Louis Rustum



By LOUIS RUSTUM, Danish Musician. 

Words by Thomas Gregersen. Illustration by Sine Jensen. 

Louis Rustum is currently enjoying the success of his newly released his EP 'Classified' which has been praised by Soundvenue who gave it 5 Stars, while the lead single 'Classified' (same name as the EP) now is among the most played tracks on the radio.
In preparation for Louis Rustum's up-coming pop-up concert at SOULLAND SOUND (21.04.17) We caught up with Louis for a quick chat about growing as an artist, taking chances and music stereotypes.


Congrats on your new EP. Which words would you use to describe your journey and the development of your newest project?

Curiosity, persistence and contemplation. Mainly, because I evolved a lot by taking some chances with my process and by stepping outside of my usual habits which allowed me to experiment with my vocal. I'm always curious but in order to maintain a consistency you constantly have to prove that the new ideas make sense. And that persistence pushed me to become better as I was taking the time I needed to find the direction I wanted.

It’s always dangerous to pigeonhole artists into a specific genre or type of music, but listening to your old catalogue versus your newest project it is becoming less hip-hop and more grown up RnB?
Do you think your audience has grown up with you? And do you ever fear that you’ll alienate your day one audience?

I think my sound has grown in a refreshing direction, but I haven't left behind all the abilities I gained during the recording of my previous work. I just incorporate it into the new techniques that I've learned in order to innovate my framework. For me, it's all about keeping the audience curious and open so they can follow your development without knowing what will happen next. It's important to stay in contact with old fans, but it's regressive to bring any type of fear into the studio.

Do you have a song or album that inspired you want to make music? (and how old were you?)

I remember “In Search of... “ with N.E.R.D. as an album that sparked a lot in me. I must have been about 15 years old when my mother's brother burned a CD copy for me which I was really excited about. I had heard a lot of New York rap by that time, so it was refreshing to hear someone like Pharrell to do something completely different. The mixture of melodies, charm and attitude appealed a lot to me at that time and really think it liberated my thoughts a lot in terms of starting to write myself.Speaking of inspiration, is there a recent album/concert that had you head over heals in love with music? 

I have a particular song, “Shadows from Nowhere” with Blue Gas, which has kept me going the last couple of days. Besides that I've listened to Lord Siva and his newly released debut album “3” which I recommend everyone to put on if they care about excellence. He is still one of the best in the country to transmit delicate emotions and create a transparency which I've always admired as it invites the listener into a unique space. 

Where do you generally get your inspiration? What inspires you? Not just in terms of writing songs but life in general? 

Inspiration is, for me, something that can happen out of anything and I think that's mutual for a lot of people, because it just have unexpected and stimulating. Reading a books is just as important for me as casual conversations with my friends. Mostly it's all about being present while switching your mind off in order to absorb everything that is happening around you. I feel like my brain is constantly working because I tend to observe a lot so I don't think I need that much to be motivated or inspired.  

Do you have any rituals for your creative process? Are you a perfectionist or more a free-flower with room for imperfections? And is there a difference between how you approach music and your general outlook on life? 

I try to clear my head as much as I can before I go to the studio. It's important for me to be present in the room when I'm writing or recording so I always try to leave everything else outside otherwise it won't be efficient. I don't think I have a certain ritual to maintain creative state of mind as it's a constant balance, but my priority is to keep focus and have comfortable surroundings so I can calm down. I used to find my recording technique by improvising and capturing immediate feelings so there would always be imperfections in the songs which I felt was part of the authenticity. But today I'm much more of a perfectionist as I'm trying to push myself to do better and demand more from myself.   

Which song(s) are you most proud of having written? Not in terms commercial success or exposure but one were you created something special? 

The song “Temptation” was written very quickly because the whole theme hit me at once and it was just a relief to get off my chest when I recorded it. All the songs on the EP have different meanings in my personal life, but this one in particular actually helped me solve some issues I had at the time and it even opened up new doors for me which was even more confirming. 

Last but not least, I recently read an interview that labeled you "danish heartthrob”? What’s the biggest stereotype of making RnB?

I think there are always cliche's and stereotypes but thats a part of the music platform. If you get the chance to express things that has to mobilize a lot of other people, then it has to be something they maybe feel reluctant to say or won't dare to think, so the songs become a channel for the listener. Descriptive labels are mostly just funny to read because its an external observation that is out of my hand, but entertaining to hear.