Where does the inspiration come from to write lyrics to house? Let's face it, this is a game mostly built on straight beats and the odd vocal sample, if any at all. But according to Ali Love, there's actually a lot of freedom in writing for the genre.
"The lyrics represent your life and situations you find yourself in—late nights, lost love, touring, random passing comments. Songwriting in general, whether it be house or something else, is a constant process that never really stops."
In fact, the process keeps going to the point that Ali has woken up in the middle of the night countless times and sung random words into his phone. In his opinion, "usually it's all shit but sometimes there might be the foundation for a track there."
As a member of both the established Hot Natured (with Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and Luca C) and Infinity Ink (with just Luca C), it's also been a big undertaking for Ali to maintain his solo identity outside of not just one, but two groups. Especially when they are so intertwined with each other.
"Being in a boy band is hard," Ali says jokingly. "I have to get up at 6 AM everyday jogging, training, tanning and teeth whitening for photo shoots for all the posters!"
Nevertheless, he's been doing solo stuff longer than anything else. "And the thing about being a solo artist is it's all on my own terms. I played every instrument, produced all the tracks, sourced all the artwork and videos myself. So I guess it's a dictatorship of love."
In terms of his new album P.U.M.P., he reveals that a few of the tracks nod to the staple sound of label Crosstown Rebels. "I wouldn't want to put this record out with anyone else." There's also a lot of weirdness in the LP that better represents Ali Love and he'd like to share that experience here with his listeners, track-by-track. After all, the vibe was completely up to Ali. "And that's what makes me so happy with this latest sonic venture."
Ali Love: This tune was the first thing I ever made on an 808. I literally made this track an hour after I bought the drum machine off Andy Blake. The sample is from a well-known sci-fi series. It feels like a smooth intro into the whole LP. There's also an extended version in the pipeline.
I made this one in LA about a year or so ago. We had a studio up in the Hollywood Hills and the vocal was recorded while looking out over the city. It's since become the lead single for the whole album. I'm really happy with the video we just made, it was the first video that I was executive producer for. I worked on it with Adriano Villanova. All the journeys and travelling, this song is all about trying to find the sweet spot. It sometimes takes ages to get to the right place.
I actually produced this track with Billy Porter who works at VICE UK. The recording was done when I was living with Drew McConnell from the band Babyshambles. There was a whole party going on around us and I had all the equipment on the floor and beer was being spilt everywhere. I think you really get the sense that there was a party going on with the record and that's what I like about it. That rough feeling.
For me this is a really interesting piece because I can't quite work out what kind of genre it is. It's jungle and hardcore with a large slice of house in the middle. I like the hybrid form it has taken. There's a vocal bit that goes "wahhh." I laid a four-part harmony, a large burst and it sounds like an old school sample. My mate Rowan (known by his stage name Route 94) is remixing it and I'm really excited to see what he comes up with.
This is a song I actually began with Andy from Bicep. We made a great beat, and then I finished it off and took it in my own direction. I got the name from an old early-90s Dreamscape rave tape I heard where the MC is clearly off his head. All he was shouting over this hardcore track is 'JESUS ON ACID!'
What can I say about "P.U.S.S.Y."? I made it whilst living above on the rocks in Shoreditch (now called Basing House). I used to run club nights downstairs, so it was very convenient to take the fun upstairs and keep the party going. It was a very wild time. Musically it's nice to have something where I play all the live bass and guitar. I even threw in a kazoo for good measure. The inspiration I guess was "Ain't No Fun" by Snoop Dogg.
8. City Clouds
I've done a lot of singing recently and on this album I wanted to make it known that I produce as well. So this is an instrumental I made. The sound in the beginning is actually a sound bite of a plane I recorded flying over DC-10.
I recorded this with my ex-girlfriend Kali, who is a dancer at Paradise. It was the first thing I ever made on a 707-drum machine and the beat gave me the idea for the hook. I just rolled from there. With the Maceo Plex remix, it was funny because the actual track he used is one I was already meant to be doing vocals on. So when he agreed to do the remix, he placed the vocals over it and it worked out perfectly.
This is a sample by a guy named Bob Dean, who was a big dog in the United States Secret Service. Apparently the highest level of top secret is known as "cosmic top secret." I love all that stuff. The sample just spoke to me and it felt right. It's the most industrial song on the record. There is even an acid moment which is quite fun.
This is my nod to Daniel Baldelli's music spectrum. For those who don't know Dan, he ran an amazing club in Italy in the '80s. His DJing and musical vision is really worth looking into.
For me, this is the perfect end to the record. A really loving, musical, warm, blissed out kind of vibe. It's one of those ultimate after-party records, especially if it's hot and you need something to take the edge off. When it gets a bit too techno and moody, I put this on and it's great to see the vibe change.
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