With self-isolation and quarantine orders in effect across the globe, people are connecting through music online more than ever. With unity at its bedrock, the EDM scene has been leading the way, with new drive-in raves, virtual festivals, and artist livestream events every week. Iconic producer Laidback Luke has taken notice, vlogging himself listening to demos submitted to his website, interviewing dance music industry leaders affected by COVID-19, and even offering a DJ livestream tutorial.
Laidback Luke's team at Mixmash Records took things a step further while working on the remix contest for his new single “We Found Love,” a beautiful future house collaboration with Dutch dynamo Steff Da Campo. The bouncy summer banger dropped on April 17th, followed by a video on the label's Instagram depicting the artists connecting via the new Mixmash Dating app.
Luke is seen creating a profile on the app, listing his name, role, location, favorite genre, and profile photo. He then swipes left through various artist profiles until he finds Steff Da Campo’s profile, swiping right and contacting him to collaborate on a song. While the collaboration for the single didn’t happen that way, it set the stage for how the contest will connect artists through music digitally.
The video of the interaction was followed up with a post announcing the "We Found Love" collab remix contest. Through the app, which is rooted in Mixmash's website, artists will first create a profile to enter. The app’s algorithm will then pair artists to collaborate on a remix of "We Found Love" based on the data in their profile, like their musical tastes. After their serendipitous connection via the app—a musical meet-cute of sorts—the two artists will complete a remix of "We Found Love" and submit for a chance at an official Mixmash release. The deadline to sign up for the app is tomorrow, Monday, May 4th.
EDM.com had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Laidback Luke about the Mixmash Dating app, the inspiration behind the remix contest, and the importance of connection through music during the devastating times brought on by the pandemic.
EDM.com: What personal experiences inspired the Mixmash Dating App idea? Was there an a-ha moment that took place?
Laidback Luke: Fun fact, I’ve never been on any dating apps, so no experience there. But we did see a gap for young producers trying to connect with each other globally, so we tried to help that. We felt it would be a really nice angle to portray this as a dating app but then unveil the true power behind it. I need to give the team a shoutout for the idea, they sat together and they brainstormed it. We have a younger team [at MixMash] and through their session, this idea came up.
Why is it important to connect through music—now more than ever during COVID-19?
Human interaction is very important—especially in these times, you do not want to feel alone. Thank god we have the internet so being stuck in the house is not as lonely. With all the opportunities taken away from us though, the internet still allows us to collaborate, have that interaction, and be creative, bringing us together in this situation. Without it, you may feel like there are no possibilities anymore.
How will the app foster those connections?
We have a matching algorithm that detects the number of years you’ve been producing and in which program, your style of music, etc. We’ve received a ton of applications already, and the algorithm connects applicants together. From there on, we’re going to announce the matches, and from there the creativity will need to flow.
You’re an outspoken family man, even having Steff Da Campo listing family man in his bio in the MixMash Dating promo video. How does collaborating with an artist who shares similar values contribute to the creative process?
It’s interesting because there were a couple of days where I was trying to reach Steff Da Campo to try and finish off the track, and he wouldn't get back to me. At a certain point, I reminded him again, and he said," So sorry dude, Thursday is my daddy day. So I had my phone off, my email off and everything." I can relate to that, I have my daddy days as well and I actually think it's very important to schedule it like that and plan it like that. But I think it's really important to allocate family time and studio time and keep them separate but plan your creativity around that.
There are a lot of remix contests out there. How is the "We Found Love" remix contest different?
What makes this contest unique is that these remixes will be a collaboration of two producers who wouldn’t necessarily be connected with each other. You can be connected with someone from all the way across the world, whom you’ve never met, and all of a sudden you’re in a creative process together. I think especially when you look at all the collaborations in the professional world, this is an important way to let new talent in. I also feel like we will be expanding their [the artists] networks through the app.
Can you share some insight on how the app and contest will work?
May 4th is the deadline to apply and May 6th we will announce the teams. Artists will include their DAW, years of experience, and style in their profile, and the algorithm will use that data to make the teams. It's a fairly simple algorithm that I assume is being used in real dating apps, using profile stats to match people.
How can aspiring producers in our audience stand out to win this contest?
I’d say keep the process as creative and positive as possible. Let's say you’ve been producing for three or four years and you think all of your tracks are amazing. Now for the first time, you’re getting linked up with a stranger. There’s going to be moments where your partner may say, “I’m not feeling this sound or this synth," and you were feeling it absolutely. So how will you communicate that? Are you open to, well, maybe he's right? In my experience collaborations are a very humbling experience, and it's very valuable on a human level to have these interactions and do it without getting angry or frustrated.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
To sign up for the Mixmash Dating app and enter the remix contest, apply here. The deadline to sign up is Monday, May 4th, 2020.