Beyond The Booth 003: Chris Lake on the evolution of technology in the dance music space
Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.
Somewhere between West London and West Hollywood, Chris Lake stands as a sort of a dance music renaissance man, so to speak. He’s a veritable UK house legend who’s hunker-down-low club cuts have unequivocally shaped the genre’s popular trends for over a decade, both at home and on American dance floors alike. Establishing a track record that includes a Grammy nomination for contributions to deadmau5‘s 4×4=12, founding and managing three independent labels, and most recently, curation duties on OWSLA‘s debut house compilation, Chris Lake has been a respected, albeit undersung, fixture in his industry since his debut.
Now, aligned with some of today’s top tastemakers, from Anna Lunoe to Skrillex, Lake has staked his claim in Los Angeles’ west coast house emergence, culminating in a coveted sundown set at HARD Summer‘s 10 year anniversary this past weekend. Hosting a raucous affair at Anna Lunoe and AC Slater‘s Hyperhouse x Night Bass stage, Chris Lake brought the house down with a flawless setlist of dance floor jump starters that humbly showcased his two decades of chart-topping charm.
Though nearly twenty years, Chris Lake has seen dance music evolve from the inside out in harmony with the world’s most major technological advancements. Gripping his interest outside of the studio and the club, technology plays an important role in Lake’s sparse free time. On the heels of his set at HARD Summer, Chris Lake sat down with us to discuss his world outside of music, though the conversation didn’t quite seem complete without the exclusive mix he dropped off as the cherry on top.
Venture beyond the booth with Chris Lake below.
As someone whose career keeps them on the go, what’s your favorite piece of “luxury technology?” Conversely, is there one piece of technology you just can’t live without?
My luxury piece of technology would definitely be my Tesla Model S. It’s definitely my favorite car I’ve ever had and it’s amazing that it’s a whisper quiet electric car that I can do so many cool things with, like turn on the a/c before I get into the car so I don’t burn my ass on the seats in the middle of the Californian summer! Technology I couldn’t live without? Well I’ve been all about that Ring doorbell lately. I have one installed at my house and it’s great for tracking packages, telling people to go away or telling my Wife she looks beautiful when she walks through the front door (brownie points scored every time).
What’s the most significant way technology has evolved DJing or producing for you?
Well for me, I’ve gone through the times DJing on vinyl, CD and now off data sticks. I loved spinning vinyl but it was heavy and restrictive, specially if you produced your own records and wanted to play something you’d just made out in a club. You’d have to cut a dub plate which would cost like £60 and you’d maybe get 10 good plays out of it before it was ruined. Then I moved onto CD’s but hated how my whole collection looked like blank CD’s with my handwriting on it. It was really difficult to find tracks and I always dreamed of being able to load music up on my data stick and browse it on the player. Of course that’s now what you can do and it’s unbelievably liberating for me as a DJ. I can constantly organize my collection and playlists in my computer and transfer it to the data stick with one click. It’s absolutely brilliant.
How do you think creatives could benefit from an open, transparent, and in-real-time creation/sharing platform? Is there a practical application to a blockchain-like system in dance music?
I mean, I think blockchain technology has huge potential to revolutionize many parts of the music industry, but I’ve never fully considered what it could do on the music creation side of things. I’m sure it’s possible, but at the end of the day, whatever gets designed really needs to be practical in a workflow sense. Anything that loses momentum in a studio setting is no use to me. When you have programs like Ableton Live (my DAW of choice) that allow you to create infinite ideas with ease and minimum technological hinderance, future technologies have to make something easier or better to fit into producers lives or it’ll never work.
Outside of musical inspirations, who is your hero? Who is someone who you believe have changed the world for the better? In terms of revolutionizing how people live today, who’s responsible for the most impactful changes to humanity in your opinion?
Right this minute it’s difficult to look past anyone other than Elon Musk. The guy’s ideas and execution of those ideas is stunning. He currently has involvement in electric cars, solar power, grid scale power storage, the hyper loop concept, Space X and his Mars plans, merging computers and the human brain and tunneling underneath major cities. They’re just the projects I can remember off the top of my head. I don’t know how he does it.
How do you believe the incorporation of cryptocurrency could affect the live music industry? Would it bring about positive changes to buying, experiencing, consuming music?
I’m not sure crypto currency would change much for the consumer at all. I do think the blockchain has really interesting potential for things like royalty collections, licensing, copyright protection etc. I know Imogen Heap has been one of the artists working hard to develop this sort of concept. I’m sure blockchain technology will soon be cutting out many of the ‘middle men’ in the industry. The possibilities are endless to be honest.
Are there reasonably viable sources of renewable energy or battery technology that could revolutionize the live music space? How can venues, festivals, etc. make small changes towards more sustainable or more efficient production?
I think there’s much more that could be done on things like the waste management and recycling programs. One of the biggest things that strikes me about these events is the waste that gets created from things like plastic cups etc. It’s crazy and I’m not confident a lot of these festivals have systems in place to properly recycle. If you ever get a chance to attend Burning Man, it’s eye opening because one of the main things you must do when there is to not let anything touch or spoil the ground, so anything you use, you must dispose of properly yourself, or take it away with you. When you can’t just chuck something in the trash or flush it down the loo, it makes you realize how much gets discarded every single day. When you have to be responsible for every item you use it makes you think about things in a very different way.
Riding a high with HARD and OWSLA’s Hollywood summer residency now in the rearview, Chris Lake gave Dancing Astronaut a peek into his current personal rotation with an exclusive mini-mix packed with a trove of club-primed gems.
Featured image by Rukes.