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Laidback Luke Interview - DJs are playing on technology that's from 2012

Dominik from W. A. Production sat down with artist Laidback Luke (Mixmash Records) and answered some questions about his go to software prefereneces.

Dominik: Hey guys, I am Dominik from WA Production. We're here with Laidback Luke who's performing today in Prague. So, how are you today how was your flight?

Laidback Luke: It was good. Bit of a long flight. I came from America today but I can't complain. I'm super excited for tonight.

Dominik: That's cool. We're also excited for you. So, I would like to ask you about a few questions, about you producing music. What do you prefer as a DAW software?

Laidback Luke: My DAW is Ableton. I've been using Ableton only since 2009. I had like a whole range so, I've been producing for more than 25 years now. I started with Cubase on Atari then Logic, then Fruity Loops and then Ableton.


Dominik: So you're well informed with all those softwares?

Laidback Luke: Yeah. I guess, I mean if 1999 Cubase still counts? Yes.

Dominik: Okay cool. What kind of computer do you like to use? Do you prefer Windows or Mac?

Laidback Luke: So the reason I stepped away from using Fruity Loops was because I was getting so fed up with the Windows XP. I couldn't do it anymore. My plugins kept on like failing and so, I just switched and then I switched at Ableton with a Mac-book.

Dominik: Okay cool. What kind of synthesizers you like to use? Or maybe some other effects that you use throughout making music?

Laidback Luke: Yeah nothing really special. Obviously Serum is super popular right now. I actually dive back into using Massive again which is interesting. Serum of course I would just remember when Sylenth1 that came out was one of the first that started to use that and fun fact the lead synth in turbulence is from the sylenth1.

Dominik: That's really interesting. So you've been doing graffiti when you were younger, do you use the ways of your arts at that time to make music? Have you ever mixed it up with your knowledge?

Laidback Luke: That's a very good point. so, there's two things in graffiti that I like is that it has a Hip-Hop and urban type of feel and there's the whole artistic thing where you have the coloring and the outlines and you get to work with these patterns that are very complicated but then at the end they all fit together.

And this is how I see my music as well so I always want my music to have a little bit of an edge and I'm talking to you beginner producers out there that want to EQ the tracks to be perfect and perfectly clean this is the trend right now. And where I came from it's more of like Erro You know the Wu Tang clan go listen to some of the cream wutang clan the mix-down is horrible.

But the feel it's raw, it's from the streets and this is what I want to keep in my music as well so sometimes when you hear a remix for me it's like a little bit rough in the EQ and I love that. I want that in music. This gives music character and if you strip it all away you just sound like everyone else.

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Dominik: When you master your tracks and mess with the EQ, do you rather prefer having it kind of off and away or do you prefer having some songs that would be perfectly mastered and perfected?

Laidback Luke: It depends on the song but what I really think is a problem right now is that everyone sounds alike so the professional produces as well. I believe about 80% of the professional producers use wired to masters of their tracks and so now a days all of those tracks sound alike. I am looking for character in a track and this is why I am very picky on mastering my own tracks myself because then it's really from me and it's really for me from the start to the finish.

I would encourage all young producers to start learning to master as well because you can just be so proud to have the track that comes out it's really your track all the way and everything that's in there was meant to be that way by yourself.

Dominik: So that's cool. So I also like to talk about your label Mixmash; how did that start?

Laidback Luke: Well, Mixmash started as obviously a platform to release my own music but most importantly music from all the talents that I was supporting and that I was coming across so this started back in the day I had my Laidback Luke forum and it was just a guest book. But on that guest book I'd so many beginner producers coming in and asking me questions about producing and I helped develop a couple of them and and they started sending me demos and more demos and some of them got like really good demos and I didn't have a platform to release that on and so.

At one point I was like I just need a label for myself and all of these talents can release through my label and and this is why we have a couple of very big names right now that released on Mixmash Records for the very first time.

Dominik: And who are maybe some of those big names that you have under you?

Laidback Luke: Well two of my biggest were Avicii may he rest in peace.  That's first shots on Mixmash records. Afrojack as well I remember pushing him to do like at remix for Swedish house mafia and a lot of names Dyro, Nicky Romero was on my forum, Steve Angello was on my forum, Bingo players was on my forum -- I can go on man.

Dominik: Well people are all the times sending you some of their tracks songs that they're making how do you choose which songs you would like to release and which you'll like to release maybe some other time or do you have a specific order of doing this?

Laidback Luke: It's a very interesting question because I often get this asked like okay so you're young producer you want me to sign your track what should you do?  And I always think of the tracks like this; can I play them in my sets?

And that's it. I just really want something that I can play my sets  that will stand out say for instance your young producer and you made you know Showtek Booyah say you're young producer and you have a track as big as Showtek Booyah and I would hear it for the first time and would blow me away right that's what I want from every demo.

Something that blows me away and something that I can play.

Dominik: That's interesting. So, when you play you're not a DJ that prepares his sets. You do everything on the spot, yes is that true?

Laidback Luke: That's very true that's the only way to really DJ and the only way you have fun in deejaying everywhere you go. The thing is with a lot of like the very specifically preplanned sets is that whenever you hit the podium and you see the crowd and the track you preplanned is about to drop and a real DJ could say Oh man this wasn't the right track on the right time. I have planned it before but now I'm here and it's the sun is out and there's way more girls than say Bass House lovers now I'm going to drop this bass house track and the girls will walk away.

So nothing is more powerful than on the spot seeing what those says a lot of 18 year old girls want may be you know instead of bass house they want to hear Dua Lipa so there you are; okay, play some Dua Lipa and then go into some future house instead of bass house. So, a lot of times people underestimate this and this is actually the most powerful thing in DJing.

Dominik: Okay, So, you play on the Denon players; do you prefer them more over than pioneers or how would you maybe see the differences between them are that you would prefer for yourself?

Laidback Luke: It's a very interesting question. When Denon first came to me in 2016 they were like we're developing a new CDJ. Would you be interested and I said no I'm fine on Pioneer. I have my CDJs I can put. But they kept on pushing and they said you know what you should feel this player. We have developed it. Might be next level and so I felt the player. And I was instantly like whoa this is really next level so then and there I decided to switch.

And the difference is obviously you have like a very smart audience but I'll keep it very dumb so everyone can understand this. The difference is - okay so let me ask you a question. What Iphone did you have in 2012?

Dominik: 2012 I had a Samsung.

Laidback Luke: Okay but which Samsung did you have?

Dominik: I think it was the first galaxy or the second one something like that.

Laidback Luke: So the pioneer players came out in 2012 so this would be the same as you calling with the first galaxy phone and I'm calling with the S10. That's the difference and so you know we're all like excuse my language for all like phone **** boys whenever the new phone comes out, we're like, we need to have the new phone.

Well the Denon players are the new DJ decks and a lot of you DJs are playing on technology that's from 2012 and you just got to realize that like's old.

Dominik: I understand. Okay, so that's cool. So thank you for your time for this interview. I hope that your show today goes great and I also have a small gift for you from WA Production. It's a USB that's filled with sound, samples packs, presets and all the goods that you might need tonight.

Laidback Luke: The new hits are right here!

Until next time. See you.

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