Marcos Ortega, a.k.a Lorn is the black sheep of the american bass music family. Though signing on Brainfeeder, label of Flying Lotus, he doesn’t have much in common with the LA star. His first album « Nothing Else » comes out in 2010, bringing us a heartrending testimony of a true chaotic past. The beats are deeply rooted in hip hop, along with screaming and doleful synths, it’s actually hard to compare him with anyone else…That’s why we went down to Lyon, during the Nuits Sonores festival, in order to feel again that thrill we first felt listening to the album. He totally made it. Smooth progression during the set, he plays some of the hits while favoring us with new sounds. He’s really getting a kick out of it : sometimes making faces, he shouts the lyrics to the audience, raising his arms towards the sky. Some would even say it was one of the best performance at the festival this year. It’s 3 am, the interview starts off in an office container…
SPARSE : What does Lorn mean ?
Lorn : I don’t think about that. i don’t know what that means.
Well it’s an old english term meaning « lost », isn’t it ?
Well, yeah it means something but (giggling). Ok, well i’m gonna start from the beginning because when i was a kid i remember sitting down in my mother’s living room, on this chair. It was a really shitty chair, really not nice, of course, and for some reason i thought of getting myself a name and Lorn popped into my mind but it meant abolutely nothing…just a name…like a nickname. Like fucking, « your name’s David, i’ll call you Dave ».
But then your name’s Marcos.
I’m Marcos, but i fucking hate my dad, that’s why i was ashamed of the name Marcos cause he gave me my name so i came up with Lorn. Later on i found out that it actually meant something : lost, alone, abandoned, blablabla. A lot of sad shit. But at the same time, it kind of fitted with what i was doing i guess.
Wow, that’s a great start… So did this all happen in Illinois ?
No. I’ve moved around my whole life, i’ve been tossed around between family members : aunt, grand parents, mother… I’m now in Milwaukee.
What do you do there ? Are you just focusing on the music ?
Right. I think Milwaukee comes down to the fact that when i was 18 i moved to NY and i had this great dream that i was going to do music, fucking split the world in half and i didn’t and i spent all my money, moved around a lot, got broke and i moved to Milwaukee because it was like 150$ a month for the rent. I have a good studio space, i’m surrounded by good friends, people who love me. It’s simple. I’ve been doing only music for couple of years.
How old are you ?
I’m 24, but i feel a lot older than that. Not that i’m any wiser, just a lot more tired and i think that i should feel less of wonder in me…a lot of « less », not so much « more ».
Well, you see i was going to ask why the music feels so tortured but i guess it’s now pretty lame to be asking this…
With « Nothing Else », well yeah, there’s no way around it. I got a shitty childhood, got tossed around a lot, who could take care of me, who was willing to do so. I’m no trying to make a big deal out of it like « boohoo », like i grew up and i’m here right now but still, it stays with me.
That sense of not knowing where i come from, what love is, what is real…i guess. So when you come into that, as an adult or as i think of it right now, i’m just trying to uncover something primal, something that’s simple in my mind, that i can trace back, there’s nothing confusing about it.
I guess if i made the album in sort to create something and then finish it, leave it alone…and then maybe i could fall asleep at night and then be ok, wake up and do what i normally do but i don’t even know what it is anymore because i’ve finished the album and i do shows, such an honour to visit the world.
First time in France ?
No. My first international show was in Bourges, in the dirtiest basement in like 2009 and it was fucking amazing, it felt like a punk show.
How did you ever happen to meet FlyingLotus ?
FlyLo hit me up on myspace, like 3 yrs ago, asking for more music. Then we got to talk on emails.
How do you get Fly Lo on your myspace page ?
As far as i can remember, Gaslamp Killer played a track of mine on a radioshow in LA, Fly Lo heard and contacting me.
Do you like his music ?
Yeah i’m a big fan, always been.
You like « Cosmogramma » ?
Absolutely. It’s brilliant.
How big is he in the States ?
I don’t know man. I stay at home, i don’t know how that works.
So you couldn’t tell us where is the biggest place for bass music in the US right now ?
Low End Theory. Los Angeles. Daddy Kev crew, really pioneered a lot of that shit, He has built LET wich is The club in LA. He’s completely unafraid in booking people. He does amazing shows dubstep, hip hop, experimental. It’s the place to hear the future first in America, and it’s been that way for so long.
What do you think about Skrillex ?
I don’t know him.
Why is your album that short ?
It’s 32 minutes. At the time, i was in a weird place and when i look at it now it’s kind of an adolescent thing, i feel i’ve learned a lot. The title and all, the meaning, you know i thought it was gonna be it. That i was gonna kill myself and this album was gonna be my legacy boo fucking hoo. I didn’t care about the lenght, it meant a lot to me. I gave a shit, and i still do. That’s all that was meant to be, and « nothing else ». But here i am.
So there’s the album, then you came out with a compilations of unfinished tracks called « Self Confidence », why ?
The first compilation came out in 2008 maybe way before the album, it was just a directory, an online folder of tracks that you can download. To me that was just…pfff….this isn’t some strategic shit for me. If i make something, even if i don’t turn it into something real, releasable blah blah blah, i don’t want it to sit on my computer. I’d rather give it away, expose it and let people take it and enjoy it or hate on it or compare it to my album.
Will you do a second album ?
Absolutely, i’m working on it now. And it’s something, there’s a warmth in my heart about it, something i haven’t felt in a long time.
Last musical discovery ?
I’m completely in love with Rick Ross.
Did you play some tonight ?
No i should have. Tonight I played Johnny Moog, Notorious BIG the remix i did of « Suicidal Thoughts » and a track from Ace Hood.
It seemed that you knew these by heart.
Yeah, i’m a big fan.
Have you ever thought of producing for some rappers ?
Yes, i’d love to. But it’s a difficult thing communicating with these people.
Do you watch tv shows at all ?
Once in a while, sometimes i watch « the Office ».
What about « two and a half men » ?
No. When i was the Uk they had this channel called fever and there was Two and a Half Man on there and i’m pretty sure it was just a joake because of Charlie Sheen’s life or whatever he presents as his life right now. Yeah that show’s stupid, i don’t think many americans watch it. I hope they don’t, there’s a lot of stupid american sitcoms but to me the last good one was Seinfeld. Anything after can fuck off.
Do you listen to any french music at all, apart from Mr. Oizo ?
Laugh, i love fucking Oizo man ! Oizo’s a legend. I actually just met Danger who i met a few moments ago who i’ve been a big fan of for a long time now. And then of course Daft Punk and Sebastien Tellier, i love his music… La ritournelle, that track is some real shit.
Anyone you’d like to work with in Europe ?
I don’t know, does John Cage lives in France ?