Life Lessons From Laidback Luke

On the eve of his Las Vegas return, the DJ dispenses advice on living free and focused

Laidback Luke is finally living up to his name.

“I would say I’m overall more aware now. Of quality of life, of maximizing time,” he explains. “[Aware of] what’s really important in a career, what to do and not do.”

It’s been a while since Luke last swung through Las Vegas—his Electric Daisy Carnival performance was a highlight of 2017—but absence only makes the fans grow hungrier to hear his latest symphonies, which they’ll be able to do when he headlines at The Cosmopolitan’s Marquee Nightclub on March 30.

Now 41, the artist born Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen has been dropping hits—think “Get Dumb,” “Turbulence” and “Show Me Love”—since before many of his fellow DJs first touched a synthesizer. Despite his success, he admits that he learned the hard way that it’s better to work smart than to just “go hard.”

“I think it’s important to master any art you decide to dedicate your time to,” he says. “But within that, find the quality moments to maximize what you do.

“Most importantly, don’t lose sight of your goal. Don’t lose sight of your loved ones either.”

If Luke sounds like a sensei dispensing life lessons to young students, it might have something to do with his other love: martial arts. A longtime practitioner of Choy Li Fut, he won six medals—three gold, two silver and one bronze—at the 2017 Kung Fu World Championships in Hong Kong, and credits martial arts for creating the balance he needs in his life.

In a conversation with Vegas Seven, Luke expands on the role of kung fu in his life, his upcoming projects and how to get a body that’ll land you on the cover of Men’s Health.

Are you working on any new music right now?

Yes, I am! I’m currently redeveloping my style to something unique yet familiar. I will still be flexible when it comes to genres, from pop to heavy dance floor [tracks]. On April 5, Steve Aoki and I will release our follow-up to “Turbulence.” On the vocal is [UFC ring announcer] Bruce Buffer, and the track is called “It’s Time.” Note: This is no pop, feel-good track. It’s a certified festival banger!

What’s the ratio of music to martial arts in your life right now?

Both are a full 100 percent. I could easily give you another answer, but this should be the mind state.

How has martial arts influenced the musical aspects of your career?

Martial arts has taught me ways to keep Zen, to not have stress affect your energy and creativity, to have an oversight of things you need to tackle without losing grip of yourself. Some people see me do a ton of stuff at the same time with ease—that’s the best real-life martial arts example I can give.

You were recently on the cover Men’s Health Netherlands. What’s the best daily upper-body exercise you can recommend?

For the body, the best is any core exercise. But for the quickest result, you should use “dynamic tension.” Put your hands together like prayer hands—you can do this anywhere, even at your desk at work—and push into both hands the hardest you can, and keep pushing for 20 seconds. Relax, take two breaths and repeat for two more rounds. You can do this while lifting or holding imaginary dumbbells as well. There are a ton of variations on this.

Laidback Luke performs March 30 at Marquee Nightclub. Tickets can be purchased via the Marquee website.