Interview With Lempo (5 Questions to…)
01. EST: Who are you, what are you doing, where are you from, how did you come to djing and producing and what musically influences and roots do you have?
Lempo: My name is Mike, better known by my stage name, Lempo. I’m from Manchester, my DJ career began with residencies at local nightclubs, Sankeys and Venus. I’ve been producing house music for well over a decade. I run the ‘Applique Music’, record label and host my monthly radio show, ’Twisted Melon’ on Cafe Mambo Radio.
My influences stem from Funk, Disco, and Glam-Rock during my youth. In particular artists such as David Bowie, Chic, Prince and James Brown. During my late teens and early twenties, I was a big fan of Hip-Hop due to a short-lived career as a break-dancer. In the beginning my sets were very open format, but my sound quickly evolved towards electronic dance music when I started appearing in nightclubs.
02. EST: What was the inspiration for your new single “Swinglasses”?
Lempo: I hadn’t made anything with an Electro Swing vibe for a long time. Back in the day i produced the “Done & Dusted” album with Japwow, it was full of swing-infused house and tech. A couple of the tracks had great success, mainly “Jack in Boots” with Nancy Sinatra and “Hi De Ho” with Cab Calloway. I was inspired to return for a solo dabble at a swing-led production after meeting Emma Claire, her passion for Electro Swing reminded me how much fun I’d had with this genre – i love how it doesn’t take itself too seriously! :)
03. EST: Why did you choose House, UK House, Swing House / Electro Swing and where is the musical attraction and the specialty in these genres?
Lempo: When i first started out as a DJ my roots were very much within the Hip-Hop genre, i discovered house music while spending time in Ibiza. I felt a strong connection with the 4/4 format and this quickly became my primary sound… house has always been the backbone in all my productions, but you can still identify the influences of Hip-Hop, Funk and Disco throughout my work… the swing element was originally an experiment, you can’t help but smile at the crusty vintage big-band sounds when they’re mashed-up and jacked-up with modern percusion.
04. EST: Has the corona crisis hit you and what has changed for you?
Lempo: It has certainly had an impact on my music endeavours. My annual ‘Eivissa Partido’ event in Knutsford (UK) was cancelled due to Covid this year. I’ve not played in a venue now for about six months, it’s a very weird and difficult time for everyone in the nightlife industry. I do still perform live for a tiny crowd consisting of my wife, Jenny, and our kids, Phoebe Sophia (6) and Albert Ziggy (3). They love music and it really helps me to get in the mood when doing streams and recording my radio show, having the kids dancing around is beautiful thing.
05. EST: What are your plans, gigs and releases for the future?
Lempo: I’m looking forward to getting back on stage, whenever and wherever that may be, I’m not too sure yet. I’ve got my eyes on a return to Ibiza to enjoy a sunset at Cafe Mambo and catch-up with my fam on the Island. On the new music front, i recently released ‘Dance Without A Reason‘ with Roland Clark on Strictly Rhythm and ‘Open House’ with Chuck Roberts on Black Hole Recordings… both of which have been receiving great feedback and support. I’ve also just curated and mixed the ‘9AM’ compilation for Applique Music’s birthday which will be available later this month. In the pipeline, there’s a disco-house project underway with Ruff Diamond and Taz called ‘Lights On’ which I’m particularly excited to get finished.
EST: Thank you for the interesting interview, good luck and stay healthy!