Letta's journey to this point hasn't been easy. The American producer, who grew up in Arizona before moving to LA's Skid Row, has experienced long stretches of addiction, homelessness and violence in his life. Last year, he bared many of these demons on his thrilling debut LP Testimony. We were immediately fascinated with his work—scorched, spectral instrumental grime—and the man behind the beats.
So, when Letta and the guys at Coyote announced he was preparing to drop his second album, and asked if we wanted to premiere a track from the record, we obviously jumped at the chance. "You Were Wrong" showcases Letta's newfound dexterity, melding his signature depth and darkness with something more lustrous and soulful. It's a good indicator as to the mood of the album – a record that contextualises sporadic bouts of aggression against far more club-ready, R&B inspired atmospheres. Letta has described the album as one for his friends, and it's this compassion that comes through.
Listen to the track below, alongside a brief chat we had with the main man about his new record, working with new friends and dedicating time to his old ones.
THUMP: Redemption sees you working with the likes of Mr Mitch and Ryan Hemsworth; can you tell us a little about your approach to collaborative work?
Letta: I didn't really take time to think about it until the songs were done. Obviously Mitch and Ryan are extremely talented and have both been a huge influence on me, so I think had I really thought about it, I would have got freaked out. So, I just didn't really think about it — I just wrote some stuff, sent it over and we would just go back and forth until it sounded right. On both the tracks, once they were finished I was like 'fuck, I can't believe i just did this'. I'm really proud and grateful to have been able to work with them.
Has moving from LA to NYC had any immediate impact on your creative output?
I've seen so many places this year and been inspired by so many things; living in NYC, travelling through Canada, going to Asia. I feel like I just have endless material now, especially because it's all in my memory bank. Every place I've been to, from Montreal in the freezing cold to walking around Shinto shrines by myself this summer in Japan, it will all come out in my music somehow.
Do you feel as if you belong to any one scene in particular?
Nah, I was never any good at that, not that I didn't want to. Plus it's all just bullshit now anyway right? If you need to classify my music by BPM or by whether I used drums on my song or not that's cool, but I'm just too old to be bothered about it now i think.
You say that this new record is for your friends. What do you mean by that?
With my first LP, I was really depressed when I wrote it, it was just me trying to get out a bunch of sad memories in some attempt to purge myself of them. This past year has been life changing in so many ways; I've been to so many places, and I have been so grateful and humbled by things. I feel like i've come a long way, and when I think about that it makes me think about my friends that didn't make it. There's some people that are gone now that always believed in me, that helped and never gave up on me, and some of these people I never got to say goodbye to. So I guess this record is me trying to make ammends, and come to terms with some past shit..
What's 2017 got in store?
Some more money would be nice!