Since pairing up in 2012, Leftwing and Kody have earned their reputation as two of the finest English exports in the world of dance music. A monthly Rinse FM show, residencies at Fabric and Sankey’s, releases on some of the biggest labels and the launch of their own Lost Records; the past 4 years have been kind to the DJ duo.
With a debut EP due in August and residencies in Ibiza confirmed, we caught up with them ahead of a busy summer.
Last year was huge in terms of releases for you, and this year looks to be following much of the same trend, with the Ibiza bookings already stacking up for the summer. As we approach the biggest party season of the year, what are you looking forward to in particular?
We’re definitely looking forward to heading back to Ibiza this year. 2015 was the first year that we had a residency on the island and it was an amazing experience to be there playing on the biggest stage in dance music every two weeks. We both moved out there for the whole of August, which meant we had time to experience some other sides to the island and not just the nightlife. I was able to spend some time with my family exploring the many beaches and quieter more tranquil spots that are dotted around the counter. We drove up to the highest part of the island and the views from there were unbelievable. Jon went searching for Atlantis, which he found, and said was a real achievement to be able to experience something that has been a part of Ibiza folklore and something that not everyone gets to do. Also, spending time at Es Vedre and soaking in the atmosphere there is something you take full advantage of whilst being there and is something we are looking forward to doing again this summer.
Meeting up with our peers on the island alongside getting some business done is another plus point as we get to catch up and spend time with our friends who are DJs/producers that we wouldn’t normally get a chance to do due to touring schedules etc. Ibiza is a great place for bringing people together in that respect so having the opportunity to do that again this year really means a lot, and between the Viva Warriors residency and the Lost showcases we have lined up with Solid Grooves we are pretty much on the island once every two weeks again this year. Exciting times!
We are also really excited about our summer release schedule as we have been lucky enough to sign some EPs to some really amazing labels. First off, we are curating and mixing the Viva Warriors compilation along side Mark Jenkyns this summer, which was an honour to be involved with and also ties in with our residency this year. After that in July we have an EP coming out with Kaluki, which is another great UK, label and brand to be a part of. They have had some amazing releases over the years so it’s a very proud moment for us to be part of that family now.
In August we release our debut EP on Mobilee, again a label that we have respected and looked up to over the years so this is kind of a big deal for us. Anja has been a great supporter of our tracks so it feels great to get on board with a label that has industry wide respect. Really, really excited to get that out there!
Finally in September we release our follow up to last years EP on Viva limited. When Steve heard these tracks he jumped on them straight away so listen out for him playing some of those over the summer at Warriors. Being a part of the Viva family certainly has its perks when your label owner plays your tracks on a worldwide stage week in and week out!
You have your own label, Lost Records, which has seen some hotly touted releases. What’s the type of vibe you aim for with gathering tracks from artists around the scene?
When we started Lost the ethos was about supporting artists who had helped us early on in our career but also to give opportunities to artists who are a little less well known as we are fully aware of what it’s like trying to get attention from labels. We were up and comers too at one point! So that was the ethos behind Lost when it started and it pretty much still is now. We have a lot of people on the label who we have massive amounts of respect for and that influenced us, so it’s an honour to have those calibre of artists involved alongside giving shots to up and comers to give them an opportunity to show the community what they are capable of in making music terms.
With regards to the vibe, we tend to lean towards what works on the dance floor. That’s about it to be honest. There’s no set formula really to how we choose tracks it just needs to excite us and work in the sets. We always ask ourselves ‘is this something we would play?’ and trust that our experience as DJs will also help and support our A&R capabilities. Lost Records is like our baby so we always want the best for it and can be quite harsh about selecting tracks, but as I said there’s no secret formula to what we sign.
Your live shows seem to both be packed with a ton of energy and exciting new, often unreleased tracks. What’s the key to your approach when playing a set live? Are there a few tracks you have in the arsenal that are always sure to go down a treat?
You’re definitely right about the energy part. We like to keep that at the forefront of our sets as we are ravers too and we know what we would expect from a DJ if we were in a club coming to have a great night. So in that respect we always like our sets to have a start and finish point. If we are playing for 2 hours its almost like we play a set the way it would be programmed; with a warm up DJ, a middle DJ and a DJ to smash it at the end. We start off a little slower and tracks that are not as energetic as tracks we would be playing near the end of the set.
We also build around new tracks that were may have finished and test those to make sure we are on the right lines with the productions. If it’s working in the club then we know we are onto something good and we may revisit the track in the studio just to tweak the track to finish it off. One of the plus points of being a producer/DJ is definitely that you get to test your own stuff in the perfect environment. Bringing the set through different stages allows us to play broader, so whilst we may start off on a more jacking vibe, by the end of the set we could be at a more driving techno sound. It just depends on the crowd and how far we think we are able to push them.
A lot of people got acquainted with you from your Rinse fm show. How has it been holding a slot on a station that is so important to UK dance?
Growing up in London and having both had a presence on pirate radio stations back in the day, Rinse was a station that was always respected right from the start as they were always on air and played a variety of different genre. It was the birthplace and championed UK sounds way more then the commercial radio at the time so it was a station we both used to listen when we were younger. That being said, it was an honour to be invited to do a guest show a little under three years ago. Neither of us had been on live radio in a long time and it had been many, many years since we’d been in a pirate radio station let alone the fully-fledged legit station that Rinse had now become. It was amazing to see how far they had come over the years, from the tower blocks to having an amazing setup. I remember thinking how I had grown with this station listening to it and here we both were, fully accomplished and evolved over the last 15 years and meeting at that point.
Achieving a dream of doing a show on a station with so much history and credibility was very surreal but a great experience. We met with management shortly after that guest show and that’s when they offered us a regular monthly slot on the station, a moment which gave us a stamp of approval and meant that we must be doing something right if we are given such an amazing platform again to not only test our own productions but to also play music on the airwaves and give artists exposure that they might not receive otherwise.
Finally, the release and gig schedules are starting to get busier all over the electronic music world. Are there any acts that you’ve been really enjoying recently?
Right now we’ve been listening and watching Rodriguez Jr., which has been really inspiring. He has been doing a live show for a long time now but has taken this a step further with a concept where there is nothing separating him from the crowd. He has designed the stage set up so that his equipment is all within touching distance but the stands do not come between him and the crowd, which I think is an amazing idea. You get that connection that you wouldn’t normally get with the crowd without a table or DJ booth being in the way, sharing the crowds energy almost the same way as a band would. He has also had input into the lighting which allows complete control over the whole experience which as an artist can sometimes be hard to achieve, especially in the DJ/Producer world. But he’s making ways to enhance that experience for both the artist and the fans, which is commendable and inspiring. From what I’ve seen it looks like a superb show!