10 Questions with ... 3Lau & Bright Lights
December 1, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
You have a new single out together called "Runaway," which is the fourth collaboration that you have done together. How did the two of you first meet?
3Lau: Ee had never actually met in person when we did out first song together. I was such a fan of "Language" by Porter Robinson, which is still probably my favorite dance record of all time, if not in my Top 3, and Heather wasn't credited on the record, but I searched for it. I heard the work she had done with Zedd and with Porter and I just knew her voice was perfect my first track ever, "Escape" with Paris & Simo. I sent it to her and she nailed it immediately. The first time she did it I told her I wouldn't change a single thing. That was the first record we did together on Hardwell's Revealed Recordings, which was great because it went really high on Beatport and it got a lot of DJ play and after that we kept in close touch with each other. Then when I had "How You Love Me," I was looking for vocals for it and I just couldn't find the right one, so I went to Heather. We met for a sushi lunch in L.A. I played it for Heather and she said, "I'm going to nail this, just give me a day," and of course one day goes by and it's perfect. "How You Love Me" was the second record we did together. We write super-well together, we have super chemistry and we've been working together ever since.
I noticed on the first three singles it was 3Lau featuring Bright Lights" on "Runaway" the script has been flipped and it's Bright Lights featuring 3Lau, why did you decide to so it this way?
Bright Lights: It's mostly because my album is coming out, so this is going to be a song off of my Bright Lights album.
3Lau: It's also because I've always believed that singers don't get enough recognition in the Dance space. Heather actually brought this whole idea to me, where in the past I always brought the tracks to her and she would write over them. This time she brought me a song. I just produced it, tweaked it out and made it perfect. So in that sense it was definitely more her thing than mine.
Heather this song is on Dim Mak; do you have an album coming on Dim Mak?
Bright Lights: No, the single was on Dim Mak, but an album deal is not done yet.
Heather you are working on your album. 3Lau, are you working on anything new?
I'm actually working on the album with Heather. She's got a bunch of heavy hitters who I'm helping to produce and finish up. I'll be working on that probably into next year. On my own I have a totally bunch of differen- styled records; "Runaway" was the first of them. I started to explore different genres. I just released a remix for Shawn Mendes on his single, "Stitches," that's like a 150 beats per minute to Chill-Trap. So I've just been kind of exploring other genres. I'm actually going to be singing on one of my next releases as well. I'm trying to do new things and keep it fresh.
3Lau, you had taken a break from doing remixes for awhile...
To be honest, for a long time; I was kind of uninspired. I wasn't really feeling any tracks that were coming in for remix requests. Most of the time they were either super-Pop or kind of oddly dance to the point where I wasn't really inspired. Then this "Stitches" remix actually just went #1 on Hype Machine and got a lot of action in the club world. I just loved the song and I actually banged out the remix in a day, because I was super-inspired by it. That's usually how I like to work.
Heather, I just saw on your Facebook page that you did a remix of "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd...
Bright Lights: I did, I've been doing a lot of remixes, mash-ups and edits -- just being really inspired by a lot of Pop music and putting these beats behind them that you would not expect on a Pop record. I did a "Hey Mama" mash-up that goes super-hard Trap. The "Can't Feel My Face" is really cool; it's got a little Disco/Funk vibe to it.
Heather, you've written for Ashley Tisdale, as well as Britney Spears, Usher, Toni Braxton and Justin Bieber, as well as being nominated for a Grammy with Fantasia that. How did you go from Pop-Rhythmic records to becoming incredibly well known in the EDM space?
Bright Lights: I've always been a Pop girl at heart. I grew up listening to Britney Spears, Beyonce' and Usher so I do feel very blessed to have these opportunities where life came full circle where I got to write for some of the artists that really inspired me. I stepped into the Dance world because I got really frustrated as a songwriter. The core of who I am as an artist is a very visual person. I just don't write a record, I see a record and I see a music video and I think about the fashion I would wear in that video, the album cover and how cool that could be.
As a songwriter I just felt boxed in, that I was doing a lot of the same records over and over. Pop music had become a little stifling to me, so I reached out to a really good friend, Dave Rene at Interscope, and I said, "I'm going crazy, please send me the craziest track that you have that no one can possibly write to or sing over." He sent me this Zedd record that literally had me jumping off of coffee tables and losing my mind. This song was so rude, so cool, so fresh and edgy. I called him back immediately and asked who it was. He said, "It's a new guy named Zedd, and I'd love for you guys to meet. If you want to write over this feel free." So that's actually the track I wrote "Follow You Down," which is on his 'Clarity' album. He ended up remixing it, so it's not the same track that is on the album now. Then he told Skrillex about me and Porter Robinson, and then Skrillex told a few other people and Porter told a few other people and before I knew it, I had about five to 10 feature requests a week. The e-mails were going through the roof and I just very carefully selected the tracks that inspired me.
3Lau: I was one of those 15 requests a week. Luckily Heather loved the track I sent to her on, and it worked out for the both of us.
Do you remember the first time you two performed a song together?
Bright Lights: I remember it was New Years Eve two years ago, it was at Lizard Lounge in Dallas
3Lau: Yes that was the first time, we did "Escape," and it was a little bit after that that we did "How You Love Me" for the first time. We didn't perform "How You Love Me" in Dallas but I played it in my set that night. At the time no one knew "How You Love Me." It was super-fun to perform together and the response from the crowd that night was amazing. Now whenever we have a chance and our schedules line up, Heather performs with me -- the biggest of which so far has been the Staples Center in L.A. with Zedd in September. At the time, "Runaway" wasn't out but when we performed it there, it was just a whole other level of experience. We've both come really far from performing live at Lizard Lounge in Dallas to live at the Staples Center.
Talking about coming really far: 3Lau, you posted this incredible picture of this brand new car you got, noting that when you were growing up, your dad made you pay $250 a month towards borrowing his car and it helped you to learn the value of money...
3Lau: I was super-proud because I've always been into cars all my life, more than kind of anything else. It's probably the only luxury item I cared about at the end of the day. All my friends in high school had cars. I went to a private high school; most of the families were pretty wealthy and kids could get whatever they wanted. All my friends would go to parties on weekend and I would never have a ride. Eventually I was like, "Dad I need a car," and he was, "Nope, if you want to borrow mine, then you have to pay me for it because I'll have to go get another car because you're going to use mine more." So my dad went and got another car, and I borrowed his car and basically paid him $250 a month, teaching guitar lessons and baby sitting around the neighborhood.
What type of car is it?
It's a 2016 F-Type R Jaguar; I always wanted one, My #1 car is the Aston Martin DB10 that's in the new James Bond movie, which is a little out of anybody's price range. One day I hope I'll post a photo of that car, but this was the next step up for me. It was kind of a big deal. It's really fast ... 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. It's faster than a lot of Ferraris out there. I was very please with my purchase. It was a big moment for me.
Heather, you do something on your site called 60 seconds with Bright Lights, which takes place ever Tuesday at 3:33pm Pacific time...
Bright Lights: I have a bunch of fans who ask me questions and do messages, but a lot of times it would end up being the same or similar questions. Sometimes they would be really far-out questions that no one would ask, but that people would want to know about, so I started this series. It's really quick, 60 seconds, and I just answer the fans' questions. It's a lot of fun. We always get a lot of jokes going on and comments. It's been great so far.
In your second series, one question was what's your most embarrassing moment?
Bright Lights: It was a ski trip when I was a teenager, and I decided not to take any lessons. I was just going to go for it and I ended up on the level right below the Black Diamond where you are really high up for one and I went off and did okay at first, but I couldn't figure out how to stop or slow down. So I'm just zooming down this mountain. It felt like 50-60 miles per hour, all I could think was if I fall I die. People were moving out of the way and they were stopping in their tracks. I get to the part where all the people are at bottom of the mountain and I slam into the fence and my skis get stuck in the holes of the fence and I have to pull my skis out. People are trying to help me and I finally get on the ski lift and it bumps me into the mush, the icy, muddy stuff and I get up and I was just so pissed. I just wanted to gert back to the lodge; I had enough of skiing. It was not a good look.
Justin, what's your most embarrassing moment?
3Lau: Recently, I played a sold-out show in Montreal where Ansolo opened for me, who is a close friend of mine. Leighton from Adventure Club came out and everyone was having a good time and Leighton said, "Let's all crowd surf together, all three of us at the same," and I said, "Sure, I've done that before. Of course, I take my shoes off, which I never normally do and jump and do an entire flip as I jump and I literally hit the ground from this crowd surfing adventure as everyone moved out of the way and it's all over the Internet now. I was shocked and hurt myself. I got a pretty big bruise on my back, but I had to get up and keep playing the show. It was definitely an embarrassing moment.
So this was before or after the half of bottle of Jagermeister with Leighton?
Oh, you know how Leighton likes his Jagermeister; hopefully it wasn't half a bottle. I don't think anybody can drink like him and Tiesto, and be champions like they are.
3Lau, tell me a little bit about a goal you reached with the charity Pencils Of Promise.
3Lau: That's a bigger and longer conversation, but we raised enough money to build almost four schools now with Pencils Of Promise. We built one two years ago and my goal for next year is actually to bring eight fans with me to visit schools around April or May. In order to do that, we need to raise around $200,000. That's going to be a really big project for next year and I'm doing a lot of things to move that forward.
To find out my specific involvement with Pencils Of Promise you can just got to www.3lau.com/pop. It has a video documentary of me visiting the first school in Guatemala and it tells everybody how they can get involved and help raise money for the cause.
Heather, you have a lot of inspirational sayings on your sites, such as "Every next level of your life will demand a different you" and "Fear isn't real, it's only in your mind." What lead you to post inspirational sayings?
Bright Lights: Bright Lights overall is a really inspirational brand. As I go through my day, I think a lot. I'm not an over-thinker, but I'm a very introspective thinker. So a lot of time sit back and analyze life in different segments and where I find myself at that moment. In regards to the fear quote, I was actually thinking about "Runaway" because it is essentially about anyone who runs away from a good thing out of fear. I feel like fear and love can't really co-exist. As long as you are afraid of something, you can't just jump. You have to just jump, just do it sometimes. As long as your fear is overcoming, you can't really be successful ... you can't really do what you are meant to do.
You are both very active on social media. Heather, you just recently hit a 100,000 likes on the Bright Light Facebook page. Justin, you went over 1 million likes on the 3Lau page. How active are the both of you in interacting with interacting with your fan on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook?
3Lau: There are a lot of different artists out there. Some are into the joking, funny stuff; others are really reserved and don't necessarily enjoy interacting with their fans on a regular basis. Heather and I bonded over the fact that we both don't like the gimmicks and the games. We just like being real with the fans and people, so we follow the more inspirational route. We like motivating fans to be inspired by the way we are about music and the way we are about our everyday lives. We try to relate to the fans more than anything else; the only way to do that is by being in touch with them and hearing what they have to say. We really like to open up ourselves and let our fans into our lives as opposed to being the figure who is really famous and distant.
Bright Lights: That's pretty much what I was going to say. One of the reasons I'm so happy doing the artist thing is that it allows me a chance to interact with the fans. It's one of the things that I missed as a songwriter. Your song can impact millions of people; the whole world might know your song and be effected by it, but you'll never be able to one-on-one talk to everyone. We were at a show where this guy came backstage and told me that "How You Love Me" saved his marriage. It almost brought me to tears.
3Lau: His name is Brock and he is a really big fan of the both of ours. "How You Love Me" was a big part of saving his marriage with his wife Marisol; he comes out to shows all the time. It's stuff like this that we love. At the end of the day, more than being a big artist or more than having a social media following, we can both agree that our music can affect even one individual life so much.
Did either of you think when you started making music that you could create something that could change peoples' lives?
3Lau: That was a hope for me, but I never thought it would happen. It's always a big lofty goal, but at the end of the day both Heather and I can say our goal with music isn't to make the biggest hit, the most popular or catchy song. In the way we write and engage with people, our goal is to make music that really inspires people with their lives and gets them to do whatever they want to do and just be real. That's kind of our mutual goal.
Justin, you mentioned that you are going to be singing on an upcoming song. Have you done that before?
3Lau: And Heather is going to help me. She is the best at vocal engineering in the business. A good side note about Heather: She actually does all of her vocals. When I get a vocal from her, I don't have to do anything to it, it's just ready to go and that's very rare for vocalists in this business. With "Runaway," that's all her vocals and all her editing ... the same with all the delays and all the reverb on "How You Love Me" ... that's all her.
Favorite city for each of you to perform in:
3Lau: It always changing for me; it'ss always the last best show I had. Montreal was unbelievable. Minus the fact that I was dropped by the crowd, it was an amazing show. I also really enjoyed Japan. Being greeted by the fans with photographs to sign; I've never experienced that before. It was an eye-opening experience and my favorite place to play for at least the past year.
Bright Lights: I can kind of relate to Justin on the Asia tip. Asia is my biggest market, so going over there is always such a dream. Every time I go, the brand gets bigger and bigger, the shows get bigger, and the fans are always so respectful. They will wait for you to finish your dinner and wait outside the restaurant, then say, "I'm such a fan; will you sign this?" I went to the mall in Korea and people recognized me with my wig off -- without the purple hair. I thought that was kind of crazy. I do love playing in Asia, the shows are super-energetic and they go really hard. They'll go to 4, 5, 6 7, 8 in the morning partying. In America I love playing Vegas and Fort Lauderdale.