Leb Laze in his Brooklyn studio
Tell us about your favorite childhood object...
My green worm toy was bought in my Dad's hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina at Rose's Dime Store when I was about 2 or 3 years old. According to my Dad, he went into the store with me to buy a newspaper and in passing I grabbed this toy and would not let go. He had to buy it for me. I referred to this toy as "my wum".
Green was always my favorite color. Everything that I had as a kid had to be green.
When did you live in Atlanta? How did you end up there?
I was born and raised in Atlanta and lived there until 2005.
At what point did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue?
Music has always been a major part of my life. I watched my older brother pursue music at a young age and anything that he did I wanted to do. I followed in his footsteps.
Describe your sound. How did you get into playing that type of music?
My sound is Ennio Morricone, New Order and DJ Toomp thrown in a blender....peppered with some Bomb Squad. This sound comes from watching too many horror movies as a kid, raiding my brother's record collection when he wasn't looking and, as a teenager, hanging with kids who measured cool by how much bass you had in your trunk (we're all partially deaf now).
Which music medium do you prefer to use and why? Vinyl? CD? MP3?
As a DJ I use all three, depending on the situation that I am in. For example, if I'm traveling to another country to DJ I'm going to want to pack light, so I am most likely going to bring CD's or MP3's. If I'm DJ'ing in the neighborhood, I'll pack records and CD's and alternate between the two. Vinyl will always sound better to me...but there are a lot of songs that I will never have on CD that I have on vinyl--and vice versa. I've come to the conclusion that digitizing my records just takes too much accumulated time out of my life. If I were rich i would pay somebody to do it. If anyone just happens to want to do it for free...HOLLA!!!
How do you discover new music? any secret resources you want to turn us onto?
I discover new music mostly through friends and family. Certain people have certain genres covered. My little brother, for instance, who lives in Mississippi, keeps me supplied with all the hot new Southern rap. My man Roberto keeps me supplied with all my Latin music. I'm not a huge internet person, but I do follow a few blogs. Awesome Tapes from Africa is a great blog and it's based off of tapes that this guy actually got from multiple trips to the continent. I definitely don't follow music press. I've always been able to find plenty of music through the amazing people that I'm surrounded by.
Take us through your creative process.
My creative process is based completely on experimentation. I basically try things until they sound pleasing to my ears. My songs will start as one thing and end up becoming something completely different. It might take a minute, but I do know when a song is done.
How would you say Southern culture/living in Atlanta has influenced your work?
One thing that is definitely unique to the South is its pace. Things just move a bit slower. This is how I was raised and it is definitely reflected through my music. Even when my music is fast...it's still s l o w. Laid back. And I love bass that BOOMS!!
Who/What are some of your inspirations?
My main inspiration that is a "Who" would have to be all of my brothers and sisters (4 total). Just the thought of them instantly gives me purpose and direction. Another inspiration of mine that is a "What" is the Michael Jordan documentary Come Fly With Me.
Who are some of your favorite Atlanta artists?
To name just a few is tough. There are so many people really killing it in Atlanta at the moment. One band that really has my attention is All The Saints. They're loud and dreamy...and they're drummer is nasty. These are three qualities that I love in a band. My man Zano is pretty unstoppable. Ben Lawless is a lawless genius. The whole Noot D'Noot crew is the modern day Funkadelic. Also watch out for Noot D'Noot's offshoot group, Effectiv. Those girls are pure, seductive Southern heat.
Where is your favorite Atlanta hang out?
I would have to say Aurora Coffee in L5P. I can't escape that place. It's definitely a meeting place for some great minds.....and some eccentric minds as well. That's what you have to love about that place though.
What music/album are you currently listening to?
This Hawaiian Instrumental Music album. That's all that it's called. It's the most relaxing music I think I have ever heard (if you know me well then you know that I've probably said that about a thousand other albums...but this time I really mean it). I listened to this on repeat while standing in line at the DMV the other day and it turned into such a pleasurable experience.
I have two albums in one package coming out on Hoss Records in October. One is called MUSIC FROM CAVE DWELLERS and the other is called TRACKS & ARTIFACTS. You can listen to my music at http://www.myspace.com/leblaze. Yeeeees!!!