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Steve Lawler is the definitive DJ and producer, renowned as one of the hardest working names in the industry, with an acute ear for a tune and a technical ability that is second to none. His rise to the top has been the result of pure talent and dedication to playing and producing the finest quality house music first. It's been a steady rise from the infamous 'motorway raves' of the early 90s, to his legendary residency at We Love and Viva at Space in Ibiza, Harlem Nights at The End, and his Lights Out tours of North America. Lawler continues to build an ever-growing band of avid followers that pack out any venue that bills his name. He is one of the most powerful touring brands in electronic music, period.
Steve Lawler has been hailed the pioneer of twisted house, but his sound has evolved through the years. The main elements remain, meandering through deep, dark, chunky, drivin’. sexy house tracks. Still evolving, still innovating, Lawler will be at the forefront of global dance music for many years to come
Steve Lawler used to avidly buy Depeche Mode records, which clearly put him on the path of electronic music. But it was Acid House that really turned him on. Tuning devotedly into a local pirate radio station gave Lawler a taste for house music, and it wasn't long before his mates were luring him off to warehouse parties. This would soon change his and millions of other people’s lives.
Lawler was inspired to put on his own illegal parties at the age of 17, in an unused tunnel underneath the M42 Motorway (1990-1994). These few parties became legendary throughout Birmingham (his hometown, where he still lives in the winter months) and across the Midlands, but were soon stopped due to pressure from the police. This didn’t deter Lawler. Next stop: Ibiza, where Lawler has been every year since 1990. It was his residency at Café Mambo in 1995 which was his real breaking point, where he performed eight-hour sets, seven days a week, while simultaneously playing three times a week at Pacha on the roof terrace. It was there that he was spotted by Darren Hughes (then promoter of Cream, now We Love, Homelands), who recognized his talent and ambition and signed him to Cream's DJ agency with an immediate residency at the eponymous Liverpool institution.
Following his residency at Cream, he launched his residency for Hughes at Home at Space in Ibiza in 1999, the place where his legacy was truly realized. Only two incredible years into his residency in Ibiza earned him the well-deserved title ‘The King Of Space’ , and he began to get his props both within the discerning dance press and the industry at large. It’s a title that has spread the world over, a crown he’s held onto in 2005 with his new Viva creation at Space.
With a solid fan base, a proven track record, legions of fans and his first compilation ‘Dark Drums 1’ locked down, what he needed most was a home in the UK, and that is exactly what he got. He set the capital alight with his weekly Friday night residency Deep South at Leicester Square’s multi-million pound super club Home London. The latter half of 2000 saw the timely release of his hugely successful Home compilation, which epitomized his successful residency.
Steve Lawler fast became the DJ every clubber wanted to hear, but he wanted a new home. The perfect solution came in the form of his own monthly Thursday night at Code, The Midweek Session, which quickly became established as one of the most important club nights in the UK, where guests such as Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Pete Tong, Carl Cox, John Digweed, and Laurent Garnier joined him behind the decks. In March 2001, Lawler then released his revered Nu Breed album with compilation kings Global Underground.
Lawler was by now touring North and South America, South Africa, Australia, Asia and Eastern Europe to great acclaim. Due to this workload, he decided to end The Midweek Session after 12 parties, ending on a high. His second Dark Drums compilation ‘Dark Drums 2’ followed in September 2001, further appeasing his worldwide fan base, being listed as Compilation of the Month in may publications, and also in many end of year polls.
In 2002, Lawler launched two new concepts around his distinctive sound. The first was his ‘Lights Out’ compilation series, released in the summer of 2002 with the follow-up ‘Lights Out 2’ hitting the shelves in late 2003. The third installment ‘Lights Out 3’ completes the trilogy in October 2005. ‘Lights Out 3’ has been accompanied by Lawler’s most extensive US tour to date. The second Lawler concept, Harlem Nights, saw him make an eagerly anticipated return to London in 2002, with his own night - Harlem Nights at The End, which continues to provide the perfect setting for Lawler to unleash his six-hour sets.
Harlem Nights is where Steve Lawler feels completely at home as a DJ. It’s the umbrella for his sound, taking things back to the basics and setting a vibe that keeps people coming back for more. As Steve himself states: “This is my baby, and a lot of my musical direction and inspiration comes from that night, from that crowd. I feel so comfortable from the second I walk into that room. Harlem Nights to me is one of the best parties in the world.”
Steve’s next chapter began in the summer of 2005 with Viva on the much celebrated new terrace at Space, Ibiza. Taking place on Thursday nights, Viva has created one of the best atmospheres on the island, quite remarkable considering the venue has been closed on Thursday nights until this summer. Lawler’s Viva brand will return to Ibiza in 2006, alongside a Viva compilation concept, and his cult merchandising range (shortly available online).
It's not all about being a DJ though. Lawler's accomplished productions are favourites amongst the elite. His singles 'Rise In’ (2000), ‘Andante’ (2002), ‘Lost’ (2003),and ‘Out@Night’ (2004) prove that Lawler also understands how to work a crowd via production. More recently, Lawler has produced a range of new tracks in 2005, including ‘Souls On Ice’ (2005), a collaboration with hype production outfit King Unique. Other releases include Lawler’s ‘Illectronic Music’ (2005), and the current single ‘That Sound’ (2005) released by Joia Records from Sweden (August 2005).
Lawler’s recent remix marks his first step into the Hollywood film industry with his huge rework of the title music from Hollywood film The Skeleton Key. A multi-million box office hit in America, and a true Ibiza classic, as championed by Carl Cox and Pete Tong. Lawler is currently remixing Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ for the Heineken Thirst Tour, which recently featured performances by Steve across key Asian markets. Other mixes include Dido’s ‘Sand In My Shoes’ (Billboard USA Dance Chart number one), the second Shapeshifters single ‘Back To Basics’, and house classic ‘Reach for Me’ by Funky Green Dogs‘. And who could forget hearing his remix of Bombdogs ‘I Can’t Explain’ in Ibiza summer of 2004.
If DJing around the world, promoting his own nights, producing acclaimed mix compilations, and his prolific production / remixes are not enough, Lawler also runs and A&R’s his own record labels: Harlem Records, Harlem Trax and Harlem Electric. As a result, his imprint is responsible for signing the finest underground tracks from across the world.
Steve Lawler is a DJ who has never taken the easy path to success. A DJ whose passion for house music overthrows the boundaries of just playing records. From his mammoth sets at Space in Ibiza to his tendency to re-edit half the tracks in his box, Steve Lawler continually proves his true passion. As Jockey Slut puts it, ‘One of the best DJs in the world.”Best Steve Lawler Songs of All Time
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