For the past four years or so, you've be regularly playing at festivals and releasing top-tier tracks on the biggest labels in the scene. What have been the most significant changes you've had to make in your day-to-day life to meet the demands of the industry?
Reading that question actually made me take a step back and think about the past, which is something I very rarely do. I think I've only been doing shows where I get to present myself and what I stand for musically for only two years to be honest. In those two years, I've learned so much stuff about the industry from people that I've met and from the experience of touring. That kind of stuff that has put me on the right track mentally and musically to keep moving forward. One thing I learned was that I don't get to have any rhythm or regularities in the life that I want and I'm completely fine with that. There's actually not a lot that I had to change about my lifestyle. I've been envisioning myself being a DJ and musician for a living ever since I was twelve I've got a lot of big plans and I really feel like I'm still just at the very beginning of it all.
So the breaks and the second drop is what I had in mind before I started but I also wanted to do some crazy bigroom drop in the first section of the song. The very first thing I tried was playing around with the vocal hook as a lead sound. I made that first drop and thought "nah this is just too simple" and I sent a voice note of it to a few friends as a joke. Everyone actually loved it. I then tested it out at a festival. Everyone went crazy. So now it's my fastest made drop that ever made the cut.
Ever since coming into the spotlight, you've kept your personal life out of the public eye in your social media post. We were hoping you could give us a glimpse into what you like to do when you're not onstage or in the studio!
After Mainstage Music rebranded over to Rave Culture, there has definitely been some notable changes. Can you shed light on some of the internal goals of the label as you and W&W move forward?
I think the way in which we present a track to the people has changed a lot in a good way. I've always seen music and visual experiences as one. Whenever I hear or make a song it's like my mind comes up with a short movie, a certain vibe, certain colours that fit the song and the sound design. With the releases on Rave Culture and the videos and other visual content that comes with it, we found a way to make our subgenre of dance music a lot more interesting. We're also really trying to set the bar higher for the bigroom and hard-dance sound in general, which I think is working.
One point of criticism that I see a lot is people complaining about is me being the only artist, besides W&W, that releases on the label. I think one of the main reasons that there hasn't been anyone else yet is because other artists needed time to understand our vision and what we were trying to work towards musically. The good news is that there's a lot of cool new music coming out from other artists on Rave Culture in the near future, which I hope people are gonna love as much as we do.
Undoubtedly you've amassed countless memorable moments while performing onstage over the years, but what are some of the backstage or fan moments that stick out the most to you?
Looking back over your discography, what are three tracks that you feel helped you grow the most as an artist?
I think that it was the implementation of certain sounds and styles of other music that helped me grow as an artist. Finding cool combinations of different genres and, for example, merging an Aretha Franklin-sounding piano riff together with big synths and a festival drop was the kind of stuff that helped me create my own sound. That song was talking about, "Don't You Say", together with my earlier song "Dojo" really made listeners understand more about my musical background for the first time. Later came "Rhythm Of The Night", together with SaberZ, where I found a way to combine bigroom with influences from a song that came out before I was born. I think this is still my most played song amongst DJs to date. One of my songs that is closing in on that is "The Kick." That song is a perfect exhibition of how I approach making a song based on a concept. I'm really happy with the huge response and appreciation for that track.
We know that announcing specific new tracks and collaborations can be tough to do in written interviews, but do you have anything that you can tease about upcoming tracks, new musical directions, or other projects?
I'm working on a lot of really exciting new solo tracks that I'm trying to push the bigroom sound forward with. I'm also still trying to find a way to get the perfect blend between my energetic sound and something that would fit on the radio (which I think is possible). I have to say I'm getting really close to it and it could be pretty dope. Furthermore, my whole summer already looks packed with amazing festivals and I'm super excited for that. Oh by the way, while writing this interview I was wearing a sample of a new Maurice West merchandise hoodie and I'm not lying when I say it's super comfy and swagged out.
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
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