December 2018

Mad Digits

Lovefingers Lovefingers Lovefingers Lovefingers Lovefingers Lovefingers Text: Steele Bonus Images: Lovefingers

Chances are you already know about the Lovefingers website, quite possibly the best site at the moment for downloading rare unearthed music from the past 30-40 years. What you probably don’t know is that the man behind the site, Andrew Hogge, is one of the most friendly and laid back guys going around. A native Californian who currently resides in Brooklyn, he’ll probably tell you himself that he’s lazy. However he still manages to hold down a full time job and at the same time run two record labels, update his website with daily ‘fingertracks’ and mixes, work on his own music as one half of production duo The Stallions, party with the energy of an 18 year old, and tour the world djing. Recently he even became a father. Steele Bonus caught up with Lovefingers a month outside of his second trip down under.

Steele Bonus: Tell us about your origins in music. How did you come about collecting records and DJing?

Andrew Lovefingers: I grew up in a musical home, mum was a music teacher and we played and sang together from as far back as I can remember. I started playing drums when I was seven or eight. It was pretty cool, after I first set up the kit my mum jumped on and dropped some beats, I couldn’t believe it! As for records, the first was a huge box of my dad’s 45s, mostly Beatles and Beach Boys. My first purchased records were probably Run DMC and Zeppelin. I got into metal, punk and hardcore later and started compulsively collecting 7″s which led to everything else.

SB: Did you ever play in bands? Do you miss jamming with a band?

AL: Yeah a handful of punk bands in high school, and later some stoner rock bands, no need to name any of them… but I guess the last band I played in was Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Yeah I haven’t had a drum kit for a while, I need one badly!

SB: So you’ve been working on a bunch of tracks lately with Lee Douglas. You guys also travel and DJ together a fair bit. How did this partnership come about?

AL: We actually grew up in the same area and hung around the same punk kids, and have always had a lot of mutual friends. Funny now we also live a block from each other. I dunno, we just started hanging out a lot and listening to records all the time. So it was just inevitable that we started laying down tracks. I was asked by Findlay Brown to remix a song for his new album, so it was our first real project after a lot of talk. Then Findlay was really happy with the remix and his label asked us to produce some original material for him in the studio, and it ended up being a super great collaboration. Now we’re remixing a handful more artists and working on an album together. And since it seemed like we had to make up a name we are calling ourselves The Stallions.

SB: You made the move from LA to NYC a couple of years back. Did the music scene in NYC influence this decision? Do you think the music/club scene in NYC is all it’s cracked up to be? Are there any DJs, bands or producers in NYC that you think the rest of the world needs to know about?

AL: I’ve always loved NYC but moving there had nothing to do with music. It was more work related really. But I’m a million times happier with the music scene in NYC than LA. I grew up in LA and it was just time for a change. Not to talk bad on LA, it’s a great place, and full of great people (despite the reputation). The music scene in NYC has always been amazing, but it’s by no means some disco-laden wonderland. There is a small pool of DJs and record freaks and we all go to each other’s parties. It’s actually a super tough place to play in right now, money is low and people are jaded, but we still have fun. Underground parties are always where it’s at. I can’t really think of anything new in New York that people need to know about, TBD is the jam and also my buddy Speculator has a new label called Willy T… his release for Hunee is dope.

SB: DJing has taken you to play gigs at plenty of different locations around the globe. Any of them stand out as being the most memorable? Any crazy stories you feel like sharing?

AL: I love Turkey. I went to this little beach town in southern Turkey this summer and it was just amazing. Girls dancing in the knee high water under a full moon til the sun rose. Yeah of course when you are out all night weird things and people are involved but no real standouts. It’s all a blur. Just really awesome to meet such cool people and real music freaks all over the place! Stallions just played a fantastic gig last night in Stockholm and we’re on to Berlin tomorrow. Later in the week we’re over to Serbia to play in Belgrade, that’s really got me excited!

SB: Lets talk about your site. I have heard that you are going to stop once you reach 1000 tracks. It’s currently up there in the nine hundreds right? There mustn’t be long to go. What will happen when you hit 1000?

AL: Yeah maybe 30 something more to go. Not sure what will happen at 1000 but I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it a radio station. Not sure. It’s really a long mix, and a lot of tracks are totally specific to the time they were posted, but if you listen to the catalogue in its entirety it’s the best, so I might just make it stream. I wish there was a way to package the 1000 song mix but it would end up being a ridiculously large box set.

SB: I think lots of people are going to miss the updates. Especially after recently similar ‘track of the day’ type sites Bumrocks and Dream Chimney have shut down. Do you think it is a bit of an end of an era?

AL: Let’s just say that these specific sites you mentioned are the cream. I feel like Bumrocks, Dream Chimney and my site have accomplished something pretty cool, but honestly they’re kinda the only ones I pay attention to. The point is to promote great music and artists and get their music out there, but not to replace the actual records. That’s why the files are not high bit rate, its just to sample and then you need to go out to the record store, or at least the online record store. There is too much at your fingertips these days and it’s really overwhelming. So easy to get lost in the computer and its much better to get in, get out and get on with your day.

SB: Any plans to follow on with a different project? Or are you just looking forward to a break?

AL: Yes my new project is my new son Jaspar! I can’t think of anything more rewarding than listening and playing music with him. He’s got his favourites already, and he’s only a month old!

SB: There’s been a lot of hype, mostly taking place on the internet, about a resurgence in ‘cosmic disco’ music. Have you noticed much of a change in the popularity for this kind of music over the last few years in regards to the interest in your DJing and your site?

AL: Meh, buzz words I guess. I mean the sub-genre thing is quite boring to me. It’s like when people put mixed styles of music together it’s all of a sudden “cosmic”. That’s not at all what I think of as cosmic. It’s a vibe not a genre. Unless I guess you’re referring to Baldelli’s classic jams from that era, which I really love, but mixing it all up is the way I like it and I’d never consider anything I do cosmic.

SB: So you are coming down under for the New Year and some of January right? It’s been a long time coming and almost didn’t happen. Are you excited?  Where are you playing?

AL: Yeah man, I’m super stoked! Playing at The Toff on New Years Eve and at the Picnic party in Sydney the next week… a handful of other parties as well, I’ll post ‘em all on my site soon. Will be super cool to hang out with all you guys again, and especially to get a second shot at summer!

SB: What sort of stuff can audiences here expect to hear you play?

AL: Disco, house, sleazy rock jams, maybe some chanting monks and snake charming music? I got a bunch of new things too.

SB: So tell us about this new label you are starting up, the ESP Institute. What sort of stuff are you going to be putting out? Did you start it with a certain kind of music or certain acts in mind to release? How will it be different from your other label Blackdisco?

AL: Blackdisco is just about servicing DJs and the dancefloor, it’s all edits and reworks of songs for that specific use. ESP Institute is new music. Totally open minded beautiful sounds. Lots of great things from friends in Japan as well. My wife and I have also started a childrens clothing label under the ESP Institute called ESPno.1… Other things will follow and hopefully a boutique one day.

SB: Run us through some of the releases you’ve got coming up on the two labels.

AL: For Blackdisco, I will do another edit 12″ at some point but things that are for sure are a 12″ from Thriftcotheque (Eddie Ruscha of Laughing Light Of Plenty) and a 12″ from Justin Vandervolgen (TBD, Try and Find Me). The debut release from ESP Institute is Journey To The Centre Of The Sun by Sombrero Galaxy (which is two good buddies Tako and Jonny Nash) with a remix on the b-side by The Stallions. It’s out end of January. After that is a release by Chee Shimizu of Discosession. A super deep promo mix CD will be out first and probably free with the first shipped 12″s. The rest will be sold and the profits will all go to benefit music programs for children. The artwork for ESP is also going to be great, Mario Hugo is doing the whole package and he’s an amazing NYC artist.

SB: On your Blackdisco label you recently put out an edit by a guy from Brisbane – Julien Love. Julien is a very talented guy, but is still relatively unknown around these parts. How did it come about that you ended up putting out his music?

AL: A friend of mine played me his edit of The Jacksons and I just had to contact him to let it come out on Blackdisco. He’s sent me heaps of super fantastic edits and hopefully we’ll do another 12″ soon. He’s a great dude and everyone should fly him over for parties. Also check his music videos on Youtube, total dopeness.

SB: Thanks man, one more question, now that you have the responsibility of being a dad do you think you’ll slow down on going out partying till the wee hours of the morning?

AL: Everything is OK in moderation.

Lovefingers plays at Melbourne’s the Toff In Town on December 31 amongst other shows.

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