Sonar 2010: LuckyThem
Scotland's visionary collective <strong>LuckyMe</strong> are taking over one of the night-time stages at Sonar in Barcelona this year. Lynchpin <b>Dominic Flannigan</b> tells The Skinny how did the ballers' dream became a reality
Back in 2002 the LuckyMe collective had, in their own words, “the common desire to create hip-hop in a city where at the time, there was no hip-hop culture”. Eight years down the line it’s fair to say that their plans have been realised on a much larger scale than anyone, including LuckyMe’s creative director Dominic Flannigan, could ever have imagined. So how did their Scottish-based activities result in them now curating a stage at Barcelona's world famous Sonar festival by night this year?
“For the last few years we have been involved with some guerrilla events around the festival, one for the guys at Dazed and Confused magazine and one last year with some Spanish promoters for our friends at Numbers. Both those shows were sold out events and so this year we thought the only way was up, to graduate to a stage.
"I should add that two years ago Erol Alkan missed a flight and so all the stages got kinda messed up at the last minute, and so HudMo, Rustie and Flying Lotus played back to back on the stage that we are getting this year. The whole crew sat up on the stage that night – drunk and bugging out as the sun rose behind the audience as we played. Unbelievable. So it feels very natural for us to get an event [at Sonar] this year.”
Appearing on the stage in June are The Blessings, Mike Slott, Machinedrum, LuckyMe’s first band signing American Men, along with Éclair Fifi and John Computer. With an ever growing roster of musicians in their family, how were the artists appearing on LuckyMe’s stage this year selected?
“Our process for picking the acts was really simple – these are the artists we are putting out this year. We trust every single artist we work with. Anyone on the label could have stepped to this show but the people we are putting on at Sonar have forthcoming projects that we are releasing soon.
“Mike Slott’s background is in jazz and hip-hop but his palette of sounds come from electronic equipment. Shimmering synths and cracking drums. It's beat music, simply. Eclair Fifi is our favourite DJ because she gets juxtaposition better than anyone. It's not contrived with her. She's not ticking boxes by playing such eclectic and weird music – techno into disco into juke house into rap – it's that she sums up the ethos of the crew so well by just seeing a sensibility that runs through all genres. She parties hard too so she guarantees that people will want to dance.”
After the phenomenal success of Hudson Mohawke’s debut album Butter, LuckyMe received even more international attention, a trend that is sure to continue after their evening at Sonar. So how do artists join this exclusive collective?
“We get sent demos a lot now, which is crazy. Normally trip hop or dubstep demos. Even worse are the Hud Mo and Rustie soundalikes. A lot are very well produced and will go on to good careers in music, but we sign artists we respect for having their own honest flavour. We're yet to sign anyone off a demo if I'm honest.
"A lot of our label are Scottish or we’ve had a personal relationship with them before the label. Nepotism if you will. But we're always playing shows and meeting cool people across the world now that we want to work with. Like Lunice or Hovatron for instance, these are guys we know from touring and we just related so well in music and in hanging out that we naturally wanted to work with them. Other guys like Machinedrum are artists we've respected since before we formed the label.
"We’re not elitest, uber cool assholes. We're a bunch of friends who all talk to each other about music and design and food and YouTube videos. We tend to meet people and naturally work with them but if you like what we do, you can be involved – just say hello at a show.”