[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Laidback Luke Talks New Music, Mental Health, & More!
On December 29, 2018, DNA Presents unleashed a truly spectacular event at the EY Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. The outstanding production that was featured during PULSE 2018 went above and beyond our expectations, and included captivating performances by CID, Laidback Luke, and Galantis.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the incredibly talented Laidback Luke to discuss his favourite fan interaction, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, the concept behind "twisted house", catchy new releases, new years resolutions, and much more!
We want to thank the humble producer and his team for their continued support and can't express how much we sincerely appreciate their contribution to our ongoing success.
One of our highlights of 2018 was when the EDM legend wore our official merchandise on the Mainstage at IleSoniq. This unexpected gesture skyrocketed our movement that much further. We look forward to working with their hardworking team again in the future.
1. What has been the most memorable moment that you have lived with a fan, and why did it stand out among the rest?
That's a tough question because I do have very personal relationships with a lot of my followers - [i.e.] longtime Tweeters, and people that I recognize from meeting them over the years. A couple of my fans even have kids now. [That being said,] there is one occasion when one of my fans/students found out that his girlfriend was expecting. It wasn't planned. He asked me, "should I keep the child, or not?" This relationship really goes deep. Of course, I told him to keep the kid! I feel that when [a situation] like that happens, you need to take responsibility for it.
I just rounded up my 2018 year recap; [it's important to me because] this is where I thank everyone. When I'm DJing, or vlogging, etc., I believe that it's important to continue this interaction. Without the following, I wouldn't be able to do this. I am very grateful that people are appreciating what I am doing.
2. Speaking of your followers, your "Super You & Me" stage appeared to be a fan favourite, no matter where it's held in the world. Although many think that you're already a real-life superhero, we have to ask: if you could have one power, what would it be, and why?
It's a tricky one because my favourite superheroes are Spider-Man and Wolverine; I can't choose between the two! Although, if I were to have a superpower of my own, I would say the one that I am lucky enough to have now: wooing people with my beats! When I am on stage, I feel as though it's my duty to ensure that everyone is on the same vibe. There are many layers to DJing - some in which most people don't often realize. It's almost like your grabbing people to massage them, one at a time, then when everyone is ready, you boost their spirits. It's magic!
3. You're a strong & disciplined individual, especially when it comes to your Kung Fu practice. It clearly has positive impacts on your overall mental health. How does a healthy lifestyle benefit someone who is looking to launch themselves in this challenging career path - i.e. being away from their loved ones, constant traveling, etc.?
In 2018, it was the year that we started talking about this [subject]. I still use Avicii as the prime example. The blessing [regarding what happened to the late DJ] is that we've opened the conversation. Later on, we saw Hardwell make his announcement. [It was great to see] the amount of [supportive] comments - that's the important part!
When I started touring heavily, no one told me about being away from family, and friends, and that you don't get much time to yourself. I had to learn to empower myself both physically and mentally. It's so important! If I don't, it could go the other way. I could be living a life of drugs, and sin - it's a completely destructive path.
I am very fortunate to be in an energetic and positive mindset. Kung Fu, and my other workout habits keep me grounded and zen. I would really recommend any form of exercise to help someone with their overall mental health.
I am also very much into the fitness diets. [On occasion], I have discussions with nutritionists. In fitness, we often only take into consideration the macronutrients, resulting in one missing out on the micronutrients. I am very good at [consuming] my macronutrients, but should probably eat more of my fruits and vegetables. It is tricky on the road. It's all about monitoring what you eat. [Balance is key!]
4. This year, you announced that several official remixes will feature "Twisted House" renditions. In your own words, how would you describe this genre, & how do you believe it will affect the electronic dance music community in the future?
That's a great question! I've been doing the "Twisted House" for a while, however, I didn't label it. With 'Break Down The House' it was what seemed to influence the Dirty Dutch sound early on. [Twisted House] needs to involve crazy sounds, and bleeps - the beats should be a tribal-influenced house. That is the definition.
I have a lot of people asking me what it is. I put a mix compilation out on Apple Music - all of the tracks that I play are Twisted House. People should have a listen!
[Furthermore,] Afrojack and I collaborated to make 'Move To The Sound' (featuring Hawkboy), [not to mention] the other remixes that I put out this month ('Sex, Love & Water' and 'Keep It Low') are all Twisted House. In addition, 'Jackie Chan' is another example and dropped back in October. I hope to feature more of these tracks in my music videos in the future.
In EDM land, I feel as though many musicians are focused on making pop tracks, and they often forget that we are dance music artists first. It surprises me that DJs like The Chainsmokers, or Zedd, don't play their entire set with downtempo/listening music. I would love to go back to having only EDM [featured] on the dance channels, and strictly uptempo beats. For example, when you go to a Kygo show, you get Kygo music. You know what to expect.
[Touching on my Strictly Techno sets], I find it completely liberating, and very enjoyable to play. With the commercial sets, it's more about the interaction with the crowd, and [gauging] what they want. When it comes to techno, I do my own thing. If you like it, that's fine, if you don't like it, walk away - that's fine too. These sets are more of a side project, but I do hope to do more of them in the future.
5. One can gather that you truly pour your heart and soul into everything that you do. For example, in 1998, you had personally created the artwork that was featured on your album 'Psyched-Up'. Have you recently been involved in the overall design process in regards to your other albums?
I used to be a graffiti artist. The first rendition of the Mixmash [Records] logo was my design. At a certain point, I stepped away from designing because we have a big team now at Mixmash. Whenever there's artwork, they will double check that with me. I have a little bit of a say in it, but most of it relies on the team.
6. Since we took a slight trip down memory lane, we have to ask: during your years of traveling, do you believe that different countries have contrasting views of the EDM scene? For example, does one country's partygoers prefer the visuals, over the music itself?
Every country has a different taste in music, and energy levels. When it comes to visuals and special effects, I have never been to a festival where someone spoke solely about the visuals. For example, we receive a lot of feedback, but it's not often that someone will make a comment, like, "oh, did you see the pyro during the Axwell & Ingrosso set?"...it's not like that. People will always comment about the music. Keeping in mind that example, they would say "I love how they mixed in that old Swedish House Mafia vibe." So, no matter how many effects that you throw in there, people will always bring it back to the music.
Although festivals like Tomorrowland bring the decor to the next level. They truly transform the event into [its own little world]. EDC and Ultra are more of what you would expect from a festival, where Tomorrowland is like, "oh, okay; this is different - in a great way". It's absolutely my favourite festival! It brings the vibe. People from all over Europe, America, Canada...they come together.
Some DJs don't like the flags. I LOVE the flags! It's a place where people unite. The flags demonstrate the magnitude of all of these different places coming together. It's a [beautiful] thing to witness.
7. The Mixmash Year Mix 2018 is live. No question here, we just wanted to say that it's awesome & that we appreciate you putting it together. We'll be sure to blast it at our New Year's parties!
Haha, thank you! Fun fact: my colleague gave me a challenge. He emailed me saying that these are all of the 65 tracks in the folder for you, and it would be awesome if you could do a year mix. He continued to say that he wasn't sure if I would be able to use all of the 65 tracks. I had asked him how long do I have to fit all of these [tunes] in. He said, maximum an hour. I was like, "okay, challenge accepted." - and I mixed them in 45 minutes! I was really feeling it and was mixing fast. It worked out.
8. Speaking of which, since the New Year is quickly approaching, can you tell us about your resolutions?
I actually don't really believe in them. I am currently on a cut - a fit diet. People say that it's crazy because it's throughout the holidays, and it's tough timing, etc. [That said,] with the New Year resolutions, I don't have a specific point where I try to better my life.
I have a couple online Kung Fu students and I followed up with them recently. They told me that they have been slacking a little bit, and continued to tell me that they would pick it back up in the new year. I emailed them back, and told them that they needed to do it tomorrow! Why extend that into January 1st, 2019?
Every day is a new year resolution. It has nothing to do with January 1st. You just gotta do it right now.
9. Is there anything else that you would like to say to The Flag Gang?
I want to say, "keep it up!" I hope that you keep growing. If there is anything else that I can do to help, let me know. I [would be happy to support you/wear your merchandise] when I am in Canada, or perhaps, even at Tomorrowland. Hook me up! Thank you.