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Flux BPM InDepth Interview with Laurent Schark about his single One of A Kind

Laurent Schark Feat. Darren Ellison "One Of A Kind" will be released 19th January on Dominium Recordings and we kindly requested Laurent to answer our interview and his answers are definitely must read for any electronic music lover.

Dimitri: When did you start your involvement with electronic dance music and which music style you are more affiliated with and why?

Laurent Schark: I started more than 24 years ago, back in the day, I was only djing house & techno music and playing keyboards (mainly funk, jazz, soul). As years were passing by, I had the strong will to produce music I would be able to play in clubs. It all converged early 2000's to house and disco house music, which are the genres I love to listen, to produce and to play in clubs.

Dimitri: Did you had the opportunity to attend any kind of music production course or are you completely self taught? Do you consider that is essential for any artist to complete any production course?

Laurent Schark: I started on my own, like most of us I guess ;) Then when I lived in Paris, I met amazing sound engineers who helped me a lot in music production in studio. It was not an official course. I didn't pass any exam for that. But those guys opened my eyes a lot in terms of mixing and approaching the "sound" in general. Today, I still use some tips they taught me, but am still learning everyday, as the technology evolves. You can easily get your hands to music production only with a laptop. If you want to go deeper, you may need some extra time with pros. Most of all, you need a good and comfortable studio with good monitors and solid acoustic to educate your ears properly.

Dimitri: In which label was your first ever release and how did you manage to attract the attention of the label?

Laurent Schark: That's an easy question haha. It was called Evolusound Records and was the label I founded with my best friend back in 2005. My first official release is called "Movin" Featuring Jodie Cooper. It tells my story when I moved to London.

Dimitri: Please pick for us your Top 5 tracks that you have produced and you consider them as being highly important for the progress of your career indifferent if they were commercially successful.

Laurent Schark: 
The Sun Is Gonna Shine feat. Geyster

Sexofoniks – Le Fakinel (Sexofoniks is a band with Andrew Consoli and Myself)

Laurent Schark Feat. Darren Ellison – One Of A Kind (it also marks a very important new direction in my music production)

Into My Life (Laurent Schark album : 14 tracks) 

Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Laurent Schark "Unofficial Remix", which drove the attention to a lot of producers and labels)

Dimitri: Let's focus on your latest release. Please tell us from where did you got the inspiration for the track One Of A Kind ?

Laurent Schark: In November 2016 I heard "I feel it coming" by the Weeknd & Daft Punk and I was thinking "Damn, that's a hit, I wish I had produced a track like this".

Dimitri: How long did it take you to produce it and was it an easy or difficult process?If you have faced any difficulties please tell us about them and how did you resolved them?

Laurent Schark: I got to work and started an original production inspired by the direction of that Daft Punk's tune. I was telling myself "If I can reach 80% of the level of the Daft Punk's quality, I'll be super happy". It took me a lot of time to listen to their song, learn, write, mix, improve every single element in the track. I tried it in clubs many times, compared it with that reference track, I wanted this song to be the most solid in terms of production and sound quality I had ever reached. I finished the production in November 2017. Yes, a year of thinking, playing, tweaking and completing.

Dimitri: Which was the biggest challenge that you faced during the production of this superb track?

Laurent Schark: The biggest challenge is for me, always "Would people like it? Would radios play it? Am I following the right direction?" I would say that I didn't stumble on any obstacles, it was more a psychological journey. I can tell you I made at least 20 different versions of this song before I considered the final one... final.

Dimitri: Can you describe to us the steps that you went through the production of this track and of any other track?

Laurent Schark: I work fast (in general). It takes me between 8 to 10 hours to produce a remix for example (ok, 12 hours for the remix I did for Oliver Nelson). When it comes to original material, the plan is no plan, that's the key (at least for me). I starts with keyboard and a melody, then I build the drums around it. Then I start to mix the sounds together while adding new elements (bass, etc..). This step doesn't take long. The hardest step is to find the right groove keys vs bass vs drums. I always try to keep in mind that I'm also a DJ and would like to play the track in my sets (having the distance from your own production when you’re in studio is not easy at all). I export it, listen to it on other systems (phone, kitchen), to get away from the studio and be as objective as possible. I try it in club (mainly for the structure), I sleep on it, take notes, and get back to it the following days, repeating the same process, till I finish it. Sometimes, you know it's good and you finish in one day. Most of the time, you don't know, so you need external help (club, friends, etc..)

Dimitri: When the track finished did the label accepted it as it was produced or did the label recommend you to do some changes or fix certain things?

Laurent Schark: Once again, I had to chance to release it on my own label, which I manage ;) However I had a lot of recommendations from friends and professional producers who helped me A LOT.

Dimitri: Is this track an original composition or is it based on a template from another track produced from you or another producer?

Laurent Schark: it is 100% original.

Dimitri: Is the quality of this track higher than your previous one? If yes in what ways this track sounds better than your previous one?

Laurent Schark: It is definitely higher, I really worked a lot to reach this quality.

Dimitri: Do you have any friends or relatives that you send them the track before sending it to a label or if you are DJ did you test it in your gigs? If yes did you have to do any alterations as a result of the crowd reaction?

Laurent Schark: Definitely, friends are always the first ones to listen to the track, then the crowd in my clubs. It always leads to modification, either in the sound itself or the structure (you want to remove the long and boring parts). I would say the club is the best test.

Dimitri: Please describe to us the studio that you have produced the track? What is your favourite hardware and software set up? Do you have in mind any new gear that you wish to get in order to raise the quality of your production?

Laurent Schark: I am the happy owner of a professional studio with outboards gears, mics and control surfaces. I'm a big fan of my Cubase that I've been using for 18 years. I'd love to buy a summing outboard by Dangerous (2-Bus +)

Dimitri: Do you master the track yourself or the mastering is task for the record label? Do you understand mastering as being essential?

Laurent Schark: I'm a mastering engineer myself. I do mastering on a regular basis including for major labels (Sony, Universal). Mastering is a science on its own and should be taken with highest consideration. I do the mastering always a few days after my mix, so I have enough to "forget" about it.

Dimitri: Are you going to release any remixes on the tracks soon?

Laurent Schark: This release doesn't contain remixes yet, but there will be 3 remixes soon. I haven't heard them yet apart from one, and it's massive !

Dimitri: Do you have any future releases planned and when will be released?

Laurent Schark: Yes I have 2 other singles planned within the next 5 months.

Dimitri: Please mention to us your Top 3 best DJ gigs so far and the reasons that made them so special?

Laurent Schark:- My first gig at Ministry of Sound (special because first time in the Ministry of sound ahah)
- My first music festival in Marseille in 2002 in front of 5400 people (my biggest crowd so far)
- My gig at Gibus Club in Paris in 2004 for a student party. Vinyl and House music only. It was one of my best sets and best crowd.

Dimitri: Do you have any more DJ gigs planned for the next few months? 

Laurent Schark: I'm resident dj in 4 different clubs in London ;)
My tour dates are literally here

Dimitri: Do you produce a radio show/podcast as well? Please tell us here all the details about it.

Laurent Schark: The Laurent Schark Selection is a weekly radio show broadcast on more than 140 radios across the globe. It is currently the largest syndication.

The Laurent Schark Selection LIVE RADIO SHOW, is a monthly LIVE show aired on more than 30 radios together, gathering about 2.7 million unique listeners. It is today the only live syndication with these figures, on the planet (for real ! lol)

Dimitri: Best piece of advice you got in relation to your career so far and best tip you learnt recently to make your tracks better.

Laurent Schark: My piece advice is don't listen to advice too much, especially from non-artistic person. Do your thing and do it well. Patience would be my best piece of advice. Impatience kills artists. If you're patient, and really focus on your music, this will pay off.

Dimitri: Please give us here your tips or more elaborated advice for any new artists who may read this interview and wish to get involved with the electronic music industry.

Laurent Schark: The music industry in general is a tough business but there's room for everyone who has a good attitude and gratitude. 50% of your work will be your music, 50% will be your connections. So, produce your music, then get out of your room, connect with people, attend conferences around you. I learned it quite late that connections were extremely important in this business. I was a dreamer and thought "I release good music, people will find me". No, it doesn't work that way. PRODUCTION+CONNECTION is the good recipe I think. 

Additional info:
INSTAGRAM : http://www.instagram.com/laurentschark
YOUTUBE : http://www.youtube.com/laurentschark
SOUNDCLOUD : http://soundcloud.com/laurentschark
MIXCLOUD : http://www.mixcloud.com/laurentschark
APPLE MUSIC : https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/laurent-schark/216315868
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5qIrxzgYvbJj9qDfo3jxyJ

More about the Laurent Schark Selection:
PAGE: http://selection.laurentschark.com
FACEBOOK : http://www.facebook.com/laurentscharkofficial
TWITTER : http://www.twitter.com/lsselection
MIXCLOUD : http://www.mixcloud.com/laurentschark
ITUNES PODCAST : http://bit.ly/LSSitunes