Our latest Future Leader, Lauren Lo Sung is on the crest of a pretty big wave right now. Newly signed to Carl Cox’s Management Company – Safehouse Management, a string of high profile gigs ahead of her for the year and a continued affiliation to arguably one the UKs most recognised clubbing brands, Warehouse Project, this plucky Liverpudlian DJ is nothing if not hard working and resilient.
Known for her dub techno sound influenced by the nuances of the original sounds of Chicago and Detroit, Lauren weaves a heady mixture of warm sonics and complex layers of sound which wrap her audiences in a cozy blanket of happiness and joy. Her own club night – LOLiFE, launched in 2009 now boasts performances from cutting edge artists such as Samu.l and Jordan Peak among many others. She has also held residencies at Egg London, WAXXX Liverpool and currently TRMNL Birmingham. Local newspaper the Echo named her Liverpool ECHO DJ of the Year in 2014. Praise indeed. With all this in mind we sent A&R Simon Huxtable to meet the precocious Miss Sung to find out more…
Hi Lauren, great to meet you. Thanks for finding the time to chat, bet things have gone up serval notches in the last few weeks hey!?
Nice to meet you too! Thanks very much for having me. Things have been pretty crazy yeah, nice and busy which is good!
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about growing up in Liverpool and your first exposure to dance music.
I have an older brother and sister (Paul & Lyndsey) who are nineteen and twelve years older than me. So when I was around six they were going out clubbing and blasting Cream and Subliminal compilations from their bedrooms. My sister used to force me to dance to it, so I suppose I had no choice but to start liking it eventually haha!
Both my brother and sister were huge fans of Cream, Lyndsey has always been heavily into dance music such as Hed Kandi, Paul Oakenfold and of course, Madonna. They will both be buzzing that I’ve mentioned them in this, especially Lyndsey (hi Lynz! haha). My parents bought me my first set of decks at the age of 11. If you know me you will know I’m pretty superstitious about the number 11. My birthday is on 11th May, I see 11:11 everywhere, I have a tattoo of 11 on my left arm. So yeah, 11 was the right age for me to start!
From then on I’ve always had a bit of a fasciation with all things music related, I used to record funky house mixes (which were awful) I would probably be dropped from Safehouse if they heard my mixes from back then. I used to DJ at my friends Birthday parties, my school luckily offered DJ lessons too when I was in sixth form so that helped a lot. When I was 17 I visited Ibiza for the first time, going to the likes of Amnesia, Space, Zoo Project. I remember my first time at Cocoon and it literally blew my head off!
Going to Ibiza really opened my eyes to the DJ world, making me even more determined to keep pushing for my dream and eventually play at a party like Cocoon. –
We understand you studied Sports Management at Manchester Met. Was that a back up plan in case the DJing didn’t work out or did you fancy Jurgen Klopps’ job?
Ha! I wasn’t really planning on being Liverpool manager, although it would have been nice. Back then I was worried that my DJing might only be a hobby and not a “real job” as some would say. After a year and a half of my degree I decided it wasn’t for me, most of my time was put into music, it was what I really loved, so that was when I decided to fully commit to DJing and make it a career. I was always really sporty and into art too, so if I didn’t do this then I suppose I would of done something else to do with those subjects.
Can you remember your first gig? How did it go?
When I was at uni I had my first gig in a bar in Manchester. I loved it, I had to play a mixture of music as it was a bar for mixed ages. So the music ranged from 80s/ 90s/ 00s house music, bits of funk, disco, everything really!
We understand you set up LOLiFE in 2009. With a steady steam of top quality guests, it wasn’t long before certain interested parties came knocking. Can you talk us through your vision for LOLiFE and how you came to work with WHP?
Shortly after my first gig it I started my own night (LOLiFE). It was great because I could just do my own thing, with it being my own night I could play whatever type of music I wanted, there were no rules. I used to play for about 3 hours, sometimes all night, and another DJ would play before and after. It went really well from the start, I was lucky to have such great friends who would come to every one of them and show support, then we started to build up some regulars and took it from there.
LOLiFE has always been about intimate parties, low ceilings, basement clubs and good music. It was just a place for me and my friends to DJ at first, but then I started to book well-known DJs such as; Samu.l, Jordan Peak, No Artificial Colours, Josh Butler and more. We then ventured from Manchester to Liverpool. I was asked to host some of The Warehouse Projects’ after-parties with LOLiFE and was also asked to be a clubbing partner for them and for PARKLIFE Festival too, I was buzzing!
When I became resident for EGG London they asked me to host the basement of the club with LOLiFE, with the CIRCUS parties upstairs. I also had my own radio show in London called “the LOLiFE Show” on EGG Radio. Since then I’ve been doing some free parties in Liverpool, and am looking to do more in 2016, across the UK. LOLiFE has gone from strength-to-strength over the years and I’m looking forward to doing more parties all over the world in the future.
So finally Safehouse called. No doubt overwhelming, I can imagine your mind was swimming! Has it all sunk in yet?
It was pretty crazy, I still can’t believe it to be honest. To be on the same management roster as the likes of Carl Cox, Joseph Capriati, Danny Tenaglia, Yousef etc is just mad. If you would have told me 5 years ago this would be happening I would of laughed.
After I got the phone call to confirm it all, I ran into the kitchen to tell my Mum and broke down into tears, my sister then called me and I made her cry too! Haha, tears of happiness of course. It’s what I’ve been working towards since I started my journey, so it’s pretty overwhelming, but it has really given me even more of a motivational push to working harder on my music. I couldn’t be more excited for the future.
We hear you and Sian Bennett are setting up a record label together. Can you tell us about that and maybe what your first release will be?
It’s always been a dream of mine (and Sian‘s) to start a record label. We thought it made sense to do one together, seeing as we both like similar music. We started e1even records last year, you can probably guess who came up with the name!
We’ve been planning and putting together releases for this year since announcing. It may seem like we’re taking our time with things but both of us are very particular about our music, and we want to make sure we absolutely love every single release. We don’t want to release music for the sake of it. Our email inbox literally hasn’t stopped with demos, but unfortunately many of them aren’t quite fitting. We’ve almost finalised a VA, with a few EPs close to being released from some of our favourite producers/DJs. I’m not going to say who just yet as we would like to announce the release with the artist, so watch this space..
Can you tell us about your gig schedule this year? Anywhere you’re particularly excited about?
I’ve got gigs coming up in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Southend-on-Sea, Newcastle, Liverpool, London, Wigan, a festival in Canterbury and loads more. I’m really excited to play at Fabric London in April, I’ve always wanted to play there! I love playing at my residency for TRMNL in Birmingham, it’s by far one of my favourites, they have got some amazing line-ups coming up this summer so watch out for those.
I’m playing for Yousef again in March at CIRCUS, the last time I played over Christmas was brilliant, so looking forward to returning to play. I’ve been booked to play at PARKLIFE Festival this summer, in the CIRCUS arena with the likes of Ben Klock, Adam Bayer, Dixon, Maceo Plex and more, SO excited for that! I have quite a few other things in the pipe-line, but can’t mention just yet.
And aside from your own label, are you working on any new music at the moment?
I’ve been really busy in the studio lately, working on new music everyday. I’ve got a couple of EPs coming out soon, one on Draft for their vinyl series and another for one of my favourite DJs who randomly sent me an inbox on Twitter last week, he’s asked me to do an EP. I can’t say just yet who/ what label it is but I’m buzzing to be on it!
You’re a Logic girl we believe. Have you tried other DAWs, or was Logic the one you started making music with?
I’ve tried Ableton a few times, I know the basics but my work flow just isn’t there with it. I could put a track together on it but I much prefer to use Logic 9 as it’s what I’m used to. It’s all about a quick work-flow for me as there’s nothing worse than getting bored. It was actually my friend David Glass who told me to start on Logic years ago, he uses Ableton but used to tell me Logic was better; I suppose it just depends on personal preference. I think it’s good to use a few different DAWs, I would like to try Cubase but haven’t got round to trying it just yet.
We noticed a cool little video on your FB page of one of your new tracks. How important has getting to grips with Social Media been for the advancement of your career?
Social Media is almost essential for DJs/producers these days. It’s definitely been a massive help for me over the years. I’m quite a sociable person anyway, so I enjoy networking and speaking to people I don’t know online – I’ve made a lot of friends in the DJ world from doing that. The likes of Facebook/ Twitter/ SoundCloud have been crucial, as promoters can see what I’m up to, where I’ve been playing, what tracks Ive been making and it can lead to bookings. You can definitely over-do social network posts though, so it’s good to try not to post too often.
When I very first started producing I would upload my mixes and clips of my tracks to SoundCloud, and that led to my tracks being signed. “Somethin’ About Chu” was an unsigned track on my SC until Deep Tech Records label boss “Duky” messaged me asking for it. I owe a lot to Social Media, so would definitely recommend it to other DJs/producers who are starting off.
As a millennial has the integration of things like Social Media and Digital Marketing into your job as a performer been less stressful than for older artists you admire? What was your learning curve like?
I don’t really know how stressful it’s been for them, I’ve never had that conversation with another older artist. But I can only assume that it may have been more difficult for them if they didn’t know how to work a computer/ Facebook etc! I know a few DJs who are quite shy and hate doing things like Facebook posts. It’s not really a chore to me as I quite enjoy it.. Even before DJing I would post things on Facebook/ Twitter so I got the hang of it all pretty quickly.
We understand you have a bit of a trainer addiction… Go on, how many pairs?!
I’m nowhere near as bad as I used to be, but I would say around 30 maybe? Probably less than that now. I used to have to sneak them in my house so my Mum wouldn’t see them as she would moan at me for buying yet another pair haha! She would always ask “is that another new pair of trainers you’ve got on Lauren?” and I would just say I’ve had them for ages, whoops! Ha! Most of my trainers are black and probably don’t look too different from one another so I can get away with it haha!
We also heard you’re a pretty good cook. Are you going to try out for Seth Troxlers cooking competition this year at ADE?
Haha, I would love to enter his competition, I love cooking so much. My Dad always tells me I should open a cafe/ restaurant but I have to remind him that I am a DJ and this is what I’m sticking to, haha! I make a mean chilli con carne. I’m obsessed with chilli, literally put it in everything. I would probably put it on my cereal to be honest. I’ve made a few dishes a little bit too hot as I’m pretty tolerant to a spicy dishes now. You may need a glass of milk to wash your food down with if you eat something I’ve cooked haha!
Lauren, it’s been an absolute pleasure to meet you. We wish you the best of luck for the future, is there anything you’d like to add in conclusion?
Thank you very much, pleasure to meet you too and thanks for your support!
01// Redream! 11 – Iredream! 11 (Vocal Mix)
02// Diego Krause – Nebula
03// Jerome. C – Agnes 2 (Bodeler Remix)
04// Malin Genie – Solar Boat
05// Hector – Closer (Hanfry Martinez & Javier Carballo Remix)
06// Lauren Lo Sung – Keep the Groove
07// Dragosh – Brinit
08// Burnski – Cellar Door
09// Randall.M – C+D
10// Scuba – Drift (Mr Tophat & Art Alfie Remix)
11// ID – Schiller
12// Vinyl Speed Adjust – Breakpoint
13// ID – Cookie Jar