Langston Kelly Human DJ is exactly what his name states, a one-man-band who covers the complete production for a track from drums, bass, and melody all the way up to lyrics all done in one take on the spot. LKHD has just released his debut album “I AM” (purchase it here https://langstonkelly.com/) and it’s nothing short of amazing, a response expected from an artist who’s stage show is entirely improvised and boasts he “never plays the same thing twice”. As an all encompassing production Langston’s creative process is a microcosm of his musical influences, his debut LP pulls from as many genres as he himself pulls from instruments and loops on a single track. “I AM” bounces from ambient meditation music to House music to Trip-Hop and back to Down Tempo within the span of 7 tracks. Lyrically he is esoteric, honest and philosophical- at times rather cryptic- all this leads to a mystique we had to unravel, we sat down with Langston to discuss what makes him so unique.
1. First for the people that are just hearing of you describe your
sound and how you got started.
As my music is improvised, you never know what will come out. However, I tend to gravitate toward World, EDM, Chill Out, and Hip-hop sounds and you’ll hear a lot of Jazz influence as well. Some of my songs may remind you of Bonobo, while others sound more like Zero 7, while still others come off closer to Jonathan Goldman’s meditation albums.
2. We just finished playing “I Am” for the first time, we know your live
sets are all improvised, was nothing on this album planned? Is this
album entirely improvised?
Everything from music to lyrics is entirely improvised and I use no prerecorded loops.
3. What made you decide on total improvisation? and what do you think
the significance is in improvisational music?
Additionally, I’ve always wanted to both perform and compose. The beautiful thing about improvising all of my LKHD music is that I get to do both simultaniously. I can’t say I am yet able to match the most intricate of written peices, but I am at least proving that improvised music can be entertaining and intetesting.
4. This album “I Am” pulls from a wide variety of genres, we hear some
Ambient influences, some World Music influences, some Trip-Hop or Down
Tempo, and even House. Can you list some of your musical influences and
some artists or bands that inspire you?
My top four favourite artists in the world are Jamiroquai, Goldfrapp, Seal, and Zero 7. I, however, am influenced by a wide range of artists from now and throughout history such as Bonobo, Ulrich Schnauss, Linstrøm, Claude Debussy, John Coltrane, John Williams, Sonu Nigam, Collective Efforts, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and many more.
5. There also seems to be an esoteric layer to your work, even with the
album title choice “I AM” can you list some of your none-music
influences as well?
6. What would you say is the purpose of your music?
Wow. Ultimately, I do not know as the source from which I draw my energy, I believe, has purpose beyond my conscious knowing. I can tell you, however, that I like to entertain people, and I like it when my music makes them dance or feel relaxed. I also believe my music, as does much music, has the potential to heal and to inspire. My primary goal when creating music is to create the most awesome sounding, feel good songs I can.
7. We know you are a multi-instrumentalist, even utilizing the human
voice for more than just lyrics -beat boxing the drums on numerous
tracks- out of all the instruments you play (human voice included) what
is your favorite?
without effort, are you aware of the “rules” and purposely break them? A
seven track album (aside from the vinyl only days of the 70s and 80s) is
very rare, an all improvised album is even rarer, can you explain your
thought process and creative process?
I am affraid I am not very aware of the rules and just do what seems and feels correct. And there are actually eight tracks on the physical CD. One track is secret.
9. If you had free reign to do whatever you wanted to musically (ex.
have your own festival, work with anybody, start your own label, score a
movie etc) what would you do?
10. And finally where can the people find you and what are you currently
working that they can expect to hear/see in the future?
You can best find me on my website langstonkelly.com where you can also sign up for my mailing list, purchase my music, and check the calendar for upcoming live shows. I’m set to release my next album sometime this June. You can also keep up with me on social media: lkhdmusic (twitter, instagram) and lkhdmus (facebook), though in my opinion, the website is cooler. I also have my own label V7 Kingdom, LLC (find out more at v7kingdom.com)