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A level headed Q&A with: Tim “Love” Lee

In the midst of running two record labels (Tummy Touch and Peace Feast), extensive globe-trotting, sculpting his beard, various promotional duties, and his Kiss 100 radio slot, Tim “Love” Lee has managed to create his latest album, “Just Call Me ‘Lone’ Lee.” Created as a continuation from his debut album “Confessions of A Selector,” his new material combines influences from around the world into an intricate soundtrack for a jet-setting selector on the search for romance. The sound is an organic and warm mix of down-tempo ranging from complex cinematic vibes to Latin percussion and a huge variety of acoustic strings, guitars, and horns. Tim Lee’s aesthetic may come off as the carefree party-goer but no doubt about it, Tim is a talented musician/producer and his new album seems too introspective to just brand it as a great neo-lounge record. Tim has been so busy promoting his new album that he tried answering some questions over the phone while he was in the shower, hung over, and attempting to get a taxi to the airport. Luckily I was able to catch up with him later with a few questions.

What was your reasons for creating Tummy Touch and how did you want it to differ from Peace Feast? A friend of mine had done a track for Peace Feast, which I only heard for the first time at the mastering studio. It turned out to be an uptempo floor filler, which wouldn't have fitted in with the far out dope beats of Peace Feast so I had to set up a new label to put the record out. I originally only intended to release one single on Tummy Touch! Peace Feast is for one-off singles while Tummy Touch is more about artist development.

After your stint playing for Katrina and the Waves, what inspired you to take up "electronic" based music and DJing? I was into dance music and DJing about 5 years before I was playing with K&TW and still did DJ gigs while I was with them.

In addition to the obvious, like Lounge culture and 70's porn, what are some other influences on your music (musical and otherwise)? Girls, beer and beards.

Outside the Leftfield neo-lounge scene, what are your opinions on Trance DJ’s and producers from the UK trying to break the mainstream U.S. market? What do you see as the differences (if any) between the US and UK scenes? Generally the UK music industry is doing pretty badly in the US at the moment so anyone trying to improve things is fine by me. America and Britain are very different in many ways, mostly in size so gigs in San Francisco can be incredibly different from gigs in Dallas

How has the response been stateside? Very good. People are a lot more supportive in the USA and love to give compliments. This never happens in Europe, especially not in London.

Do you feel that working on the creation/promotion of Tummy Touch has changed your views at all when it comes to the creation of your own records? I have a pretty practical view of what a record need to have so we can sell it, but also with my own label I can release tracks that would never make it out otherwise (e.g. my Christmas LP)

Was there a theme or a certain inspiration behind the title and music of "Just Call Me Lone Lee"? Have you really not been in love? I have been in love but not for a while. The theme is the lonely life of an international DJ and the whole vibe was inspired by an unhappy love affair and listening to lots of romantic 50s music afterwards.

In addition to your DJ schedule, are there any plans of going "live" with your material? You bet! I'm retiring from DJing in May of this year so I can get a band together. I have lots of ideas for a crazy multimedia show and a very strange line up in mind.

There are a few acts out there with the lounge sound incorporated into their tracks, but compared to some others, your album has a warm organic sound and comes off very refreshing. Is there anything in particular you did to establish this? How do you incorporate samples into your music? There are quite a few samples on the album and I tend to sample from very old records. Also all the live instruments are proper vintage gear so that no doubt helps the album sound more organic.

What’s on the horizon for Tummy Touch? Brilliant new music this year from: Patrick Dawes (the percussion player with Groove Armada), Los Chicharrons, Tutto Matto, Mains Ignition, Leo Young and myself. And we're doing a few parties and live showcases to celebrate our 5th birthday.

Rumor has it that you have a pretty slamming analog keyboard collection. Not as slamming as I'd like as I don't have a Minimoog, Hammond b3 or modular synth. Hopefully this year I can rectify that situation.

How did the "Love" nickname come about? It's a hangover from the early days of UK rave. I used to have "Joy" shaved in the back of my head and we were all in love and things felt very good. Still do.

What is your opinion on hip-hop in 2001? Just heard the new Princess Super Star LP which is brilliant, so judging from that things are pretty good!

Tummy Touch has just released their “I Am Fearless Funky & Five” compilation celebrating their five year anniversary. It’s a wonderful introduction to the label or you can get the latest on Tim Lee’s releases and Tummy Touch records at www.tummytouch.com

-Justin Hardison


Mike Doughty



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