For: The Warehouse Project
As a label owner, club promoter, producer and DJ, Laidback Luke is one of the busiest and most well-connected figures in mainstream dance music. Splitting his time between his own label Mixmash and the likes of A-Trak’s Fools Gold Records and Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, the Amsterdam-based house and trance figurehead has proven a prolific figure in dance and returns to The Warehouse Project this season to headline an explosive showcase featuring Eddie Halliwell, Steve Aoki and Sandro Silva. Will Orchard caught up with Luke to discuss his current projects and what it’s like to be a touring DJ on his level.
As well as making music by yourself, you’ve produced with the likes of Steve Aoki and Swedish House Mafia. What is it like working with other artists in the studio and how does it differ to producing alone? What about working with vocalists like Lil’ Jon and Example?
It’s always a nice process to work with other people. You always learn something new and you’re able to see music from another perspective. When the chemistry is there in the studio, you know the outcome of the track will be amazing. Working with vocalists is something else too. It’s like the icing on a cake. Especially when they nail it like Lil’ Jon and Example have.
What can we expect release-wise soon? Will there be more collaborations?
Coming up is a new track that Lee Mortimer and I did called ‘Strobelight’ and there will be a new single with me and Wynter Gordon called ‘Sister Sister’ on my Mixmash label soon!
As well as producing, you’ve run Mixmash since 2004. How do you feel about the growth of the label and the artists you have released through it? Are there any stand-out moments of the last eight years of the label? Absolutely. The label has grown amazingly well. We put out tracks by Steve Angello for example. We put out Avicii’s first moments as a producer and DJ as well. Mixmash has always been about being a platform for new and up and coming producers and DJs and tons of new ones are on the way. For instance, Dyro came from there too and we just released a big one by Micky Slim feat Majestic.
Tell me a little bit about the Super You And Me parties. What was your intention/concept when you created these events? How do you feel the parties have developed over time and who would you say have been some of the best Super You And Me guests? The intention and concept is that I feel a lot of parties are way too cool. I miss the crazy stupid fun, the fun of silly games and hanging out with friends. I also wanted to have the epic feeling of being able to take on the whole world in there. It’s the feeling of having your hands in the air and letting go. Both combine very well with the Superhero theme. The effort of consciously thinking of what to wear adds up to anticipation of a night as well. The parties have developed really well over the years and it’s just getting bigger, better and more fun. Last year we handed out the foam ‘L’ fingers and this year the superhero capes were a huge success. This year was an absolute highlight because we got to bring Super You&Me areas to the big festivals all over the world, and it was a hit!
How does it feel taking the parties to Ibiza and having a residency with Cream at Amnesia? What has your experience of Ibiza been like? It’s been next level to me. Time has gone by so fast. I remember those days when I didn’t have a single booking on the island so well. To have a residency and to work with a legendary and amazing partner as Cream is a true honor. Right now my Ibiza experience is hard work. But a very pleasant one, with lots of support from people all over the world. Especially the UK crowd, I’m happy you guys are so fond of what I do, thank you!
What was it like trying to transfer the feel of clubbing at Amnesia into the Cream Ibiza compilation? Is it difficult to capture the atmosphere of that environment on record?
It is. What’s very limiting is that you need to legally license every track you play on the CD. Some tracks you planned may not be able to get licensed. Some mashups can’t be put on there for that reason too. Mixing it isn’t that hard for me though. I usually just do it in one take and picture a fully packed Amnesia terrace in front of me while I’m in the studio.
You spend so much of your time on the road. Does the experience of touring ever feel like hard work or is it still as enjoyable as it was in the beginning?To be very honest, touring has never been enjoyable to me. From origin, I love being home and locked up in my studio. I’m not the traveler type. So I have been struggling for a couple of years living on the road and really needed to leave that love-feeling-home feeling. I’m very much a man of routines and order and right now I have those on the road. It’s still hard work, a DJ on tour sleeps and average of four hours a day. But it’s definately in my system now and I accept it as my daily life. Having said that, I do realize I’m living the dream. Very honored and lucky I’m able to do what I love for a living.
You’re headlining a line-up at The Warehouse Project that features many of your friends in Eddie Halliwell, Sandro Silva and more. You must be pretty excited about that event?Absolutely! I’ve been playing Manchester for ages now. My first international UK success was thanks to Sankeys who were willing to give me a chance when I was still unknown. Throughout the years I’ve always been faithful to them. With their permission, I’m doing The Warehouse Project now and I’m very excited. Been hearing many stories about it over the years, and now it’s my turn!