Dutch heavyweight Laidback Luke has a two-decade track record of doing things his way, keeping versatility at the core of his every move.
He’s a source of inspiration to numerous DJ’s, from Avicii to Afrojack, and well respected by all colleagues in his field. He rewired a worldwide passion for dance music and set a new precedent for fan interaction along the way. Add a who’s who list of collaborators, remixes, global live credentials and a sideline as a Kung Fu World Champion and there is still no rarer breed of superstar DJ than Laidback Luke.
In our exclusive new series called T.H.E Offbeats which revolves around an exclusive chat with an artist about the current trending topics in EDM plus a few personal topics, Lucas discusses the story behind the name, “Laidback Luke”, his musical inspirations, playing at Tomorrowland Brasil and the impact Kung Fu has had on his life. Have a read! 🙂
T.H.E – Story behind the name Laidback Luke.
Laidback Luke – I was looking for an artist name, and Dobre, from Chocolate Puma, who’s my mentor and he basically discovered me, adviced me to do something with my real name Luke. So I started to look for a double lettered name as in that time, this must have been 1993, I loved what Todd Terry, Carl Craig and Carl Cox were doing. On a random afternoon I heard Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin & Juice’ on the radio and right after he sang ‘Rolling down the street smoking Indo,…’ He sang ‘Laaaaiidbaaack’. And it hit me! That was the exact L-word I was looking for! Later on my friends and family said it suited me well. As in real life, not my music, I’m indeed a very laid-back person.
T.H.E – You started off in ’96 when you were just 20 years old. What attracted you to the dance music scene? How has the scenario changed since then?
Laidback Luke – I got my record deal in 1994, at the age of 18. I had my first release in 1995, it’s been a while! Back in about 1990 I was hit by the Dance Music Bug. After Lil’ Louis’ French Kiss crossed over in the Dutch National Charts, hitting the number 1 position, Dance Music was launched as the new big hype. I remember being 15 and doing my newspaper rounds just blasting house music on my Sony Walkman!
Back then, although already crossed over, the music was still very much in a niche. I remember being a skateboarder at the age of 17 and my fellow skateboarders thought it was so strange I chose Dance Music over Hip Hop or Grunge. The energy of it always attracted me.
The will to dance. But the technology behind it too. As if I was listening to music out of the future. I still carry that future vision and urge to do it with the newest technology. The scenario has changed that the music I loved, has become the mainstream. A multi-million dollar monster. Back when chunky house switched into progressive house, Trance was the big money monster. I was never a part of that.
I just wanted to make my chunky music the biggest music style ever because it deserved it. And it worked! We won over Trance, we even won over Hip Hop and Rock Music. I never anticipated to it becoming such a monster though. It’s when the big bucks come in, it gets super cheesy sadly enough.
T.H.E – Your musical inspirations.
Laidback Luke – DJ Pierre, Carl Craig, Todd Terry, Daft Punk, NERD and Timbaland.
T.H.E – The impact Kung Fu has had on your life. How was the experience of representing Team Kung Fu Holland at the World Championship 2013 in China?
Laidback Luke – It was a dream come true! Winning 4 gold medals was insane! As a kid I competed in Karate as well but I never got further than a second place in the National Championships. I would’ve never expected I could call myself a world champion one day.
T.H.E – You had the chance to play at the first edition of Tomorrowland Brasil. How was it? Describe it for us.
Laidback Luke – Tomorrowland did an amazing job as always. The people behind it are so passionate and humble. It resonates through the whole structure and set up of the festival. I’m super honored they allow my Super You&Me concept to have a stage on there. Very happy to say it was a big success and I look forward to the other festivals they have lined up coming season! Brasil has really opened up for EDM it seems. There’s a fresh new and young crowd ready to rage.
T.H.E – The whole Super You & Me concept. Also, you dressed up as Spiderman during the Super You & Me set at Tomorrowland Brasil. And based on your Instagram uploads, we have come to believe that you prefer Spiderman! Any special reason for this preference?
Laidback Luke – Spiderman and Wolverine are my favorite Superheroes! So I guess in Brasil I was able to be both finally! I’ve never done that before. I love the double life Spiderman leads, being such a geek during the day and then a sleek crime fighter whenever needed. I love the animal side of Wolverine, he’s very brutal, it intrigues me.
T.H.E – Your wife, Gina Turner is an incredibly talented DJ/Producer. How is it collaborating with her? Is it easier considering that you know her better inside and outside the studio?
Laidback Luke – Yes she is! She was already a professional DJ for years and she actually studied music, radio and audio engineering in college before I even met her. When I first met her, it struck me at how much of a great taste she had in underground music. And actually, when it comes to underground music, we both love the same things! It’s very easy to collaborate with her, absolutely!
T.H.E – Your recent comment about, “Even though it’s very tempting to play the Beatport Top 100, or Top 10, you shouldn’t!”.
Laidback Luke – Well you can, but pay attention to what you play IN-BETWEEN the hits. Like I said there, that will mark you as an artist. Playing the biggest hits is really easy, so keep in mind that literally anyone can do that. But how are you going to bring your own flavor and style? This will make you stand out. DJs are taste makers too, so it’s important to surprise the crowd and convince them with our own taste and unique style.
T.H.E – How does it feel in reaching 100 episodes of your Mixmash Radio show?
Laidback Luke – Time flew by! When I started I was so nervous about making radio! I’m actually very bad at presenting and grabbing the mic. Luckily, after 100 episodes I got a lot better! I feel way more comfortable and confident now as a radio jock so to say.
T.H.E – Tidal Streaming service – While it has received a lot of negative backlash, artists like Deadmau5 have maintained their support. We would love to know your views on the same.
Laidback Luke – I watched the whole thing and I watched Jay-Z making his statement for it. Afterwards I still didn’t see why Tidal would be more benificial than Spotify. I think that really screwed them. The concept is there, but how to exactly execute it, no one knows it seems. It’s hard to trust a company like that, so it’s very noble to step up like that but doomed from the start I’m afraid.
T.H.E – Thanks Lucas! This was great fun! 🙂
Laidback Luke – Thanks for having me guys.
- T.H.E Interview – Dress Code - July 7, 2019
- ULTRA Worldwide Announces ULTRA Singapore | Becomes Two-Day, Three-Stage Festival - January 18, 2016
- Kaskade and DVBBS join Zomboy, Must Die and DJ BL3ND to complete full line up for Gravity Thailand 2016 - January 6, 2016