Crate Expectations: Steve Lawler

From New Order to Black Sabbath, get to know Steve Lawler's playlist.

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Mar 20 2014, 7:52pm

Like most people, DJs and producers have specific songs tied to events throughout their lives. In Crate Expectations, we extract a playlist from their memories to tell their story. This week's subject: Steve Lawler.

What's the first song you ever loved?
Steve Lawler: "Gina X" by No GDM. I'm not sure how I came to get this in the end, but I first heard it when I was about 13 or 14. I think I ended up owning it when I was 17 or 18. But it was the first record I ever found out the name to and kept it written down on a little piece of paper. I guess that was my calling, who would have known that later in my life I would have dedicated it to music. This record still sounds as if it could have been made now. This record back then was the future and still is.

What are the first two songs you ever mixed together?
My god, I'm not 100 percent sure to be honest. Two of the first records in my collection were "Blue Monday" by New Order and "Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode. I got these when I started to collect records, but it was before I even knew about house music. I was still at school. I just liked to own the music I liked. So let's say it would have been them. Mixed together really badly on decks with no pitch controls!

What is your worst guilty pleasure song?
I have lots of these. I'm a sucker for all types of music, even pop when it's good. Let's go with "Pure Shores" by All Saints.

What song have you had on repeat in the last month?
That's easy. It's an unreleased edit by DJ Steef. It's called "Planet Caravan (DJ Steef Edit)" by Black Sabbath. This guy has done some amazing edits and this was what turned me onto him. I first heard it in Chicago in the Spybar promoter's car after my gig there. Driving back with music literally still pumping in my veins, he puts this on and I haven't stopped listening to it since. That was a year ago! This song is simply incredible.

Which track of your own do you love the most?
Up until last year it would have been "Femme Fetale", which I wrote for a girl that was driving me crazy because she was so hot and yet so cold. I made that record for her. It meant something to me. But now it has to be one of my latest singles, "Avaida (The Organ Track)". Again written for a girl, but this time the gorgeous love of my life: my daughter. I put so much emotion into this record. It took me forever to get the chords right as I'm not a trained pianist. But I persisted because each chord I played meant something. The elation you hear in this song is the exact feelings I had about my daughter coming. I'm very proud I achieved getting my raw emotion down into music. That's a writer's ultimate goal.

What track of your own do you hate the most?
I did a track called "That Sound" in around 2004. It never really turned out the way I wanted it to. I made it at a wrong time in my life and I was trying to write a hit. Big mistake right there. It was as false to me then as it is still today. I don't think I ever even played the original! I think I always played the Skylark Main Mix I had done.

What track are you most excited to drop during your peak time at the VIVa Warriors' party at WMC?
Ooof, there are sooo many! Of course you're going to hear my new single that just came out this week titled "Do Ya" and you will hear it fresh off the Gold Vinyl! I can't wait, I really can't. I missed last year for the birth of my gorgeous daughter, so this year I decided to just come in and do my own party exclusive and play a longer set. Expect four hours of tracks I am super excited to play. Really can't wait for this gig. I feel it is going to be special.

What's the last song you want to hear before the lights go on?
After a long set, it's 9 AM in the morning, the light shines through the cracks in the warehouse ceiling... this is the record to play. This is it. It says it all. It says to feel good about enjoying yourself with friends, listening to music and dancing 'till the sun comes up. That life is good and to take a deep breath! It's an old house masterpiece: "Reachin' (Brotherhood Mix)" by Phase II from 1988. If this record doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

Steve's VIVa Warriors' Showcase in Miami takes place at The National Hotel on March 26. He returns to Canada on May 8 at Toronto's Ryze.