3LAU Discusses His Past, Present, and Future in Exclusive Interview
Last weekend, 3LAU teamed up with Echostage to bring his 3LAU HAUS Party to Washington, DC, along with the duo of LOUDPVCK and Pierce Fulton. Luckily, we were able to sit down with Justin before he took to the decks and chat about his life as an electronic producer, his charity work, highlights of 2015, and his future material. We were truly amazed with how relatable Justin was and how passionate he was for his music and projects.
In addition to the interview, 3LAU played one of the best sets we’ve seen this year. Opening with his high-energy hit “The Night” with Nom De Strip to set the tone, Justin bounced all over from genre to genre and tempo to tempo, illustrating his talent as a DJ. We were also treated to some of his unreleased material which is sure to please his fans when it comes out. The highlight of the show has to be when 3LAU played his biggest hit, “How You Love Me.” The energy from the crowd was absolutely electric and everyone seemed to bounce together as one. All in all, the 3LAU HAUS Party was an incredible night and it is a show that you should not miss if you get the chance.
With Dance Floor Filth 5 releasing just around the corner, we cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store for him. Check out the text and audio file of the interview is below:
We Rave You: This is Andy from We Rave You. I am here with Justin Blau. Thank you for having us.
3LAU: Thank you for coming.
WRY: Excited for tonight?
3LAU: Not at all (jokingly). Turn out is shit. Everyone has been saying that Echostage is like the worst venue… No. It already looks crazy and I’ve still got like an hour till I’m on.
WRY: LOUDPVCK duo is killing it right now.
3LAU: LOUDPVCK is always insane. Tonight is going to be a really special night.
WRY: You have been doing the 3LAU HAUS Parties for a bit. You’ve done a couple of these shows.
3LAU: Basically, the 3LAU HAUS Parties, we haven’t done that many of them, probably my sixth. We keep them for big cities and do some really crazy, different shit. It’s kind of like mayhem, we kind of do whatever we want at the party and get the crowd involved. It’s not really a rave, it’s meant to be more of a house party in a larger venue.
WRY: That’s sort of what you came from coming from college…
3LAU: Exactly. Just throwing house parties. That’s just the vibe. Making it less about everyone just watching the DJ and more about the overall experience and people getting to do whatever they want to do.
WRY: Going back to your early days, your background is well publicized as a college student at Washington University and a Finance background with internships, was there ever a time where you thought you made the wrong decision?
3LAU: Never. I was always nervous, but as I made decisions, I just became more and more confident about what I was doing.
WRY: For young producers out there, any big tips or advice you have for them?
3LAU: Biggest thing is to not be afraid to work your ass off. Obviously keep going at it, but it really takes a lot of work, especially the learning process. There is a lot of failure, there is a lot of mistakes, but it is just recognizing you can’t get to where you want to in a period of days. It’s going to take years and even to this day, I’m still learning after five years.
WRY: Your productions are known for their Progressive/Electro House sound with songs like Escape and How You Love Me, what was it like producing Runaway which is obviously a switch from that sound?
3LAU: It took a while to get that right. There was a bit of time where I didn’t release any music because I was focusing on that. I just had Runaway and another track, my remix of Stitches by Shawn Mendez. I just wanted to start experimenting with different BPMs, I was getting a little sick of the same 128. You will see tonight that I will go everywhere from 100 to 107 to 128 to 130 Trance to 140 to 150. I really play every BPM in a set and that’s just because I love all kinds of music. Tonight people will hear a lot of my new stuff that’s all over the place.
WRY: Switching back to the world outside of your music, you have become really involved with the Pencils of Promise charity, how did you get started with that?
3LAU: We are just getting started. I’ve been involved with philanthropy my entire life. I ran a microfinance institution out of my high school. Then I developed this education campaign because I feel it is sort of the root cause that all these third world countries have to deal with. Whenever I do charity work, I want it to have the biggest impact. Pencils of Promise does that. They work in so many different countries and have an amazing staff and I was just amazed at their energy and passion for global education. We’ve now raised about $90,000, with the goal of raising $200,000 by next summer. When we hit $200,000, the organization will sponsor eight of my fans to come and visit the schools with me. So that is the goal for 2016.
WRY: After going to high school in Las Vegas, what was it like playing EDC the past two years?
3LAU: EDC is one of my favorite songs of all time, especially this past year. I went from one year being in the crowd, next, watching Porter Robinson in the VIP, next year one of the first acts on the Mainstage, to this year, playing on Circuit Grounds for a packed house. To me, that was just the progression of all my hard work. It was a life changing experience.
WRY: How incredible was that Circuit Grounds?
3LAU: Honestly, it was my favorite stage from this past year.
WRY: What were some other high notes from 2015?
3LAU: Bring Rob Gronkowski out for Ultra was super super fun. He actually just came to my Boston show last weekend. That was one of my big highlights. And honestly, tonight here at Echostage. It’s such a big place, I have always wanted to headline my own show here. It is the biggest HAUS Party that we have thrown to date so we are super pumped.
WRY: A lot of the fans here tonight were probably at Moonrise Festival earlier this year in Baltimore, what was it like closing out the Stellar Stage Day One?
3LAU: Oh man, that was a good festival. The energy was fantastic. I was a little nervous because I was playing against Bassnectar and his fans are nuts and diehards and Lorin is a super nice guy. I’m a big fan of his work. I was a bit nervous going out there but it turned out awesome.
WRY: What were some of your biggest inspirations in the music world? You’ve worked with some legends like Dash Berlin, are there any others that stand out?
3LAU: To be completely honest, some of my largest inspirations come from outside the world of dance music. Within it though, Kaskade and Calvin Harris are certainly up there. Porter Robinson was and still is a big inspiration of mine as well.
WRY: Where do you see you going and electronic music going in general over the next couple years?
3LAU: It honestly seems to be going back to the music. There was a stage where it was more about the sounds and the “Big Room” stuff, but it’s turning around and going back to what is different and stands out from what is “cool.” It’s a very exciting time because it allows artists to experiment and improvise and for fans to accept those improvisations.
WRY: Finally, Dance Floor Filth 5 is coming out…
3LAU: It’s very special. The fifth mashup album is actually mostly, 90% my own production with vocals. There are a couple of remixes that haven’t been released that are going to be on the album. If it works out how I want to, I think it is going to be five remixes and five mashups. Only one of the mashups doesn’t have my own sound in it. It will have anywhere from 8-10 tracks and is supposed to be coming out right before Christmas. I am working on it all next week and the week after that.
WRY: Any original productions coming out soon as well?
3LAU: Nothing till next year but there is going to be A LOT next year and you will hear some of it tonight.
WRY: That is it for the interview. Thank you so much again for sitting down with us. Good luck out there.
3LAU: Thank you and enjoy the show!