Dance Music’s Best Mustache Takes the Controls Friday at RBC Deep Ellum

Eric Luttrell
Eric Luttrell Jason Siegel

DJ-producer Eric Luttrell’s new album on the Anjunadeep imprint and corresponding album tour isn’t the height of his greatness. The album Into Clouds is just the latest highlight in a lifetime of legendary moments.

As a senior at Woodside High School in Woodside, California, he was awarded the coveted “Everybody’s Friend” trophy. One of those friends was recent Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, and they’re still homies. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Luttrell joined a group of students from the dorm for a trip to The Price Is Right in Los Angeles. He made Contestant's Row. Wins in the pricing game, the big wheel Showcase Showdown and final Showcase followed. He’s a Price Is Right champion and has the living-room set to prove it. Like the great Rod Stewart sang, “Some guys get all the breaks,” and Luttrell is a magnet for winning.

Luttrell’s new album is his first effort as a solo artist. He’s also part of M Machine, originally a trio, now a duo with his best friend Ben "Swardy" Swardlick. M Machine regularly released tunes on Skrillex's label OWSLA, and they joined the Language Tour with Mat Zo and Porter Robinson back in 2012.

“There wasn’t a toxic conflict or anything crazy that led to Swardy and I both doing solo work," Luttrell tells the Observer. "We’re still buddies; we just decided this was a good time to work on our own stuff. And most likely M Machine isn’t finished."

M Machine and Luttrell don’t make genre-specific music; they create good sounds with smidgens of electro, house and techno.

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M Machine and Luttrell don’t make genre-specific music; they create good sounds with smidgens of electro, house and techno. However, there is a noticeable difference between the two projects. M Machine veers for an electro sound, and Luttrell music is deep-sexy house-techno. Into Clouds is an appropriate title for the new 10-track album, and London’s Anjunadeep record label is a good fit. Tracks such as “Out Of Me” and “Quiet Even Dark” have the Anjunadeep sound, which is cosmic and introspective. Alone at home washing the dishes, Luttrell’s album is thought-provoking and chill. In a nightclub pushed by 20,000 watts of sound, its groovy beats inspire the dance floor to boogie like no one’s watching. The Dallas stop on the 23-show North American tour happens Friday at RBC Deep Ellum.

Berlin can be seductive when it comes to dance music culture. Luttrell studied abroad there in 2007 as a senior in college. It was there he fell for the sound of the underground. And it was there he became inspired to make his own music. He bounced around Germany’s capital city without much knowledge of DJs or venues — he just liked what he heard and saw. This laissez-faire relationship with music is the essence of Luttrell, and it’s working.

“Even though I didn’t have a plan, I became the person I was meant to be,” he says.

His musician career is still in its adolescence — it’s not much more than a decade old. He’s happy-go-lucky in conversation, but his album tells a different story. He’s a high-IQ producer with shark vigor to make damn good music.

Luttrell performs at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 at RBC Deep Ellum. Tickets cost $15.
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Elvis Anderson has written for the Observer since 2016. A music fan, he's an advocate for The Woody Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that improves the lives of the paralyzed.
Contact: Elvis Anderson