https://backl.ink/146802140To celebrate the release of Have Like Like that on Off Leash Records, we sat down with Lucas (PKA Health Club) for a chat about where things are for him and the music, right now.
Greetings Lucas, for those that don’t know about Health Club, how long have you been at this project and how would you describe the music?
Hello! I’ve been writing music under Health Club for around 3 or 4 years now. When I first started the project I was listening to and influenced by a lot of soul, funk and neo soul, which led me to this sort of pop/neo soul output. I’ve always really enjoyed lower tempos; they leave a lot of space between the beats and allow for more explorations in groove.
This new track of yours “Have It Like That” on Off Leash Records, is a funky, soulful record. The vocals remind me a little of early UK dance, but then there’s an almost American style janggly hip-hop beat plus some very Australian usage of the saw synths. Is it deliberate for you to merge styles or is that something that just happened organically?
I think initially I had leaned into some more of the UK feel on an earlier version – using some parallel harmony, 909s n what not but at some point, I just started from scratch and played with a new, more soulful angle. It all just unwound from there and I found myself throwing a slap bass in the chorus. I do love intentional use of juxtapositions or clashing of ideas but in this case, I think it just happened.
Are there specific influences that contributed to the tone of this track? If so, who are they?
Pharrell is always a massive influence, and if you get down to it a lot of the more current influences would also lead back to him too. People like Lynda Dawn, kaytranada, Mndsgn & Toro y Moi; are very key components of the sound I’ve created with this release. Can’t forget to mention Patrice Rushen, I don’t think I could go a couple days without listening to her.
Some of your more recent singles have been closer to a house/disco tempo. Are we gonna hear you stick around in these more open grooves for a while?
Definitely. I’ve been DJing a lot over the past year or two – more than I have in years. I’ve been listening to and playing heaps of late 80s and 90s stuff, especially Italo and Dream House. I think I’d like to explore writing some actual club music very soon.
For the production nerds out there, are there any favourite instruments, plugins or tools that can be heard on “Have It Like That” and what do you like about them?
A lot of the lead and mono sounds on this one are from an sh101 remake. The original was my first synth and when they brought the modern remake out, I had to get it. I’ve used Soundtoys ‘Crystallizer’ for some of the lush background sonics too, definitely worth giving that thing some praise. And, on every song, I’ve used the prophet 08 – in this case, for the big saw pads in the chorus.
No doubt, Electronic music is in a strange place worldwide with limited capacities and not much of a festival scene. How has Queensland been of late? Are you and your contemporaries able to go out and play shows? How do they feel?
It’s taken some time but we’re back to what feels like normal. The limited capacity is still in place of course, and is quite a point of tension, with other areas of society seemingly “immune” to covid safety restrictions and procedures. Friends are throwing shows nearly every weekend, to smaller and maybe more dedicated crowds. People are aware of the limited release, so the tickets are bought up quick and the attendance is always in high spirits. I’ve even caught some shows from international artists which seems crazy.
On, that; If you could play support to any international headliner, who would it be and why would that be an awesome show for Health Club?
Probably someone like Erika De Casier or Toro y Moi. I feel like any show they would do would be awesome regardless of my involvement, and would be great to be a part of it.
What about in the studio? Who would be a dream collaboration for Health Club and why do you think it would work?
Adam Bainbridge (Kindness) or Joseph Mount (Metronomy). They’re not exactly current influences on the music I’ve released but they’re two of the biggest contributors to my high school obsession with music. They’re both artists that I feel pushed pop music in really interesting directions and reference some great records in their own ways. I’d like to think over the years I’ve found a lot of the same influences that drove them to make their work and would hopefully have a common ground to draw inspiration from.
What’s next for Health Club is there anything you’d like to leave us with?
More music, and hopefully soon. Earlier this year I played a live show with my friend Millie, the first I’d played in years. It left me excited to work on it further and look into performing more live shows in the near future.