Giving us a tough time on the dancefloor.
Well Mr Walker, things going amazingly well for you at present. Congratulations. You are now living in London, but hail from Auckland, New Zealand. What music were you listening to growing up that influenced you as a kid that saw you walk up this dance music road…?
“Thanks Dan! I was listening to a mixture of heavy metal, rock and hiphop in my teenage years. Old Metallica, Nirvana, Wu-tang, Dr Dre a strange mix really! Then in my late teens I started working at a Magazine store and got exposed to electronic music from the mags and cover CDs. The first electronic album I was really into was Daft Punk’s ‘Homework’ and I was big into the UK tech house sounds of the late-90s.”
Your new single ‘Tough Love’ is one of the Summer’s smashes. Tell us about this monster, when did you lay it down and how did you choose the remixers?
“I just finished it a couple of months ago. It came together pretty quickly really. It’s based around one big stab that is at the end of a track by a very questionable 90’s band which I layered with some big tape saturated 808 drums. I had bought a bunch of random second hand CD’s up at Camden Exchange for sampling and the vocal/pad sound that carries through the B-Side Pressure also came out of that buying session. I wanted to sample things you wouldn’t expect to be sampled, you’d never be able to tell where they came from if you heard the source material. The remixers were easy to choose and fortunately for me they both offered rather than me having to beg! Greg Chrurchill and Dom (Attaque) are close friends of mine and big inspirations, two of the most exciting electronic producers in the world in my book.
You released your very first EP ‘Alias’ in 2005 that was snapped up by Underwater Records, it went on to become the 3rd highest selling record on Beatport of 2005 – what DJs/producers/artists in New Zealand were inspiring you back then?
“New Zealand has alot of great DJ’s but the two I was inspired most by were Greg Churchill and Dick Johnson. Greg was playing these amazing closing sets at Auckland clubs’ Ink and Code playing this really fresh sounding dark, tough 4×4 music with huge amounts of energy. It really struck a chord with me as I was always into darker music whether hiphop or metal. On the other hand Dick had this excellent house night Electric in the backroom of an old, ornately decorated theatre called Grand Circle. He was playing labels like Paper Recordings and NRK and I think it was there every Saturday for a couple of years! I think you could say my style fell into the middle of those two points. Greg was the one who sent my first tracks over to Matt Stuart who was then at Underwater and now runs Gung-ho! My story would have been a lot different without Greg and Matt.”
Why did you decide to make the move from your home country to the UK?
“It was late 2007. I felt like I needed a change and wanted to see how far I could take things, so I booked a round the world ticket with a close mate. We lived in Japan for a while and put on a party there which is still one of the most enjoyable sets of my life. I got to London after travelling through Asia in the Summer of 2008.”
What were the first cultural shocks you discovered when landing in England?
“It’s alot more fast paced and intense. I’ll never get used to the whole getting dark at 4pm in the Winter thing either!”
What clubs blew you away when you first moved here?
“Fabric and Ministry. Nuff Said!”
What are the big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
“Not including the Tough Love EP it would be…
TWR72 – Summer of 91 (acid version)
Alex Metric – Raveaggedon
Tom Flynn – Budgie Smuggler
Green Velvet – Minni Vanilli
Loops of Fury – I Need
Attaque – Light Falls
Gonzalez – Never Stop (Erol Alkan remix)
Bart B More – Cry Baby
Arveene & Misk – Hells Bells 2011 (Luke Walker remix)
Danny Daze – Fall Away from Love
What 10 ‘back to mine tunes’ would you play us if we all piled back to yours after a club, to either chill out or carry on ’til dawn?
“Oh yes, I love being the Back to Mine DJ. My second fave part of a gig I just did in Italy after playing was being in charge of the music on the drive home!”
Peter & The Magician – Love in Rimini
Tricky – Time to Dance (Maya Jane Coles remix)
Julio Bashmore – Batty Knee Dance
Audiofly – 6 Degrees (Tales of Us remix)
Soul Clap – Between the Edit
Danny Daze – Your Everything
George Fitzgerald – Weakness
Miguel Migs – Everybody (Soul Clap remix)
Azari & III – Into the Night (Prince Language remix)
Rolling Stones – Sweet Virginia
What did your family and friends think of the big jump to Britain?
“They were all really supportive. It made complete sense really and I go home once a year so I still see them fairly often.”
What song can’t you get out of your head at the moment?
“I love the chorus in Digitalism’s track ‘Forest Gump’. Really great hook but melancholic. I am really into music that is melancholic but uplifting.”
Which DJs did you always look up to from around the world whilst living in New Zealand?
“Tiga was a big influence for me. I came to Europe on holiday when I was 19 and saw him and 2ManyDJs at Melkweg in Amsterdam and they blew my mind. I also gotta call out the Frenchmen Alan Braxe, Fred Falke, Cassius and labels Vulture/Crydamoure/Roule. I loved and still love French House and Techno. Finally the darker German sounds of Tiefschwarz, Thomas Schumacher and Stephan Bodzin were important to me. “
What is the best dance track ever made?
“Depending on which day you asked I would say either Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Running or Intro. And they are both on the same record! They’re just timeless for me and bring back so many good memories. I still play them now occasionally and they’re over 10 years old!”
Tell us about your London club nights you’ve been running…
“I started off doing a ‘Rekonnekted’ party in South London, the same party I used to run at Ink Bar back in New Zealand. Then last year I started two new nights. ‘One Night Stand’ with my DJ friends Dom, Kristie Van and Danny Scott where we had Turbos Clouds come down from Scotland to play. ‘Bit on the Side’ is a more intimate night we put on in a great little basement in Brick Lane. We’ll be putting on a new night soon so keep an eye out.”
What do you miss the most about New Zealand?
“My Family mainly. I’m the eldest of six so there’s a lot of people to miss! Also my friends of course; going fishing and having beautiful beaches and nature less than an hour’s drive away. I feel a really strong connection to the land there and it’s nice to know that one day I can go back there get a little bit of land and a boat and build a nice studio.”
And what don’t you miss?
“In London you can be entertained any night or day of the week and the amount of big musicians/comedians/festivals I’ve been able to see here has been amazing. Your choices are a bit more limited in New Zealand on a Tuesday night!”
Most of your tunes including your ‘Mayhem EP’ and your remix of ‘Burn The Negative’ have made it into the DMC Buzz Chart – how important to producers is this chart?
“My first exposure to DMC was the DJ Championships which everyone knows about. If you had to ask me one Industry Chart which was most important for breaking new underground Dance Music I’d say the DMC Buzz Chart.”
Not many people know this, but I am very good at…
“Cooking. You have to eat well when you’re up ’till 8am on the weekend.”
You’ve remixed some mighty dancefloor hits, what do you think has been your finest re-work?
“I’m really proud of my remix of the Japanese Popstars track ‘Let Go’ featuring Green Velvet. It gets a great reaction every time I play it and to be remixing the vocals of one of my heroes Green Velvet as well as my good friends the Japstars, was a real buzz for me.”
Which country has the craziest clubbers?
“Japan has some pretty wild clubbers closely followed by the Spanish, particularly in Barcelona. The UK holds its own too”
What was the weirdest sight you saw when DJing in Thailand?
“Well it was at an open air club on the beach so I was just in Board Shorts as was the rest of the crowd. To be able to see the ocean from the booth is always a bonus!”
What do you think has been the Summer dancefloor anthem?
“I think TWR72 – Summer of 91 (acid version) is right up there for me.”
What is your guilty pleasure tune?
“Hall and Oates ‘Out of Touch. It’s disgustingly sexy. My friend Mat and I played it about 5 times in one day at a recent bbq (yes we were heavily intoxicated and yes we were getting yelled at by everyone).”
And finally, what is coming out next from the Luke Walker studio…?
“I have two remixes coming out soon. One of the track Hells Bells 2011 by Ireland’s Arveene & Misk and another for the singer from Gus Gus Earth who has done an amazing EP for Gung-ho! which you’re going to be hearing a lot of! After that will be my next solo EP which Im working on at the moment.”