Eric Lau is a British Hip Hop and Soul producer who burst on to the scene amidst a flurry of excitement with his debut New Territories on Ubiquity in 2008, satisfying fan across the Atlantic looking for some post Ummah sub bass Soul. Since then Lau has kept a fairly low profile until recently releasing the underground Kilawatt V2 EP ahead of his debut Australian tour. Speaking over the phone after a very late night mixing session, Lau name-checks recent visitor Dam-Funk and looks forward to reaching our shores after busily preparing brand new material.
“I saw the tweets that Dam was writing about, Dam is an ambassador of funk you know?’ he asks, adding ‘I have a lot of respect for Dam because he always gives.”
With somewhat of a more withdrawn demeanour than his Californian friend, Lau discusses how his new EP came about.
“Kilawatt is a new label run by a guy who did some work experience for me a few years ago,’ he explains. ‘He’s a music lover who was very ambitious and I kinda guided him in the right direction and he asked me if I wanted to do an EP and he saved up the money to do it,” he says, sounding genuinely impressed and keen to help.
The EP features vocalists Muhsinah and Oddisee, who, like Lau, have both been teasing the underground for years now with the promise of artists poised to take over. Also featured on the mini album is multi-instrumentalist Kaidi Tatham whose appearance gives the release another level of musicality and puts Lau in a new realm.
“This is an extension (of New Territories). I think as producer you’re always learning and whilst it might not sound it from a listeners perspective, New Territories was very raw,” he says in relation to the new EP’s lush instrumentation.
“I didn’t really have much knowledge of engineering back then… even composition,” he says, suggesting that his collaborative family was both a step up and in the right direction for him.
“Oddisee and I have a very similar journey as far as our upbringing is concerned. The song that he wrote really reflected how I felt about our journey.”
At the time his debut LP was released, Lau also dropped the Guilty Simpson collaboration For The D, which somewhat split fans of his smooth soul, whilst at the same time as gaining him a lot of respect from the Hip Hop community. Lau is not vexed by where he sits in the marketplace.
“I’m happy to have a ‘fanbase’ on both sides,’ he says. ‘I haven’t even ventured in to the dance music side of things that I want to go in to yet. Most of the stuff everyone has heard has been down tempo or mid tempo but I wanna make people dance as well.”
Overall, Lau is very relaxed about his situation in a grim marketplace.
“Music is an art form. I’m lucky enough to be able to do it and I think Hip-hop and Soul go hand in hand, so I don’t see it as a problem, I see it as a blessing to be able to do both types of music and reach both types of people.”
Currently preparing a 2 track single for the Save The Children charity where all proceeds go directly to the cause, Lau says this will be peoples first opportunity to hear the more dancefloor based gear, with Aussies possibly the first to hear it before anyone else.
“There’s a lot of things going on in the world and I thought ‘why not come together with some people and let’s make music with a purpose?’ he says. ‘One track is vocal with Rahel and Fatima and a couple of guests all singing on it and the other is a live version of Understanding which I am really enjoying at the moment.”
Ahead of his debut Australian tour, Eric Lau discusses his new EP on Kilawatt and his forthcoming new release…