Cowlin Presents: DJ Steve Lawler
Cowlin catches up with House hero Steve Lawler to talk, Ibiza, VIVa MUSiC and his production process.
Highly regarded and highly skilled, Steve Lawler is a man that lives for House music and is globally recognised as one of it’s greatest exponents. From his early days involved in organising motorway raves in the 90’s to sets at international festival and superclubs, Lawler has been consistent in both his output and his work ethic. Having had his music signed to some of electronic music’s best known labels, Lawler has now added Label manager to his list of achievements with his label VIVa MUSiC which was founded in 2006, but this does not stop him from churning out great tracks for house lovers.
During his time Steve Lawler has honed and refined his techniques and so Cowlin sat down to discuss this and a few other subject with the main man Lawler.
Your recent track “House Record”. This tune gives off such an amazing vibe for every crowd. How does this make you feel?
It’s a very rewarding thing, not only to see its reaction when you play it, but to know so many other people are feeling your work. I always say this to everyone I speak to about the studio. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the studio, because sometimes you just can’t finish a record and sometimes it just comes together really quickly and very easily, and in this case it was just that. ‘House Record’ was made in about 6 hours. I have changed the way I work in the studio over the last couple of years and just now I’m seeing the fruits of that. I basically took things back to the way I used to make music in the 90’s. As technology kept progressing, I kept getting bogged down with techniques of plugins and new software and it was taking away my ability to just WRITE music. I kept trying to keep up with all the new things coming out and to be honest it made me focus so much on my computer screen that it did the exact opposite to what I needed to do, which was enjoy the process. Making music the old way on my analogue equipment meant I could touch and feel the way I built my drums play with resonators live. It’s just so much more fun and you spend your time playing with these things rather than adding and adding new elements to a track that are not even needed. Other producers out there will know exactly what I mean. Most of my music at the moment is honestly no more than 6 – 10 channels. Before it would have been between 20 – 30 and that’s most tech house for you, loops on top of loops on top of hits etc. I don’t do that anymore. It’s bought down to its most simple ethic, use a part and makes that sound great.
What does your production set up consist off?
I’m not going to give everything away as I have my secret to go things which are very much complimenting my sound at the moment. But I am clearly a sucker for Roland. Their new Auira set up is amazing.
One little beauty I bought out from the shadows is an old rack synth with has the most amazing stabs, strings and pads, not telling you which one though.
‘VIVa MUSiC’. Why is it named this and what have you got planned for the next 5 years? Was there a reason behind starting this?
It is exactly what it says on the tin. ‘VIVa MUSiC’ I couldn’t believe no body else had used it, its that good to me. It simply means. LIVE MUSIC, CELEBRATE MUSIC. MUSIC IS LIFE. Which is what it has been for me.
‘Inna State/Recuperate’ EP is being released on Dennis Ferrer’s label. How did this link up come across? Are there any releases featuring Dennis?
Dennis shares the same love for Analogue equipment that I do, and as producers, writers deep down we’re geeks really. We’re not cool at all. I made this release with my gear and sent it to him personally and he loved it so much decided to start an analogue only, vinyl only label and used my release to launch it. Big respect to him.
What’s the largest venue you have played?
The largest crowd I have played to is about 100,000 some years ago at Love Parade. It’s a weird experience, very different to playing to smaller crowds. The best large crowd I have played to is about 12,000 in Argentina but with a small room atmosphere it doesn’t get better than that.
Do you have anything close to you that travels around with you when you’re touring from country to country?
My Laptop. I don’t know how I traveled without it now!
Anything big happening for you in Ibiza this year?
Of course we have our 4th Season of VIVa Warriors at Sankeys IBZ each and every Sunday running for a total of 19 weeks. My only other shows out side of that is Paradise at DC10 for Jamie Jones of which I will play twice.
Any tips for up and coming musicians?
Don’t think too hard, don’t try to follow. Do your own thing. Don’t do it for money or fame. Do it for love. If you do this rest will follow.
More of the Cowlin Presents series available HERE
What car do you drive?
I have 2 cars, Range Rover Sport Autobiography, and F-Type R Jaguar. The F type is my favourite to drive.
41 going on 21.
Ideal holiday destination?
Hobby away from music?
I don’t have any. Saddo I know! But my family, my daughter is my everything outside of music.