Interview: Lee Foss

“… In Toronto people appreciate music. Every time I come here I would say it is one of my favorite cities to play in.” 

leefossOn Febuary 1, 2014 Live Nation hosted its second annual Brrrr Winter Music Festival, an outdoor festival located on the icy lakeshore of downtown Toronto. 10 DJs headlined on two different stages. Echo Beach boomed more big room EDM and the Corona Technodome resonated with a deeper dancefloor sound. Chicago born, LA/London resident Lee Foss was a favorite among the many talents at Brrrr.

After his set we sat in the greenroom and witnessed not only is he easy on the eyes but also witty with his words as he told joke after joke for 20 minutes straight still able to keep us entertained. We learned about what Toronto means to his career, his current and expected plate in North America’s electronic music scene, and what it really means to be “reverse skydiving”. We talked about the recent expansion of his musical career with the formation of “Pleasure State” alongside bandmates Anabel Englund and MK. As we dabbled deep into conversation we learned that Lee Foss ia a thought provoking lyricist and true music mogul.

Brrrr Winter Music Festival definitely shows how dedicated Torontonians are towards electronic music, people were vibing to your tracks and you were getting really dirty there towards the end of your set. 

Yeah towards the end I fixed a few of the technical problems so I was able to play three things at the same time, be a bit more experimental and that’s when I think the set started to sound a bit more interesting. I think I can do some interesting things with melody and frequency ranges… it’s not from practice it’s just instinct. No matter what comes in and out of fashion people want to hear music, and like you said, in Toronto people appreciate music. I’ve been very fortunate to have a good group of friends here from the beginning. Hot Creations has had a ton of success here and I owe a lot of that to the Art Department guys, and Jazz my agent from Toronto.

Wow, what makes Toronto one of your favorite cities to play in?

It’s a great city for me to play in, a lot of people have laid the groundwork for it and when I play I don’t feel like I need to play a certain way. Not that I do that anyway, but there are certain American cities here and there I feel obliged to play a hit from our past like “Benediction” or something because a lot of young people there especially University students who have only casually heard of us, if they didn’t hear one of those songs at the end of the night they may go home unhappy. Here I don’t feel any obligation but to be cutting edge and interesting and play what excites me.

Not only did so many people come to Brrrr to hear you today but many more are coming to Coda for the afterparty tonight. So, Toronto definitely appreciates what you play for us. Interesting enough, I’ve also just found out you write a lot of the lyrics to your own songs.

I mean, don’t get me wrong there’s certainly Hot Natures songs where Ali may have written all of it or we’ve all written it but some songs definitely come out associated with my own name. In general I would say I am a primary lyric writer. If you are talking about all my different bands and stuff I am more and more evolved with the vocal aspect of things. I really enjoy it, I went to school for writing and I think we have an interesting fresh aspect to vocals. I’m proud of what we do vocally and all the different projects we work on, and I enjoy words. I think it’s great we don’t need songwriters.

It’s great you put a lot of focus on vocals because it also leads way to so many artists wanting to remix your songs. With “Reverse Skydiving” for instance, there were so many remixes of that.

And I think the remixes really gave it a second wind, Shadow Child’s especially.

The original production of “Reverse Skydiving” by your band Hot Natured obviously had a lot of crossover potential… It reached a massive amount of people. 

Mixmag named Hot Natured “2014 Act of the Year”. This reflects not only the positive reaction to your productions but also the scope of people your songs have been able to reach. What are some of the things you want to express through the music?

Purely ideas I want ot say that could be about love or losing your mind and depression, changing the world, the pharmaceutical industry. Hot Natured is like a concept band and I feel like it’s more of my creative outlet. With the songs… you can actually show people about things, and this stuff is all coming. You can talk about Monsanto, you can talk about the military industrial complex, you can talk about the things that aren’t being talked about ont he news and it will reach people in an interesting way.

There’s a lot of information out there that people don’t get because they get all their information from a box and that box is controlled by certain people and it’s in the best interest of hte people who control that box for people to remain in a state of fear, in a state of anxiety, self doubt and boredom.

We use such a small percentage of our brain, there are energy fields we are not reading, there are things that we are not doing and I think stuff like this needs to be explored. Hot Natured is more about positivity and being in the guise of us being aliens, bringing the new technology, bringing happiness but also what we encounter cross landed on this planet.

Reverse Skydiving conveys a positive sounding Hot Natured vibe but does it maintain a social commentary as well? What is the song really about?

What is your favorite electronic noise?

2014 is the year of first time releases by Pleasure State, so keep your eyes and ears peeled. Lee Foss is headlining UMF on March 28th, and if you are heading to Miami for WMC do not miss the Paradise Party @ Ice Palace West.



About the author

Adrienne Bookbinder, the founder of bookedupbeats, is a music enthusiast living for the experiences that go beyond what can be portrayed on paper. She is on a mission to share with the world what the world has given to her.

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