Likable Lunice Has the Inside Track to "Higher Ground"
Photos courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
It's not just a Canadian thing to say that Montreal-based Lunice, with Hudson Mohawke one-half of EDM monsters TNGHT, is overtly polite in describing himself. It's an everyday thing. There's not a speck of bad press to be found about the producer listed as 25 or 26 years of age, depending on the source. In fact, there may not have ever been a bad mark on his report card for all we know.
While perusing interviews with Lunice for this article, I stumbled across a NPR appearance from this past SXSW, where he humbled himself in the presence of A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad. He admitted to never rapping, insisting he was terrible, before saying the B-boy aspect of hip-hop lured him into making music. So. Damn. Likable.
Since 2009 he has risen almost globally as a purveyor of sounds, a master at employing certain sections of mastodon-sized bass around plunked keys and synths. Last year, his TNGHT partnership with the Scottish producer Mohawke yielded more than commercial results; it gave them an even clearer gateway to pop accessibility.
When asked whether or not he knew songs like the bounding chart anthem "Higher Ground" would reach the heights they did, Lunice says, "Not really. We simply made what felt right to us.
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"I strongly believe it's the people who made this song great and it's the people who influenced how big of an impact it became," he adds.
"Higher Ground" became key in advertisements across the globe and personal workout mixes for people everywhere. Adidas used the single for its "Colors" package highlighting NBA players Damian Lillard and Iman Shumpert, not to mention NFL All-Pro Von Miller. It remains TNGHT's signature song from their 2012 self-titled EP, and to this day garners huge reactions whenever Lunice plays somewhere.
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A former film student, Lunice speaks in calculated and professorial tones about picking his spots creatively.
"Working in film really helped me understand the concept of space and timing better," he says. "So that's why you may feel movement in certain pieces of my work."
Despite Texas having a heavy footprint in the production world, Lunice says he's sadly never taken up viewing a beat battle, yet professes an appreciation for Texas rap in particular.
"I've always pulled inspiration on how raw and honest their productions came out," he notes.
His appearance Friday night as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Mixed Media series may be completely different from what he's used to. The museum's avant-garde spacing will only accommodate a few hundred people rather than the thousands he's now used to, but Lunice sounds polite and confident in regards to dealing with even that.
"[I'm] mostly focused on how I will present my set to the crowd in order to get them engaged in a different way," he says. "That way I get to perform at my highest level no matter the size of the venue. And I do this to be sure that every individual gets to experience the full performance they came to see."
Lunice along with DJ Sun, Gracie Chavez & Navó, John the Third & The New Mercies plays MFAH Houston Friday night as part of MFAH's Mixed Media Night. Tickets are $18 for museum members and $20 for general admission. Click Here For Tickets
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