Longevity in music is perfectly possible if the caliber of your work and the reputation that precedes you are both held in high regard. It can be difficult to maintain, but if you do succeed then there is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a long-lasting musical career. For proof of this, we need look no further than London-based producer, songwriter and engineer, Lotek.
Having first been introduced to the world of music through the usual sibling recommendations, it was not long before Lotek gravitated towards hip hop, thanks in part to his brother’s copy of Run DMC’s Tougher Than Leather. While early experiments with rapping were explored, it was the production side that eventually drew Lotek in.
A chance viewing of an old music biopic gave him his first experience of the power a producer can wield and Lotek knew that was what he wanted for himself. So at the age of 16, he took on the role of Tape Op (a glorified teaboy, in his own words), at Rollover Studios in London’s West End, before rising through the ranks to become an engineer. This led to him working with some big names at the time, including Seal and Leftfield.
After Rollover, Lotek managed a studio for Sound of Money Records, an independent label which, at the time, was home to artists such as Roots Manuva, Blak Twang and Fallacy. It was the former of these artists who would lead Lotek to his first notable production credits, thanks to his work on Roots Manuva’s much acclaimed debut, Brand New Second Hand. Lotek produced and co-wrote two tracks on the album, which was eventually certified silver. His relationship with Roots Manuva would continue, as Lotek added his own shine to four more projects from the pioneering UK artist, including Run Come Save Me and Awfully Deep.
Further notable credits followed, with Lotek producing and co-writing for Speech Debelle’s award-winning album, Speech Therapy. He has also worked with Diplo, Hilltop Hoods, and of course his own multi-genre group, Lotek Hi-Fi, who have released two albums on Big Dada. His 2011 solo album, International Rudeboy, was further testament to his all-round studio prowess, with Lotek handling full writing, production and recording duties. It was also a good insight into his all-encompassing style, which he describes as “Hip Hop made by a reggae fan, or reggae made by a hip hop fan.”