There’s probably a good chance that your favorite DJ lists Lazy Rich among his favorite DJs. Porter Robinson does, for one. Check out our interview with the Canadian electro producer & find out how he helped shape the current sounds of the genre.
Soundpusher - Swagga (Lazy Rich Remix) [Dirty Dutch]
LessThan3: When you first started producing EDM did you think the sound you produce now was going to be your sound, or did you come to it over time?
Rich: A couple of guys got me interested in producing: Hirshee and Jeff Daniels in Vancouver. We used to get together all the time and listen to the releases on Beatport and talk about where we were going to go and what stuff we liked. It’s always been electro. Wolfgang was just starting to come up as I started producing, so that was the sound we were going for. I have always been into the sound and I have tried other types of music and just haven’t fallen in love with them as much as I have with electro. Regarding my DJing roots, I used to play funky house—like filtered French stuff, so I always try to put a bit of funk into my tracks. That’s my real love. If I had my way, every track I made would be filled with French house, but I don’t think anyone would buy it.
LessThan3: Recently people have started categorizing some of your work as complextro. How do you feel about the genre?
Rich: I’m trying to actually move away from that sound now. I think complextro is a bit done—a bit last year. At Big Fish we get so many demos and it’s just everyone trying to be Porter Robinson, except badly. When I play gigs, the stuff that works best now is Tommy Trash, R3hab, Swanky Tunes—that big room electro. It’s simple, just very well produced. That’s the avenue I want to move into now simply because I’ve been having more fun making those sorts of tracks recently and it’s just better for dancing to.
LessThan3: To what extent do you think you influenced Porter Robinson?
Rich: Porter Robinson actually said that I did influence him which was really great to hear. He’s just an absolute genius—he was born to do this. Before he had even been to a club, just from listening to tracks on YouTube, he learned how to make the perfect electro track Say My Name. It was the best track released in 2010 in my opinion. I played it every single gig. To have such a firm grasp on what makes electro great… it’s just amazing. He is destined for really huge things.
LessThan3: It’s pretty amazing to see the reception he’s been getting.
Rich: You know, with the whole way that the Internet makes music available now, the fact that someone could come from absolutely nowhere to being on the Top 100 DJs in a year is absolutely ridiculous. I’m sure many DJs are quaking in their boots because they know they just can’t make tracks that are that good. It’s nice that these new producers are really pushing the boundaries and getting more and more people into the music. It’s actually great for me as well, because the more Porter gets booked, the more I get booked too.
LessThan3: Do you usually prefer your own originals or do you also like remixes of your tracks?
Rich: There have been some really good remixes of my tracks. Like Minero’s remix of my track You Missed a Spot—he just totally nailed it. The original mix is a bit of an acquired taste; the format just goes totally from one thing to another. He took the core elements and made it a bit more accessible. I play other remixes of my tracks, too. All of the remixes of Hello were amazing; we’ve even got another remix package coming out.
LessThan3: What’s your most anticipated upcoming release?
Rich: I’ve just done a remix for Chris Lake and it’s the best track I’ve ever made in my life. I’m a huge fan of his and just did a collab with him on an original track. The remix I mentioned should be out later this month. Ultra is taking ages to get it out but when it hits that’s the one I’m banking on to push me up a bit. Also got a remix for Zedd coming up on Dim Mak and a remix for Morgan Page coming out on Nettwerk. I’ve also got a couple other big things coming out that I can’t talk about right now.
LessThan3: Earlier you were talking about where the sound of electro might be going; can you elaborate more on that?
Rich: In the short term I think the R3hab and Tommy Trash right now are just incredible. That’s my direction for the next short while. I have no idea what’s going to happen with moombahton. Personally I just can’t deal with it. I really appreciate the sound engineering but I just can’t dance to it. I’m stuck in my 128 roots. But who knows! Moombahton just came out of nowhere and now boom—it’s huge. Entire nights are dedicated to it in clubs now. The scene can really go anywhere.
LessThan3: To what extent do you think social networks shine artists into fame today?
Rich: I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Internet. The only way I got here was by putting music out and having people talk about it. It’s now out of the hands of labels so much and into the hands of the consumers—they will find the music they like.
LessThan3: What sound has inspired you the most this past year?
Rich: It’s got to be Tommy Trash. The basslines in his tracks are so great. Zedd as well—just taking a step back and simplifying and creating big, powerful, catchy basslines. With some of these complextro tracks you just hear producers throwing in random sounds. At the end of it, it’s such a mess that there’s no song left. It’s really nice when you can whistle a track—that for me has always been a thing. If you make a track you need to be able to whistle it at the end, otherwise it’s not a good track.
LessThan3: What a great approach to production. If you had a million people of any demographic and you could play anything to them, what would you try to say with your set?
Rich: I always try to have a direction with my set. It has to start somewhere and end somewhere—I think that’s important. I really think it depends on the crowd, but you really just want to get them into a position where you can play them stuff that they wouldn’t normally necessarily like. You can play these tracks where it takes two minutes to really go anywhere, because after those two minutes when it hits it’s just the most amazing thing. But you need to work the crowd in order to get them to be able to put up with that.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Rich: Zero 7’s Home. That’s one of my favorite tracks ever. I’d love to see Zero 7 do the next James Bond theme song. I think they are so perfect for it. One of the first CDs I ever got was just a CD of all the James Bond theme songs. I’ve got the CD of The Spy Who Loved Me and it’s got a disco version of the James Bond theme song and it’s so cool. The funkiest bit you’ve ever heard in your life.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Rich: Intense, Funky, Epic.