Dutch DJ/Producer LAAT recently dropped his track “Call Of The Tribes” on Adam Beyers all conquering and powerful Drumcode label. A track that has been hammered all summer by Adam at EXIT, Ultra and Loveland to name a few, we caught up with him recently to ask about how his 2022 has been overall, and how he made his journey into dance music…
Hey LAAT, how are you, how has your year been?
Hey Only Techno, thanks for having me. I had the best year ever! During the summer I became a father! Additionally on the music front I also made my debut release on Drumcode, Adam Beyer’s label, which has been on my wish list for a long time. So as you can imagine, it was the perfect storm of a lot of great things coming together.
Tell us about your journey into dance music?
When I grew up, there was a record store down the street by my high school. We used to sneak out to skip class and just dig the crates for hours. The first day I visited there, the owner just gave me some records to try out. One of these was “Nathan Fake – Sky Was Pink” remixed by James Holden. This was such a pinnacle moment for me, it really blew my mind. To me this sounded like music from the future. Still to this day, I can listen to that record and just get mesmerized by all the things that happen in that track. It was definitely the record that made me go from listening and enjoying music, to actually thinking: I want to be able to make this kind of music myself!
How hard has it been to find your own sound and what is its unique signature?
I think for every artist this can be quite challenging and comes with some experience before you can find your own voice. Or as Picasso said: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”. I think my current sound can best be described as raw, authentic, peak time techno, delivering high octane impact on every sound-system.
How do you evolve your own sound while staying true to your roots, your own signature, and not jumping on new hype bandwagons?
Well making any art has to come from a puristic place. First rule is that you have to find it awesome yourself. We as DJs, have this unique opportunity to introduce people to new ventures of music, to new sonic ideas. And with inspiration and experience you naturally evolve as an artist… it is inevitable. For me techno is the music of the future, and to me that is a very interesting place to be.
Do you make music that suits certain labels or do you create first and worry about that later?
It’s a bit of a catch-22, right? If you send out demos to labels, you should cater to their sound. But your demos should have their own unique take on that style as well. I try not to think too much about that while getting started on a track. In addition: “you are what you eat”. If you engulf yourself in a certain sound or scene, by going to festivals, parties or hanging around in record-shops, those impressions can find their way in your sound more easily and thus fit those labels better. So to answer your question: since I draw inspiration from all those different outlets, you could say that inspiration comes first. If I go to a festival on a Saturday for example, you can definitely find me in the studio the next day amped up with new ideas.
What are some of the key bits of music making gear in your current set up?
Well I just came out of a Black Friday weekend, which is terrible for me, since I have serious GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I scooped up quite some new goodies to try out. I’m definitely a bit of gear-head haha.
In the studio I mostly work in the box and over the years I have collected a ton of plugins. I find that getting some new plugins can really spark your creativity. I’ve got some Genelec 8040 speakers, and mostly work in Ableton. I’m a sucker for the classic synthesizers, so my setup also has the iconic Roland SH-101, the TR-909 and the Juno 60, all from the Roland Boutique line.
One thing I recently picked up is Sonarwork SoundID Reference Studio. This is a speaker calibration software tool. In the beginning I was a bit skeptical, but the results are very impressive and I really cannot go back anymore. Additionally I recently have been getting a lot of mileage out of Soothe2 from Oeksound. It can remove nasty resonances and has been making its way in all of my tracks.
Where is your best environment as a DJ? A small dark club or a huge outdoor festival stage? Late at night for the weirdos or early so you can play slow and eclectic?
I have never played on a festival stage myself, but my music has been played there by some big names quite a lot. So my sound would definitely suit there. Currently I love playing right before or after the main headliner in a club. I’m flexible enough with my live-set to do both, and both slots provide different creative outlets. Earlier slots give you the opportunity to indeed slowly build the tension, but the closing shift lets you put the pedal to the metal.
Tell us about your “Call of the Tribes” track coming out on Drumcode – what inspired or influenced it, where and when was it written, and who was it written for?
This moment in the video where Adam Beyer plays “Call of the Tribes” at Loveland Festival, was exactly what I envisioned when I made it. That Roland 303 lead sounded to me like a horn or a beckon to all the ravers out there, traveling from all areas of the globe to come together under the banner of music. I was in the crowd at Loveland and when Adam Beyer dropped this, it really caught me off guard. It was the last festival of the summer and it was scorching hot. During his closing set, the sun slowly went down and the woods came to life. This setting…in the woods, how those lights of the stage emphasized the main hook…man…goosebumps.
What else are you working on?
Currently I’ve got a couple of international gigs lined up where I really look forward to. Now that “Call of the Tribes” is out, I cannot wait to share more music with the world. There is definitely more where that came from haha.
LAAT’s “Call of the Tribes can be found here.
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