Laidback Luke is a headliner at MGM, so he sees his face appearing on MGM’s giant outdoor video monitors. But Luke is “Laidback,” so he’s not egotistical about it.
“It’s very strange, to be honest,” Luke, 36, says. “I’m not really that narcissistic that I want to have my face everywhere. I’d rather see my wife’s face!”
On Sunday, the effervescent Luke begins his new Vegas residency at MGM’s Hakkasan nightclub.
The DJ (born in the Philippines but raised in the Netherlands) is popular with dance crowds for such hits as “Turbulence” (with Steve Aoki and Lil Jon), and “Natural Disaster” (featuring Example).
But Luke is also quite popular among other DJs. He’s a DJ’s DJ.
I have heard electronic music producers reference Luke a lot over the past few years — not as much as they reference, say, Daft Punk (the Beastie Boys of dance music) — but they praise Luke quite a bit.
So in my interview with Luke, I finally get to tell him about all the love I hear other DJs give him, and he seems genuinely taken aback.
“That’s a nice compliment,” Luke says. “That’s not bad company. I’m a huge fan of Daft Punk. They’ve influenced me a lot.”
But Laidback Luke’s music is about to become less laidback in Vegas.
In the past, he has performed in superhero costumes. That’s just one way he has put on joyful shows.
But he tells me he will go harder when he plays Hakkasan this year.
“Usually I’m very lighthearted and I hinge on a lot of light humor. The Hakkasan residency is going to be edgier and darker,” Luke says.
He won’t tell me why or how. He is saving details as a surprise for audiences.
“We’re going to bring a whole new set of decorations into the resident nights,” he says. “No superheroes. It’s going to be way more industrial and darker than what you’re used to.”
This is an interesting twist, and it is reflected in his new song, “Dynamo” (a collaboration with producer Hardwell), a tune featuring a more pensive and industrial sound than I expected. It’s serious business.
But Laidback Luke will remain laidback in his personal life.
“I’m pretty low maintenance, I guess,” he says. “I always get a great room in Vegas, but nothing special.”
But he does enjoy having an all-access pass to whatever he wants on the Strip.
“What I really love about Vegas — and this is also very unique when you compare it to the rest of the world — is the hospitality is insane.
“Anything you want, and anytime you want it — you can get it. The customer is king in Vegas.”
And one of the things customers want in Vegas: Laidback Luke.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.