An innovator in dance music, the master of evolution, a passionate and inspirational human being, any adjectives are just not sufficient to describe dance music heavyweight Laidback Luke. Born in the Philippines and raised in Netherlands, Luke van Scheppingen aka Laidback Luke at a very young age immersed himself in learning guitar and listening hip-hop.
It all started professionally for him when he met by chance Dutch DJ Dobre at his high school party. Realizing his connect with the vibe and energy of electronic dance music, Luke produced his own tracks and submitted them to Dobre, which in no time minted his debut release Loud Flava, Vol. 1 in 1995 and a following Vol. 2 after which there was no looking back.
In two decades since he started, Luke has been a chameleon, adapting to EDM trends and consistently transcending them. However, things have been not always been smooth sailing for the EDM evergreen star. Speaking to MiamiNewTimes, he speaks of the time taken to perfect the formula “You know, my first couple of years DJ’ing, it was terrifying. I’d get the sensation that someone was going to kill me during a weekend. I’d walk up to the decks, and my hands would be shaking, and at that time, I DJ’ed on vinyl, and to actually put the needle at the beginning of a track was impossible. I’d just drop the needle somewhere and rewind the track until I had the beginning.”
Luke’s transition from raver to DJ began in the techno realm. But the strict confines of techno eventually forced Luke to look elsewhere. “I needed to break away from techno because at a point, all I could program was drum loops, and I couldn’t add any vocals or chords or melodies because that wasn’t techno. So I really got tired of that. With house, electro house, and EDM, I have the freedom to add more musicality to my tracks.”
He wants his music to feel organic and honest while also making people jump and shout. It’s a fascinating artistic process to watch. Apart from his recording career, Luke’s musical versatility is clearly seen through his live shows that he has been putting up with his enormous skills and expertise. His Super You&Me concept (https://www.facebook.com/superyoume/) has scaled the worldwide club scene. With fans strapping-up their super powers and dressing to impress, through Super You&Me they are carried for an adventure of a lifetime.
Luke’s past struggles and vulnerability seep into his live sets. These days, he plays for both the audience and himself. “I try to DJ according to that feeling of letting go… A set isn’t a playlist. I try to seek what the crowd feels, and it builds up to a level where I have everyone connected to the music. And when that happens, it’s a spiritual environment.”
So the party animal became the Kung Fu Panda. He’s spreading the message that DJ’ing is the ultimate responsibility. Music, for Luke, is about empathy.
“When I play, I hope the audience connects with it too — that way we all connect, and in this world, where we often feel alone, maybe we aren’t anymore.”