Artist Interview: Laidback Luke Talks Techno, Playing at Audio

Our team here at Audio had the pleasure of hosting one of the most influential producers in the electronic music scene – none other than Laidback Luke – earlier this month for a Strictly Techno set. It was a stunning night of pure, sweet techno beats and a unique opportunity to see the internationally renowned artist explore the genre. We chatted with Luke after his sold-out show on his techno roots, time behind the decks and what’s to come from him in the future.

Curious to hear what he had to say about his night at Audio? Let’s dive in.

Give us the low-down on why you decided to start playing Strictly Techno sets. What made you decide to go down that road?

I started my DJ career playing techno at the end of the 90s. I came up with people like Adam Beyer, Marco Carola and Umek. I broke off with techno in the 2000s because it wasn’t satisfying me as a producer. Though I broke with it, I’ve always been in touch with it. Enjoying it from afar. When I started doing back-to-back tech house sets, I noticed the techno snob in me wanted to keep it more abstract and pure. I started realizing how fun it was to play strictly techno again and now I do it on the side, for variety but most importantly, for fun.

You’ve played in San Francisco many times in the past – is there anything in particular about the city that you love? Was your experience in SF this time around different and, if so, how?

What I love about San Francisco, apart from it being the mecca of my Kung Fu, (everyone check out Doc Fai Wong’s Martial Arts Academy on Taraval Street!), is that the city has such big roots for dance music. With Kaskade and Dirtybird championing such proper sounds, I always notice that the crowd is very knowledgeable and open to a lot of styles of dance music. My experience in SF this time wasn’t any different! Even within my techno sets, I like flirting with familiar sounds and mashing tracks up live.

How was your experience playing at Audio? Are there any parts of your set that stood out to you particularly?

I had such a great time! Whenever I play a set, I get into this creative flow where I just vibe and do all these combinations and mashups that I totally forget afterwards. Someone in the crowd, going by username “Jury”, recorded a piece where I was mashing a loop of Stardust “Music Sounds Better With You” with a thumping techno track and put it on Youtube. That was so good to watch back!

Tell us your best moment of the night.

It’s those moments where you really grab the crowd and take everyone to a higher level. It’s hard to pinpoint those or to truly manifest those. But we had a couple of those in there!

What was your favorite track you played during your set?

It’s tough because I do so much weaving in my techno sets! A big piece of it is doing 3-track mixes, which I also used to do on vinyl back in the day. But then the mix becomes very seamless and the whole mix could be portrayed as a track. So right now, thinking back to it, none in particular – although I’ve been enjoying bringing back Plastikman “Spastik”. And one from my old pal from Amsterdam, Bart Skils, who currently has this big hit on Drumcode called “Retrodade”.

Do you have any particular favorite tracks you often like to play during your Strictly Techno sets?

Yes I do. These would be tracks like Sasha’s “GameOvr”, Slam & Gary Beck’s “Pressure Lights”, anything by Truncate and for the weird sections, Lucy – “Cannon Fodder” (Planetary Assault Remix).

What should fans keep an eye out for from you this year? Anything big on the horizon?

I just released a big EDM banger with Steve Aoki, which is the follow-up to our classic “Turbulence”. This one is called “It’s Time” and it has a UFC theme to it as we have Bruce Buffer, the UFC announcer, on the vocal. A certified EDM banger that will do really well for upcoming festival season. Apart from that, I’ve been re-inventing my style and sound. It’s going to be very unique, yet familiar, and I can’t wait for my followers to hear it.

One more question for you, this time in the non-music realm. If you could have food from any restaurant in the world delivered to you right now, where would it be from?

Burgerfi! I’m a simple guy who’s easily pleased. Where I’m at right now, Burgerfi is about 35 minutes away so I’d really need to plan it. And I love burgers!