When we reach Lee Foss at his LA pad over Skype one morning, the joint Hot Creations and Emerald City boss is in good spirits. After a busy few years touring his Hot Natured band project alongside Jamie Jones, Luca C and Ali Love, he's concentrating on his own career again, taking weekends off to spend time in his studio, which he's having acoustically treated as we speak.
Having been working with Lee Curtis, with whom he's previously recorded as Freelance Lovers, he's also had time to work on music with Tensnake and Kenny Glasgow. But more excitingly Foss has finished a new solo EP, due around June, and there's even talk of an album this year, his latest Pleasure State project with Anabel Englund and MK on temporary hiatus while the latter finishes off an album of his own.
On top of this is new label Repopulate Mars, which launches at the end of March with an EP featuring MK (as 4th Measure Men), Sonny Fodera, Eskuche & Nu Sky and Flavio Acaron. In true Foss form, a call about this transforms into a freewheeling conversation that veers from the possible extraterrestrial origins of life to the corrupt heart of the US political system…
Scientist have found traces of bacteria on Mars, so they think that it might actually have had life...
“I'm up to date on that. My trademarking of Repopulate Mars pre-dates that discovery, but it's certainly something I'm interested in. Life, or human life, could have started there. I definitely think there was a collision or an event in this solar system. The reason things are slightly off in the sacred geometry of the universe is just because there was a large collision. It should be 360 days a year. God-knows what has happened in the last hundreds of millions, or billions, of years. I have interesting theories about Es Vedrà [small rocky island off Ibiza]. It's been proven that the initial building blocks for life did come from a meteor from space. To me, it's fun to think that life did come from Es Vedrà, just a big old alien rock sitting vertical. That's why people are drawn to it, because it's our origin. Who know, it's a nice little Garden Of Eden in Ibiza.”
If Mars does need women, who would you choose to repopulate it?
“I would start with my lovely girlfriend, Chloe. I think it's got plenty of space, so we can take almost everyone who wants to go. I would want it to look like Total Recall, so I'd want a woman with a few extra breasts. I'd want punk-funk crazy alien cyborgs. I'd take Rachael from Blade Runner. My friend was just in Ex Machina — I take the cyborgs from that. I'd make sure we had a bunch of my friends, Jamie, Richy, Patrick Topping to drop the beats. Maybe the cast of Star Wars from the cantina scene, Boba Fett. Then the kind of crew you'd see down at Paradise mixed in 50/50. Also, some really first class chefs that know how to work in that atmosphere. I think that's a good start.”
You did a track called 'Life On Mars' back in 2012. Were you a big David Bowie fan?
“I was a fan. He helped bring about some things, not just sonically but also stylistically in fashion and art that resonated even through the '80s and '90s. I love a good tune and some of his music I love, some of it I could take or leave, but I respected that he was an incredible individual. He was one of those characters who helps people escape from their everyday. He was being himself, but he had that disaffected, alien feel that I have, that some of my friends have, where we do feel somewhat alien to everyday life here. Part of that helps you express yourself and create things that make other people happy. Even if you're in a sad place, I don't think necessarily sad or disaffected music makes other people sad. It can help them relate. I think he was somebody who did, in a metaphorical way, come from Mars, and he was someone they could really hold onto.”
Your Pleasure State track 'Subject Matter' suggested you're quite politicised. Who will you be voting for in the US elections? What is going on with Donald Trump?
“I would love to vote for Bernie Sanders if he can make it through the caucuses. He has more chance against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton or anyone else. He's polling better than any candidate. The problem is he's hammering the most political point out there, which is about the money that has bought and sold our political process. Corporations — whether it's the pharmaceutical, oil, or military industrial complex — have bought and sold everyone's political affiliations and their voting. Every time a younger generation wants to vote for their own self-interest, they're getting better at gerrymandering districts or creating fear. The line is, they're making him sound like a libertarian third party candidate who can't win. Don't vote for him, you'll be throwing your vote away.
“First of all, it's a primary. He will still have to face the Republican candidate. But secondly, they're doing a very good job of getting people to vote against their own interests, which is what conservative parties have always done. I'm not a Democrat, because I feel like people in both parties are bought and sold, there needs to be a new party, but Bernie Sanders is at least talking about it.”
Can you tell us a little about some of the people forthcoming on your label.
“Eskuche & Nu Sky have already released an EP on Hot Creations. They're a couple of guys who live in New York who are doing cool, percussive music. Flavio Acaron is Puerto Rican, but lives in Miami doing some funky, eerie stuff. The first EP also obviously has MK, in his 4th Measure Men guise with Sonny Fodera. Patrick Topping is doing the second three-track EP. The third EP is Andre Salmon — he's from Ecuador. I've signed an album from Dizz and James Curd from Chicago. There's a ton of great music coming from Detlef, from Dantiez Saunderson, Cuartero... It's great to be focused on all my labels right now.”