Grammy winning producer Latroit has just released a lush cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up.” This reimagined version of the classic track finds Australian singer Charlz floating above Latroit’s melodic production, and delivering its hopeful message at a time when inspiration is much needed.
The project is the first record on former Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley’s new label imprint Secret Technology, and this particular collaboration has been in the works for some time. Years ago, Latroit sent a demo of the track to Bentley, who subsequently played it on KCRW. As time went on, Bentley encouraged Latroit to finish the cover, saying, “When the pandemic hit this year, the sentiment of the song became more urgent than ever, and I told him it had to come out. I wanted to put it out.”
Bentley answered a few questions about collaborating with Latroit, the vision for his new record label, and albums he’s been enjoying the past few months.
Tell us all about your new label Secret Technology. Do you have a specific vision or guiding light for artists and projects you want to release?
Most people know me as a source for music discovery, and with that, Secret Technology gives me a channel to develop music projects that interest me. Reared at KCRW over the years, I expect a pretty wide range of sounds, but in any case the label represents my personal evolution from curator to creator.
This single with Latroit has been in the works for a bit. Tell us about your collaboration and relationship and is there anything else we can expect from the producer down the line? Or is this a stand-alone release.
This record is a stand-alone release with Latroit and I enjoyed playing the A&R person in the process, encouraging him to finish this classic Peter Gabriel song. It’s more cerebral than most of his stuff. He’s a friend and I wouldn’t rule out future collaborations, but he has his own artist trajectory distinct from the mood of this record.
Given our current moment with live music at a standstill — recorded music and dynamic digital presentation is so important. Can you share your creative direction for addressing that through your imprint?
It’s been 15 years since I’ve worked at record labels, and a huge difference these days is the role of DSPs. That is, digital music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tik Tok. It totally changes the way new music is made and marketed. Setting up Secret Technology has been a crash course with my distribution partner Ingrooves, but there are so many creative opportunities that weren’t possible in years past, so I see it as an exciting time to be making music.
Any new albums you’ve gravitated to or found inspiration in these past few months? You’ve been highlighting plenty of new releases on Metropolis of late.
Metropolis is a particular sound and style of music. There’s a whole ecosystem of progressive dance and electronic music from around the world that I draw from, and a big part of it is the art of the mix itself. The thrill of the live mix has only been reinforced during the quarantine by livestreaming the original recording of the KCRW show on Instagram first. A whole community of people “tune in” for the real-time mix and talk amongst themselves, attend to the new music, and compare notes. It’s been an entirely new way to connect with a digital audience from around the world during the show.
As far as new albums and artists, I like the new Westerman record, an artist that KCRW showcased at SXSW in 2019. To continue with the Peter Gabriel theme, there’s something about Westerman that relates directly to ‘80s Prog Rock that’s really exciting. Otherwise, I’m interested in how the effects of the pandemic and social justice issues are reflected in new albums. Music can be so powerful in bringing people together, and 2020 is a year of reckoning on so many levels that I’m looking for how artists take up the mantle of activism.