Laidback Luke gives heartfelt Op-Ed on Avicii

Laidback Luke is one of the industry’s most reputed and respected artist’s. From nurturing talent, to initiating major collaborations, to dominating decks alone, he has safe claim to being Filipino-Dutch’ best DJ, Producer and label owner.

Leaving music aside and putting pen to paper, Laidback Luke recently gave a heartfelt Op-Ed for Billboard magazine on his perspective regarding Avicii’s retirement, it’s reasoning and the true nature of the scene as whole. And in turn providing significant insight into the realities and garnering a little more understanding around the topic.

He opens up with an account that is often heard in the dance music scene. A story of a teenager making music in his bedroom before “The kid’s undeniable talent shines through, and after a few years of hard work and constructive ­criticism, things start to happen. He releases a few records, and one catches fire.”

Touching on the dramatic contrast the demanding pressure to perform to that of the safe environment of the bedroom, Luke highlights the unnatural transition in reality these talented producers have to make to performing DJ’s. Going from seeing family on a daily basis, to a handful of times a year is not something many would choose voluntarily.

The story is about Avicii. And it’s here the Mixmash Records head brings his personal connection to the retiring Swede.

“I have a long and vested ­relationship with him. Tim was one of the kids on my website forum back in the day, with whom I would run through demos and give ­production tips. His first big hit as Avicii was “Ryu” on my label, Mixmash Records, and his first-ever gig was an opening spot at my Super You&Me party during Miami Music Week in 2009. Look at that insane lineup by the way!”

Bringing attention to the weekly basis these teenagers are provide lucrative opportunities, the pressure to tour compounds their ability to produce the demanded tracks by fans and labels.

“DJs on tour average about four hours of sleep per night, and with drinking, ­afterparties, adulation and everything that comes with it, it’s easy to lose oneself. They make many new friends — at least for the moment — and some find another new friend: alcohol or whichever vice helps them deal with feeling displaced all the time. The pressures of being on the road as a DJ are constant and relentless. Unlike pop, rock or rap, they don’t tour in cycles — they’re always on tour, virtually every week, sometimes every day.”

One of the most potent lines from the Op-Ed however sources from when Laidback Luke was last booked to perform alongside Avicii.

“He gave me a very sincere but oh-so-tired smile when he saw me.”

However it’s Luke’s reflective and rounding perspective that gives the article real validity and connection.

“There are countless DJs who think they would kill for a career like Tim’s…Hopefully this will start a ­conversation about more reasonable expectations and will encourage all of us to be more ­responsible. We, the generation of ­seasoned artists, need to recognize our role in guiding the next generation by pointing out the pitfalls, offering an ear, a shoulder and ­sometimes a kick in the ass too. We all have to stop looking away. It’s often said that the brightest light casts the darkest shadow — so be brave, and don’t be afraid to walk away from that light.”

Check out Laidback Luke’s full Op-Ed article for Billboard here!

Expat living in New Zealand with a keen ear for the pure form of progressive house and a passion for the electronic scene in general. Fingers crossed you like this site as much as me!

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