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Steve Lawler Interview

By Scott Nelsen

Steve Lawler Interview

Steve Lawler


Since its first release in 1999, Global Underground has been the definitive source for dance music mix compilations from top international DJs. Not only have there been over 25 releases on Global Underground alone, there have also been many successful series such as Prototype, Nubreed and 24:7, just to name a few. One of the more outstanding series is Steve Lawler's "Lights Out," of which the third volume was released October 4.

What makes the Lights Out series stand out much is that there is really nothing else on the market that sounds quite like it. Steve's selection of tracks - from dark, percussion filled tribal to raw, synth-laden electro-house - and the way he moves seamlessly from one style to the next, make for a truly unique series.

Volume 3 is no different. The "electro" vibe of this 2-CD set weighs more than on the previous two releases, but this is still trademark Lights Out. It's raw; it's dirty; shut your eyes you can almost feel yourself standing at 4AM in the middle of a dark club filled with writhing bodies, all pulsing to the beat of the music.

I had a chance recently to speak with Steve regarding this release, the Lights Out series in general, and his DJ/production career.

Scott Nelsen: Congratulations on the 3rd installment of Lights Out - it's a very successful series!
Steve Lawler: Thank you!

Scott:How did this series come about? Did you approach Global Underground or did they approach you?
Steve Lawler: They approached me to do a Nubreed, which I did, but then I went to them with my concept of an album series, which they loved. The rest is history.

Scott:You've done shows at the WMC the last few years – how have those shows gone?
Steve Lawler: I have actually been doing Lights Out parties there for 4 years now, at State, since the first album came out. The shows have been amazing, a huge success.

Scott: How do you approach doing a mix CD? The LO series seems to have a more distinct sound than just about every other CD series - does this make it easier or harder to put a mix CD together?
Steve Lawler: It makes it a lot harder, and I'm glad it has its own sound. It feels more rewarding for me to know I have done something different.

Scott: Let's go in the studio. Say you come home on a Saturday night feeling rather inspired, maybe by something you've heard, something you've played, something you've seen - you get the picture - where do you start?
Steve Lawler: This does happen frequently. I get myself straight in the studio, open up my sequencer (Logic) and start putting together some sounds and try and copy what's going on in my head. It's actually quite difficult to get exactly the same thing out of your head, but you can find something interesting off the back of it.

Scott: Where is DJ technology is headed?
Steve Lawler: Vinyl - vs. – CDJ - vs. – Abelton - vs… What's next?
I don't use vinyl any more; I am all CD, which is a lot better as you can do a lot more live. I'm not into using [Abelton] Live in a club although I do use it in my studio to do all my re-edits. What's next? I have no idea.

Scott: Your most recent production on Joia, "That Sound" - it's a bit of a departure from some of your more recent mixes like "Out At Night" and The Conjure's "Skeleton Key" - is this a new sound for you?
Steve Lawler: No. I actually made that track over 2 years ago! I made it specifically for 'We Love Sundays' on the terrace at Space in Ibiza.

Scott: How do you like running a record label in addition to being a DJ and a producer? What are the pros and the cons?
Steve Lawler: Running a record label has been a hobby for me more than anything, but it's getting increasingly harder to sell records therefore not as enjoyable as it used to be

Scott: You've got numerous original mixes and remixes on the market – is there a Steve Lawler 'artist CD' in the works?
Steve Lawler: Possibly. Watch this space!

Scott: It's commonly known that a great DJ doesn't necessarily make a great producer and a great producer doesn't necessarily make a great DJ. As proven by your mix CDs and productions, you are one of the few to whom this doesn't apply - why is this?
Steve Lawler: Ah! Thank you! I don't know. I have always seen myself firstly as a DJ as producing came later for me, but I love both and do neither to bounce off each other. I just do the best I can.

Scott: What's your favorite thing about 2005? Your least favorite?
Steve Lawler: 2005 has been a very tough year for me. I have had lots of grievances in the family. I'm glad I got the Lights Out 3 out, but I'm not sure 2005 will go down as one of my favorite years!

Scott:And lastly, I just read Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (well, after seeing the movie I'll have to admit). You're sitting at the 'restaurant at the edge of the universe' - what do you order?
Steve Lawler: A large vodka and coke. LOL!

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