CHAT: Steve Lawler

The irrepressible DJ and producer have been instrumental in shaping the dance music scene with his memorable sets and hardworking ethics. Zul Andra finds out about his 5 weeks detox in Thailand, how a Japanese DJ pissed him off and how he plans to make the cleanest country in the world, Singapore a dirtier place.
You took a break from everything, how was it?
I took time off for a good 5 weeks to live in a jungle in Thailand. I did something very different while I was there in the most rural areas of Asia –I went for a detox. I ate well, had loads of fruits, did yoga and there were even doctors there to assess my health.
Why the need for a detox?
I live a very hectic life. I DJ two to five times a week, tour intensively and rarely have the time to eat healthily. In clubs –though I don’t drink a lot- I’ll have a couple and with the cigarette smoke around, the environment really affects my body and mind. Detox gave me back my balance. I also run three record labels with a full fledge team, and needed to free up the space in my mind. I feel absolutely fantastic now.
With your hectic schedule, how hard is it to keep track of your well-being?
I tend to forget about my well-being as my schedule is insane. The promoter’s job is to get you into cities around the world, and the world is a big place. After a gig I get just about 2 hours of sleep before I have to catch another flight and it goes on like that before I take a break.

How was your recent gig in Tokyo?
It was great. I really enjoy playing to the crowd in Tokyo, they are musically knowledgeable. Heard you had an unfortunate clash of heads with DJ Fumiya. Just to make things clear, I was under the impression that I was to play for 3 hours. 30 minutes before my set was suppose to end, this DJ came on, slot in his music and cued it. Now, I traveled 25,000 miles to get here, so I thought it was weird that I was to play a 2 ½ hour set. He even played a record that had a sample of my track that hasn’t had clearance yet. I asked where he got it from and all he said was that he was busy! I was shocked at his behavior. There is an amount of respect to be given from one DJ to the other and he didn’t even acknowledge me! If a DJ asked me for a name of a track, I would gladly give it. It’s shocking because Japan has the nicest culture in the world.
Why do you think his behavior was as such?
I don’t understand why he was like that; maybe his character has always been like that. Maybe he needs a holiday (laughs). What do you think are the most important aspects for opening and closing DJs? I play a deeper and darker set and I think the opening DJ should ease in the headlining DJ. I played in Seoul last Friday and the DJ before and after me was playing at 132bpm –which is the worst. They were banging the music and it really didn’t fit the bill when I came on. So imagine, I was playing more jackin’ house and techno between these two hardcore DJs.
What have you been busy with recently?
After the detox, I spent a week in Hong Kong and did a great gig and got up to speed with things after my break. I had a couple of days to ply through promos and looking up for tracks for my upcoming Lights Out 4 mix CD. The album is a big deal because it celebrates the 10th year of the Lights Out series and our last release was 7 years ago. It’ll be out in June and it’ll be my last ever mix compilation. I’ll be focusing more on my artist side thereafter.
You’ve been to Singapore a couple of times how do you find the country?
I love Singapore! It’s the cleanest country I ever been to. I have a friend who I knew for a very long time and he’s now based there. So I hang out with him whenever I drop by. Are you going to make the cleanest country in the world a darker place? (Laughs) Yes! I am going to drop the dirt and the darkness with my set. Expect lots of exclusive tracks from Lights Out 4.
Catch Steve Lawler on Feb 25, 10pm. Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988. $28.00-33.00 includes two drinks