Interview – Ludic

The trio of Ayla Tesler-Mabe and Rhett and Max Cunningham, otherwise known as Vancouver funk band Ludic released their brand new single, “Love Me Like” on May 1, 2020.

Canadian Beats was able to catch up with Ludic to talk a little bit about their roots and the current state of west coast funk.

How did Ludic come to be? Could you speak a little bit about how the three of you started making music together?

Ayla had put out a request on Facebook looking for some musicians to play with, and our dad had enticed us to reach out and give it a shot. It was pretty funny because we had no idea Ayla lived in Vancouver before that. We had seen her videos and everything but had no clue how close we lived together. We met up at a jam and started, well, jamming. The chemistry was electric from the first time we started playing music together. It definitely felt right from the get-go. We all seemed to get each-others musical brains very quickly. After that, we kind of dove into writing and collaborating and that process felt really similar to improvising for us. It really is a balance between writing something catchy, listenable, and enjoyable, as well as pushing our-selves musically in discrete ways; that’s kind of been the philosophy for us.

How did you all first get introduced to the world of funk and soul music? 

For all of us, it was always there, growing up with the music as well as hearing it in modern artists and music that derive from the more traditional funk and soul. It really came from looking into artists we loved and seeing what influenced them and how they created something totally unique for themselves. We aim to do something similar with our music, really defining the Ludic “brand” by interpreting many types of music and fitting them into our palette.

Where do you look for inspiration for your music? Does it come from any sort of internal reflection, or do you prefer to look to the world around you to help form ideas?

We find it really varies depending on the song. Recently though, things have become a bit more internal but not necessarily personal. It’s kind of like we take a concept that we’re familiar with and know personally, but then push it beyond our experience to something a bit more external. Before we were writing from a completely external place, like you’re writing a character, but now since we’ve started writing from a more personal perspective it feels a bit more grounded.

Could you speak a little bit about the funk scene on Canada’s west coast? Is there a wider community of bands like Ludic? 

In terms of where we’re from, there is one band that really sticks out. We’ve played a few shows with them and they are just such a fun band to be around. That band is Schwey and if you ever get a chance to go to a show, you won’t be disappointed. It’s impossible to not dance at one of their shows. The thing is they’ve recently moved away from Vancouver to Montreal, so we don’t know if they still count. But regardless, we highly recommend.

If you could have any artist, past or present, feature on a future Ludic track, who would it be?

This answer is different for all of us! For Max, it would be either Nai Palm/Hiatus Kaiyote just because she has been such a consistent sound for him for the past many years or Daft Punk. That blend of funk and dance is forever infectious. Rhett’s similar with Nai Palm and Ariana Grande

Ayla says, Erykah Badu. Hands down.

What has been your favourite tour stop in Canada so far? Any memorable shows or venues?

We actually haven’t had the opportunity to go on a formal tour yet, and now because of COVID-19, who knows right. But locally some of our favorite venues have been the Commodore Ballroom opening up for both Snarky Puppy and Brittany Howard (different nights), as well as the Vogue, and the Imperial with Lawrence. All have been such amazing opportunities for us and just ridiculously fun.

What music are you listening to these days? Are there any up-and-comers you’re especially enthusiastic about?

For Max, it’s been a lot of Mark Ronson, Daft Punk, Jannelle Monae, Nai Palm, Charli XCX, Rosalia, and Caroline Polachek. Caroline’s work has been a breath of fresh air for him especially.

Ayla’s been all about Brittany Howard lately, whether it be her stuff with Alabama Shakes or any of her other side projects, but she’s especially all about her latest solo record. She has listened to everything that MonoNeon has ever released, really digs the latest Thundercat record, and given her love of these last two artists, it should be no surprise that she’s been on a major Funkadelic, Erykah Badu and Prince listening spree as of late.

Rhett’s been into a lot of Dua Lipa recently as well as Ariana Grande and video game soundtracks!

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