Troydon Murison and Craig Massiv are Loskop – Here’s why…
Troydon Murison and Craig Massiv, collectively call themselves Loskop, the product of the creative powers of these two recognisable, talented and highly skilled producers in a neat duo package. The combination of their experience, skills and finesse for production ensures quality music each and every time. They have both earned their stripes working and starting out in the underground electronic dance music scene in South Africa more than twenty years ago. With one based in Joburg and the other in LA, we managed to pin them down for an interview. Loskop filled us in on being signed to Sony, working with Toya DeLazy, a twenty four hour work flow, and remixing Ellie Goulding.
The latest upload on your Loskop Soundcloud page is the Ellie Goulding remix of ‘Take Me To Church’. How did this remix come about and what did you set out to do differently with the track when you decided to put your spin on it?
Troydon Murison: We both love Ellie Goulding and love Hoziers’, “Take Me To Church”, so when we heard the cover that Ellie did – which was very stripped down – we thought it would be nice to do something with it for fun. The track chose its own direction. When we first started on the remix, the vocal was at a house tempo but in a different time signature. So in order to get it to flow nicely we did all the vocal chops which made it 4/4. The vocal chops reminded us of the old solid groove/herve/trevor loveys records we used to love so much when growing up, so we didn’t fight that and simply pushed it in that direction to get it to where it ended up.
Troydon when and why did you opt to make the move out to LA?
Troydon Murison: When I was living in Brooklyn and working in NYC I worked at a studio called Downtown Records as a recording engineer. Most of the guys coming through that were into the resurgence of electronic music were talking about the scene in LA. Fortunately, at the time, I was working pretty frequently with Dave Taylor (Switch). He had recently moved from the UK to base himself in LA and offered me an opportunity to work with him if I moved to LA. Another huge draw card was the fact that I wasn’t super happy in NYC and really missed the outdoors which is much more part of the lifestyle in LA. We ride mountain bikes at least four times a week and the beach is right here, plus, we have Big Bear which is two hours away, so snowboarding for a quick day trip in winter is also on the cards! This stuff makes me happy.
You guys worked on ‘Forbidden Fruit’ for Toya DeLazy’s album ‘Ascension’ which came out last year. What was it like working with her and how do you reckon your creative spirits managed to complement one another?
Craig Massiv: One of our objectives in setting up Loskop as a producer duo was to collaborate and produce for other artists. Signing to Sony afforded us the opportunity to do just that with some of their artists of which Toya was one. Toya is quite a tough cookie when it comes to her creative work but luckily we hit it off straight away in studio. It took a bit of work but we eventually found a good balance and the tracks came out great.
Both of you started in the underground deep house scene here in SA and have since evolved and moved into broader spheres of sound exploration. How did the experience of starting out where you came from in the music business influence how you approach your craft now?
Craig Massiv: We’ve both been at it for over twenty years now, starting out playing house records in our teens. I think the next logical progression after playing other peoples music for so long is to make your own. With that comes the process of getting it out there and dealing with the business aspect. This I feel you only really grasp properly over time and learning the hard way. It’s important to have a good understanding of contracts, publishing etc. There’s a whole new model of revenue streams out there and you have to make your music work for you.
How tricky is or isn’t it to stay on the same page when you are both working from different continents? Are there any systems you have in place in order to ensure productivity?
Craig Massiv: I must say that out of anyone I’ve worked with, Troydon is the one person I mostly see eye to eye with creatively. There is rarely a creative decision that we have to make where we both disagree, whether it be loving something or taking a track and throwing it in the bin. Productivity works pretty well because of the time difference. Troy will work on something the whole day and hand it over to me as he is about to go to bed and I’ll work on it the whole day while he is asleep. A twenty four hour work flow [laughs]. We have identical systems setup. Both run Logic X with the same plugins and we work through google drive so things automatically update on either side.
You have a brand new single titled ‘These Sparks’ featuring Maiya Sykes. Why did you choose to go with the hard drum n bass groove for this track and how did you end up working with Maiya on it?
Troydon Murison: The two of us really like the new drum and bass stuff that’s coming out from Sub Focus, Netsky – to the obvious like Rudimental UK. We always knew we would want to explore this angle with some of the records on this project at some point. I met Maiya through a session musician that I work with here named Lincoln Cleary and we were actually trying to do a house record with her because she has that amazing diva voice! We were having a hard time getting something we were all happy with on that tip, so at the end of one session as an experiment I said to her, “Maiya can we try something quickly before you have to head off?” We had about forty five minutes before she had to leave so I rushed and chopped a loop of a chord progression out of an old drum n bass record that I liked that sat at 175bpm. I had jotted down a bunch of lyrical content a few days prior, inspired by tracks that I listen to, so I gave those ideas to her and said “let’s see if we can make this work”. Needless to say she killed it and it came really easy. The two verses and the pre were written and we had a scratch vocal down in the forty five minutes. Then there was a lot of the usual back and forth of the track between Craig and I plus some help from Lincoln on the bridge and eventually we ended up with it as you hear it today.