Interview with

Basic Soul Unit

Hong Kong born and raised in Canada, Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit has been steadily making his mark in underground electronic music circles since his first release in 2003. Reflecting his diverse interest in music, Stuart’s house & techno productions can swing from lush and soulful to crunchy and jacking . He has released and remixed music on respected labels. The end of 2012 saw the the release of Basic Soul Unit’s first album “Motional Response” on Chicago’s Still Music to great critical acclaim. Cassy recently included 2 of Stuart’s tracks on her Fabric 71 mix CD for Fabric London. 2013 also marks the inaugural ep release of his own label Lab.our which he started with long time friend Jason Ulrich. As with his productions, Stuart’s strength as a DJ is his versatility.

Facts

1: The richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total.

2: Energy saved from one recycled aluminium will operate a TV set for 3 hours, and is the equivalent to half a can of gasoline.

3: Population density of Hong Kong (my place of birth) 6, 348.641 people / square km, Population density of Canada (my current home) 3.2 people / square km.

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Toronto, my city (since I moved here when I was a kid). Growing up here I was exposed to a very multicultural society and without it I may not have discovered soul and dance music (at least in the same way). It opened my mind to many other types of music as well and also of underground, night life and electronic music culture.

How and when did you get into making music?
Around 2000 when I got free software from a music magazine. I never had the studio know how, so digital production was what allowed me to get into it (in fact my first release on Iwanai was done this way!).

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Too many to mention but this is what comes to mind immediately…
Steve Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life
Cannonball Adderly – Something Else
Tenorio Jr – Embalo
Fingers – Ammnesia
James Mason – Rhythm Of Life

What do you associate with Berlin?
Music, Currywurst and Doner (I’m not being sarcastic, I like currywurst!)?

What’s your favourite place in your town?
Out on one of the jetties alone at Humber Park looking back at the skyline of Toronto. Although Dumpling King & South Asia restaurant are close seconds.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I don’t think I can even imagine. I’d probably still be in some sort of creative field though (I’m a graphic designer by day).

What was the last record you bought?
Joe Claussell Un.Chained Rhythums box set, and Hakim Murphy – Acid Basics

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I tend to be more of a lone swordsman. To tell the truth I have not thought much about collaborating yet, but I’d like to at some point (no specific names in mind at this time). It would be a great learning experience for me.

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Performer – Panorama Bar in Berlin, and believe it or not, at a friend’s (Darand Land ) basement in Buffalo! It could be 1000 people or just 20, as long as they’re feeling it, its all good. Spectator – 3 Chairs tent, 2nd DEMF I think?

How important is technology to your creative process?
It goes without saying. I’m not a trained musician or writer. My process is basically doodling around with my software until I find something I like.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
One, an older sister. Proud, I think…

Our Favourites: Dank  | Yellow river |  Snow drifts

Links: Soundcloud |  uzurirecordings.com/basic-soul-unit/