Speaking to...Local Group

Originally from Essex and South London, Local Group, aka LMajor and Joe Roberts, are residents at UK festival Field Maneuvers. Having played the 'Dirty Little Rave' over its full five year history, their sound takes in garage, hardcore, breakbeat, electro and jungle, as showcased on their exclusive mix for Wavey Garms. We caught up to find out more.

Where you from and what you on?

LMajor:: I'm from Essex and on about three cups of coffee.

Joe Roberts: “Originally South London, now East London. I’m on a plastic chair at home.”

Can two people be a group?

L: “Tecchnically we're a duo, but the name is a reference to our interest in astronomy.

J: “Although Louis prefers astrology. I have a massive book called ‘Universe’ which is filled with really mind-blowing facts and photos. Local Group is the name of the collection of galaxies that the Milky Way is part of. It's funny how much the name underplays the incomprehensible scales involved. I like the disparity. We want to be as big, too, of course.”

How do you two know each other and how long have you been working together?

L: “Joe was my missuses' housemate and we bonded through our mutual love of music. I was mainly doing d&b back then but we had the occasional studio session which slowly turned into a more regular thing so we’ve been properly working together for around three years now. We have a proper laugh working together, usually cracking jokes and being stupid. Sometimes we have a track at the end of it.

J: “Louis basically has the cats from my old house so I go round to visit them. The music is a cover. Apart from the same depths of humour I think it clicked because we each brought different skills. Louis has meticulous productions skills, me a more slapdash approach but probably a wider knowledge of music to draw from. It took a while but we’ve eventually arrived at the perfect mid-point: meticulously slap-dash.

What's on the mix and how does it relate to musical background?

L: “The mix contains classic and contemporary takes on the rave sound with plenty of nods to hardcore, breaks, jungle and d&b. The first raves I attended were One Nation and Best of British d&b events and I still love the hard beats and bass jungle/d&b sound which you can hear on the LMajor tracks on the mix. There's also an exclusive Local Group cut on the mix.

J: “It takes in various formative experiences of mine from the late ‘90s/early ‘00s. I moved to Manchester to study and was listening to old school hardcore at parties like Step Back as well as loads of newer breakbeat. This crossed over into garage, so there’s a few old favourites I grabbed off the shelves while we were recording the mix like ‘Basslick’ and the Zinc remix of Santos. It finishes on a nod to 'Experience' era Prodigy, which I think had a massive influence on both of us.”

How are you connected to Wavey Garms?

J: “I was introduced to Andres last year at a festival called Varkala by Andy and Amy from World Unknown. After hanging out I ended up giving him a lift to Field Maneuvers, where Local Group are residents. On the way I was listening to an album from Criminal Minds and we started talking about hardcore and jungle. During our set he came over to ask what a tune was, and it was one of own. Then when I dropped him back instead of doing the sensible thing and going home we had another session back at his in which we bonded over the Reece baseline.

L: “He's raved through the last couple sets we played wearing some serious garments! The idea of doing a mix for the website launch came together while we were mashed in a tent during the festival. Big up Andreas, top geezer!”

What's special about Field Maneuvers?

L: “It's run by a top bunch of people who love dance music and like to keep it fun. The crowd is made up of super friendly, knowledgable, non-pretentious ravers and the music programming is bang on. It's quite small, which creates a proper family vibe and the sound keeps getting better and better too. Last year playing in the Sputnik Dome was amazing, apart from when we left the smoke machine on and could barely see the decks! It’s been an absolute privilege to play there each year alongside some of the top quality artists they book.

J: “Putting it another way, the FM team are the only people I know who’ve had to break into their own house warming party. Me and Louis have somehow managed to play at every one, even before there was a Local Group, and the music we’ve been making has definitely been encouraged by playing the Sputnik Dome, which basically turns into a sweaty hardcore/garage/jungle/d&b rave. Each year FM has got better and better and 2017 was definitely my favourite since the first. Check out the amazing line-up for 2018, which has just been released.”

What else do you have coming up?

L: “Joe just launched his new label Ecstasy Garage Disco with an EP from myself entitled ’Omega Point’, which got played on the Metalheadz Rinse show. We're currently working on new Local Group material and we also have a couple of other mixes on the way for Radio Quantica and Field Maneuvers.”

J: “I have my second solo track as Corporeal Face on ‘Tone Dropout Vol 5’. Tone Dropout are another crew that have really inspired me to follow what I really love. Dawl and Sweeney’s productions are killer and the label - which encompasses breakbeat, electro and acid - is getting some serious hype. The last release sold out in a couple of weeks. As well as that I jointly run another vinyl label Ritual Poison with BufoBufo. BufoBufo’s debut for the label has been getting support from the likes of Octo Octa and Bawrut and the next release will be our joint Escape Earth project around March/April.”

Tell us an inside story about the other.

L: “One time when Joe was sharing a studio in Brick Lane I bought along a quiche for lunch. Later, when I went to eat the quiche it was gone and the wrapper was in the bin. I asked Joe if he'd seen it and he admitted to eating it. I told him I'd planned to share it, and he said he would have shared it but he didn't know it was mine. He thought someone had left it in the studio earlier and had secretly eaten it because he was embarrassed about eating a discarded quiche. Basically, don't leave unattended food around Joe!

J: “If you were at Field Maneuvers last year, chances are you've already heard that story. Twice. Louis has a tendency to come untethered when he’s been hanging out with Michael Douglas and his Mad Aunt. There was the time he thought his girlfriend’s face was a DJ mixer, or a Fabric birthday when I found him telling a random girl ‘we should use more Dr Dre snares’. Maybe that tip really helped her.”

Final words?

L: “Be excellent to each other.

J: “I told you I was ill.”

Written by: Joe Roberts