Los Angeles-based producer Marques Lafelt is known for seductive soulful left-field sounds, taken from the perspective of a purveyor of classic techno. A prominent party organizer around L.A.’s beat scene, Marques’s previous efforts could be found on the Nylon Trax label and in remixes for Jaymz Nylon and Men From Nobu.
Future Black Gurl, an afro-futuristic psychological concept album set in the distant future, is Lafelt’s latest for The Content Label. Its gritty yet glorious textures and machine-powered beats are evidence of the producer’s love of analog synthesis. A known collector of classic gear, Lafelt is immersed and enamored with the analog world. This gave us an opportunity to reach out and ask about this philosophy and Lafelt’s love of vintage synthesis.
How important is your gear in creating your music?
Marques Lafelt: The music would sound totally different. Each piece of gear has certain sounds and characteristics it could go from warm and fuzzy to dark and cold depending on the gear.
Is there any technique you use on almost every production, without fail?
Marques Lafelt: I always setup an analog chain for the main samples/melody. This could be something simple like a delay and pre-amp or the sampler plugged into eight different pieces of gear before being resampled and sequenced.
Have you had any adventures that came about from tracking down gear?
Marques Lafelt: I want to say it was the year 2000 or 2001. My boy Big Lou, a girlfriend at the time, and I drove to San Francisco to buy a Vestax fader board from some dude. I busted an oil pan on the way and we had to stay in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It was amazing.
If someone gifted you any piece of gear, what would it be?
Marques Lafelt: I’ve always wanted an ARP Odyssey or a Roland Jupiter synth. One of these would add another world of vintage layers and samples.
Is there a philosophy behind using analog equipment in a digital world?
Marques Lafelt: For me having the physical copy or the actual piece of gear is far more interesting than owning the digital copy or the plug-in. But everyone just wants convenience. Maybe I’m a dinosaur.
If you were challenged to make a record using nothing but digital tools, how would you approach it?
Marques Lafelt: I’ve actually tried to minimize my studio down to MIDI controllers and just a laptop but I found it hard to get the dirt, dust, fuzz and just pure madness I get from having cables and inputs and auxs. I’ll always go analog!