^L_ is the nickname of the Brazilian producer and sound artist Luis Fernando. Having released his debut album 'Love Is Hell' in 2014 via the Berlin-based label Antime, he also turned heads with a host of remixes and contributed to several compilations, most notably 'Hy Brazil Vol. ' Which was hand-selected by Chico Dub, one of the most important figures in the Brazilian electronic music scene. In 2015, L_ embarked on a successful two-week tour of Germany with labelmate Antime AAAA and released the more dancefloor-oriented EP 'The Outsider', via Antime Also, in early 2016. In addition to his work as a producer, Fernando regularly organizes workshops on sound design with a focus on film and radio works. Fernando began making music as a young teenager, citing bands like My Bloody Valentine and Nine Inch Nails as inspirations for his early, Shoegaze-inclined forays into music. As he grew older, his taste and his own varied output became increasingly eclectic. Nowadays, L_ works mostly in digital format and oscillates between sounds inspired by movie soundtracks, Acid Techno, Noise and abstract electronic music.
He has recently released Negative Mental Attitude and we have had the pleasure of interviewing the producer.
What was the first thing that attracted you to the world of electronic music?
The attitude - authentic, underground and so much punk. Yes, I've always seen electronic music as something punk. I have always interpreted true and authentic. Liberating, something plural and democratic... everyone can express themselves... outsiders, people who don't feel understood or don't feel inside anything. Suddenly, the act of expressing yourself becomes your weapon to face and change things.
Do you remember any album or concert that has changed everything?
“Selected Ambient Works 85-92”, from Aphex Twin. this is the album that changed my life and led me to produce electronic music.
And a show that I could mention was a live by Four Tet, in an edition of Sonar Festival, years ago…
Since you got into this professionally, what did you miss the most nationally, internationally and on the contrary, what helped you the most to grow, even to believe in yourself?
What I miss... I feel that there is still a lack of connections between artists... unfortunately there is still a rivalry that gets in the way.
positively I need to mention labels as a fundamental factor. I've always had a lot of support from all the labels that release my tracks...I'm very grateful for that...without these guys, I would be just another guy making music in the bedroom….they've always believed in my work, they've always opened doors for me. All my love for this guys. there are many talents producing music in their rooms and they deserve an opportunity to show their work and labels are the way to do that.
Another important point… I know that friends have always been important in my career - both supporting and criticizing at the right times. The true friend, for me, is the one who tells you what you need to hear and not just what you want to hear, you know? I am grateful for encouraging me in the bad times..
How is the music scene living in your city with this murky pandemic situation?
Now it's great, very, very good! Getting better every day. The scene is being structured and has survived heroically, thanks to the producers and DJs who managed to reinvent themselves during the quarantine periods and were strong and persevering. Man, those were tough times for these guys. The government's financial support is minimal and the obstacles are so many... it's not easy to sustain a scene, during two years of a pandemic, with everything closed, for example... without public, without funding.
Currently, everything is returning to normal... the public is feeling and has been very present and active. DJs are hosting gigs, parties and nightclubs are presenting national and international attractions, the public is feeling safe to go out again. And an interesting point: with the pandemic and the need to reinvent yourself, new activities have become common, such as the popularization of lives, for example.
What are your favorite places to hang out in the city?
If there's one thing the pandemic has shown me, it's that the best place in the world is our home. My studio is there, my painting studio is there too.
Have you had time to focus on making music, spending time with your family, or planning future projects?
A lot, basically, that's all I did: music, painting, planning projects and hanging out with my family.
It was a period where I could research and try new sounds. I was able to listen to new artists and go much deeper into the independent scene. I was able to renew my sound, because I was able to spend more time in the studio testing, testing and testing...It was the most productive period of my life and reconnecting with my family was definitely the most important moment - It was something that influenced my music a lot..
I would just have stayed closer to my friends... I would just change that. I have always had a tendency to isolate myself and this has greatly affected my social life. But I don't regret it, because it had to be that way.
How was your last project born?
my recent EP, "Negative Mental Attitude", released by the UK label.
In this work I keep trying different sounds - where I go from hardcore techno to breakcore, uk garage and electro.
What do you want to convey in this work? What is the concept behind?
the idea behind it is a big irony behind the concept of PMA - which I've always seen as hypocritical and nothing more than a by-product of success. The "self-help" industry has been criticized as a scam for authors to make money due to its simplistic writing and principles and I think exactly that way... people treat optimism as if it's an IOU for actual results, then look to their results for confirmation bias as “proof” that it was indeed the PMA that led them to the desired outcome...
life is way more hardcore than that kind of mentality.
As for your studio, what is your setup currently made of?
Tempest Drum Machine
Roland TR 8
Korg Volca Bass
Arturia Minilab V2 - MIDI
Beyerdynamic - DT 990
Beyerdynamic - DT 770 Pro
Guitar Pedal Effects: MXR-Overdrive / Digital Delay Boss /Electric Hamonix Memory Boy / DigiTech The Drop
MacBook Air - 2013
MacBook Pro - 2020
What's the one team you'll never get rid of, no matter what?
What would you say is the definition of your sound?
it's dark, sometimes violent... but it has a sense of humor, as incredible as it may seem. It moves through the heavier and even darker side of sounds like techno, breakbeat, hard techno, IDM, acid, dark ambient, industrial and gabber.
the concepts are about movies, literature and urban life.
I've always preferred that people define my sound for themselves and interpret the influences they perceive.
For me, my music is something liberating, because I can get rid of all my anguish and anger. I think when I find some kind of inner peace, I'm hardly going to continue writing. When I'm "happy" I don't feel the need, you know? I just enjoy that feeling and that's enough to be happy.