It’s possible that you might not know the name Luuk Cox, aka Shameboy, yet but it’s more than likely you’ve heard his work as the Belgium based multi-instrumentalist producer and electronic music artist has had a hand in more than 30 albums over the past decade.
Whether racking up production credits for the likes of Stromae, Marco Z and Girls in Hawaii, playing on releases by artists such as Arsenal, or remixing everyone from underground house heroes Booka Shade to pop stars such as Kelis and Nicki Minaj, Luuk’s reputation in the business is second to none.
Now though it’s time for him to fully emerge from the shadows as his Shameboy project, originally a ‘playground’ for him to ‘mess about’ with electronic sounds, finally takes center stage. Though with three acclaimed Shameboy albums, including 2010’s hit ‘808 State of Mind’, already under his belt it’s clear he’s long passed the ‘messing about’ stage no matter what he says.
Still as Luuk begins works on album number four it’s clear that this time something is different, now there is more ambition, a desire to create an album that will stand the test of time, and with the public more open to electronic music than ever before there’s a sense that everything he’s worked for over the past ten years is finally coming together.
“People are much more receptive to electronic music nowadays,” he explains, “still for many for many, ‘EDM’ is something they hear at a festival, just huge sounds, big drops that kind of thing. But I think we’ve now reached a point where they can accept that they can listen to electronic music in a car, at home, not just in a club and so they’re looking for something more musical.”
Which is exactly where Shameboy comes in, as a trained Jazz drummer, a multi-instrumentalist and producer with experience playing on countless albums, Luuk understands music, melodies, harmonies and how it all fits together better than most.
“I feel like a lot of producers lack that knowledge today, they feel like they don't need it. They can string some samples together to create tracks which might work in a club, but music… songs… there's more to it than that.”
“I've never tried to jump on a bandwagon, never just wanted to knock out EP after EP just to keep myself in the clubs, I’ve always made songs, melodic music. I’ve had people tell me ‘what you do is too weird!’ but I’ve never seen it that way and I think I think we're moving away again from the harder EDM sound stuff, back to warmer, more ‘musical’ music, you can hear it in people like Disclosure or Chris Malinchack, people want something that’s deeper.”
“The artists I love, British producers like Nathan Fake and James Holden, their music always has this melancholic edge to it. When you get it right, melancholic harmonies and electronic beats, it's just a beautiful combination.”
For his new album Luuk has already drawn up a list of his dream collaborators, singers and songwriters to bring his music to life, and as he reels off the names of those on his wish list, the scale of his ambition becomes clear, though he freely admits at how quickly he gets carried away when he allows himself.
“I just want to work with really nice songwriters, great vocalists, and get this sound that's quite fresh and deep. I want to make a broad album, something that is perhaps more electronica than dance. Deep but not pretentious, well ok maybe a bit” he laughs, “maybe we’ll include a real orchestras, the works, who knows…”
“I can do all the weird stuff, tracks packed with odd noises, but this time I have to wrap it in a way so that people from all walks will accept it. In many ways it will be a pop album in the classic sense. If I can achieve that, take the whole thing a couple of levels up that would be amazing.”
Ambitious or not, Luuk has the belief, skill and clearly the respect of his peers, producers like Boys Noize and Digitalism who regard him as one of ‘them’, a producer’s producer and one of electronic music’s best kept secrets. Still it’s a secret that doesn’t look like lasting much longer, whilst it’s possible you might not know the names Luuk Cox and Shameboy now you can be assured you’ll know his music very soon.