Drive-By Interview

Prior to becoming Laidback Luke the producer, you were a graffiti artist. What inspired you to drop the paint cans and pursue music? Do you still paint? 

I was a teenager only just getting into it. My first talent in life is drawing. I’ve always drawn my whole life. When I hit puberty it switched into graffiti. My graffiti “career” wasn’t long though. One of our crew got caught putting up one of our first major pieces, and he snitched the rest of us. After that I decided to stay in the legal zone and focus mainly on my music.

A year ago you did a remix of Ricochet by Marty James, who is a local Chico artist. How did you come across Marty James? What about that song made you want to do your own edit? 

Ah wow, I love Marty! He also wrote “Turn The Night Up” by Enrique Iglesias, which I just remixed. I didn’t know he was behind it. I love the Martel stuff. I mostly prefer listening to ‘80s-inspired music whenever I don’t listen to dance music. I heard Ricochet in his studio and really wanted to rework it for the clubs.

Your live performances are always so high energy and not very laid back; what made you stick with your name after all these years? Sidenote: do you win every limbo contest? 

Ha ha, thanks to my Kung Fu I should be quite good at limbo! Yeah, I’m actually a very easygoing guy in real life. Well, not easygoing because I [don’t] like being busy, but [because I’m] a calm type of person. I need a little kick up the ass to get myself going and let that crazy energy out. That’s why I prefer high-energy music at my show. If I’m gonna dance, I might as well jump.

I know you are very big into martial arts— more specifically Choy Li Fut Kung Fu. How does this passion integrate into your busy tour lifestyle? 

That, and my Tai Chi keep me very balanced and energized. It’s my armor to survive this insane schedule that’s part of the touring life. We go to the max. There’s no DJ union that says: “Hold up, the amount of sleep you have and the time you spend traveling is inhuman!” Because it usually is. I’m not complaining, I love what I do and realize I’m very blessed. But sleeping 4 hours [a night] on average on tour, drinking, eating unhealthy and not having a steady daily structure can really break a person.

Furthermore, how do both your passions in life translate with one another? Does music affect your martial arts? Does martial arts affect your music? Do you listen to your own music while you practice Kung Fu? Or kick people while on stage? 

I practice my Kung Fu in silence. In that sense, they are very separated. I see my martial arts career as a separate career as well. But it does keep me very balanced and tapped into life and my body. The zen thing helps me deal with stress and keeps me very calm just before I go on at my shows.

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