Reflecting the sound of her music, I have one word to describe Laurine… DEEP.
I’m gonna keep it short and get right to the interview where we are so fortunate to share with you such an insightful, sincere and candid perspective on the world of dance music and more… ENJOY!
Questions & Answers with Laurine :
What part of Italy are you from and what was the music scene like for you growing up there?
I come from a really small town of 12,000 citizens, a couple of hours from Venice, which I left when I was 18 years old to move to a city as I was motivated mostly by the fact that I needed more spice with the night life. I was really enchanted by clubbing and electronic music and anything decent was much too far from my small town, so this way I got a bit more closer to it.
At that time (early 2000) the clubbing scene began to go down in a bad way due to the political situation, but I still managed to catch something interesting from it. The scene was basically divided by House music, mostly from the US and proper Techno, which was fast and pumping, like Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin and Carl Cox. There were also some clubs offering another kind of Techno, more clever and slower. So basically, I was traveling every weekend to go to listen to this or that DJ, and to check out the clubs and events I had heard were good.
The interesting thing back then was that every club and venue had its own personality, some were famous for the house music they proposed, others for the techno, and it was much easier to listen to quality stuff because there was a concept behind the music with a coherence to the night, these were the primary factors, while these days it seems its about having a line up full of big names that have nothing in common. I don’t know who is to blame for this, I guess we are all guilty, the promoters, the DJs and the public. ;)
A lot of local artists were also doing a great job only as DJs: back then it was considered more if you were just playing records and I think we have lost the “ DJ only” figure along the way and with obvious consequences. But putting things in perspective, I am happy with where I grew up and I think it gave me a good solid base to start from, even if it could have been better, hehe.
When did you discover your own interest in djing and eventually become discovered yourself?
My interest in djing came as a direct result for my passion for music and my love for the dance floor. I just desired to be able to select the music myself and then play it, so a friend lent me his old mixer and I bought my first turntable as I started buying records at my local record shop.
It took me couple of years before I performed my first gig. It happened when I moved away to live in Barcelona, where a good friend was organizing some parties and literally forced me to play, I was nervous about not sounding good enough…but I did need the push. After that I played on a regular basis around Barcelona, mostly warming up, but a fact that I appreciate. It really helped me to learn the ropes and knowing how to build a night from A to B. It allowed me to remain true to myself and to my style; which was always very important to me.
How did you end up in Berlin and has it come to play apart in shaping your sound, if so, how?
After 4 years in Barcelona, the city wasn’t giving me anything anymore. Personally and musically I was stuck at a point where I wasn’t satisfied. I had a well-paid job outside of Djing that I really loved, but the routine of the office was killing me. I just wanted more and more to be able to focus my full energy on music. The club scene was also not helping me to advance more, so I just put these points together and decided to quit my job and leave Spain for a year of sabbatical.
From there the logical choice was Berlin, but before I arrived there I decided to make a quick little pit stop in London, to help refresh my English some more. I couldn’t have made a better decision to stop there because I happened to meet my brother in music, DJ Tree. He has been a fundamental figure in my musical growth; I also have to say that at this time I was having my own little musical crisis, which came about in Barcelona as I began to disconnect with the scene there as this whole digital DJ era took over.
So about Berlin and my sound, I started having a really clear and rounded concept for my music. Berlin clarified my ideas, helped me find my place in my music, I was able to create my own personality, fusing all my past experiences together. It has helped me to shape and experiment with what I consider a proper DJ set in terms of duration, a set has to be at least 3 hours in my opinion and cover a wide range of different tempos. I have been playing gigs at every hour of the day and night, permitting me to go in many different directions and styles, this encourages me to search from a bigger spectrum of music and experiment with different kinds of sounds. After five years I am still in love with this city, even though it’s changing a lot and really fast, it has not lost his charm yet.
The collective, Slow Life is a label between you and fellow djs, which has also been described as a kind of family. Can you tell us about your relationships with one another and what motivated you all to start this project and what it represents for you?
It is a family because it was born from a strong friendship and passion for our music. For me one decisive moment was when I left Barcelona and stopped over in London, here as I mentioned before I met DJ Tree, where together we discovered the Discogs potential, we started buying older stuff and without even realizing it we both became completely addicted to crate digging. After 7 months in London I moved to Berlin and there I met almost straight away the people who would become my Slow Life partners. Cecilio I met at one of Underground Quality events at our beloved Tape club (R.I.P.). We connected immediately on a musical and ideological level. By chance, Cecilio was moving in 5 minutes away from my place, so the result was that we were spending all day playing records and sharing music. He was also talking all the time about this amazing music by Sergio Moreira, so the first time we met was when I was invited to his studio to listen to a little live set. I quickly realized that that was actually the music that corresponded the most to my tastes, more than anyone I heard in Berlin.
So we started to all hang out together, Sergio would listen to us playing at home for hours and hours. I think just by his
innate talent and constant inspiration, he quickly improved in the studio and with the nice equipment he was collecting, he soon made some really serious tracks. This made us think at the first time that we needed to do something with
this…this was special!!
Around this time DJ Tree also moved to Berlin and he integrated himself immediately into our “sect”, adding a lot of insight and knowledge to our little music collective. After one year or so, the feeling and the vibe among us grew really strong and we felt a need to join our ideas and our sounds into one big concept, so we could to deliver to he world our unique point of view. So this was shaped into what is now, Slow Life, where we could release on vinyl, do showcases with DJ and Live, podcasts, and deliver a specific kind of attitude and vibe for the scene.
Your mixes have a balance between euphoria and playfulness, what is it that you look for in the sounds that appeal to you?
I mostly look for emotions and elegance, doesn’t matter if we are talking about house, techno, minimal, electro… it has to be deep in some way. I also pay a lot of attention to the arrangement in the song, I want something to happen in a track, I need to be surprised by something, a sudden change of mood or an unexpected new sounds coming in… I love artists like Titonton, Geist and Curtin for exactly those reasons, their tracks are like three tracks in one and they avoid clichéd formulas and schemas, its just pure creativity and full of a raw instinct.
I find that all the elements that fit my taste mostly coming from the 90’s, I think people back then were just making music in a different mood, with a different purpose and with different instruments, so that allowed a fatter sound with a more instinctive approach to making their tracks.
I love it when we find a track that we can’t get enough of and have on repeat for at least a couple weeks… what’s been the most recent track/album that you’ve had on replay?
Apart from the records I get, I’ve been listening a lot to Woo recently, in particular their album “Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong”. It has been a great discovery, their music is really varied and it fits perfect at home whilst you are cooking, cleaning or just relaxing on the sofa. Another song that I have been listening to a lot lately has been “Ruins” from Portico Quartet, each of these artists I highly recommend!
Which clubs do you have a particularly good time playing for and why?
The places that immediately come to mind are Club der Visionaere, and their winter location Hoppettose. We do our showcases there because we could play for longer amounts of time and on a good sound system, both of these places are magical environments. We can go through many different styles with no rush, starting in the afternoon with the sun, passing through the wild night till the sun rise again and then the after party mood (our favorite) begins. Thanks to this and to our big group of friends and supporters, the parties are always a great success in terms of music and vibe. We also love to feel challenged by our demanding crowds and they love to be pleased and surprised each time. Definitely our own parties is where I have the most amazing time, I can express myself 100% musically speaking and get to listen to what I truly like from the beginning to the end, sharing it with the people I love.
What was one of the more memorable parties from this past year and why? What makes for a good party in your opinion?
A really good memory I have from this year has been the Art Of Dark party in London, it was the first time that three of us were booked together (Myself, Cecilio and DJ Tree) and it has been a wonderful experience. We got the chance to play a long set under the sun with a great sound system, and we connected from the first till the last record. We will repeat it for sure next year!
About the second part of the question, the 3 most important elements for a good party in my opinion are: 1 – a proper sound system, 2 – Coherence in the line up and the music, 3 – the crowd. Also the location plays an important role, but with a bit of imagination you can always turn a space into something nice.
Do you have plans to produce?
DJ Tree and myself have recently gathered up the machines we have been collecting during these past years and made a little studio, but I am not going so often as I would like. The diggin and the label take up most of my time and traveling almost every weekend does not help, but I try anyway to make some time for the productions. I consider it another really interesting way of expression, so the plan is to try to focus on this more. Hopefully one day I will be able to play my own Slow Life record ;)
What are some things outside of music that inspire and interest you?
Nice question, I am glad you asked me!
The thing that inspires me the most apart from music is finding the answer to the basic questions everyone should ask themselves – who are we, why are we here, what’s the meaning of life, what is our real potential as the human race, what are they hiding from us, how big is the lie we live in (society, the government system, etc) and how it affects our mind set and the way we think. A lot of people see these things as being too big or too complicated, too busy feeding the system and watching TV so that they don’t even question themselves…and to me this is wrong.
When you start to understand, everything works out better, you feel happier, you can actually live your full potential and maybe avoid the system making you his slave…so, you WAKE UP! I could write a book about all I discovered in the pastyears and how, thanks to that the quality of my life (and indirectly of the people around me) has grown better and better.
So, long story short, not everything is just music or a party! We must focus our attention more on other equally important matters, because our very own change\evolution that each person will reach is what is going to be reflected in the world we live, and therefore in the lives we live. Take your time to read, watch a documentary, find the real information, try to know and heal yourself, and the most important thing: learn to live from love, not fear. (Sorry I am getting too philosophical here eheh).
What’s one thing that you miss most about Italy when you’re not there, and one thing you miss about Berlin when away?
When I am not in Italy, then la Mamma for sure (and her food). She is my mentor and I love spending time in her company. When I am not in Berlin, instead, I miss the feeling of living in a small town but I also miss the characteristics of a big city, and last but not least I miss my friends!
What do you love most about djing and what’s your least favorite thing about this lifestyle?
The things that I love the most are the people I meet, the cities I visit and the many situations where I get to experiment when I am playing. The least are for sure the lack of sleep and the flight delays!
If you could borrow a bag of records from any dj for the night, who would it be and why?
No doubt about that, ZIP! My absolute favorite DJ…apart from his music, he has a great attitude, he has always remained true to himself and the result is the quality and the personality he shows in his sets. I believe the music and how we play it is an extension of who we are and Zip is a proof of that.
Laurine on Soundcloud / Facebook
Slow Life on Soundcloud / Facebook / Discogs
This is a beautiful interview — I can feel the heart of it both in the questions and certainly the answers. Am listening to “Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong” which as Laurine suggested sets such a chill ambiance for being at home. And I love when she gets “philosophical.” Thanks for this interview.