Exclusive Interview W/ 3LAU (Wavefront Music Festival 7-7-13)
We had the pleasure this past weekend of sitting down with rising star and master of the mashup, Justin Blau (3LAU). Just 22 years old, 3LAU has taken the industry by storm. His recent collaboration, “Escape,” with Paris & Simo has held a steady spot in the Beatport top ten. Beyond his talent, 3LAU was truly one of the most humble and genuine people I’ve ever had the opportunity to sit down with. Here’s our exclusive interview from this past Sunday at Wavefront Music Festival in Chicago, IL…
You’ve had the pleasure these past few weeks of playing at three of the most beautiful and unique venues. With the Gorge in Washington, Electric Forest, and now Montrose Beach in Chicago, does it add anything to your experience as a DJ performing at these venues that are just so visually appealing? Which one would you say is your favorite?
I have to say every single festival I’ve played this summer has been so unique. I think Wavefront on the beach is brilliant. I wish I had played a little bit later maybe around sunset. I mean that’s when Diplo and Justice will be playing. But, I have to say my favorite has been the Gorge. The beauty is just a whole different level.
Your style consistently demonstrates a mixture of vocals and instrumentals, what ultimately was the main influence behind this mashup that really sums up your DJing style?
Yeah, that’s how I started. I don’t know what I would say the influence was. I didn’t have much influence in doing the mashups specifically. My influence was playing shows and seeing what people reacted to. I’ve realized that we live in an ADD culture where everyone wants things really fast, so that’s how I DJ as well.
Talk about your collaboration with Paris & Simo, who we also love and adore greatly, how did you guys link up for “Escape”, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest hits this summer. Did you write the vocals?
Yeah, I wrote the vocals. So, I went up to Montreal to show them ten months ago. That’s when we made the track. It took us this long to find the right vocal, and we are so happy that Heather did it. I wrote a vocal for the song. The girl that sang it was okay. I write vocals and I sing too. Eventually, I sent it to Heather and was like, “Hey, do you like this?” She said, “Yeah, I’m gonna do something with it.” She crushed it.
It took you guys about a good year to fine-tune “Escape” and have it ready for the public audience. Did you guys know right then and there before the initial launch that this track was going to be a monster hit?
Yeah, we love the song so much that we wanted to make sure we did it right. I had a feeling (it would be a hit). I really did. You know when you get to shows and you listen to something and it’s like, oh that’s dope.
Over the course of the past few years, we’ve seen these up-and-coming artists such as Martin garrix, Audien, GTA, Madeon, yourself, to name a few, take the “next step” in their careers at a young age. Aside from having the talent level, what do you think made it possible for you guys to take such a giant leap at such an early phase?
Um, besides the talent, the brand. No one cares about an uninteresting young kid who can make music. That’s not to put any of us up on a pedestal. But, Martin is the chillest dude. I love Martin. Porter just has this interesting vibe. Everybody who is big and young, I feel like has something about them that commands the room. That’s what it takes even beyond the music. You just need to be a person and be a personality.
I received some heat for not being the biggest supporter of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. You’ve expressed some similar feelings in regard to the album. Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah, to me it’s like, you listen to an mp3 file without a title and without a band, anything at all, and you ask yourself, is this good, from 0 seconds, to wherever it ends? If you can answer that question yes, wonderful. If you can answer that question, eh I’m not sure. That’s how I felt about the Daft Punk album. It’s just my opinion. I think it was over hyped. I know a little bit of the background info that probably influenced my opinion. Such as, why it was done. “Get Lucky” is a phenomenal song. It’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s brilliantly written, and I love Pharrell. Everything else, it’s like whatever. Who give a f***. You know what, it’s fine. To each his own.
In the early stages of your career, you received support from artists such as Tiesto, Porter Robinson, Rehab and several other superstars. You’ve had some huge names that have been in your corner since the beginning. What did all that support mean to you?
It’s the best feeling in the world. Right now, all those DJs are playing “Escape.” I never would have thought (that would happen). You put something out, and you hope it does well. Now, it’s like, Hardwell, Rehab, Tiesto, Kaskade, Thomas Gold, W & W, Dash Berlin, it’s like everybody (is playing your song). I’m stunned. I cannot believe it. It is a dream come true.