Turntablist, DJ, Producer, Radio host, Vblogger, father and so much more… Laidback Luke is a non-stop working machine that has been considered a leader in the industry, trend setter and our friend Tatiana Gorshkova got a chance to sit and chat with the dance music mogul.
● Hi Luke, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity to ask you several questions. Obviously, you do not need to be introduced to EDM Magazine readers, and being honest, your life is quite transparent. You have quite a few video blogs, and share a lot of cool and interesting content with your fans and followers. It has been a busy summer for you, what was the most memorable show and why?
– It was probably Tomorrowland again, which I thoroughly enjoy! Apart from hosting my own Super You&Me stage, I taught a Kung Fu class as well, played in the B-Eat area, and closed Oliver Heldens stage. I love doing multiple things at a festival like that. It almost feels like coming home!
● I am sure there are still undiscovered clubs/ cities/ events for you, where would you like to play, that you never been before?
– I’ve never ever been in South Africa! I only hear good stories about it and I’d love to play there!
● What are you currently work on? Any surprises are coming up?
– I’m currently working on a new album. Like the Mixmash Family album, it will be an album full of collaborations. Yet not only limited to the Mixmash Artists.
● You have just announced the first ever Mixmash Records Family Album with a stellar lead single Rise – a collab with Mark Villa. What was is like working with such a young producer in the studio, do you see a lot of difference in the work flow?
– I’m already jealous! I was one of those young and rising stars as well, but he’s extraordinary! His talent reminds me of Avicii. The way he comes up with melodies and how he has a feel with music, is very seamless and natural. Mark is definitely a big name coming up!
● Early DJ support for Rise is already massive. Could you tell us what triggers you most when you listen to this track?
– I love the worldly feel meets progressive big room, meets deep house feel to it.It has energy, but it has a ton of melodies in there as well. A perfect combination of everything really!
● Let’s look into the past, when you first started your career, I am sure it was different than it is now, but what objections did you have to go over? What was the hardest stage in your career?
– The hardest stage has always been doubt. Obviously I’ve always believed in myself, but at certain moments you think it will never happen. Or you question yourself what you do all of this for. And with that comes hate and resentment, and moreover, stress! Staying consistent seems to be the magical glue in between all progress, not only in music, but in life.
● Can you tell our readers what inspired you to become a DJ? Do you have a musical education? Did you family support your beginning?
– Yes, I have a musical background. From both my mom’s side as well as my dad’s side, I was always surrounded by music and performing music. Although I’ve been writing lyrics and playing the piano and guitar moderately from a young age, I was never good enough to become a musician. Until I found out music was able to be made with help of a computer! I only tried out DJing because I wanted to know what DJs needed from me as a producer. It was way more addicting than I thought and so I stuck with it. My family wasn’t supportive at all. And my friends thought it was strange as well, all this electronic music.
● What is your biggest achievement in the music industry so far, and what do see as the next one? (Award, new album, or maybe a Laidback Luke Club or Mixmash festival?)
– I have very few awards. I always have bad luck with them. But it’s not about that. My biggest achievements are bigger than that. I’m proud I was a mentor for Afrojack and Avicii and a ton more professional DJ names you know. This is what the Mixmash Family Album stands for too. To present the next era of artists to the world.
● The Electronic Dance Music is growing and developing rapidly.What are the new waves, genres of EDM that you would like to experiment with? And what are the ones that you find unattractive for yourself as a DJ/Producer?
– Oh I’ve been very vivid about this in my VLOGs, but it shows my age as well. I hate DJ’s grabbing the mic, standing on top of the DJ Booth, mixing pre-mixed sets and taking group selfies with the crowd. Real DJing is so far removed from that! When I scroll down my instagram feed and I see a clown jumping up and down with the mic in his hand, I sometimes feel ashamed of where my art has gone to. I love though, what’s currently going on in the underground. All the Moombahton stuff coming up, AfroTrap and that sort of thing. But it’s a whole different thing, more focussed on rapping instead of DJing. I’d happily accept DJing going back to the underground again and we’d get rid of all these silly guys that have no clue what proper DJing is about.
● Who is the most influential DJ/Producer for Laidback Luke today? Is there any new DJs/Producers that have your attention lately?
– Most definitely Mark Villa and Keanu Silva! I love Zonderling and I love what’s happening in the urban underground.
● Tell us a bit about your studio work… about your sanctuary. What is your favorite studio collaboration so far, with whom did you have the biggest pleasure working with?
– I wish I had a sanctuary! I currently travel from Amsterdam to New York to Texas every other week. I feel I don’t have a stationary place, let alone studio! My setup is super super simple anyway because of all the traveling. It’s just a laptop with my Ableton, some good in-ears and my travel keyboard. That’s it. It means I can make music anywhere, in airplanes, in hotel rooms and anywhere in the house. I master tracks that way too! I don’t have a preferred artist that I would call a big pleasure to work with. Any dream collab was a smooth one, where we both worked towards the same goal of making amazing music. Big or small artists, I’m very simple like that!
● You have lots of pretty significant videos, you are great on camera! Have you ever thought about acting or going into the film industry?
– Wow that’s such a compliment! Thanks a lot. No, not really! Although I did enjoy it when Martin Solveig made me act in our video ‘Blow’. That was shot on various film sets, and I did enjoy that!
● We live in a tough time and our world is facing lots of struggle, disasters and poverty… I know that it might be not the most desirable topic to go over it but we can’t close the eyes on the reality around us. Is there any support by Laidback Luke to those who suffer/ affected by natural disasters or poverty? Any charity events that you participate or plan on? Is there any cause or awareness that you would like to rise?
– I know! And I’m part of that same bitter world. But where it comes in when it comes to my music and lifestyle, is to show people that they can enjoy as well. To forget this world for a moment. To remain calm in this chaos. It’s a luxury, but also a curse, to know exactly what’s going on in this world at every moment of the day. Good news is not sensational news, but I’m sure there’s tons of great things going on in the world that media doesn’t mention. We could potentially be perceiving this world much more positive than we do now.
● Your daughter is now growing up…. Do you see her in the music field as well? If yes, what steps, as the father and as a successful artist, will you take in your daughter’s musical education?
– I think this will skip a generation. I see no real desire in music with my kids. But what I do see is they are all very creative! And it makes me very proud. But because their father does what he does, they are not very interested. Just think about what your own father does, I’m sure you’re not very interested in that! However exotic his job is.
● We are all humans, and we all have tough or stressful events/ situations in our lives. Can you tell our readers what the best ways / techniques are that you use to keep calm, to free the mind or get rid of stress?
– One of my number one most helpful things throughout the day is my breathing. People forget to breath most of the time. Keeping your breath high up in the lungs will cause stress and an unhealthy balance in your body. Sometimes, it’s just good to pause for about 10 seconds. Just randomly, grant yourself 10 seconds to take 3 breaths. And focus on just calmly breathing in and out. And only focus on that. It will instantly re-energize you and put you back in the moment!
● What is your favorite getaway place? (Shhhhh… we won’t tell nobody )
– Home! I wish I could be there more. Some people read this and would love a life full of travel, of never being stationary. Having traveled as much as I have, these last 10 years I’ve never been in one place for over two weeks, I would just love to be somewhere for a month. Maybe even two, such luxury!
Interview by Tatiana Gorshkova