Approximately thirty seconds into the music video for his 2013 breakout track “Without You”, you’ll realise there’s more to Lapalux’s world than making mere club sounds. The video (you’ll remember if you’ve seen it, and if you haven’t, you must) is an eerie, fetish-tinged tale of lust, tragedy and alienation, your not-so-typical love story gone wrong complete with a dancing man in a latex suit.
With its rich cinematic direction from director Nick Rutter, its story-driven narrative and cliff-hanger ending, this is one story of girl meets gimp that’s as much short film as it is music video, an extended metaphor with layers of meaning that, three years since its release and 1.5 million views later, the internet is still trying to unpick. To one YouTube commentator, it “represents darkness, depression and despair”. For another, “it’s about the art of secrecy and anonymity.”
Lapalux – real name Stuart Howard – puts the matter to rest over pizza in an empty café in East London. “It’s basically about being an outsider, about not being able to fit in anywhere,” he says. “I’ve always felt art to be more powerful when it combines certain elements, specifically music and video. I think about music in a very visual way.”
Despite a career in music, the 28-year-old electronic music producer has had a lifelong affair with the cinematic and draws inspiration from a wide variety of art forms. When asked who inspired him to go into music growing up, he answers that he was more inspired by films, citing actor and director Vincent Gallo as one particular childhood idol. His film-like aspirations for music are evident both through his vibrant music videos, of which he’s made two more alongside “Without You”, and his music itself, which, for the uninitiated, is dark and rumbling, a multi-faceted cinematic buzz made for navigating cityscapes. It’s a sound that’s melancholic and euphoric in equal measure… “My music is very layered, very multi-textual. I guess it‘s just like a painting in some respects. A collage of all these different pieces, ” Lapalux explains.