Leo Laker



How are you? What've you been up to? Have you been making music/playing shows? Any releases/shows coming up?

Hi! I'm doing really good. Pretty excited as my baby should born any day now! So getting ready for that takes a lot of time. Otherwise I've been working a lot on extending my new live set, remixes and tracks. And then stuff for my label, artwork etc. I play next month in St. Petersburg, but otherwise I haven't been playing so much now as I just started with the new live set. I really wasn't happy with the old one and was planning on making a new one, but it was hard to let go what I had. But then when I lost all my files to malware, I had to start from almost zero, so I made it with very different approach and now I'm really happy with it. Tomorrow a new "Ghettokicks EP" is coming out on LKRMusic and another one is complete with no date yet. I'm now also making a techno live pa when I have a bit more time.


One of my favorite tracks ever is "The Darker Side of the Dog feat. Pet Duo." Can you describe how that track came about with you and Pet Duo?

I was going to make an EP where the base of every track is a loop from a different artist. For some reason it really didn't go forward, so I used this one track on "No problems EP"


I take a lot of time tweaking the kicks, for me, it’s almost the most important part of my production, at least in hardtechno.


Your label website is pretty unique. There's tons of articles on music production and creativity. Did you plan on that being a major feature of LKR Music?

Actually that is just a part of the Datablender collective site, which is the parent for LKRMusic. I'm planning to make LKRMusic a part of leolaker.net to get it a bit more personal look.


What's your relationship with Datablender Records?

I came to know Ray and Vitalius (Persohna) when I was playing at Datablender party in London and kind of hit it off and became friends. I made some tracks and release for Datablender, and later Ray asked me if I want to put up my own label. He takes care of the distribution to stores and I find the artists, compile the releases and make the artwork.


Have you ever played in the U.S? Where has been your favorite place to play?

No, I was only in South America. So many nice places, I think Brazil was one of the best. In Spain and Poland I also had so much good times. So hard to say :)


I saw an interview where you said there's a difference between Tracker and Sequencer people. What did you mean by that? Do you find your production techniques being similar to the days when you were producing on Tracker software? 

Well, I always took using tracker as more like programming, only using a keyboard, and how you see the structure of the track. That time it was at least for me that sequencers were more for people using hardware as opposed to using samples. When I moved to FL studio later, it slowed me down a lot, as I was used to just kinda typing everything in :)


Your kick drums are massive. How you do make them so dominant in your mixes? Your selections of samples are equally as mesmerizing. Is there a secret to making a crazy techno loop?

I take a lot of time tweaking the kicks, for me, it's almost the most important part of my production, at least in hardtechno. Secret? Just slicing and stacking a lot of stuff on top of another! Haha!



I know you've played a lot with Tomash Gee. What's your relationship like with him? Is he an inspiration to you musically or is he doing his more of his own thing?

Now I can’t even remember when I met him the first time, but it was when I was playing in Poland long time ago. Feels like I've always known him, he’s one of the only people who I can naturally play and produce with. He's also one of the funniest guys I know. We toured a lot in Poland and he’s come to Finland a few times. I love his style, it’s very unique and you can usually hear when it’s his track. We do still keep our own styles which I think has contributed to a lot of the success we've had in our live performances together. Now I haven’t seen him in a while, but we play together next month again.



What are the differences between all your aliases (Switchblade, Leo Laker, Esbo Electric, William Garvin) and when did they all begin?

Well, Leo Laker (Laker is my real last name, Järveläinen in English) was the first I used, and at the time was exclusive for Tresor. So then I got Esbo Electric (Name of the electric company in Espoo where I was living at the time) for the two releases I did for Finnish Label Hotshot by Marko Laine. Then for 4x4 releases I used Switchblade, a name I’ve been thinking for a long time because it’s the name of an old Amiga game I used to play. William Garvin (Modesty Blaises “Sidekick” is a name I use for house-like productions, but haven’t really used that lately and only released one track on a Finnish compilation.


Develope and maintain a style from which you can be instantly recognized. There’s so much good music now that you have to stand out.


Do you have any advice for other artists? 

Develope and maintain a style from which you can be instantly recognized. There's so much good music now that you have to stand out. 


What does your studio look like? Do you work strictly in the box or do you have any hardware? What are you favorite hardware/plugins?

Like a cave :) I use only software in addition to controllers. I like Audio Assault Head Crusher and Defacer, otherwise I use mostly FL's or Ableton's built in plugins and Izotope Stutter Edit is good for live performances.