Chris Lake's dance music résumé is as impressive as it is lengthy, with classic productions such as "Changes" and "If You Knew", not to mention recent hits like "Stand Alone" and "Ohh Shhh". Still, Lake's most important work of late comes via his Rising Music imprint. Not only has the label churned out a crisp, exciting brand of electro house, it has also exposed some of the more entertaining producer personalities to a larger audience. The releases have seen lasting success on the charts as well, with TJR's infectious "What's Up Suckaz", GTA's minimal bass hit "People Boots", as well as Lazy Rich's "Insomnia" all boasting the Rising name.
Now the label has hit the road on a multi-city showcase, and we had the chance to catch up with Chris Lake, Nom De Strip and TJR on tour.
Earmilk: How do you find the time to create new music and plan new sets when you're busy traveling?
TJR: I have a very difficult time producing on the road. This year is the most I've ever toured and it's had a big impact on my output – I'm a slow producer as is. I really try to make something original, so it has become a challenge.
NDS: It can be tough at times, some of my DJ buddies have it way tougher than me though! I have always been comfortable producing with a laptop and headphones. If you can finish songs while sitting on an airport toilet, then you can stay ahead of the game.
CL: You just have to keep producing, and it's not hard to be motivated when you're playing great shows. I just get stuck in, and never stop working really. Thankfully, it doesn't feel like any of my day jobs used to. I wake up and work on music, then before I know it, the sun has disappeared and it's time to go to bed.
EM: How do you keep sane when traveling so much?
TJR: Touring the US, I'm pretty good, but doing tours abroad makes me a bit off my rocker. I calm myself by listening to depressing music.
CL: I'm not quite convinced I've stayed sane, but I just try to keep active, have fun, speak to my friends and family regularly, and most importantly, stay creative. I try to write new ideas on the road, and I get very inspired when traveling. The flip side to that is that it's hard to finish records on the road, so I end up with lots of promising ideas, and not a lot of finished music.
EM: What's the craziest thing you've seen in a club? On the road?
NDS: I've been clubbing for about 14 years, but the most bizarre things I've seen have come at after parties. I'm trying to tone that down though, too much work to do!
CL: It still always shocks me when you see the odd 80 year-old raver in the club, covered in bling wearing a polo neck, surrounded by girls. I reckon I see this once every year or so. It's disturbing.
TJR: My buddy urinating in the DJ booth while spinning, creating a huge puddle of piss and everyone running out. Great stuff.
EM: What are some classic mistakes DJs make when starting out?
TJR: Playing a planned set is not a good idea. Better to learn how to play based on the crowd.
CL: I think the main issue is people not finding their own style and just playing what other people play. It's a let down for me.
NDS: Nowadays, a lot of people produce first and become a DJ out of necessity. I think when I started out, most people were DJs before they were producers. And before they were DJs, they spent a lot of time in nightclubs, so you get a kind of natural feel for it. I feel like there's less of that now, if that makes any sense.
EM: What's your routine to get ready for a show?
CL: Man, I'm relaxed before a show. Really relaxed. I normally watch TV shows or read blogs about technology. Very non rock n roll. I try and stay as chilled as possible. If I have an early flight, I'm sometimes taking a disco nap before the show. It's not strange for me to be getting up 15-20 minutes before I start when the schedule is crazy. I'm just used to it now.
TJR: Always a pre-show poop, that's it.
EM: What's the best way to make it back from an unexpected pause (fuck up) in a set?
CL: Well fuck ups happen, what can you do? Stay calm and get the music started again in a smooth way. Do it right, and it adds to the party.
TJR: Get on mic and say something about it. I fuck up all the time and just laugh it off by making fun of myself on the mic.
NDS: It depends. Chris Lake once sent me an unfinished track that had no ending, when that stopped dead I decided to sacrifice the sound guy live on stage. Other than that it's best to laugh it off, these things happen to everyone.
EM: When you perform, do you dance? Any dance tips for aspiring DJs?
TJR: I kind of bop and bounce around the whole time. Fuck, if I could dance I probably wouldn't have been a DJ!
CL: Haha, I have my moves, but they're not moves I think anyone should be aspiring to emulate. It's more of a shuffle and a bop, or an awkward nervous reaction, than a 'dance'.
NDS: I just bob about, kinda like a buoy in the ocean. Everyone is different! Apart form the 'Jesus pose' types, they suck. My tip would be don't stand like Jesus.
Check out the remaining Rising Fall Tour dates here.