Knowledge is power, and the more you know the farther you’ll go – my elementary teacher always used to say to me. Keeping with that theme, here are some more nuggets of advice for you rising DJ’s from none other than Dutch DJ and producer Laidback Luke.
Born in Manila, Philippines (October 22, 1976) – Lucas Cornelis Van Scheppingen, better known as Laidback Luke, grew up in The Netherlands and spent his teenage years as a graffiti artist (and quite a popular one at that!), loved guitars, house music and hip-hop, taking the “laid back” tag from Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice”. But the world of music soon beckoned, and by 1996 he was releasing tracks, remixing for established artists and DJing professionally. He even beat a Dutch DMC champ in battle. His first album came out in 1999, and when Virgin locked down “Rocking With The Best” he then released his 2002 album, Electronic Satisfaction, and consequently his profile really soared. Now Laidback Luke is a top name in the musical world, and has worked with the best of the best, including David Guetta, Steve Angello and Example, and wowed audiences all over the world.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing him perform here in LA at the Palladium, along with Zedd, Congorock and GTA. It was a hell of a show! He played some new stuff and some of his classics…great show indeed! (FYI – Excuse the crappy video, an iPhone recording will obvioulsy not do justice)
In a recent interview with Ahlanlive.com, Lucas explains how he approaches every show – “I always try to bring energy and fun to my performance. I’m known for a lot of live mashing up and bringing the Swedish bigroom sound meets the Dutch sound. I call it “Swedutch”!”
In regard to what the positives and negatives are to being a DJ, Lucas had this to say: “The positives are that you live a life of music, which you love, and that you get to bring the joy and pleasure of this music to a lot of people. It’s a blessing to give people such great memories while doing what you love. The spark of music keeps us feeling alive. The negatives are that we are never home. We live in various hotel rooms, and we only sleep about four-hours a day on an average, while on tour.” Sounds like a great career choice for a night owl/nomad who is single, has no dependants, and has the superhuman ability to work while constantly sleep deprived! Now this is not to say that it can’t be done otherwise, there are plenty of successful DJ’s that are married, have kids, run various businesses on top of their DJ careers, etc., it just means that you have to always find a good/compatible balance…not tomention look at the positives; sounds like a blast to me! Where do I sign up?!
His advice for up and coming DJ’s on how to make a name for themselves? “Focus on your dream” he says! “Work the hardest you can, with a lot of discipline. Always try to stay nice and be open to criticism. Stay eager to learn as this will help you grow. Start producing tracks! This will get your name out there in the world. Never ever give up on your dream! There will be times that you are tempted to, but keep going and you WILL make it”!
Lucas recalls the difficulties and pain he went through during his first sessions in the studio – “it took me 55 times to do my first mix compilation. Days and days of tweaking sounds, and now after all that “training” it’s a lot easier and quicker to produce music. I’ve learned all the music stuff by teaching myself. Taking piano lessons. Having years and years of trial and error of trying to make music. At some points I wanted to make tracks called “Bleeding Ears” because at some point I felt like that by working my ears 24/7.” Wow, I can only imagine…ouch!
There is a common misconception among new DJ’s that DJing and producing music have to be complicated and expensive. Well, check out this video of Laidback Luke explaining his DJ technique on his bare bones set up in his home studio. He plays off of his laptop so he doesn’t need substantial DJ equipment at home. He doesn’t even use his speakers because he doesn’t want to wake up his kids at night. He was one of the best DJ/Producers in 2008 and this is where he did it from! Does this change your idea of what DJ equipment a DJ needs to have?
So you don’t need a super fancy expensive setup. You don’t need every piece of DJ gear around. Apparently you don’t even need speakers to be the best DJ in the world (haha)…nonetheless, the proof is always in the pudding, it will still always come down to skill, talent, hard work, discipline, desire and ambition! That being said, get after it!!
If you are a Rising DJ go to Talent Rising and create your free profile to promote your music, upload photos and video, connect with other DJ’s, and get noticed!