Chris Lake might not be the next Tony Hawk, but he sure is a damn good DJ! We took some time to catch up with Chris before his double at Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas and Avalon Nightclub in Los Angeles. The Scottish house DJ and producer has been mixing it up with the likes of Steve Aoki recently, but it’s his tour with Rising Music (the label he founded) artists TJR and Nom De Strip that’s been the craziest part of his life. With only a week before the Groove Cruise dance music festival takes off from Los Angeles, we took some time to find out why he returned to the “most intense weekend” he’s ever played.
Rabbits Black: You are playing Encore Beach Club today and then heading to the Avalon for a show tonight as part of a tour showcasing artists from your label Rising Music. Tell us a little bit about the Rising Tour and how it is going.
Chris Lake: We’ve been talking about doing this for a while. All of the artists are close, were a good bunch of friends, and we thought it’d be fun to get out on the road and have a giggle and at the same time give something a little bit more to the people that are paying good money to buy tickets to go to clubs- getting to see more than one Rising DJ at their event and its worked out really good. We’ve had a lot of fun so far, the shows have been fantastic!
RB: And the crowd in attendance?
Chris Lake: Unbelievable attendance, people getting a bit crazy, and every show basically ends with them having to turn the power off because we wouldn’t stop playing. It’s been a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to being there, to the shows that are coming up, Avalon and Vegas, Encore Beach Club, and then Seattle as well. Like I said, a bunch of guys all going around to make fun of each other and pull pranks on each other- it’s been entertaining! I’m pretty exhausted, I’ve never needed this much recuperation after a weekend of gigs but these ones have been exhausting and I blame it all on Nom De Strip!
RB: Of course, you’re out there with friends and you’re also playing till they kick you off stage. Perfect recipe for a fun party!
Chris Lake: Exactly. You know on top of that we’ve also had the opportunity to give competition winners who entered guest mixes online to win a chance to open for us on the shows. That’s been lots of fun as well and we’ve had some really interesting artists come along and impress us. It’s been a lot of fun and we are giving something back to aspiring DJ’s as well by giving them a chance to impress and play to a bigger crowd than they probably have done before.
RB: Is there an opportunity for any of them to become Rising Music aritsts?
Chris Lake: There’s always the possibility that someone is going to impress us enough and I’m confident that’ll happen.?
RB: What’s more important. What they do on the decks or what they do backstage with you guys?
Chris Lake: I’m not saying that being friendly is going to improve your chances but being a dick is definitely not gonna help. It’s obviously better to be friendly than be a dick!
RB: Today you play Vegas at Encore Beach Club during the day and then the Avalon in Los Angeles at night. Take us through what your day is like when you have a double like that.
Chris Lake: You know I normally fly in the morning, go to Vegas and then go do the gig, go get showered, jump on the flight back to LA and head straight to the club. It’s pretty easy travel in between Vegas and LA ’cause they’re so close, it’s a lot easier than some double ups. A few weeks ago I played Ibiza on a Wednesday, Beirut on the Thursday, Moscow on the Friday, then on the Saturday I did Creamfields in England during the day and Ibiza at night. It was exhausting! And then I did Vegas on the Sunday, went home and then did another show on Monday. So, that was killer! In all fairness doing a beach party in Vegas and doing LA at night- easy. Really easy!
RB: We can’t get enough of the pool party scene in Las Vegas. It’s really grown with each hotel and promoter trying to one up each other for the biggest and best pool party experience. Do you enjoy the dayclub scene in Vegas?
Chris Lake: It’s great! These parties are always fun to play. It’s really easy going cause you can play whatever you want. The sun’s shining, people are happy- they’re splashing around in pools, some people want to rage. Sometimes I play deep, sometimes I play really banging, sometimes I play really mellow, it just depends on what mood I’m in. But it’s great to see that scene is developing. It’s a great thing to attend. You don’t really have to be a big dance music lover to attend these things; it should just be a lot of fun and an easy entry for people to get involved in dance music. It’s kind of like the complete opposite to what I grew up with cause I was used to dark rooms, strobe lights, smoke machines and banging music. It’s kind of like keeping all of the music but you’re putting sunshine out there which is cool. I suppose I never expected that to happen when I was growing up, going to clubs. It’s a pretty good combination!
RB: The Groove Cruise is only a week away and we are getting excited for it! The largest floating dance music festival finally comes to Los Angeles for a fully chartered voyage. You are one of the headlining artists. Have you played the Groove Cruise before?
Chris Lake: It’s my second time, yeah. The first time scarred me for life, probably the most intense weekend I’ve ever done and I hope I survive the second one (laughing).
RB: So you’re a veteran. Can we expect you to be on the ship for all three days?
Chris Lake: Yeah but you know what? I’m very skeptical if I’m going to be out on deck for three days! I might do two days of hiding, I’m not really sure, it depends how crazy everyone is. (Laughing) I’m going to be toasted! No, I’m only joking! But, I mingle, I have fun, you know I’m not scared of talking to people.
RB: That’s what we want to hear! What made you want to come back, or not come back? I don’t know how you got roped into this again…
Chris Lake: Someone had some dirt on me, I think they took some pictures of something I was doing once, said if you don’t play the Groove Cruise again these are coming out! So they forced me into it, I was like ah fuck, I better do it! And yeah, that’s what went down. So, basically coercion and blackmail. But good news, the benefit is I’m going to have a shit-load of fun! A lot of memories and probably going to get myself into trouble and loads of people are going to witness it. So, yeah that’s basically what’s going on. (laughing)
RB: I assume you were on a Groove Cruise Miami?
Chris Lake: Yeah, Miami last time. Stopping often in the Bahamas which is fun. It’s a great concept. People have a shit-load of fun, it’s really cool, you get a lot of social time with people, make new friends, and yeah- it’s a good thing to be involved in. I like it.
RB: Rising Music has their own stage and party at Groove Cruise on Saturday. You are bringing along label-mates TJR and Nom De Strip. Tell us about your crew.
Chris Lake: Yeah so probably the three best DJ’s in the world!
RB: Then that’s going to be a great stage!
Chris Lake: Yeah, it’s a great party, there’s no point really going anywhere else. It’s all gonna be with us, you know. I feel sorry for anyone that’s up against us, poor bastards, no one’s going to be there. I mean, I do my thing, I’m sure a lot of people on the boat are going to be aware of what I do- I’ve been around for a long time. TJ though, he’s really burst on the scene these past couple of years. He’s really making a name for himself, making huge records everyone’s playing and everyone wants to work with him. He’s serious hot property right now, and you know we’re excited to have him on the line up. I’m just a bit worried about what he’s going to get up to on the boat, but anyways that’s another story. And then there’s Nom, I completely forgot how bad he is when he’s been drinking. He is a menace. If we hear of any problems with the boat, it’s probably going to be because of Nom.
RB: Sounds like Nom De Strip is really living it up on this tour!
Chris Lake: You know, Nom has been misbehaving! But being serious, he’s hot property right now too. Loads of people contacting Rising and wanting to get involved with his music and get him to remix stuff cause he’s got an individual sound and a production level that people can’t really match. That’s what we always try to have with Rising and with our artists, its something that sets them apart from everyone else, a unique selling point, something that no one else brings to the table. We definitely have that with Nom and TJ; they’ve just got it in abundance so it’s great to have them on the line up. And yeah, we’re gonna be trying to one-up and outplay each other on that day and you know, see who comes out with the best set! My moneys on me, you know these guys they’ve got a lot to learn. (laughing)
RB: You just got us beyond excited for this party on Saturday!
Chris Lake: Well, next time that you see me, come say hello let’s get a picture on. I’m going to pull faces on every single one of them; you’re not gonna get a single serious picture on that boat.
RB: Is there a drink of choice for the Rising crew on the Groove Cruise? What if a fan wants to buy you guys something…
Chris Lake: (laughing) Yeah get Nom a Jack Daniels and Coke. TJR, anything vodka based I think he’s into… he’s actually more interested in girlfriends. So, we’d love to set him up with some women with low moral fiber, that’d be great! But they’ve got to do all talking; they’ve got to make it really obvious they’re interested. Then for me, yeah, I’m on the wagon for three and half years, so water for me, that’s perfect.
RB: We love the new single “Boneless” featuring Steve Aoki and Tujamo. The music video was filmed in Venice and it looked like a ton of fun. What was the inspiration and who came up with it?
Chris Lake: I can just sum it up in one sentence: I cannot skate. That’s it. That pretty much sums it up. I use a stunt double, it’s fucking obvious, and I love it! I wanted it to be even more obvious that it was a skate double and I was really faking it but I think I did a pretty good job of showing that I can’t really stand up on a board. So, this was Steve’s idea of doing the skate video, I blame him for making me look like a fool.
RB: What about the ass slap? Stunt double?
Chris Lake: Yeah you can’t beat the ass slap in the middle of the video! Especially since it’s my wife’s ass that I’m slapping, which is funny. She slapped me back. You know I’m really happy the way these records being received, loads of people playing it, loads of people buying it. Top ten on iTunes right now, which is great. Good times, I’m interested to see how it’s gonna go the next three months.
RB: Let’s wrap up with a few quick hits regarding your place of residency- Los Angeles. Quick answers, no pressure. East of the 405 or West of the 405?
Chris Lake: East
RB: Stamp of approval on a restaurant in LA.
Chris Lake: It’s a bit cheesy but Cafe Gratitude. I love it there! It’s really good.
RB: We’ll take it…
Chris Lake: Yeah but it’s all a bit LA, but the food’s bloody great!
RB: Something outside of the dance music genre that you are digging.
Chris Lake: Let me look on my iTunes right now. Fuck, I don’t know… Fucking dance music- go away! I’ve been listening to all sorts. A lot of British bands actually, it’s been quite nice, its lots of really good music coming out of the UK. Anything out the UK, anything out of the UK just take a listen to it.
RB: Thanks for the time Chris. We’ll see you tonight at the Avalon and next week on the Groove Cruise!