Steve Lawler Interview
Tell us about Viva, your new compilation series with Ministry of Sound?
It's a 3 disc compilation, titled Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. It's my new compilation project that will tie into a series of party's that I am doing in certain territories, Ibiza, Italy, UK, and USA. Rather than just doing a 1 disc mix comp, this mix is giving people a variety of music to listen to, all music that I love and that I am passionate about. And this also ties in with my live DJ sets in these territories around the world.
What is the concept behind Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3?
Firstly I want to give people more music to listen to, but to listen to at different times. I think that every kind of music has its moment it should be played, or it suits more. Day 1 is my representation of what I play in the bigger rooms, a more funk driven mix with large sounds etc. Day 2 is my representation of club music, deeper, darker more underground. And finally Day 3 is my representation of chill out, more leftfield than most chill out albums you will hear, a little electronica with some old personal influences thrown in. I am a big fan of music as a whole my music collection is very open-minded, I like all kinds of music. And I believe that every different kind of music has its place in our lives, I listen to jazz or 50's ballads or ambient when I'm sometimes relaxing at home. I listen to a lot of rock when I'm in the car etc, and with this album, day 3 for me is what you want by the time you get to day 3 of a big weekend!
You will be bringing your Viva concept to Pacha this summer, tell us more about it and how it came about?
"I think the whole look behind VIVA that I have tried to create is more suited to Pacha. Pacha is a great club with an amazing sound system and by far the Best dancers / performers in the world. The club is dark, and oozes Sex but with an edge, this is all a great setting for some VIVA party's. It's important for me to have all the elements right when you do a residency or a series of party's. I am doing the VIVA party's on a Friday joining Pete Tongs night PURE, which is great because they both will suit each other nicely. On the nights I do the VIVA party's the club is going to look slightly different to norm, different production, different costumes for the performers and ultimately a different sound expect something along the lines of party monster meets studio 54 in the era of Goth (lol)
Tell us about the Viva Music online only label?
It launches with its first release Streetlife – YoJay around July this year, and that will be followed by a track I did with Dino Lenny Called S.L.A.D.L.Y. – Unicorn. I closed down my three Harlem labels towards the end of last year due to the fact it was becoming increasingly difficult to sell the producers music. Having a record label has always been a hobby for me, and I never really wanted to make money from it, I just wanted to get behind some new and exiting producers and push them and there music, and for this Harlem records worked. But unfortunately a label does need money to run, and your label is always at the mercy of distributors, and pressing plants and this takes the label out of your control sometimes with distributors demanding exclusivity from you and then not supplying certain shops with your records etc. all in all the labels became stressful and a financial loss. I never felt good about the producers tracks being delayed beyond my control, I never felt good about giving producers very little for their great work, generally I never felt good about letting people down. With the possibilities there are now with a digital label, things could really go back to how they used to be for producers. I.e. Getting their music out to more people, and making more for their efforts. When I travel around the world I notice that each single 12" record imported to that country becomes incredibly expensive for people, and in certain countries i.e. Anywhere in eastern Europe this becomes almost un affordable for people, they want the music but cant afford to buy it all the time. So most people go online and search for the record they want that way. The amount of positives there are towards having an online label are huge and I think online labels will be good for dance music as a whole. What happens in the future will be the real test so only time can tell.
I personally still buy records sometimes, but I then burn the music straight onto disc and play them out that way, that also holds advantages. I love vinyl and I always will, its what I was brought up on, but rather than ignoring the future, I am embracing it.
And Viva Harlem Nights at The End?
This is my baby, something I am really proud of. I think it's important for every DJ to have a residency of some kind. Coming into its 5th year now and as strong as ever. I love this gig, having a residency gives you chance to express your music properly and have a home away from home. I really think that the atmosphere at VIVA Harlem nights is one of the best in the world, of course that's going to sound bias coming from me, but it really is special, and this is due to the fact that it's a regular dedicated crowd and now after how long it has been running, they all know each other, and that means people feel very comfortable from the second they walk through the door..