At Electric Zoo in New York City last month, I was particularly excited to hear what Laidback Luke would play in his set at Main Stage East. Hearing some of his recent Mixmash Radio podcasts, I noticed a shift away from full big room house mixes to an experimentation with dropping deep house and what Luke referred to as “future house” tracks, which as he practices it, is deep house music with heavier kicks, basslines and muted electro synths. The big room percussive buildups are sometimes still present, but the main drop is significantly toned down.
MAGNETIC RECOMMENDSWill Sparks, Joel Flecther & Timmy Trumpet On The Bounce Bus Tour
Laidback Luke fulfilled my expectations, playing future/funky house, like Chocolate Puma’s remix of GotSome’s “Bassline,” for nearly the first half of his set, before launching back into the progressive and electro tracks that most fans know him for, including Luke’s remix of Wynter Gordon’s “Dirty Talk.”
We had a chance to catch up with Laidback Luke before his set at Electric Zoo.
First off, I want to say, it’s great to meet you, I’m a really big fan. I’ve seen other interviews where you go into your personal life, your family and observing kung fu, and you seem like a really well rounded guy and you’re able to balance a lot even though you’re always on the road.
Thanks man, I appreciate it!
Where did the superhero theme come from for your Super You and Me shows?
It’s actually a combo of things that I wanted to have for my type of parties. First of all, what I liked about going out with my friends is the crazy silly fun we had. Like just stupid fun, like drunk dudes kind of fun, and I wanted to get that feeling back. And I remember starting to go to house parties in like the early 90’s where the parties were always themed, and this added up to that anticipation of a party, trying to figure out what kind of costume to wear, what kind of outfit, what your friends would wear, and then you have the epic feeling of what I like on the dancefloor, is the feeling you can take on the whole world. So basically, I still have this when I DJ, it’s like “YEAH! Let’s do it!” And for me, not only the DJ should feel invincible, the crowd should feel that as well, so it’s a combo of all those factors that make Super You and Me.
Did you have a favorite comic book or superhero growing up?
Yeah, I was very much into Spider-Man always, but I actually like Wolverine as well. As much as I’m a peaceful, zen kind of guy, his temper and his animal instincts really speak to me.
I’m going to ask you about the track named on your shirt, ‘Bae.’ I listen to Mixmash Radio a lot and I remember one where you played more deep and future house and you were talking about how you see the trend moving that way, at least in America, and then you released ‘Bae.’ Do you see yourself producing similar tracks in the future, is this going to be a trend, or are you just experimenting here and there?
Good question. No, I can tell you this right now, I actually have a lot of trouble nowadays producing EDM. I’ve been doing it such a long time. I consider Wynter Gordon, my ‘Dirty Talk’ remix, I consider that EDM as well, and I made that in 2009, I think. And actually Style of Eye asked me to do like a Dirty Dutch kind of remix for him, and whereas I normally finish a track in a day, it took me two weeks. I wasn’t feeling it. And so in the end, I’m happy with the result but it was tough. And at the moment, I have so much fun making future house, thinking outside the box, making it funkier, really looking up to guys like Oliver Heldens and Tchami. And a kid like Oliver Heldens told me he was very much inspired by my old track called ‘Break Down The House,’ which I released in 2005. So me going back to this type of sound is going back to that era as well, which is still in there and it’s great.
One thing I said I really admired about you is that you seem to be able to balance having a family and traveling on the road all the time. You left Ultra to have your daughter, EvaLina, and that was great and really inspiring. Do you have any advice for aspiring, young DJs who maybe look at a lot of other producers who are always on the road and don’t have families, do you have any advice for how to keep that balance?
Yeah, I have a lot of advice, but the question is do they want to hear it? I mean, obviously it’s very tempting to live the rock star life, but is it real life? And what happens when you get back to real life? What happens when you’re not a DJ anymore? Will you just be an old, lonely bum with 5 years left to live? I want to live a healthy life, and actually, I appreciate and value family very highly. Whenever I have time off, I see my dad, I see my sons, I see my brother, I go on vacation with my family. I love being around my family, and so I’m very much a family-type of guy. And I’m way too much of a sensitive guy as well to go around and fuck groupies. I don’t know, to me, life is much more than just that, so that’s what keeps me grounded.
That’s really good advice, and really good to hear. I think that’s all the time we have, but it was a pleasure meeting you. I’ll be at your set tonight, so look out for me!
Listen to Laidback Luke's signature future house track "Bae" featuring his wife Gina Turner, as well as his remix of Alex Metric's "Heart Weighs A Ton," below!