Left/Right is no stranger to dirty beats. His progression from gritty electro breaks to his current incarnation as an ambassador of dirty minimal bass, shows his versatility as a producer. His debut EP ‘Time’ on Punks saw him in perfect form repping his unique style of warehouse inspired bass business. This year has been big for him as he seen a string a massively successful releases and new opportunities at every turn.
We got the chance to chat by phone with him in between teaching college students and studio sessions.
So you teach at a community college?
It’s a pretty big one, in one of the suburbs of Dallas. I teach a couple of night classes there, and some one on one. Either in engineering or production lessons. That’s the majority of what I do for money.
How long have you been teaching for?
I’ve been at that college for 5 and a-half years.
Were you teaching independently a lot before that?
Not as much. I was actually working at a CD replication plant. So I got to see what production was like after mastering. I got to talk to a lot of mastering engineers while I Was there. It was interesting to see the manufacturing side of things, but CDs aren’t in production as much as they used to be. The plant shut down and I had to find a new job and my favorite teacher offered me a job teaching. I was already doing mastering on the side so I took the teaching job and started doing the other stuff [engineering and mastering] full time.
You’ve been in music for a long time?
It’s been a slowly evolving project. Left/Right started out as DJ’s Left and Right, it used to be two people. Justin was Right and I was just Left. As I started to produce under the name, he began to get busy with family life and eventually he said I should take over. We made a big push back then, so people sometimes still think that its two people even though it’s been 7 or 8 years.
So take us through what has happened for you since then.
In 2007 or ’08 I was just starting out with more beginner stuff. Electroey breaks, gritty stuff. And it got more Nu Skool sounding. Then I went through another phase were I got into the more Jungley stuff.
And then I guess I took a break for a couple of years. I got super into Burning Man culture. I went in 2011. I enjoyed it a lot because there was no pressure, you just go and have fun. You can build crazy stuff. I got sucked into working my ass of at the burn. I kind of recognized that I’m a workaholic no matter what it is that I’m working on.
Do you think being involved in that has changed the way you approach music?
I don’t know about music but it definitely influences how I do shows. I started an even called FUTURE that is a little more artsy. I would say that Burning Man was the number one influence on putting that together. We wanted to bring that kind of influence to Dallas, something anyone could attend. They could be a crazy burner or upscale fashion person and they’d all feel at home in the same place.
What kind of music where you into growing up in Dallas?
I’ve been mostly into dance music and classical because that’s what I grew up on. Mostly it’s dance music and Indy band stuff now-a-days.
And what’s your background in music?
I started playing cello when I was 5. I picked up piano really as a means to write when I was 11. I picked up guitar when I was 14. I gave up Cello in high school. I started majoring in Psychology [in college] and I took a synthesizer class and I was hooked. That same teacher, is now my boss.
And you sing?
Yeah, I was in choir from a young age all the way through college. I do some singing and I keep thinking about doing some live singing but I actually have stage fright. I prefer to be in the studio where I can do it by myself.
How do deal with that when you DJ?
When I DJ it’s a little better. But singing, my voice would shake and when I played cello my hands would shake.
So, back to teaching. You now have Frequency Forward?
Yeah I started a class. We are really trying to grow into not just a community locally but we want to start building an online resource for people to learn. We are starting to build a mini curriculum and if we’re lucky we’ll turn those in to courses where students can interact with a teacher, probably me to start. We’ve only had two classes so far but they both went really well. We are still working on get everything online.
You’ve been pushing the UK bass sound for a few years, and domestically were a little ahead of the curve on it. What inspired you to start making it?
Honestly a big inspiration was my friend Jurassik, he came and played at my camp at Burning Man in 2011. He was playing all this crazy garage and jungle stuff, that I had not heard. With all this 90s stuff and modern production. It was in a context I was not prepared for, I was just like “Wow this is so fresh!”
A year later I saw Martyn at Public Works in San Francisco and he was playing a lot of 808 stuff, real minimal. I thought it was so different. At the time I was getting into Darksky and Joy Orbison. That time between 2011 and 2013 was really important for me. Really exploring everything about that sound.
Then there was this whole trend towards “future”. They took this real cool sound that had a lot of variations and it didn’t really reflect what came before it. Music evolves but it was interesting how it just kind of washed away what came before it.
I’m not trying to be ultra hipster, I just like cool bass music that’s different. It can be straight beat or broken beat. I just like cool music and I can’t stand when trends take over and everyone sounds the same.
That’s something we believe in at Punks!
That’s exciting to me. Punks has a cool spectrum of artists. It’s a well filled in spectrum. There’s some cross over but everyone has a unique sound.
What’s next this year?
Coming up in a couple weeks we have Chris Lorenzo at It’ll Do one of the better clubs in Dallas. It feels warehousey but it’s actually built out of an old skating rink. It’s real big so we’re going to kind of crazy with the installation stuff.
Release wise I’ve got Lies feat JACQ dropping on Punks on November 23rd. I’m shooting my first music video for that, which is really exciting. I’ve got remixes for Stanton Warriors and Deekline that are done and ready to come out and I also have another song on the housey side for Bodhi. Honestly I have 6 other tunes that are just sitting around so I’m going to try and put an album together and hopefully release an LP early next year. I’ve never put out an LP before. My EP was the first part of it and I’m ready to put more of that stuff out as a larger project.
I’m looking forward to playing in Seattle next month as well.