A chat with LU/LU and Lyma

Lu/Lu & LYMA are the Dutch duo signed to Marcel Vogels Lumberjacks in Hell for their scorching new release ‘Hotmoltenlava’. Combining Lu/Lu’s deft studio touch with LYMA’s soulful vocal delivery, they produce a unique sound that would work for late night lovers, fans of D’Angelo and other soul filled smoochers on a house tip. On the week of the release, we get the chance to sit down with this exciting Dutch duo to talk about the most recent records they’ve bought, Daft Punk, and Club Doka.

Thanks for talking to us. Where are you this moment, what can you see from your window?

In our studio on the outskirts of Amsterdam. We have everything we need here at “Sound City”, even a small window overlooking an alley.

Where were you born? Where are you both based now?

LYMA: I was born in Breukelen that’s a small town close to Utrecht, but I was raised in Maastricht.  

LU/LU: I was born in Amsterdam but raised in Haarlem. Now we’re both based in Amsterdam.

What do you love most about where you are living?

It has everything a big city needs, though it still feels like a small town once you’ve lived there for a while. You can bike everywhere, nature, clubbing, and the sea is all within our grasp. But most importantly there’s a broad spectrum of clubs and festivals that inspire us.

What is the main club where you are?

The night scene is pretty diverse, though there is a limited number of clubs that stay open till the morning dawn. Our favorite club is actually a small one called Doka. It has a great sound system and an intimate setting and it’s located in the basement of a hotel/creative hub.

How long have you been making music together?

We’ve been making music together for over 6 years now. It started with both of our high school bands playing at the same event. We linked up years later when our paths crossed again, and we exchanged music. It turned out we were into the same wide range of soulful music.

What were each of you doing musically prior to your partnership?

LU/LU: I was playing in different bands as a guitarist and saxophonist, meanwhile discovering the fun world of music production.

LYMA: I started out writing songs on guitar and performing them as a singer-songwriter. But after working those out with a band, I got sucked into producing, trying to shape it into the sound I had in mind.

Are you both DJs too?

LYMA: I used to DJ vinyl when I started my studies. Now actually picking it up again since I’ve been gravitating towards the electronic side of things.

LU/LU: Back in the day I played some vinyl sets, without mixing it on the BPM. Now I’m learning to mix tracks on the same tempo. It’s something I would like to explore more after this release. I’m not the first to produce and then to learn how to DJ I guess.

When you are in the studio together, what parts do you both play in your productions?

It depends which one of us already has a demo that we’re going to work on. Most of the time programming drums is something that you nerd into on your own. Once we have a solid base LU/LU loads it in his Ableton Live and LYMA creates the vocal lines in his head. From there it’s just playing with our lovely synths.

What kind of artists, DJs, genres were you into growing up?

LYMA: I grew up watching MTV like most people my age and I guess I was first inspired by hip-hop and R&B from the early 2000s. Things like Outkast, Busta Rhymes, TLC, Usher, you name it. I liked all that shit. But I also had my MP3 player stuffed with things like Daft Punk, Cassius and Modjo for example but also a lot of soul and 70’s stuff. Overall, the selection I liked was always really eclectic.

LU/LU: Growing up as a kid with a Parisian mom who played Radio Nova all day exposed me to a wide range of urban music. That’s how i discovered Daft Punk, Jamiroquai, Herbert and Justice before digging more into the sound Detroit and Chicago. Serge Gainsbourg - Bonnie & Clyde (Herbert’s Fred & Ginger mix) is the first house track I’ve heard and it still is a piece of art.

Who are the artists past or present that directly have influenced the sound you are making today?

LU/LU: Hmm.. I would say Herbert mixed with Channel Tres and Daft Punk.

LYMA: LV (ft Joshua Idehen) somehow made me do a left turn at some point. Next to that, things like Peven Everett, Galcher Lustwerk and Steve Spacek definitely influenced my sound.

If you could choose a few words to describe the vibe of LU/LU & LYMA what would they be?

Cinematic, clubby, headphone tunes to bump to in many settings.

How did you connect with Marcel Vogel?

LYMA: Marcel did a remix for my debut EP on INI Movement that eventually never got released. And then asked me to work with him on some of his beats. Organically I started making songs out of those tracks and Marcel kept triggering me to think differently and helping me to find ways to connect our sound to the right people.

LU/LU: Marcel’s Lumberjack In Hell released some iconic left field dance records. He’s not afraid to make bold choices and that fits perfectly with our style of producing. Also, he has a certain way of speaking his mind that keeps us reflecting continually.

Talk us through the new EP ‘HOTMOLTENLAVA’.

Some tracks we recorded back in 2019 but we lost some of the projects due to a stolen laptop. We touched up some of the WAV files we had and rolled with it. Others like the title track HOTMOLTENLAVA and Keep Tryin’ we made this past year and really completed the vibe as a whole. So, it made a lot of sense to put these tracks out on one record.

What was most important for you to convey through these cuts?

We tried to make these records work for multiple occasions. So they would work while driving at night, dancing in a club or for a movie score. But most importantly it's our love for songwriting and dance music combined.

What are you most proud of with this release?

That it looks and sounds so great on vinyl thanks to everyone that co-created this product with us. And it feels like it's only the beginning of so many records to come.

Were there some challenges involved in bringing this release together?

Getting everyone to agree on one artwork turned out to be harder than we thought. Giving and taking is a big part of working together towards a creative product. Makes the result even better!

Are there some other musicians on the EP you want to shout out?

No but Killing Skills have done a great job on the stems mastering. We would like to give them their flowers for this one.

What drives you to keep making music?

LU/LU: That someday you’d be the role model for your younger self. Like I was listening to Daft Punk as a kid. They were so cool and embodied street culture in some many different ways.

LYMA: It gives me a feeling of purpose and helps to keep my mind straight. I guess I’m also just addicted to the feeling of creating something new out of thin air.

What has been one of the favorite moments from the past year for LU/LU & LYMA?

Hearing our tracks getting played by Marcel Vogel during his back-to-back with Luke Solomon at Club Doka in Amsterdam. Seeing how the crowd reacts to the things you have been cooking up in the studio, without them knowing you are there, is an amazing feeling.  

Where do you find the most inspiration when it comes to discovering new music?

LYMA: I discover a lot through record shops, Discogs and Spotify but during a DJ set or live performance the impact usually is even bigger for me.

LU/LU: The ‘fans also like’ section of Spotify brought a lot of new artist’s that I’m still grateful for, but they’ve deleted this option. Now I’m lost, haha. Back in the days there were 22tracks, shout out to them. Would love to discover something similar again.

What is the most recent record you bought?

LU/LU: Justice - Hyperdrama. Been a fan of them since I was a teenager. These guys were, and still are, revolutionary with their unique sound.

LYMA: Blk Odyssy - Diamonds and Freaks. Listened to this record a lot last year so needed to have a copy for the ages.

Is there a great record shop in your city that you can share?

Black Gold is a small shop where you can plug your own records while drinking great coffee. Other than that Waxwell Records, Red Light Records and Rush Hour are great to buy stuff

What artists do you admire and follow at the moment?

LYMA: At the moment I really like Ben Hixon, P-Rallel, Bad Colours and Stefan Ringer. Other than that I’m always checking what artists like Channel Tres, Kaytranada and Kendrick are doing.

LU/LU: I’m trying to dig more into local artists now. Really been a fan of Tom Trago and Frits Wentink. They both have some great new stuff out now. Our homies from Makez have a good earworm called Downstream ft Life on Planets.

What can we hope to see next from LU/LU & LYMA?

More different styles of production within the broad spectrum of ‘dance music’. There’s so much more to explore, we have only just begun! Also, a hybrid DJ set with live ingredients is something that we would like to experiment with. Keep an eye out for us 😉

Buy/listen to the release here