The banks of the Mersey have become quite accustomed to waves of jangling guitars and boyish indie lapping against its shores. Now, the tide in Liverpool has taken a turn, with the city’s dance music scene acknowledging itself as a force to be reckoned with. Having refined her craft at Circus over the years, Lauren Lo Sung is now an integral cog in the well oiled collective of Scouse promoters and DJs securing the city’s reputation as a musical melting pot. Ahead of upcoming shows at The Warehouse Project, we caught up with the Liverpool native to talk Space Ibiza, Carl Cox and reasons to be cheerful about UK club culture.
Hi Lauren, how’s life?
Hey! Great thank you, it's been an exciting year! Thanks for having me!
Like many DJs, you migrated over to Ibiza for large portions of the summer. Is it sad to see the season there come to an end with the prospect of a good old British winter on the horizon?
Oh definitely, everything is better in the sunshine. Ibiza has been crazy and amazing this summer, but on the flip-side there's so much going on back in the UK to get us through the winter. The Warehouse Project is up and running again and lots of other events start up, so there's always fun stuff to do every week.
How is your schedule looking though the winter months? Any new spots you will be playing for the first time?
I'm playing Darlington and Sheffield soon which will both be debuts. I'm looking forward to those. I’ll be headlining room 2 at Ministry Of Sound for John Digweed's 'Bedrock' party, ANTS at The Warehouse Project, a few gigs for my residency in Birmingham at TRMNL. I'm playing for Air London at Junk, playing Yousef's CIRCUS/Fabric show, playing alongside Carl Cox again for his WHP show, plus I'll be playing WHP on New Year's Day which is another huge one. And I’m playing in Switzerland too!
Not only were you one of the lucky few who were in attendance during Carl Cox’s final shows at Space Ibiza, you had the honour of playing one night in the season. How did the experience rank for you?
It was definitely up there with one of the best days/ nights I've ever had in my life. A truly magical feeling to play. I've been visiting Space every year for the past 8 years as a clubber, so to be invited back to play for the King Carl Cox himself was just overwhelming. Carl is one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth guys I've ever met. We stayed at his villa for the week with him, and he is such a genuine person which is refreshing to see because he is so well established. He told me on the day that I was playing he would come to watch my set. I didn't think he actually would, only because he's so busy. I'll never forget the moment I turned around mid-set and he was stood next to me, dancing away in one of my LOLiFE T-shirts! Just wow...
Carl Cox and Music Is Revolution are renown for allowing DJs such as yourself the chance to showcase their capabilities in the company of some of the biggest names in the game. Do you think the departure of Music Is Revolution, Carl and subsequently Space will have an adverse affect on the amount of breakthrough opportunities DJs are given on the island?
Yes and no. Yes because without Carl's night it's one night less for DJ's to be showcased, but it's not going to stop breakthrough artists coming through completely. There's a lot of nights which allow the less established DJs to play, usually you have a better chance of getting on them if you're living in Ibiza for the season though. Anything is possible, if DJs are good enough then the talent will always show, you just have to be patient to get to where you want to be.
(Carl Cox and Lauren at Space Ibiza)
How are things looking on the production front at moment? Are you sitting on any material that will be unleashed in the coming months?
I've been hammering the production lately, working on new music almost every day of the week. I'm really starting to find my sound in the studio, which is satisfying! I'm sitting on an EP which is awaiting release on Hector's Vatos Locos imprint, it will be 3 original tracks and a really special remix from one of my favourite producers at the moment, coming soon on vinyl. I've been playing the EP at my gigs and it's been going down a treat, I've had a lot of people ask what the tracks are, which is a good sign. I've also got a vinyl EP coming on Draft USA with a couple of exciting remixes. I’ve also got more music coming on some of my favourite labels which will be revealed soon.
Looking towards the clubbing scene closer to home, the closure of Fabric has been a big talking point and cause for concern of late. Are you optimistic about UK club culture on the whole? If so, are there any parties or events people should check out to re-instill a bit of belief?
It's awful what's happening with Fabric right now, hopefully they can open their doors again very soon. I am very optimistic about the UK clubbing culture, it's second-to-none. So many cities have a real buzz about them when it comes to dance music. My hometown Liverpool has an ever-growing scene - new nights popping up everywhere and there's world class DJs on every week. Yousef's CIRCUS which I've been playing regularly at is always bringing the goods. My friends run a night called MODU:LAR too which has some really hot underground acts. Or:la and Jess run a night called Mein Nacht too, which is in really cool spaces around the city. If you're in Liverpool make sure you try and get to one of those, as well as loads of others, but there's too many to mention! Birmingham is another favourite, I've held a residency at TRMNL for a few years now and you always know it's going to be an amazing night every time. The venue Lab 11 is really cool, with multiple rooms and a terrace, set under an arch railway, each room has a different clubbing experience. There's loads of cool events going on in Manchester too, The Warehouse Project is an obvious one but there's also some exciting smaller scale events on such as Silent Treatment, Distinct and Micron. Hidden is the hot spot in Manchester at the moment, I would strongly advise checking that out.
The Warehouse Project is back in business with yourself appearing on the opening weekend. What was it like getting back into the groove at Store Street?
It was fantastic, I'm very lucky to be on the bill for 4 shows this season. Opening weekend, ANTS, Carl Cox & Friends and NYD- most of which are completely sold out. The Warehouse Project is the best of it's kind; dark, dingy, amazing sound and lighting, with the best acts in the world in one place. What more could you want?! I love playing there, the crowd are always there for the right reasons, to have a good dance and forget their troubles, lots of hand in the air moments and happy faces.
With institutions such as Circus and WHP residing in the North West of England, do you think the region can be regarded as being in the same league with the best electronic music scenes in the word?
Without a doubt, yes. Both events are incredible and could compete with many events around the world. It's all about the music, and the both of them have a strong selection of artists at every show with amazing production. People travel from miles away up and down the country to go to these events, so they are definitely crucial to the UK clubbing scene.
Finally, closing on some music. The track or record you have gotten the most use out of so far this year?
Hmm... I would probably say Jerome.C ‘Cruise', which is out on mine and Sian Bennett's label e1evenrecords. It goes off every time and has a really hypnotic vocal snippet and groove which the crowd seem to love!
Interview by Elliot Ryder
Photos courtesy of Lauren Lo Sung unless specified otherwise