2008 was a simpler time, a time when massives meant 50,000 people and the scene had just started to peek out of the so-called underground. New events began sprouting up across the U.S. and Essential Mixes invaded our airwaves, as a novice generation of American listeners witnessed the rebirth of electronic on our shores. In fact Chris Lake first appeared on my radar through one of Radio 1's famed sets, and his mix soon became a staple in my listening repertoire. What really drew me to the British DJ and producer: his knack for crafting standout releases that touched on multiple genres throughout the dance spectrum. Sometimes he delivered cutting-edge electro house, like "I Thought Inside Out" with Deadmau5, and other times it was an insanely good pop remix, for example his rendition of Kylie Minogue's "In My Arms".
Lake's utmost respect for genre diversity carries on today, both through his work, his label (Rising Music), and his vioce. Back in April, the veteran producer took to social media to comment on the lack of tolerance pervading the scene, propagated by "narrow minded assholes." Not too long after, Lake performed a 4-hour deep house set at Bijou, Boston, which we are premiering in its entirety today. Press play below and listen to a master at work, then read on for an insightful look at genreism in the current electronic climate. Comments welcome!
EARMILK: You wrote a Facebook post on April 10th about how "narrow minded" the scene can be. Is that where this 4-hour deep mix came from?
Chris Lake: Not really no. In all honesty, the post came from all the hateful comments I was reading people post about the video involving Laidback Luke, Steve Aoki & Sander Van Doorn. I just felt the video wasn't a big deal, and it was taken out of context. They were standing there having fun and throwing shapes? Big deal. Did it show any technical prowess on the DJ's part? No. That's for other videos, and these guys are all very talented at what they do. The whole thing was a cheap shot, and I just don't like that. The reason it bothers me is because I feel I can relate to people within different scenes in dance music. I understand and appreciate the mindset and approaches of a techno, house, tech house, minimal, commercial DJ, and there are so many talented artists in all these different genres, but the way some people talk about each others’ scenes just comes across like each person feels their chosen music is the right music to dance to, that there’s a right and wrong way to present it (perform it, play it, whatever), and everything else is wrong or inferior. I think diversity is a good thing. So what if a DJ is popular even though his taste in music, in my opinion, is bad? The good part about that is they attract crowds with bad taste too. Perfect fit! You can be left with a crowd that's right for you and your show. They can pull in 5000 people and have queue's round the door and social media buzzing? Good on them. They're doing something right.
EM: Is this heated contention between genres something you've seen throughout your career or something that's relatively new to the scene?
CL: Yeah it's been around for a long time, but I think the element that makes it all a bit more poisonous now is money, because some people are able to make a LOT more money by doing something only slightly different to a similarly talented artist doing a similar genre. I guess that's jealousy, small dick syndrome, something like that. I don't know. I like tracks in so many genres, I just don't care about all that.
EM: Even between genres, a strong part of electronic music's appeal, in my opinion, is the idea of counterculture. Do you agree? How do we keep this and not go too far?
CL: 100%. Good point. That's a difficult one. The most important thing I think is musical innovation. Doing something new, shaking things up. Right now I guess we're in a period where counterculture maybe is pop culture. That's probably what some people don't like about what's going on right now.
EM: When looking for a change, why does it seem that most electro/progressive producers go for deep house and not another genre, like techno?
CL: I'm sure they do, but techno just gets no notice at all. Deep house is having its time right now.
EM: Rising Music puts out tracks across the musical spectrum. Does your personal foray into the deep mean there might be more of this sound from the label?
CL: Well we've done it before, and I'm sure we'll do it again. We've got some bits lined up that I'm excited about
EM: Could you recommend a few artists from different genres that you're following right now?
CL: Electro – Botnek or Cobra Effect
Deep – Oliver $. He's been sick for years
Techno – Gary Beck
Tech – Chocolate Puma. Years and years of sick tracks!
EM: Random question: are you good friends with Kylie Minogue? "Skirt" came out on your imprint last summer and your remix of "In My Arms" from 2008 continues to be one of my favorite pop remixes of all time.
CL: That was more coincidence. I spent a bit of time working with her and her team on Skirt, and she's honestly a very warm human being and a great artist. Skirt rocks!
EM: Do you plan to keep doing these deep sets, and, if so, when can we expect the next one?
CL: I just do them when the right opportunity comes along. I love doing them, but I don't feel the pressure to turn every set into one. I don't think it'd work for all the venues I play, or like to play. I definitely want to do more though, and I have a few ideas for some tracks that maybe I'll release down the road that are slightly deeper. I think the last deep record I put out was Secrets in the Dark, which must have been in 2010 or 2011.
EM: Any final words on genre-ism and thoughts about how to solve it?
CL: Not really, I'd just encourage people to spend more time enjoying or creating something good, exciting and innovative, than deriding what isn't to your taste.
Live at Bijou Boston – 4-hour deep mix
- Rising Music