Nov 08, 2010
interview
Laidback Luke

Having delivered killer performances at Ultra, EDC, and Electric Zoo, Laidback Luke is on fire. As one of the strongest proponents of dance music in America, we thought it was important to get his take on the future of the Dutch house sound and the blending of hip hop and EDM.

Robyn & Laidback Luke - Indestructible (Original Mix)
LessThan3: America has seen an explosion of interest in EDM within the last five years. How do you feel about this and do you have any ideas as to why this sudden spike in interest has occurred?
Luke: I’m very happy it finally happened! I always wondered why it happened in Europe like in 1999 but America kept it so low on EDM. I think hip hop ran into a wall. It was always fresh, but at one point people ran out of inspiration. With someone like David Guetta, who is a real supporter of the Dutch sound, EDM managed to penetrate into the hip hop and pop side of things in America.
LessThan3: Your music is so popular with the scene here in America, especially in Los Angeles and New York; what do you think it is about your sound that attracts so many of the younger EDM fans in these areas?
Luke: I do think I play a more energetic and crossover kind of EDM. When I DJ I always try to keep some surprises in and really try to judge the energy of the crowd to work them. I also enjoy having a fun time with the crowd as if I was one of them. It’s hard to say, as my tracks have been very well supported by a lot of DJs out there, so that helps as well! (Big thank you here!)
LessThan3: Your forums have been a jump-off point for many successful artists like Afrojack and Avicii. Is training up-and-coming artists something that you had in mind with your site, or was it more of the community itself? Are there any new names from your forums that you have a particular eye on?
Luke: I feel I always missed out on good guidance in the beginning of my career. Then, when I came across the Chocolate Puma guys who trained me, I felt I wanted to give back. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than to keep this EDM thing rolling and bringing in a new fresh generation. It’s a blessing to see kids like Afrojack and Avicii hit it big. Knowing I’m a part of that is mind-blowing and honoring. New kids for the future to look out for would be Gianni Marino, Sandro Silva, Grand Theft Audio, Sven Kirchhof and Mitch De Klein. Sorry for the names left out, I’m training an EDM army here!
LessThan3: You’ve been an incredible inspiration to many DJs around the world, especially in the Dirty Dutch scene. Who were your inspirations earlier on in your career?
Luke: DJ-wise I come from a techno background. A lot of my DJ trickery comes from being a fan of people like Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke and Frankie Bones! Later on it became Bad Boy Bill, but also turntablists like Q-Bert and A-Trak. Producer-wise I’ve been helped in the very beginning by the guys from Chocolate Puma, known back then as The Good Men or Jark Prongo. After that it became Timbaland and Daft Punk. After that it was the Swedish House Mafia who helped me brush up my sound to make it hit hard and big like it does now!
LessThan3: Your love for hip-hop has clearly influenced some of your sets, most recently with Next Episode being sampled at Electric Zoo, as well as your bootleg of Jay-Z’s On To The Next One. Can you tell us a little bit about what role hip hop and other genres play in your sound? Do you find that using hip hop samples helps you appeal to a wider audience?
Luke: Funny thing is, you need to understand hip hop is still quite underground in Europe. Compared to you, it’s twisted up around here because EDM is the mainstream music. Of course, stuff by Akon or the Black Eyed Peas are mad mainstream over here as well, but Jay-Z and Dr. Dre are still very cool and underground-based. No, when I do hip hop transitions, it’s purely to have a little pause in my set from EDM, like a little breather. A switch up from the constant kickdrum. Plus, I really liked Onto The Next One and Next Episode; I always wanted to drop those in my sets!
LessThan3: Where do you see the future trend of EDM going? Are there any particular genres that you see getting particularly big in the near future?
Luke: I’m keeping a close eye on it at the moment. It’s interesting to see all those amazing singers and rappers America has doing stuff on EDM now. In terms of genres, I really don’t know. Dutch is gonna change up soon though for sure. We’re at the end of the Dutch era! I think the Dutch beats will remain, but the synths will get different.
LessThan3: What was your dream profession as a kid? Would a young Luke van Scheppingen be content with where you are now?
Luke: Yes, absolutely! At the age of fifteen, when I discovered you could make music with a computer, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It has been a long and hard road for me to get this far. A younger version of me would be blown away seeing me like this now. Oh sh*t, goosebumps! I never realized this, wow. I always look into the future and never look back. Doing that just now gave me an amazing insight, thank you!
LessThan3: Being half Filipino and half Dutch, which kind of food do you prefer? Do you speak both languages?
Luke: My mom never taught me Tagalog! I took up a course when I was 21 actually. I’m pretty bummed about it, cause half of me is Filipino blood and it’s kind of being neglected. Apart from the really cozy Pinoy dishes like shupau, lumpia, and pantasal, I don’t eat the crazy Pinoy stuff. Dutch food isn’t really spectacular to be honest, so that’s probably why my all-time favourite dish is Indian: Chicken Korma!
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