There is a subtle and sophisticated art form within the greater production of electronic music that often separates the true musicians from the beat makers. Being able to craft songs that give the listener a profound and meaningful experience both in the club and in their headphones is not something that anyone can pull off. It takes a very specific balance between atmospheric, melody-focused “music” and heavy, danceable rhythms for the song to be perceived as natural within both environments. If the track in question is able to warrant a unique but equally powerful response regardless of the setting, it can stand out high above the imitators’.
Lane 8 is one such producer: a burgeoning expert of energy-designation and vibe-creation. With his debut album “Rise” set to release on July 17th, I sat down with him to ask about his songwriting process, his experience touring with Above & Beyond, and his plans for the future. You can preorder the album on iTunes here.
How are you feeling about your upcoming album release? Are you nervous?
I guess the feeling right now is ‘anxious’, a lot of those songs on the album were finished months ago and it’s always like . . . you finish a song and you’re ready to put it out into the world and you’re playing it in your sets and it can be a bit, it can test your patience to wait that long. And with an album it’s even longer because all the songs that were finished at the beginning of the album are kind of eight, nine, ten months old now.
Do you have any urges to go back and tweak your songs again?
Absolutely. And that’s what happens, like it’s never ending. You can really change things forever and even the stuff that was playing in my sets and stuff changed over that year, and so some of the stuff didn’t really fit anymore, so I had to change it to make it fit. But I’m very excited to get it out there and it seems like there’s been a good response so far. And it means a lot to me, definitely. I think, as musicians especially like people our age, grew up listening to albums. And even though albums aren’t as common now as they were 10-15 years ago, I think like because of our childhood growing up and listening to albums, for me it’s a special thing to put that together.
Was your approach different when creating the album versus your individual productions?
It was a little bit different yeah, like doing an album frees you up in a way. Not every track has the pressure of a single. Like when I was putting together release after release with Anjuna before, I wouldn’t say in a negative way there was pressure, but you always needed to have one track that sort of could carry the weight of an EP for example. And with an album I got to do some instrumental stuff which was cool for me, and even some stuff that I wouldn’t even play in my sets, just stuff that I think people could jam out to in their car or whatever, so in that sense it was quite liberating and I enjoyed that aspect of it a lot. In particular the instrumental stuff, because a lot of the music I’m playing in my sets is instrumental so it was cool to be able to do something like that where I didn’t feel like it we had to get a vocal on everything.
So, it feels more natural to write instrumentals?
I think it’s cool to do that, and it’s also hard because a vocal gives you that immediate thing that people can tap into and recognize. And in a lot of ways that’s how you make a song memorable. It can be quite difficult to stick a song in people’s minds that doesn’t have a vocal in it if you think about it, but that’s a fun challenge. Like, a year ago I wanted to put a vocal in everything and now a year later I want to only make instrumental music, so it’s always just going up and down that way.
You have multiple collaborations with Solomon Grey on the album, did something click between you guys after making “Diamonds“?
Totally, yeah. Just like in a working sense and also as friends. I really like those guys, and it really clicked for us when we did a live session of “Diamonds” where we just filmed it, like a one-off performance of it. Setting that up and actually being in the studio together to film it and rehearse it and just getting to know them better, because I got to know them a little bit when we made “Diamonds” but not really in a close way. That was what made me decide like, ‘okay I want these guys to be a part of the project as long as they’re up for it,’ and luckily they are and I think . . . I wouldn’t say it’s easy making music with them, but it’s one of the most frictionless relationships that I have because we just get along so well. I’ve just done a remix for them which was so much fun, I just love his voice so much. And for me it’s a perfect aesthetic fit.
What’s your workflow with them like?
It kind of changed a bit. “Diamonds” was very much like, I did the track and then sent it to them and they were like ‘okay we like it.’ Joe wrote the vocal, sent it back to me and I finished it. So it was like, ‘okay I’ll do my part, you do your part.’ And we did “Hot As You Want” which was more kind of back and forth I guess, together. Like I wrote the lyrics and sent them back to Joe and I guess I gave a bit more direction in that one. So it was cool to be involved in the writing process more. And then I was just in the studio with them last month working on something maybe for the next album, and we were just writing together. So it’s just becoming a more close relationship in that sense, where we can just all pitch in. And Tom is also great in writing and also with the live stuff that we’ve done. Because they know a lot more about the live aspect of things than I do.
What do you think separates you from other artists in your respective ‘genre’?
It’s funny because it’s not something that I care about really. But it’s funny when people call certain music deep house, when to me deep house has very little to do with what I make, or even someone like Dusky makes. To me there are of course similarities, it’s all electronic house music or whatever, but to me they’re very, very different so it’s always funny for me to see Beatport morphing what house music means. I’ve always had kind of an indie influence and just like writing songs and the way that I arrange melodies and chord progressions is quite different from typical house music. So I’d say that’s definitely something different about it.
You grew up listening to and playing classical music, do you think it’s influenced your production?
Yeah, I didn’t really come from a dance background. Now, when I make a track I do think more about like ‘how is it going to fit in DJ sets, like is it gonna be, you know, kind of effective enough in that arena?’ And yeah, before I guess I didn’t really think about it that much I just made what sounded good to me. And I don’t know, there’s still something to be said about that I think. The ideal situation is where you’re able to meet both needs, like functionality on the dance floor and being something that people want to listen to at home. And that’s what I try to do now more than anything.
Touring with Above & Beyond must’ve been an incredible experience. What do you think you gained from it?
It was really crazy, it was sort of the first really big production that I’ve been a part of, so it was really cool to see like how much work goes into that level of show. And it’s interesting to see, because I’ve been following Above & Beyond for quite a few years now, and it’s interesting to see their progression and the way they’ve kind of specialized each of them in different things. Paavo’s really into tech and Tony’s really into songwriting, you know, they all have their things that they’re interested in so they have the freedom to focus on that one or two things that they’re good at. Which was cool, just really interesting to see. And then, it was also just amazing to be able to play in front of that many thousands of passionate music fans and so I think it was a big boost.
Did you learn anything specific from them that you now carry with you, or was it a more casual environment?
Yeah like we chatted a little bit about stuff, but not too much. To be honest a lot of our time that we spent together was meals and travel stuff, so it wasn’t like super serious. We just joked around a lot and you know, the crew was there and the atmosphere was always super light and fun and that made it really enjoyable. And they’re so down to earth as well, like there’s no ego like ‘we’re the headliners, you’re the openers,’ there was none of that at all. So it was great, it was a very fun experience.
Will any of your tracks be featured on the upcoming Anjunadeep compilation?
Yes, I think one or two of the album tracks made it onto the comp. I think they’re finalizing it right now so we’ll have to wait and see exactly which ones they pick. James and Jody always keep it a bit secret until it’s out so we’ll see. but I know there’s at least one track on there.
Do you think “live” shows are a reality for you in the near future?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m working on it, and it’s one of those things where timing-wise it didn’t quite make sense to do it on this album tour. It just wasn’t quite ready yet. And the album tour is obviously in the fall and its gonna be DJing. Because, you know, I love DJing and I don’t wanna stop DJing, so I was always a little hesitant. I wanted to get into doing a live show eventually but I was having so much fun DJing and I feel like I improved a lot as a DJ as well and became kind of ‘worthy’ I guess of some of the bookings I was getting on a DJing level, haha. So it was important for me to do one more headline tour as a DJ before the next one. Perhaps we’ll get into live stuff. It’s something that I’m actively trying to finalize at this moment.