For lovers of groove, funk, soul, and jazzy hip-hop, Electric Larry is here to satisfy. A solo DIY project by South Aussie musician, and now first time producer/engineer – Igor Sukno (Heinous Crimes). Electric Larry’s sound is crafted with a focus on raw, lo-fi production that retains a live feel to the music, allowing the groove to do its work in consuming the listener. Founded on a deep appreciation for the grandfathers of jazz-funk and soul from the 60’s and 70’s like The Meters and Funkadelic, the pioneers of the 90’s hip-hop era, and modern artists such as Khruangbin, Adrian Younge, and El Michels Affair.
The debut release Funky Strut boasts an infectious and punchy rhythm section, catchy and melodic funky guitars, and smooth, softly delivered sensual vocals that gently caress the track. Funky Strut has received a very warm welcome, getting debut exposure via South Australian radio stations, as well as grabbing some attention on the overseas airwaves in France and Brazil, and featuring on a number of online playlists. More music from Electric Larry coming soon, and an EP on the horizon. Main man Igor Sukno tells Hi Fi Way more about the single.
How has the build up been to the new single Funky Strut?
I actually wanted to keep it fairly low-key until it was ready to go out into the world. So when I decided to put it out officially, I thought I’d just hit people with it and have a sort of element of surprise, like “hey, here’s something you might have not known that I’ve been working on, and now it’s a real thing, and there’s more to come soon”
What is the story behind the single?
Funky Strut was an idea I had a few years ago while jamming with a few mates under the name “The Centimetres”, where we’d attempt to smash out covers of The Meters songs in a fun but much less impressive fashion (those guys had insane feel and groove). We also had some original jams in the works, and I so brought the guitar idea for Funky Strut in. Unfortunately it sounded empty for our three-piece format, needing more guitars to help it come to life, and we were all too busy with other projects at the time. So we hit the pause button on the funk, but the melody and song idea for Funky Strut stuck with me.
Fast forward to the first Covid lockdown in Adelaide in 2020, and whilst enjoying the thrills of lockdown life, I was trying to figure out how to keep active musically. I dug up Funky Strut from some old recordings, worked out a new song structure in a few days, and from there, the inspiration to begin a solo DIY funk and jazzy hip-hop project came. This was also the first time I’d dabbled in recording music myself, so Funky Strut is both a debut single and debut recording project for Electric Larry. Having no prior sound engineering or mixing experience, there’s been plenty to learn and countless hours of trying to transfer what you hear in your head into a real and tangible product, but it’s absolutely been worth the grind to get there.
What has the fan response been like so far?
Really positive. It’s challenging starting a brand new project from scratch, but having encouragement and support from friends and family, and fellow musicians and music lovers goes a long way. Adelaide’s Three D Radio deserves a mention here, as they do an amazing job of supporting independent local artists and the music community in general. Funky Strut has also got some international exposure in France and Brazil, landing on a few playlists and radio stations overseas which has been incredibly motivating to me to do more.
How would you describe Electric Larry to the uninitiated?
Electric Larry is for lovers of groove, funk, soul, and I guess what is now considered “old school hip-hop”, because it’s got that jazzy boom-bap feel on the drums. I’m trying to blend all types of flavours and pay tribute to the grandfathers of jazz-funk and soul from the 60’s and 70’s like The Meters and Funkadelic, and then take it a few decades forward to the 90’s hip-hop era, and finish with modern-era artists such as Khruangbin, Adrian Younge, and El Michels Affair. These artists shape the music of Electric Larry as I’ve consistently been obsessed with them throughout my life, and always go back to them for more.
How tough has it been on the Adelaide scene of late?
We’ve been hit pretty hard like I imagine every music scene out there has. Over the last 18 months, gigs and events have constantly been postponed or cancelled, which has led to a fair amount of uncertainty and instability. Live music venues are really struggling with the restrictions that keep coming back into effect, and so I’m just hoping that we can all get through it without losing our favourite dive bars and pubs, because the musicians will always be around, but if they’ve got no place to perform, that’ll be a big shame.
Can you see light at the end of the tunnel?
Sure, we’re still here and we’re still fighting to keep the music industry alive and breathing. Being unable to host interstate and international acts has actually given local artists the opportunity to play at some bigger venues that they might not otherwise get to, and during times like this you get to know your local scene and the people in it more intimately because that’s all you’ve got.
Are there plans for new music this year?
Definitely. I’m currently working on the next single, and hoping to have that ready by the end of 2021 or early 2022. It’s got a darker vibe than Funky Strut, a little more sinister sounding. I’m pretty excited about that one as well.
Who would you say is the biggest shared musical influence/ inspiration for Electric Larry?
The Meters, who I’ve been listening to and digging for years – definitely a huge inspiration. But also current artists like Khruangbin and Adrian Younge that blend hip-hop influences with jazz-funk. I really love the marriage of those two genres.
Not being able to play shows must be tough but are you looking forward to getting that green light to play shows?
Really looking forward to more consistency with live shows. Although, being in lockdown along with the inability to perform live gave me the push to start Electric Larry as a recording project, so in some sense, I have to thank Rona for motivating me to release the funk that was burning deep inside.
What’s next for Electric Larry?
Working on the next single, trying to serve up some more delicious grooves, and aiming for an EP in 2022. I’m also looking to collaborate with other funk, soul and hip-hop enthusiasts, particularly looking for talented vocalists to work with. If that’s you, or someone you know, Electric Laz wants to hear from you.
Interview By Rob Lyon