We’re amped to be able to bring you this exclusive premiere of the beautiful ‘Alpine Descent’ from Lossy’s new EP ‘Chase Scenes’ which will be released on his own Boot Cycle Audio on the 15th April.

Dom Duchamp caught up with Tru Thought’s vet’ Lossy a.k.a Sam Sharp for a chat about Jazz, story-telling and DJ Shadow. Have a read while you press repeat on this beautiful thing.

It’s kind of a tired question and I feel bad asking it…what’s the story behind the name LOSSY – it’s not about data compression is it?

Not strictly, no, although the name does originally come from the idea of reduction and obfuscation. Have worked a lot with acoustic and “cleaner” sounds as a live musician, I started the Lossy moniker a few years back to represent my more experimental and electronic side. So the name refers to a distortion of myself, the merging of acoustic and digital worlds in my sound designs and compositions to produce something I hope is unique and intriguing. Also it’s quite snappy and easy to remember hopefully!

Been skiing recently? Can you describe the genesis of the idea for this new EP, also your tech set up and the rest of the story behind the beautiful ‘Alpine Descent’?

I’m not really a skiing kinda person to be honest, I should try it out though, or maybe snowboarding as a mid life crisis thing. I have been to the Alps though as a touring musician, and the tracks “Tokyo Arcade” and “Smithfield Market 4am” are also based on places I have actually been to. “Saharan Trail” is pure illusion though, maybe one day eh! I was looking for a starting point for some new tracks and was thinking about high energy works that might accompany film / visuals. A friend suggested I do “Car Scene Music” and that was enough to get things going. I don’t really have a fully set concept in my head as I write, it’s more like things slowly come into focus, and at the end I think “Yeah, that track could be called that”. Alpine Descent seemed to work as the sweeping noise intro could be a snow storm, the lush string / paraphonic synth hybrid break-down sections could work as a mountain panorama and the beatsy chopped passages might sound suitable as an assassin chases the victim down the slopes in between the trees. Or something like that – I’ll leave it up to the listener to apply their own meaning.

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Is contemporary Psychogeography something you are interested in? The reason I ask is that A) you are a Hackney boy, home of the mighty Iain Sinclair & B) I was listening to your previous EP ‘River Solos.’ They seem to me to be in a way telling the individual stories of those rivers and there is a kind of playful density to those tracks that reminded me a lot of ‘London Orbital?’

It’s funny you say this – my last 2 EPs both had a geographical theme. The River Solos EP was based on my favourite London waterways as you point out, and also “Perils of the Sea” which came out on Romanian techno imprint Tessier Ashpool is a bit like a fantastical spy thriller set at various pseudo-locations around the world. I’m a strong believer in music working in context, geography seems like it’s working for me at the moment in terms of inspiration, be it real or imaginary.

Masters in Jazz! Damn, that’s a rare commodity these days. When you studied were you planning on being a straight Jazz musician or did you study Classical and Jazz to inform whatever music you chose to do?

I’m not sure – I think I probably did want to be the next Chris Potter when I signed up as a sax player on the course, but I was just so grateful for the opportunity I threw myself into every aspect of the masters degree at the Guildhall School of Music: performance, improvisation, arranging, composing, conducting, workshopping, the lot. It certainly worked in terms of getting me gigs as a saxophonist, but I did often find myself being drawn to the piano in the practice room to do writing or geeking out with tech in my studio – I was never that comfortable with the thought of just being a sax player so these days it’s just one part of what I do.

Sun Ra, Miles Davis or Oscar Peterson?

I could listen to “Great Connection” by Oscar Peterson all day, as well as a lot of Miles’ catalogue – his playing on Somethin’ Else by Cannonball Adderley is sublime, this is one of my all time favourite albums, along with Kind Of Blue of course. I’m less familiar with Sun Ra but still a fan.

What is your best piece of kit?

I have a whole legion of acoustic instruments, synths, software and toys but my Keilweth alto sax would still win the competition, my heart still leaps every time I pick it up to play, it’s like another limb to me. The sax hasn’t featured so much with my studio releases as Lossy to date – I’ve been waiting for the right way to combine it with the electronics in a tasteful way – but I’ve been jamming it out live with my looping rig of late so I’m hoping this will be rectified very soon.

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I saw on your bio that you are about to be in a band that is recreating ‘Endtroducing’! That is crazy! Tell us a bit about that and how it came about? PARTB of this question – What Does Your Soul Look Like?

Yeah I’ve not been this excited about a live gig for a while now, we had our first rehearsal the other day and it sounds dope as hell, it’s an extraordinary group of musicians. I’ve known Matt from the band for a few years now, he heard my sax playing on a friend’s album and asked if I would be up for the gig. It took my all of 3 nanoseconds to say yes – ‘Entroducing’ was the soundtrack to my student days.

What does my soul look like?! Damaged but persistent!

What is the reason you make music?

I have to.

Who has been the greatest inspiration to you in your music career?

I’ve been lucky to have inspiration from a huge number of teachers, role models, fellow band members and collaborators over the years. I just ensure I keep things going by getting out to gigs / club nights, listening to and making as much music as I can, making new friends and connections, researching the best tech, tools and workflows: basically educating and challenging myself as an artist all the time, living it all as fully as possible. You’ve got to keep feeding yourself the culture, that way it feels like you are right there with everyone at the coalface, however deluded that might be in reality.

“Lossy – Chase Scenes EP” is out on Boot Cycle Audio on April 15th
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Introducing Live are recreating DJ Shadow’s “Entroducing” on the following dates:
15th April @ The Bullingdon, Oxford
22nd April @ Koko, London

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