Originating from Melbourne, Lask is now making her mark in the capital of techno – Berlin. This 22 year old powerhouse Producer and DJ has been continuously rising to the top of the scene with her ability to seriously set a dancefloor on fire. With her desert inspired techno sets and a fierce knowledge of music to match, Lask is only beginning to show the world what she can do. After supporting various international legends such as Tim Englehardt, Alex Stein, Guy Mantzur and Hernan Cattaneo, she has earned her name as a headliner at the anticipated Rainbow Serpent 2019, and this is definitely a set you shouldn’t miss.
Hey Lask! Thank you for the interview… you are killing it for someone so young, can you tell us a little bit about how you got started?
Thank you! I got into music when I was around 14. I’d just attended my first Rainbow Serpent and it showed me there was another path in life. As I grew up in a small town the options seemed limited to trade based professions. I started with writing lyrics and when I turned 15 I started learning guitar, but the whole 8 hours of scale practice a day really killed my enthusiasm for it.
In Year 12, I decided to study music composition, and was taught the basics of Logic Pro. I found that using a DAW was much more suited to my attention span so I stuck with it for around two years until i went to SAE to study music production. They only really taught Ableton-based techniques so I eventually gave in to Ableton and we’ve been together ever since.
As for the DJing aspect, I felt that it was necessary to involve myself with the music community to develop a legitimate platform and following where I could spread my music. Eventually, I grew addicted to the rush of playing and educating people of sounds that I didn’t think they had heard before in Melbourne.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
That’s a tough one. I would say that I’m more influenced by genres then artists. I respect a lot of artists but I’ve created a rule for myself that I would never put too much influential emphasis on them. I did this because I noticed how many people were doing it and found within a few months that they had pretty much just emulated the artists’ style and lost their own sense of creativity. By witnessing that mentality, I’ve been more drawn to different movements from various scenes and countries, to the power of music as a whole and what it can do to a crowd or an individual when its played right.
How would you describe your sound? Does it differ in your sets and productions?
It definitely differs throughout the environments/set times and phases of my life. As a DJ, I would describe my sound as outdoor orientated techno, although I’ve never fully found the bridge between what I play and what I produce. In fact, I see the two as almost completely different things.
My main goal when I play sets is to show that females can have more balls then a males, so I tend to play darker tunes. I really love to play driving psychedelic techno, with dark basslines and growly sounds that make you go ‘wtf did i just hear’. I like to defy gender roles by shocking people who haven’t seen me play before, showing them that when I’m behind the decks I mean business even though I may appear as a somewhat sweet girl on the exterior.
When it comes to productions though, I have absolutely no control over what I write. Producing is an outlet to whatever emotion I am feeling, and this can lead to some pretty weird stuff that most likely won’t see the light of day, though I sometimes shock myself! By having no expectations it creates opportunities to produce something different. This can sometimes be frustrating because I would love to produce tracks that I could play in any set, but the reality is that my DJ persona is a lot different to my production persona, which is more just a pure representation of myself and not something I can dictate.
What pulled you towards music production and how have you been finding this process?
Honestly, I started music production because I really couldn’t be arsed with the rigorous daily exercises it took to learn a musical instrument… and I smoked too many cigarettes to have any chance becoming a singer. Before I wanted to make 4/4, I always had it in my head that one day I’d write scores for video games and films as I love getting weird with synthesis, but I quickly realised that my attention span wasn’t cut out for this.
I am extremely grateful for this! Its so rewarding to spend hours tuning a kick drum and getting that feeling when you have the right level of saturation mixed with solid compression whilst its headroom is intact to make something awesome blast through the speakers … it actually turns me on in a nerdy way and its definitely the medium for me. I’ve always loved computers and technology and I truly believe that electronic music is the way of the future. As long as the technology keeps progressing I don’t think I’ll get bored or distracted … which usually happens a lot.
How has growing up in the doof scene played an influence in your music?
I think it’s been the most significant part of my music career! Getting to experience ‘bush doofs’ as a child was played a huge role in my musical influences. I remember when I was around 6 or 7, I’d wake up at a bush party and not know where my mum was, so I’d put on my boots and head down to the dance floor to check out what the fuss was about. I have a strong memory of standing on the dance floor looking at the lasers and hearing the 4/4 kick drum belting it out, not really knowing what to make of it but knowing that I definitely enjoyed it, even at that age!
I’ve never been into normal parties, I felt the crowds were obnoxious and the music wasn’t typically my thing, so the doof scene really resonated with me because the experience is sensory, not just beats in a dark room. It has to draw on all the elements, from visual, to smell, to sound. You can make such a deep connection to yourself when you are dancing under the stars in fresh air to good music. When I got in to club DJing, I would always try and re-create that atmosphere. I wanted people to be able to shut their eyes and feel like they were in either a dense forest, or dusty desert. I even started bringing in gum leaves to the club and place them around the decks so I could feel protected by the power of the land. By doing that, I hoped to create a safe space for those around me.
You’ve recently moved to Berlin, what brought that on?
Honestly it wasn’t planned at all! I wanted to go on holiday so I booked a one-way ticket to Berlin as I didn’t have enough money for a return flight. I had no idea what it’d be like there, except for what I’d been told by friends. So based on a few opinions, I did it. I managed to get a gig from one of my good friends who runs PRIZM. After I played that gig, it kinda solidified everything I wasn’t too happy with in the Melbourne scene. The crowd was amazing and the set was long. I was free to play how without the worry that I wouldn’t have enough time, which was a regular occurrence in Melbourne due to the short sets. My plan was to leave Berlin after that gig and head home, but conveniently, I met a really amazing guy who made the idea of leaving even harder.
What your thoughts on the scene there in comparison to Melbourne?
Melbourne is extremely special and it will always be my home, but it is small, and the room for creativity gets compromised by its need to for-fill quantity over quality. I’m not directing that to all circumstances, but my creative needs as a DJ felt limited and I was developing a big case of resentment against it. As for Berlin, when you have around 300 venues, theres a whole lot more room for movement, as hard as it can be to get gigs over here, when you do get them, they are long and the crowd trusts you. There’s more respect for real DJs over here, and they are given the freedom to do what they are there to do, we aren’t promoters, we are here to provide a musical service and we get booked because we fill a specific element the promoter wants to make their party better. I believe that is a big factor between the two cities.
It looks like big things are happening for you! With your move to Berlin and your gig at Rainbow Serpent coming up, it seems like life’s keeping you busy. How do you feel about all of it?
Its kind of overwhelming the amount of love and support I’ve been shown in my career, and this time is no different. Rainbow is a massive milestone for me as that is where my mind was made up on doing this for a living. Attending as a 14 year old and now getting to play at 22, on the 22nd year it is running is a next level feeling! I feel like with this spontaneous move, I showed myself that I don’t take the easy route, and if I’m feeling unsatisfied, I will put myself through extreme tests to get some of that satisfaction back. Leaving Melbourne although it wasn’t planned, and was the hardest thing i’ve ever done, so getting the gift of playing at Rainbow has been a total blessing knowing that on top of playing the festival that literally started it all for me.
It seems to be a very touchy subject lately but what are your thoughts of being a badass female in the scene?
I don’t know why it is a touchy subject, I think women should be celebrated, especially if they are going up against the males and giving them a run for their skills. I never really viewed myself as a badass personally, my music speaks for itself in the sense I don’t like to ‘play nice’. When I play, I want them to know that “yes I may be a female, but that doesn’t mean anything.” My tunes are badass and I can hold my own behind decks. I was lucky enough when I was starting out to be looked after by some of the best males in the industry, and really pushed myself to being able to hold it together even under extreme amounts of self-doubt and anxiety. This shaped me in to having this mentality that, “yes you may have been playing longer, or have more following, but at the end of the day, its the music that speaks.” I think females are really starting to show what they are made of, because, in my opinion, we are wired to read emotions and vibrations more in-depth then males.
What is one unforgettable, career defining moment that you’ve had?
100% Babylon Festival 2018! I was lucky enough to be able to close the ‘Halfway House’ stage on the last day of the festival which also so happened to be my 22nd birthday. I’d watched all of my friends previously slay their sets on there and with the music at the festival being at an extremely high calibre, I was very anxious that I wouldn’t be able to get the job done.
The minute I started playing, I had all my friends with me, some behind the decks making sure I had everything I needed, and others sending it right off on the dance floor. I played a bush meets desert tribal set and Mother Nature really get into her element. All of a sudden dust storms were breaking out which they hadn’t for the entire festival, the winds were going crazy while the heat was belting down. Next minute, I look up and theres a police car parked at the back of the dance floor with the lights flashing and the police dancing out of the window, I’m pretty sure I cried because I was so happy! It got better when I got to play an extra hour to a full dance floor of my closest friends, with all the tunes I had always wanted to play but never had the opportunity where i felt they would have the impact they should. At the end of the set the whole dance floor sung me happy birthday and I think I cried again! That was definitely the best set experience of my life hands down.
Where do you see yourself progressing in the next year?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve never really been able to tell where I’ll end up careerwise … I like to let things happen on their own. But I would like to have some more music out in the next six months. I’ve been in a big transitional phase since my move to Berlin, I thought I would be happy with what I was writing in Melbourne over here, but I’m really not. Berlin has opened up so many alleys with music that I was never too sure would work in Australia, so now that I’m here and the inspiration is so easily accessible, I really want to get some tracks happening that I actually like and want to release. I think after my Australian/New Caledonia stint early next year I’m going to put all my focus towards properly getting myself established here in Berlin. Its a tough scene to crack but now that the dust has settled from my move here, it will make it much easier to put all my focus towards that.
What is one favourite tune that you have at the moment which you feel like the world needs to hear?
100% this tune.
Check out some of Lask’s sounds here.