Probably your best chance in a Zombie Apocalypse – Laidback Luke. Elton Smith interview.

Laidback Luke is really laidback i found out.

Laidback Luke is really laidback i found out.

As the innovator in dance music, Holland’s Laidback Luke blasts a blitz of energy, driving his avid fans around the world into a raving frenzy! 100% immersed in his fans, the Super You & Me hero continually breaks the mold, shaking up chaotic beats to favor electro, techno and bass heads globally. Locking and loading events with hugest lineups and the most powerful beats, the electronic idol is saving the world from mediocre music and transforming dance floors into havens of high quality merriment!

It’s no surprise the anticipation is on high alert for the oncoming collaborative release of ‘Blow’ with #1 ranked French Dance Music Open champion Martin Solveig, on Mixmash. Riding high on the electronic rocket the label saw More drop with Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, while just prior, the collective explosion with Hardwell on Dynamo took the Mixmash bomb straight to the Beatport Top 10. Responsible for EDM’s most sought after remixes Laidback Luke fronts up to the his crowds for recent demand on Martin Solveig’s ‘Hey Now’, ‘Thinking About You’ featuring Ayar Marar for Calvin Harris and Robin Thicke featuring Pharrel and T.I on chart busting ‘Blurred Lines’.

He grew up in The Netherlands and made his name as a graffiti artist before turning to making music. He has worked with artists such as David Guetta, Steve Angello, the percussionist Nebat Drums, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Example and Junior Sanchez and played throughout Europe and North America as well as shows in Japan and Ibiza. Past all this music talk, in 2013 Luke was part of Team Kung Fu Holland at the World Championships and somewhere in-between his music, training, touring, travelling schedule, had the time to chat with ClubAntix.

Thanks Luke for joining us, how are you?
Thanks for having my guys, it’s my pleasure. Just came back from working out in the rain, feeling great!

Where are you presently?
I’m currently in Miami, about to board the Holy Ship festival that sails to the Bahamas coming four days.

What are your plans to come to these shores?
I’m excited to be back in Australia! I do really enjoy the club tours here as you really get the crowd that knows my music, and since I’m headlining, it’s not an overkill of DJs playing the same festival tracks.

My name is Elton and I get a lot of comments asking whether I was named after Elton John, did you get your name because you are in fact, ahem, Laid back? Please, tell us more.
Dobre, from Chocolate Puma, who discovered me, adviced me back in the day to come up with an artist name that involved my real name, Luke. I was a very big fan of Carl Cox, Carl Craig and Todd Terry back then and I figured I’d want to have a double lettered DJ name as well. Looking for the right ‘L-word’ to stick in front of my name, I heard Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’ on the radio. In it he rapped ‘Laiiiidback…’ and I was instantly sold! Though my music and DJing is very high energy, in real life I’m actually a laid back type of person. So my friends and family thought it would fit me perfectly.

I replied to one of your tweets after the DJ top 100 came out. You said you did no promotion and still got inside the top 100. A fair effort. Rather than asking what your thoughts on the poll (like you have probably been asked a thousand times), I am interested what you put your success down to. Is it regular interaction with your fans? Do you use goal setting at the start of the week / month / year and say, I want to achieve this, how can I do it?
It’s quite simple in theory actually. You just need to have amazing tracks that everyone will want to play. That’s it. And if two or three famous DJ start hammering it out, the rest will follow and your name is out there. The regular interaction doesn’t contribute to my popularity I feel. If you see how much other DJs that are more famous, not reply or interact at all, I feel the majority of people don’t care about it. The interaction I do is purely for me, and the need to give back to my followers. I truly appreciate their support and want to be in touch on a personal bases. It’s very important to me to know the majority by name and what they like. Even though I don’t have as much fans as the biggest DJs out there, I do know my core base is really strong thanks to that.

What is your philosophy on music i.e. do you work on it all day, every day? How do you organise your days during the year. Would you say you are efficient time manager?
I’m a very effective time manager. Some people are amazed I get so much stuff done with such a busy schedule. It’s all about planning and finding the right time slots to finish off or tackle stuff. I make music very easily and quickly. The majority of the time I work out a concept of a track in my mind. Then, when I hit the studio or laptop, I can turn out a track in less than four hours. Some of my most famous tracks like Be, Break Down The House, My G.O.D. and Turbulence were just afternoons of making music. My wife is a DJ as well and we both have very busy schedules and it goes that far we sync our monthly calendars in order to plan out when we get to see eachother.

What is your advice for people trying to break into the industry. What do you think is the right balance is time wise between performing/producing and networking?
There’s a couple of things you need to know:
1. It won’t happen over night. I often say real success hits after 10 years of hard work. There are exceptions, but don’t expect it to happen after you’ve been producing for 6 months.
2. You’ll get global success most easily by producing. Though I love the art of DJing and will always encourage new talent to properly learn DJing, producing will be that ticket to spread your name out there. So focus on making tracks! They will need to be incredible though.
3. At least 50% of your success lays in the hands of people that will want to grant you a chance. Don’t underestimate that! So don’t be a prick, and don’t be arrogant. You can use all the help you can get. And then when you hit success, you will still need those shots or else you’ll go down : )

What more do you want to achieve from music and what keeps you going and driven?
My one wish is to have an international crossover hit record, like a ‘Levels’, ‘Rattle’, ‘Epic’ or ‘Animals’. Although I had some nice successes, and tracks crossing over here and there, that one huge one never really happened. What keeps me driving is the amount of appreciation I get for what I do. To hear people have great memories and emotions through my music, is something money can’t buy.

I remember seeing a YouTube video of your “bedroom” studio with your laptop and mixing in your headphones. Do you still run this setup? I like your analogy that simple is good.
Simple is still good! The truth is, I’m only home for about 6 days per month. So the majority of what I produce is on the road. I was forced to learn how to finish and master tracks on the road on just a laptop and headphones. You really don’t need more nowadays.

What do you think of the state of the music industry compared with 5 years ago?
I feel there’s a lot of hype at the moment. And literally the scene changes by the year. For instance, a year ago when I made Dynamo with Hardwell, his profile was a little smaller than mine. Same goes for Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The guys had an amazing year and all of a sudden they’re the top DJs of the world. In a year time! Hypes come and go though, and I’m in this for longevity. I’ve been a professional since 1995 and I’m planning on staying here for a long time to come so I’m in no hurry : )

I see you have a collaboration with Martin Solveig out. How did this come about? Do you link up in a studio or do things remotely?
We were actually on the Stereosonic tour in Australia last year when this happened! Martin rented a studio in Sydney for the week and I decided to go there for a day to make music with him. So, yes another afternoon and ‘Blow’ was born. This was the first version of ‘Blow’ and after 6 months of testing, Martin decided to switch it up and make it a bit chunkier. I liked the concept, tweaked it and sent it back. So it’s a bit of both!

I was recently listening to Show Me Love, the remix you did with Steve Angello. Tell us a little about that. What’s your relationship with the boys from SHM? Do you travel around the world, bump into the other djs on the circuit and sort of say, “Hey it’s you again!!”
Yes we do! Although after Leave The World Behind the relationship got hit bad, we are always still nice to eachother face to face. ‘Show Me Love’ came from Steve and I making the track ‘Be’ in Stockholm. Australia’s Mobin Master had made a cover version of ‘Show Me Love’ that was circulating at the time. Because we used that same type of organ sound in ‘Be’, it was actually Hardwell that mashed the two up. It was magic and when we started playing that out, we were wrecking clubs with it for years. Until Ministry of Sound decided to make it a legal version. We contacted the real Robin S and together with her we made the updated version of ‘Show Me Love’.

1. What 5 things do you never leave home without?
My Macbook, iphone, headphones, Jelly Babies (for after my training, some extra sugar) and my travel keyboard.

2. If a zombie apocalypse was to happen, where would you go first and what would be your weapon of choice?
I’d go to my sons, luckily I own quite some Kung Fu Weapons and I’d probably pick my double broadswords : )

3. Wikipedia says you practice Kung Fu, does this have any direct influence for how you come about making wicked beats?
Yes, I train it daily and on a high level. This does have direct influence of my life, my daily energy, my drive and me staying grounded. With my crazy schedule it allows me to be as active as I can without burning out.
Check out more from Laidback Luke through Facebook, Twitter and online.

Interview by Elton Smith with fan questions submitted by Jenga Sama.

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