Chris Lake Blows The Roof off Bonnaroo, Discusses New EP, & Opens Up About His Journey As An Artist:
Chris Lake is a man in no need of an introduction. His music is heard in just about every DJ set these days and his talent in production is truly unparalleled. He has a knack for creating gritty samples and electrifying grooves that have shook dance floors and festival grounds.
On top of all of this, he's even started his own label, Black Book Records, that recently celebrated it's third release. This time, he teamed up with the mighty duo, Walker & Royce, for their brand new 'Close Your Eyes' EP that is absolutely bonkers.
I had the privilege to sit down with him after his set at Bonnaroo to talk about his music and career. I will add that this is one I'm going to be coming back and reading over and over again. I think it's my favorite one I've gotten to do thus far. We really dug deep into his creativity and the journey of an artist. I drew a lot of inspiration and I think you guys will to. Enjoy!
[As I greeted Chris, I told him I'd be using a voice memo to record this and he opened with this]
"Lose my mind" was actually done on the laptop mic. I did it in bed. I was tired, in a bit of a lucid state. I'm often very creative late at night, but here I was very tired, a bit loopy, and went into this automatic beat making mode.
Fortunately I've got a wife who's extremely understanding of me making beats while in bed. The spare room gets used quite a lot when I'm in that mood haha the bulk of this idea, one that I can't even remember doing because I was so tired, was done this way. That's happened a couple of times when I've created those things. I've completely forgot I've done it, and a couple days later I'll find it and be like 'what is that?!'
You just dropped a brand new EP, "Close Your Eyes" with Walker & Royce yesterday, which is so hot. Tell me a little bit about it.
It's terrible isn't it? (laughs)Walker & Royce (Sam Walker & Gavin Royce) have stood out to me for a few years with their productions. They were making records that were making me go 'Fuck, this sounds really really good.' I reached out to them a few years ago and we slowly got to know each other. They finished their album, and we started sharing records between each other and became friends. Eventually, we set up a session and wrote both of the records on this EP in one day. Our sessions were mostly jam sessions, but at the end of it we had skeletons of two ideas.
"Dance With Me" was done quite a while back, in January. "Drop Top" we only finished about three weeks ago. We had this idea for that record that went through a couple of iterations. In all fairness, credit to Sam on "Drop Top", he did most of the work, and that's why it's such a fucking lunatic beat! Sam really went to town on that one. I wrote the vocal and it's funny because we were driving to Coachella, me my wife and my assistant, and we were playing the record and had an idea for the vocal, so we voice memo'd it, sent it to Gavin & Sam, he laid it in the track.
As we were driving along, he was sending me clips and I was calling him, then I was FaceTiming him, my wife was voice memoing things, we were actually having to slow down in the car to reduce the wind noise to get a decent recording! haha
But that's how we finished the record. The track is ridiculous. Overall, we wanted to get one track done, but we really felt that we should have done two. I ended up calling the label manager a week after I was meant to give the final master, and said 'You're changing the release now, it's two records!'
I was reading through your bio and it stated that 'in a moment of clarity while on tour, you felt an undeniable urge to refocus your sound and career.' It mentions that around this time that you had a vision for your label Black Book Records. Can you tell me a little more about all of this?
A few years back I became very side tracked form the core of who I was as an artist a few years back and I wasn't focused on any of the facets of what made me the artist that I felt people latched on to in the first 10 years of my career. I lost touch with my creativity, my pig headedness in my creativity, and I started listening to other people's opinions. These are three things I NEVER used to do. It may sound harsh, but I don't really give a shit what people think. At the root of it, and I hope this isn't misunderstood, but there's a very selfish thing that I set out to achieve with my music, which is that I want to love it. I want it to be something I can listen back to 10 or 20 years down the line and be like 'I Nailed it!' I believe with that attitude, if I can look back on my music in that manner, the people who enjoy my music will feel exactly the same.
Looping back to your question, I was back in England, on tour, and ironically ended up in my mother's spare room, just writing, and that's where everything began. I was just writing with no expectations. I ended up cleaning the slate and that's what I mean by moment of clarity, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. That might be what has caught a lot of people's attention.
Over the past couple of years I released a couple of records that were good enough, but not good enough for me. They weren't a perfect example of who I am as an artist, and I wasn't doing a great job of showing that to people. I feel like what's caught people's interest in 2018 is that I'm one of the few artists that's owned up to it, admitted it, faced it head on, and written my way through it, and created a new fan base off of the back of it. I've been around for fucking ages man, but right now I feel like a brand new artist, and I really like that. Hopefully that's inspiring to other artists. I took the hard road and it's still working, and other people can do it!
What else do you have going on in 2018?
In complete contradiction to everything I just said, I've got a new project! haha
I love working with Chris Lorenzo. He's a very good friend of mine. We love writing and we felt we were writing towards something a little more than Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo singles. We enjoy writing so much and have a vision for what we're trying to do. Since October/November last year we've been writing together. We're about 20 solid demos into the project, with about 5 songs finished. We announced the project at EDC when we did our b2b set at the opening of EDC, the project is called anti up and the first single is called "Pizza"
It's something we'll look to do performance wise for special occasions. We're gonna do whatever feels right. At the end of the day it's dance floor orientated and it has the same ethos of what I just talked about. We're not looking left or right at what other people are doing, we don't care, we're just focusing on what we make and just trying to have fun with that. We're really excited! We'll probably do festival dates next year.
Then, for the Chris Lake stuff, I just put out the EP with Walker & Royce. then, I have a single with Destructo coming out, but I have no idea what it's called haha I know it entitles "banger". It might be called 'YODO' [you only die once], and then a single coming out with Green Velvet as well!