Exclusive Interview: 5 minutes with Laolu

Laolu is a DJ and producer currently based in Geneva, Switzerland. The best kept secret of the club scene, Laolu is a versatile and dynamic artist who has rapidly established himself as one of the rising new forces of the electronic scene. With a solid background including releases on Innervisions, Freude Am Tanzen, Mental Groove or Clap Your Hands, on which he released his debut EP O Fantasma in 2010.

Laolu has received support from the likes of Dixon and Âme and has also collaborated and remixed for artists such as Ephemerals, John Tejada, and Mr Raoul Kor Kadebostan, just to name a few. Whether he is creating brooding techno, or melodic house, Laolu stands out with his signature sophisticated, efficient and unmistakably distinct sound. On March 9th, Laolu released a lusciously immersive single titled ‘The Return’ on emerging imprint Weapons, available to stream below.

We caught up with Laolu on audience engagement and studio magic:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

When I was a child I always saw myself in a job that I was passionate about. I started studying film, but as I spent more and more time buying records and gear, it was then that I realised music was my thing!

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Everything starts with an idea, and the simpler, the better. I first try create a melody or a chord progression on piano, and then I’ll work on finding the right sound and production technique. Same with the beat – I try to hear it in my head first before choosing which sample to use and program.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I consider remixing other people’s music as a form of collaboration, but I also work with musicians. As Mike Will Made It once said: “A mastermind is a collective of minds”

What’s on your current playlist?

The Invisible Life’s Dancers (Floating Points Remix)
Young Fathers – In My View
Dita Von Teese – Bird of Prey
Jack Grace – Us

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

Reaching that chemistry is all about playing the right record at the right moment. I look people in the eyes, read their moves and build my sets one record after the other. But the moment I connect the most with the crowd is often when I play my own music.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I focus on creating my own sounds and avoid pre-sets. One thing I love doing is to take a melody line from one track I’m working on and use it randomly on another demo. Magic sometimes comes with merging ideas that were not meant to work together. I also use Melodyne a lot to pitch sounds and change harmonies.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I first practice piano for 1 hour, then I listen back to what I’ve done the previous day. Usually I’m not satisfied, so I’ll search for a better idea and try alternative between production techniques. That will take most of the day, as I’m a perfectionist.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

When I first listened to Carl Craig’s album “More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art”!

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

A black towel and a bottle of water.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

I recently discovered Zapatilla with his beautiful Crumbling Down EP – I also really like Kalbata from Israel.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

A notebook, where I write ideas down every day. Even if I don’t work on them immediately, I can come back to them someday.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I’m a Cubase user with an Apollo Twin Interface and Adam A77X monitors. The Arturia MiniV and the U-He Diva are my go to synths and I always have an open-mic to quickly sing melodies.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I started studying harmony, music composition and piano. It definitely gave me more freedom and inspiration.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

Apart from my latest release ‘The Return’ on WEAPONS, I have a new EP with Mr Raoul K coming out on Compost Records, as well as an exclusive track for the next Body Language Compilation on Get Physical.

Order ‘The Return’ Single by Laolu

For more information follow Laolu on Facebook

[Image credit: Benoît Jeannet]

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