Steve Lawler and Yousef are two DJs who have been around the business for quite some time. Both very accomplished DJs, producers and label owners, who have consistently been able to push the genre forward for the past three decades. Both from the UK, the two Djs have known each other for a long time now. Despite the long friendship, they haven’t linked up much over the years. They have occasionally released music on each other’s music like Steve Lawler’s “Cavalier” on Circus and performed at the same shows or each other’s label showcases. This weekend at Elrow in Brooklyn will be the first time they go back to back.
In honor of the occasion, we decided to have them go back to back for an interview to ask each other questions and see what we could glean from those years of friendship. The pair talk about finding a balance, maintaining a career after all these years and their upcoming music. Yousef also gives an update on his upcoming artist album, which may be done pretty soon.
Elrow will take place this Saturday in Brooklyn with Lawler & Yousef b2b alongside other Elrow mainstays at Avant Garder. Get tickets here.
Lawler Asks Yousef:
Lawler: Its crazy that we have known each other that long. I know what your capable of as a DJ, so my question to you is, can you keep up when we go to NY to smash the living day lights out of it!
Yousef: That’s not a problem my friend! Can’t wait! I run a label, run events, produce music, do radio but I'm always a DJ, 20 years deep, I'm the best I've been!
Lawler: In a world of super brands and DJ’s leading their own parties, how important have you found it to drive forward your own party brand Circus?
Yousef: For me Circus was always designed to be a residency in my home city where we can control the quality of music and the quality of the vibe in terms of setting an example to the audience to listen to great music and have fun, even though Circus has grown from a tiny party to very well known, respected event and label. The ethos is still the same, good music, good people, good times.
Lawler: Is there a country you have not played in that you would love to?
Yousef: Iceland! I've been everywhere but not there yet. Also Luxembourg, as its the only place in Europe I've not played in!
Lawler: If you weren’t a DJ or a promoter what would you do with your time?
Yousef: Always something creative. Of course I LOVE spending time with my family above everything, but if I'm not putting days of work into something I go nuts. I have a full day everyday -- I love it all! I’m actually in Chile now, relaxing in a hotel room, cant remember last time I chose to kick back.
Lawler: I know you like to produce music amongst many other things. I told you before you’re a machine -- without a doubt the hardest working man in dance music. How many singles have you released upon the world now. And how many remixes?
Yousef: Yes, I know, I need to chill out, but you don’t get anywhere standing still. I think I'm on almost 100 singles and 50 remixes, across labels such as Cocoon, Desolat, BPitch Control, Crosstown Rebels, Knee Deep In Sound, even Defected and of course my own Circus Recordings. I’m a few weeks away from completing my 4th artist album, which is easily my best ever work. The album has both a narrative and a point. Many of the songs and lyrics I've written, but it still slams. I can’t wait for you hear it!
Yousef Asks Lawler:
Yousef: I’ve known you for 20 years and this is our very first ever b2b, do you think you can handle me or what?
Lawler: Absolutely not. I have always said you got more energy than a Duracell Rabbit!
Yousef: How do you feel about the width of dance music right now, as in its reach. Is that positive for you?
Lawler: Of course, the bigger it is the better, after all, our message is being heard by more people around the world giving more people choice in what they feel more attached to.
Yousef: How do you manage work & home life balance?
Lawler: I’m not going to lie it’s tough. It’s one of the biggest challenges in life now. But it’s manageable, but always something has to give.
Yousef: how do you feel about more established DJs getting older. Is it ok to do a Mick Jagger?
Lawler: I got 2 words for that CARL COX. He is still undoubtedly the Don of house and techno. I think people should be proud of their history and sheer level of experience. The punter gets more for their money!
Yousef: What was the last record you got that you couldn’t wait to play?
Lawler: All the demos I just signed off new kid on the block, Joseph Edmund.