Exclusive Interview – Laidback Luke: “Producers in the industry are lost right now”
It’s another perfectly warm day in Miami. The sun shines down on the East Florida coast as the bustle of Miami Music Week ravers shimmy past, bright red Ferraris, and glorious yellow Lamborghinis race up and down Collins Avenue, steering sharp lefts into the iconic Ocean Drive. The oomph of bass crackles in the background as pool parties take place up and down the street. Welcome to Miami Music Week. An all out attack on the senses, led by bikinis, designer sunglasses, and an array of the world’s finest DJs walking around just about every avenue you dare peek down.
Away from the decadent madness of the biggest week in the dance music calendar, a cool breeze flows across the rooftop of the South Beach hotel, where Laidback Luke is hosting a class for several gathered fitness fans. The DJ, dressed in his traditional silk Kung Fu robes, stretches into a series of yoga poses, taking time to meet and greet his fans after the session, shaking hands with all, and stopping for photographs and in-depth conversations. The behaviour is typical of the superstar, who – aside from his DJ and production talents – is a keen and long-time martial arts performer, a kindred spirit amid an industry packed with ego after ego.
As we walk to Luke’s hotel room, the cool breeze of the air conditioning provides a welcome addition to the 30 celsius weather, and Luke, offering a warm smile, sits down on the sofa, overlooking one of Miami’s most gorgeous birds-eye views. This is what happened, when We Rave You, met Laidback Luke:
Luke! Tell us, what’s going on for you right now? Miami Music Week is always a time for new releases, have you got one in the pipeline yourself?
“Yes! I have a new release coming, my collaboration with Steve Aoki. There was a lot of pressure for us to follow up ‘Turbulence’, and we have made another real rave monster! It is a total banger, Steve popped up on FaceTime and he sent some ideas across. So we are going super high tempo on this one. But for this one, we didn’t want to make any pop. Just pure club music! A real festival track. I had this idea – We need Bruce Buffer, the UFC guy on it! So we have Bruce on it, and the video is amazing. It is a super UFC themed video, Steve and I are fighting each other real Conor McGregor style. It’s called ‘It’s Time’ and it is out on 6th April!
The Mixmash party is always a highlight of Miami Music Week, how did the event become so big?
“Well it is funny actually, Avicii posted on his Instagram just a few days back, about the Super You & Me party from a few years ago, and from there, it spread into Mixmash, and since then every year is a huge sell out success, it is always fun and always the place to be!”
Miami is of course, special, because of Miami Music Week, but also because of Ultra. What does UMF mean to you?
“Well Ultra is a place, and MMW is, a place where, I came here in 2001 as a fan, and then in 2007 I saw Fedde Le Grand play at Ultra and I tagged along with him to every gig he had that week. So I was there cheering for him, and then in 2009 I played myself, and it was so insane, the place went beserk! The 20th anniversary of Ultra means more people, more DJs, everything is crazier than ever.”
So what are your plans for life on the road this year?
“This year, I’m going to Vegas again for another residency, and it is looking super busy again! I am reinventing my own sound right now, this is a new sound that people will hear and go ‘Wow! That is a Laidback Luke track!’“
How hard is that? As a producer, to make your own instantly recognisable ‘signature sound’?
“These past few years, producers have been lost in this industry. They don’t know whether to play house, or pop. But I’ve found that originality. I have a synthesizer, a brand new one that nobody else is using and this is my own special recipe! So this is a hugely exciting year. With this new synthesizer, I can make club music, radio music, but whatever I make, it will have that signature Laidback Luke sound attached to it!”
Destroying the Mixmash party with his eclectic blend of high tempo dance numbers, and rippling club floorfillers, Laidback Luke proved he was truly ‘Rockin’ With The Best’ once again across the course of Miami Music Week, both at the Delano’s Mixmash event – which included special cameo appearances from the likes of Hardwell, and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, and also during his performance at the 20th anniversary of Ultra Music Festival. His upcoming single ‘It’s Time’ with Steve Aoki (feat. Bruce Buffer) is set for release on 6th April!