Laidback Luke needs no introduction, the Dutch veteran has been at the top of the dance music game for 20 years. He has aided in the development of many artists, through his own label Mixmash as well as his forum which saw acts such as Avicii, Steve Angello, Afrojack and countless more. His recent collaborator and upcoming talent from Mixmash is Unity from China. He has released a handful of remixes and originals, remaining loyal to Mixmash with all of them.
Laidback Luke and Unity recently teamed up for ‘Make That Thang Go’, released to welcome arms – now they’ve joined us for an exclusive interview. The pair delve into their past, present and future, with topics such as the Avicii tribute, upcoming projects, working with Swedish House Mafia, Chinese dance music scene and much more.
You’ve had the forum, and now the vlog. Is being a mentor to aspiring artists something you strive for?
Laidback Luke: Not really, that is something I do naturally and it has to do with me coming up as a young talent and never really encountering many DJs and producers that were willing to help. I always promised myself that if I got a little bit of a name that I would be that guy that I was always looking for.
Your sound has remained similar yet evolved throughout your career, is that something you focus on whilst producing?
Laidback Luke: This is something that I’m currently doing with the ‘Twisted house’ sound, I’m actually claiming that sound with my recent releases. It’s both house-y and Dutch-y. A lot of people ask me what is Twisted house is exactly but it’s instilled in me. A lot of the things I do right now are based on that.
Back in the day you had a close relationship with the Swedish House Mafia guys, how did you first meet them? And are you still close?
Laidback Luke: I met Steve Angello on my forum when he was unknown. He looked up to me because I had made an official remix for Daft Punk. I was hanging with the Da Mongoloids (Armand van Helden, Basement Jaxx, Daft Punk, Junior Sanchez) which Swedish House Mafia was actually based on. Steve really wanted to meet and hang out and at a certain point, he started to blow up a little bit. I noticed there was something incredible about his sound so we started doing studio sessions in Stockholm and then Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell came out. This was just before all these guys blew up and obviously we made ‘Leave The World Behind’ which was pretty much one year before they made ‘One’.
You have family in different places around the world, you have a weekly vlog you edit and film yourself, your extremely talented with Kung-Fu – winning multiple medals at the world championships. And of course, you travel the world making music and DJing to thousands of people. How do you manage to make time for all this?
Laidback Luke: This is why I had a panic attack back in 2018, I was doing this 24/7 and I would always tell people one of the reasons I can do this is because I don’t do Netflix. Which I really needed to come back from, because of that anxiety attack I realized I am only human and that I need just one day a week completely off social media and email. This has been doing me a lot of good and I only now realize how much I was damaging my brain, so to say.
You recently performed at Avicii’s tribute concert, was that a special event to play?
Laidback Luke: This took place in a 60K crowd capacity stadium in Stockholm. It was both epic and emotional at the same time! I can’t believe I cried twice while DJing such a big crowd. But I’m super honored that his family and his team have included me in all of this. We miss you so much Tim!
You have both had your fair share of collaborations, including your latest one together – do you prefer working alone or with people?
Laidback Luke: What I love about collaborations is that you always get someone chasing you to finish something haha. It’s a nice kickstart whenever someone comes through with a demo like Unity did and you are able to finish it. I do love working alone though, but I do really like the extra inspiration a collaboration brings.
Unity: Personally, I love working with other artists. But there are times when you just have to do a track that you imagined in your head alone. But, working with other artists can bring a whole new dimension on a track. So I guess it just depends.
Can you tease an upcoming project or release?
Laidback Luke: Absolutely! Actually I have all my upcoming releases until summer 2020 ready even! I have some cool tracks coming up which I can’t wait to tell you more about soon.
Unity: I have an upcoming release with my good friend Carta which I am very excited about. More details soon! Shout out to Carta!
You have released exclusively on Mixmash for the entire Unity project, what drew you to Mixmash?
Unity: Mixmash is like a family, I love the family atmosphere they have and as an exclusive artist with Mixmash I feel truly blessed they accepted me as one of their own. Any help you need, they are just a message away.
How is the Chinese dance music scene?
Unity: I think it’s still growing. There are tons of talented producers in China and to me personally, I think they just need a platform to let people hear their music.
Do you think it is an untapped market in terms of music? Are there any limitations breaking out from China?
Unity: I wouldn’t say untapped, I think China is still trying to figure out what kind of electronic music they would listen to. In my opinion, I think there are major limitations to breaking out from China. Luckily for me, I have my Mixmash family supporting me, but the other thousands of talented producers out there don’t have that kind of backing. There are a lot of producers producing really amazing sounding stuff from techno to house to trap, you name it they have it. It’s just that they need a platform to properly release and market their music.