In Deep We Trust Collective are a growing force in the Sydney scene, with a proven track record in events and a clothing line to match. We spoke to founder Ludovic about their latest venture - Collective Records, ahead of their label's launch party.
RR: Ludovic, good to chat. We're looking forward to the launch of your record label Collective Records tonight. Talk us through the journey you've been through to get it to this point.
Ludovic: After years of building other people’s brands, I finally had enough knowledge and years of playing under my belt where I felt comfortable enough to start creating my own. Franky Tapia gave me a shot and on the 25th of February 2017, In Deep We Trust Collective was born at Chinese Laundry. He has been a huge driver for me in my career, forever grounding me when I get too carried away and providing priceless lessons about what the world of music is really like.
So I was studying full time and working 3 jobs to keep the dream alive and I finally got to a point where I was producing better than ever. I had experienced how difficult it was to get your music recognised by labels, you are literally sending tracks to labels and they aren’t even being opened! I had met Chris Arnott 6 months before, he pushed me musically like no-one had before and gave me honest, straight-up, no bullshit feedback on my production which empowered me to smash on with it. He has enormous amounts of experience under his belt and one day said, “why don’t we just start our own record label?" - so that’s what we did!
RR: So what kind of artistic environment are you hoping to create with the label? And how would you describe its music policy?
Ludovic: It ranges from your deep/minimal tech to your more percussive tech house tracks with deeper basslines. So much talent goes unnoticed and slips through the cracks in the underground music scene and we want to do them justice. I wanted to create an approachable label that supports our local Australian talent from offering them feedback, to releasing their music and throwing a proper release party. Kerry Wallace has given me the opportunity to run these at his beloved SLYFOX in Enmore and the lineup will consist of everyone on the remix pack, the artist who made the release, and some local supports. It's an opportunity for people to discover new talent and to sign up to all of our promos if they wish. I'd love to have amazing international talent onboard too, but we'll never forget where we came from.
RR: We like the sound of that. In Deep We Trust Collective celebrated its first anniversary a few months ago. What have been the biggest highlights and challenges you've experienced with it so far?
Ludovic: Hosting my favourite producer DJ - Denniz Cruz, would have to be right up there alongside Laurent Garnier jumping up to go B2B with Pan-Pot at our 1st anniversary. The feeling of organising a whole event and everything leading up to it is a priceless and a constant highlight. You get to stand back and watch hundreds of people absolutely loving life. There's also a financial struggle because running events is a massive challenge - people don’t see this stuff and a lot of the consumers would rather spend $300 on a shit bag of rack for the party than buy a ticket! Not having much opportunity to regularly attend local events and network is also half the battle. You need to prepare yourself to lose money because at the end of the day you started all of this because you fucking love it... not because you’re going to make millions.
RR: We heard you have been playing at a number of secret warehouse parties. How were they? And when is the next one?
Ludovic: Yeah that shit has been an eye-opening experience. Such a good environment and everyone is responsible for themselves and there are no mobile phones - crazy! Literally forcing people into human interaction. It's also a bit concerning because you have to sign a waiver and you have no idea where you are going... and you’ve basically put your trust in these complete strangers, to pick you up in buses with blacked out windows, to take you there and not kill you haha. But fuck, it’s a good time... the places they have been having them are mind-blowing. I'm playing at another one on the 9th of June.
Ludovic: The last ‘Cure’ we held was awesome. You can expect an open-air rooftop, deep/minimal, tech house and techno tunes from 2pm till 10pm right in the heart of the city... with cool visuals and a weapon lineup. I genuinely throw parties I love to attend. Lineup includes some IDWT lads Daleh, Doctavio and myself... Compass Events' Nine One and Wild Fox, Social Bewegung leader Jermaine Jones and WeLove founder Nick Reverse. Such a beautiful thing to be able to play regularly with a number of these talented guys.
RR: We're big on mental health at Rave Reviewz, so we were pleased to hear that the event will also be supporting the mental health charity, Beyondblue. Are mental health issues particularly important to you?
Ludovic: I know many who have faced mental issues and are still living it - day in, day out. I never experienced a home life that didn’t have an alarming amount of domestic and family violence present. Experiencing trauma throughout my whole childhood, paired with a pretty serious case of ADHD meant that my chances of living a fulfilled life were slim. Plus I was experiencing ongoing homelessness throughout all of this, never knowing what was “wrong” with me or seeking any help with these traumas.
The lives and careers of lots of DJs and producers are cut short from substance abuse and addiction, matched with mental health dramas. Artists traveling alone on tour and constantly putting themselves under so much pressure has so many underlying effects. I promised myself in this journey that I will never do it alone and most of my closest mates have helped me keep that a reality. Keeping healthy, mentally and physically, has been a massive thing for all of us. I have been in the darkest places and had a drug addiction into my late teens, which put me behind the 8 ball. A few years ago, I discovered for the first time that there were actual services apart from DOCS and FACS out there that want to help people get through hard times - that blew me away. I wanted to get behind these organisations and managed to collaborate with one that works with disadvantaged young people.
RR: Thanks for your honesty Ludovic. Now, IDWT also has its own clothing line. What was the inspiration behind that? And who does the funky designs?
Ludovic: Funny that... the merchandise started when I was making my own shirt to play in to get brand awareness. The shirts were so unique that some people started asking me where they could get them to show support. I put up a Facebook post and before I knew it I had 140 orders in a week... I was not ready for that! I didn't have a single clue what I was doing - just keen as mustard, using the notes app on my phone to keep a track of it all and working with my mates in their backyard to make these shirts. That helped kick things off for them and now they have their own company called Sydney Branding and Signage, which is awesome. Then I honestly was tired of going shopping and never finding anything decent or everything was so expensive to buy, so I was like... fuck it I'm going to make my own! We came together with a range of different artists which is why all of the designs have substance to them with important messages such as “ignite the flame”... meaning make your dreams happen, explore ideas and ignite your own flame.
RR: Turning to your own career... tell us who your early musical influences were and how you first got into DJing.
Ludovic: Haha so basically I never wanted to be a DJ, never wanted to be the cool guy. But when I found the possibilities of sharing music you love with people and the ability to play my own productions to crowds of people that come from far and wide, I started and never looked back. I still can’t describe the feeling!
When I was 18 I used to go to my favourite local clubs to watch the warm up DJs and the openers. A lot of the time everyone would meet me much later because I was “stupid” for going early. Then I began to meet some of the DJs who are now some of my closest friends. They liked my taste in music and said to me, “it's time we taught you how to DJ”. This was at a kick on, mind you, so for months I became the kick-on DJ. They belted such important information into me all the time, making me start with an opening slot all the way through to a closing slot... just at the kick on! I got to learn about music etiquette and the appropriate music to play at certain times of the night. Musically, I first began to listen to Happy Hardstyle with Hixxy, Dougal and Gammer then had my classics like Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Daft Punk, Ame, Felix Da Housecat, Fedde Le Grand and the list goes on. They made me love house music and are my biggest influences to date.
RR: Now, you've got a serious number of tattoos... what draws you to ink?
Ludovic: Yeah I’ve got a fair bit on here... originally this was a young and silly mindframe I was in. My psychologist best described why I got so heavily tattooed from the age of 16 onwards - I was basically tattooing my own body to deter other people from wanting to hurt me. My tattoos were like putting a shield on, protecting me from anyone coming up to me and trying to be the toughest kid on the block... or at least seeming to be anyways. Directly linking to my life of trauma as a child I ended up just falling in love with the artwork and the stories and memories behind every tattoo.
Every single piece of art on my body has a meaning to it though and some people are lucky enough to know the stories behind them. But if you know me, I'm super approachable... I have lived through so much discrimination because of them but now tattoos have become much more accepted in our society. You will find a lot of people tattooed like me, but underneath the stigma lie some of the most compassionate human beings with an interesting story to match.
RR: Finally - where do you see yourself and IDWT in the future?
Ludovic: Good question! I look at myself and IDWT as the force that is literally going to keep the house and electronic music scene alive and at the same time keep it sustainable for the years to come. We all have our place in keeping this industry and beautiful movement alive. Promoting safe partying, great quality music and teaching the generations about running sustainable nights, businesses and brands for the future.
My dreams are to be playing my music on a global scale, running my events on a global scale, releasing music to the masses internationally and being a key pillar for the music scene. Never forgetting where I came from and why I do it because I absolutely love music. I want to keep running events that blow people away and continue to remove stigmas and inhibition in our societies. Creating safe places for people to come as they are far from judgement, a place where people feel the love and feel welcomed. All of these things are going to be on the horizon with enough hard work... I won't stop till my heart stops!
RR: We wish you every success mate, all the best with the label.
Get down to tonight's launch party for Collective Records. Details here.