'There’s nothing more off-putting than big-headed Djs who think they are rock stars- just let the music do the talking!': Lauren Lo Sung Interview & Mix
- Published on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 10:11
The Liverpool-born, Lauren Lo Sung, took the country and the club world by storm, steadily growing her status from a Northern local hero, to an Egg London resident, to an Ibiza darling in the space of a few years. Just in 2017, she played fabriclondon and was one of Mixmag’s breakthrough DJs. Hearing hear eclectic set on NYD at Tobacco Dock, there wouldn't have been a better indicator that she was truly a good match with the MEOKO podcast series. Therefore, naturally, we asked her to record a MEOKO exclusive mix, which she agreed to, and which you can hear in all its glory right here!
We are pleased to hear how Lauren managed to bring many different influences — some dub here, some acid there — together into something super coherent and absolutely stomping. It is fair to say, when those dubby chords come in around the 21’ mark, you know you’re in for a treat. But listen for yourself and read our exchange with the up-and-coming DJ.
1- Hey Lauren, thanks for talking with us and for your mix! So you’re from Liverpool but I’ve heard it was actually a trip to Ibiza that changed everything for you, can you talk about that?
I first visited the island when I was around 17, going to places like Zoo Project, Cocoon at Amnesia, Space. It was a very influential place for me, a place that made me dream- I used to visualise myself one day playing there. I did the season in 2011 and that was when my Dj career really started to shape.
2-You still manage to spin over in Liverpool quite often it seems, as well as at the Warehouse Project in Manchester. Is there something you particularly like about playing in the North compared to London or elsewhere?
The North is where I’m from, so it will always have that warm feeling of home. I wouldn’t say it’s too different to other places around the UK though, you can get a good clubbing experience wherever you go. Even the ones you don’t expect to be good can surprise you. All it takes is a decent sound/ lighting, the right crowd/ venue and you can make a special party. I love playing in London, especially clubs like fabric and smaller venues too, it’s very cosmopolitan so people can be open-minded to different styles of music.
3- How was it like coming of age in the club world in Liverpool?
Liverpool has a huge history when it comes to club-culture, it’s where Cream first started and my older brother and sister used to blast cream compilations around the house as I was growing up. I had no choice but to eventually start liking the music! I’ve grown up listening to house music in the city, I first started clubbing when I was 14, even back then I would be one of those annoying people who knew what track was mixing in from hearing the first few bars. I loved it.
4- You’ve played more festivals or big one-off events last year, such as LWE’s Tobacco Dock NYE party, how is that different from a club night? Is this something you enjoy more?
LWE is a very well-organised event, they make a lot of effort with lighting/ sound /stages and it’s fun for me to play larger rooms now and again so I can experiment a little with my sets. I always keep true to my sound, but part of being a Dj is being able to adapt to different rooms, sound systems and situations. 99% of the shows I play are in small intimate clubs, these are my favourite as I can get close and personal with the crowd- you can create a more intimate experience for clubbers in a smaller room and I can take the listeners on a deeper journey.
5- In those past few years of breaking through the scene, do you have any funny stories, or moments of feeling blowing away by the situations?
I played for Carl Cox's Revolution at Space Ibiza in 2016 for the final chapter- this was a huge moment for me. I had visited Space almost every summer since 17 years old and to play there was a magical, overwhelming feeling. I was staying in Carl Cox’s villa which was pretty surreal, my family came out to support me too which made the experience 10 times better. It really was an emotional night for me- especially when Carl Cox came to the DJ booth to watch my set and had one of my LOLiFE T-shirts on!
6- With all the interviews, the praise, the growing number of dates — this crazy industry basically! — how do you keep your head on your shoulders?
I have a super supportive family and circle of friends that are proud of me, but also keep me grounded- they would probably slap me if I was to act big-headed. It’s not in me to act like that, I’m just the same person as when I started off and I will be throughout my career. I work hard, so it’s good to get credit and praise now and again, but it just spurs me on to work harder. There’s nothing more off-putting than big-headed Djs who think they are rock stars- just let the music do the talking!
7- You recently gave away a Sade edit you did, I was wondering about your influences then. Your mixes are definitely full of dubby vibes, for a start.
I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste in music, I will listen to anything from Motown to Techno. Growing up I’ve always been a massive fan of 90s R’n’B/ Hip-hop. I love Sade, SWV, Tribe Called Quest, 2Pac, LL Cool J and Lauryn Hill and have probably picked up influences from those. I’m also a fan of Romanian minimal, dub techno and Parisian house music- which you can hear in my sets/mixes.
8- You started producing after establishing yourself as a DJ. How does your DJ side influence your productions?
Djing before producing influenced the way I arrange my tracks, it’s good to have a good feel for the music and how it would mix into another track. I had a clear idea of the type of music I wanted to start making, whatever would fit into my sets was something I wanted to make. I’ve been producing for around 5 years now, It was difficult to shape my sound for the first couple of years but I’m happy with my sound at the moment and it’s improving and developing everyday. I have a few pieces of hardware such as Korg Minilogue, Moog mother 32, tr-8 and tanzbar which make recording tracks live really fun.
9- Can you talk to me about both your party — LOLiFE — and your label — e1even? You seem to enjoy being in charge of things for sure! Any plans for them in 2018?
LOLiFE is all about low ceilings, small venues, great sound and a friendly relaxed party atmosphere where myself, friends and guests can play. Our parties have been sell-outs in the past year, it’s great to see the brand grow every year. We've brought artists like; Subb-an, Samu.l, Stuart Hawkins and have 2018 booked up with great artists. Our next Liverpool show is in March, which will be announced in a couple of weeks. There’s a couple of other big plans for LOLiFE this year, I will finally start a new project for LOLiFE records, a vinyl/ digital label plus more tba in the coming months…
e1even records is a label I started with my partner Sian, we both have a driving passion for deep, stripped-back house music. It was the natural step for us, I have a lot of friends who make great music, and it needs to be heard. We’ve got some incredible music lined up for 2018 and I can’t wait to release it.
10- And any confirmed projects for yourself in the coming year? I know you’ve got an upcoming release on DJ Steaw’s Rutilance…
I’m just putting the finishing touches to two EPs which are coming this year on vinyl, on labels I’ve been following for a long time, more will be revealed soon. I have a remix coming on Downhill Music alongside Deigo Krause as well as plans to remix on e1even records and my new label LOLiFE records. There’s lots of exciting projects coming up so 2018 should be an exciting year!
And finally, can you talk about this mix you did for us?
It’s deep, dub, with lots of groove. Starts off more stripped-back and slowly builds throughout. There’s new music from myself in there, as well as friends and unreleased music from some of my favourite producers. Check it out :)
Interview by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin