Santana or The Offspring. I personally find something likable in almost every style of music, so it comes only natural to me finding my own spin to things and get influenced. And it’s my favorite part when I fuse and blend genre ideas and concepts into each other to be honest, it’s a whole new creative ballpark where I like to play around and experiment.

Your upcoming studio LP, "Old Habits Die Hard," is highly anticipated. Can you give us some insights into the creative process behind this album and what listeners can expect from it?

I definitely had a different approach on this new one as I recorded lots of parts and additional lines with a few full time musicians. We had the amazingly equipped Brewery Studios in Berlin rented and ready to hop on some sketches of mine in the summer of last year.

I paid tribute to my hip-hop roots on my first album, this one feels more like a blueprint to my evolution towards and blending into electronic music - specifically Downtempo and House. Which, to me, was always interesting because of its bpm and vibe, which often reminded me of classic boom-bap hip-hop. This album now feels like the real me, ready to present some upgrades groove galore but still keeping it true to my sound.

Berlin is renowned for its diverse and vibrant music scene. How has living in this city influenced your sound and artistic vision?

It’s indeed a crazy influential place and you cross paths with other musicians and creatives a lot ending up doing projects together, which keeps things exciting and fresh. There’s so much to see and discover in those backyards, the hidden studio places and little communities everywhere, where bands and artists connect. But it’s also a reality check day after day, the struggle is getting real for musicians over here and you can see and feel it, sometimes it’s hard to follow the fast changes here.

But in terms of input and inspiration for my music, it’s definitely the people for me. The way Berliners view things, talk and just do their thing in every day life is unique and even somewhat entertaining. That got me hooked quite a few times finding the right concepts or stories I want to share, because they’re literally taking place just around me. You just need to listen carefully.

Your music has been praised for its ability to evoke both relaxation and danceability. How do you strike a balance between creating laid-back atmospheres and infectious grooves in your tracks?

That’s somehow true and also a real balance act sometimes. I’m just a laid back person and enjoy grounding and honest music in general. But then I got strongly influenced by dance music, especially Techno and Chicago House from the early 00’s mainly through friends that became DJs early on.

I’m glad that I could try out and produce various styles and genres in my earlier projects, I can just feel when something isn’t working as good and in most cases I will overwork it just until it does. I often find myself changing the tone of a sketch various times completely in order to find the right vibe. It’s a process.

For me, it’s what happened between the beats also, the tiny spaces and accents between the kicks. I try to find special sounds and methods to fill the gaps, until I get myself head nodding to the track. Maybe shaking them hips a little. That’s when I know it’s on a good way.

Collaboration often plays a significant role in the music industry. Are there any artists or producers you've particularly enjoyed collaborating with, and how do these collaborations enhance your creative process?

Oh absolutely and I feel like it’s the new era of collaboration we’re currently living in. I mean, my all time buddies Coss and iorie are good friends and making music with them is always mad fun. We collaborated in almost every constellation and on several labels like Serafin Audio, Metanoia or The Magic Movement and there were always little working techniques shared, evolving into new methods and styles for me.

But my latest collaboration with Cologne-based musician Child May elevated things to another level, as he’s just as detail oriented and as I am so we took our time to perfect the beats and arrangements until the very last percussion sound. For real. Our whole “Trinkets” EP lifted my imagination regarding melody lines and structures when it comes to song writing in general, which I only now translate more and more into electronic music as for new, interesting structures.

Also, for my new record I realized again, how there’s always something to learn from full time musicians of course and especially as producer I think it’s important to develop constantly.

"Excuse Me" is the first single off your upcoming album. What inspired this track, and how does it set the tone for the rest of the album?

As a matter of fact it’s the first track on the record and starts just where my first album ended pretty much - my roots in Hip-Hop. But interestingly enough, this first single is very different from all other songs on this album, so it’s not really setting any tone for it. As for the vinyl edition of “Old Habits Die Hard”, we even have the dub version of “Excuse Me” only on the record; without vocals, so it probably only sets the tone being more instrumental based and back to my origins. It feels like an elevated version of myself paying tribute to my music roots and influence. Talking about influence, the song “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem and Dr. Dre for instance had a major impact on me ever since and until this day and also for “Excuse Me”. The idea’s of having songs that feel like a movie or tv-show is what I’m aiming at. The music video to this song says it all I think.

As an artist, how do you navigate the balance between staying true to your artistic vision and adapting to the evolving tastes of your audience?

Honestly, I try not to think about that too much any more. There’s been times where I got real headaches from these thoughts, especially during the pandemic. The world turned into a 150bpm SM place all of a sudden and don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to see the evolution of our genre. I’m proud of everyone involved pushing boundaries and but keeping the underground alive also.

I got asked by agencies and friends alike if I’d be down to produce more “popular” stuff lately, so we’re trying out things. Few weeks ago for example, I worked on tracks that are quite speedy in terms of my tempo unvierse. When I showed the results to friends almost everyone said that it still sounds like me, just faster.

So I seem to have an unconscious way of working on my music which often resultates in a certain signature style of sound and tone. I can’t really explain that. To be fair I even tried to be as different as possible on those fast BPM jams but seems I failed on that - in a good way maybe. It get into your DNA when you do it for a while, I guess.

Beyond music, are there any other forms of art or experiences that inspire your creativity?

Expect of life in general? I guess that must be photography or very kind of visual art. I like me a beautiful picture or painting that tells a story through different layers and details - just like my music. I remember last time I got really inspired with that was in the MOMA in New York, it’s great to see what humans are capable to do and express through art.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations as an artist, and how do you envision your musical journey evolving in the future?

Actually, my goal has always been to be able to make music and showcase it to people, which I’m doing. I’d like to host nights myself again more maybe, getting into programming of events and eventually scoring more movies in the future, too. I co-wrote music for an independent dystopian-style movie last year and that was such a fresh way of producing music. I’d be down to have that feel again.

Generally though, I feel very lucky and blessed lately and would like to thank everyone out there who’s making all of this possible. For the future, there’s few live shows with Child May I’m really excited about this summer, two US-tours coming up and I’m just coming out of my studio where I worked on several new tracks while answering this interview. Feels good to be releasing my music on my own imprint “Rare Affair” for two years now, so we’re trying to sign new talent and work on our first label parties here in Berlin to bring some boogie for real.

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