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Wu-Lu - Blunted Strings


An email conversation with the genre-transcendent London artist.

By editorial


Wu-Lu is a London-based artist whose work transcends the strict confines of genre while still feeling indelibly British. His critically acclaimed debut LP on Warp, LOGGERHEAD, manages to merge ideas from genres as disparate as punk, jazz, rap, and dub. His forthcoming EP, Learning To Swim On Empty, serves as a continuation of that eclectic approach. Today we share his new track, “Blunted Strings,” which uses a crackly soul sample as the bedrock for what is essentially a good pop song. There are no rules in Wu-Lu’s world. We shot some questions across the pond; Wu-Lu’s edited email answers are below, as is “Blunted Strings,” which is available to download for free.

Wu-Lu - "Blunted Strings"
Wu-Lu - "Blunted Strings"Wu-Lu

It’s been a few years since LOGGERHEAD. Where is your head at right now, musically? How has that informed your forthcoming EP?

Wu-Lu: My head is always running onto the next thing, so everything that inspired me to do what I have done with this latest work is all coming from a developed place of listening to the album over and over again and wanting to explore different pockets of the album. The whole idea of breaking up some of my new work into this smaller project is so that people can almost live in a moment with me on one section or aspect of the album, which is the way I like to listen to music and express myself. I never would never pigeonhole someone into a box they don't want to be in, so I have learnt that for me to get all the vibes out in my head, I need to feed it out in smaller chunks so people can understand the bigger picture. The idea that we are all made up of various pieces, so let's just explore one section for a moment before we move forward … You know? 

Tell us about “Blunted Strings.” 

To be honest, kind of similar to what I’m talking about regarding the process of being an artist, having these ups and downs with your ideas and your creativity, second guessing yourself, searching … All of that life stuff being projected onto the world around me. Whatever is happening in my life seems to always come back to the answer of, Do what makes you feel good, and the rest will follow. So it’s almost an apology to myself and those around me while trying to find my way through the hills and valleys of life. Also, I’m about to be a dad, but somehow I knew that was happening in my subconscious ... So some of the messages are to my future self preparing me for what's coming. It’s funny, because it's not until I was recording the final version of the song until I found out the news … So this song really meant a lot, it felt like it manifested some of my futures … I guess you can say it’s a song to my later self. 

How often do your songs start with just you solo on the MPC? How often do the songs come out of jams with your friends?

Most of the time things start on my MPC and take a lifeform once I have made a solid backbone. But it seems as though I always have to run it through my guys in the band … We are like a family cooking family dinner every day, we are always bringing words, ideas, sounds to each other’s dishes all the time ... Brothers in arms. 

People often call your music “post-genre,” or something to that effect, but you clearly have a very defined sonic viewpoint, even if it is eclectic. How do you navigate your influences?

I don't really, to be honest. It’s all scattered ... Just like when I DJ … It’s all mixed together with vibes and tempos, so I guess that’s where my erratic ways come through when making music. I can never sit on a groove for too long before changing the vibes.

And how does that sound manifest itself live? Do you see a delineation between what you are trying to do live and on record? 

I mean, things really do get more developed as we play things live more. I guess it’s one of those things that music never feels fully done, so the music that comes out is just the point where I stopped producing it ... And in a live sense we pick up where we left off, so sometimes the live show can go places unexpectedly ... And I love it. 

How is London feeling currently? Any music from the city that you are excited about? Any food from the city that you are excited about?

London when it’s hot is a VIBE! To be real ... I just listen to homies music … Sean T Blake, Slick N Bobby, Sam Akpro, Leif Maine. Foodwise, ALL HAIL ... ROTI JOUPA. 

(Photo by Ethan Barrett)

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