Laidback Luke explains why he quit techno
Like his cohorts Tiësto and David Guetta, Laidback Luke began his two decade-long career far removed from the mainstage, and made very different records from the saccharine-sweet productions he is known for today. In an earnest seven-minute Facebook video, Luke reminisces on the origins of his career as a house and techno producer and DJ, and his first-ever US gig in 1997 at a warehouse in New York. It was only after building himself up as a respected techno producer and eventually becoming a resident at the storied Amsterdam brand Awakenings that he came to the realization that creating that style of music was incompatible with his “cheesy, karaoke and ballad-oriented” Filipino roots. In the early aughts, after a period of burnout, he found that techno was “killing [him]” and decided to foray into the then-uncharted territory of EDM as we know it.
Although he tries to present himself as self-assured with the decisions he’s made throughout his career, Luke reveals ample glimpses of insecurity. He can’t help but mention that Tiga and Adam Beyer recently praised his early vinyl releases and how “awesome” they were in sets via Twitter. Later in the video, he defends his decision to move into the EDM space as a purely music-driven decision with the explanation that had he truly wanted to go for the big money, he would have moved into trance. Interspersed throughout the video are cringe-worthy snippets of Luke speaking to Dark Luke, a desperate reference to the Kermit the Frog meme currently ubiquitous throughout the internet.
There is nothing wrong with a producer changing his or her style throughout their career, but Laidback Luke’s timing, content, and style of this explanation was admittedly erratic. While we can respect some of Luke’s reasoning to “quit techno,” we can’t help but question the assertion that the mainstage is a universal bastion of “musical freedom.” Check out the video to decide for yourself.