Some people would say electronic music is having its moment. Acts like the Chainsmokers are squeezing hit after hit out of a little tube of drops and even the hip figures of the old guard like Daft Punk are topping the charts and Giorgio Moroder is recording with Britney Spears and Sia. Others would say the bubble for that already bust, like, last year.
Which is why one of the low-key rising stars of the scene has been in it for a while. Marius Lauber, who records under the monicker Roosevelt, has been a rising star since old man Larry Fitzmaurice profiled him for p4k in 2013. Back then, he couldn’t feel the difference between electronic and pop and was nervous about the idea of playing live festivals, worrying they would “feel like a techno amusement park.” Since then, the Sweedes have taken over pop and Lauber’s taken his game to Euro festival grounds and late night clubs in Seattle alike.
But where the dance explosion has allowed many a festival slot to look like a fancy display of laptops, Lauber brings out the full band. Where Flume soundalikes rule the EDM circuit, Lauber put out a debut smartly informed by old school Balearic; more Technique than Joytime.
I had the chance to catch up with Lauber before he hits the Big Apple stage on Friday. We talked about today’s electronic scene, what acts are still able to surprise him and what he looks for in a remix.
Popdust: Gov Ball! You’re playing it! Are there any acts playing the festival that you’re excited to see, besides your own?
Marius Lauber: There are a lot! I think it’s one of the best line-ups this summer and I hope we will have some time to walk around and see other bands. We are all looking forward to see Chance the Rapper especially.
PD: In an early profile, you described feeling wary of “open air raves,” saying that they were “not very inspiring.” What do you plan on bringing to the festival crowd on Randall’s Island that will keep you inspired?
ML: Oh.. I didn’t mean music festivals in general – I’m just more than often disappointed by the commercialization of underground electronic music and how all these outside summer raves in cities like Berlin usually feel uninspiring and bland to me. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t like music festivals – I’m actually really looking forward to this summer as I’m playing a lot of great places i haven’t been before.
PD: In interviews, you’ve also talked about the importance of connecting with audiences as a performer. What things do other electronic acts do wrong, live?
ML: I don’t think there’s a “right” and “wrong,” a lot of acts play solo laptop shows and are absolutely amazing, like Four Tet or Jon Hopkins, but for me, it just made sense to build a band around me and perform the songs live. I don’t really see myself as just an electronic musician, so that’s the only thing that feels right to me when performing live.
PD: You’ve also talked about the influence of visuals on your music, especially movies. Is there anything you’ve seen recently that’s inspired you?
ML: I loved Nocturnal Animals, the cinematography was incredible.
PD: What’s the last song you’ve listened to that surprised you? Why?
ML: I just listened to the new Washed Out track, which is amazing. It has a really strong house vibe, which I didn’t expect of him.
PD: When you started out, you were one of the few people genuinely interested in both dance and pop music. Now, almost every hit has at least one drop. Do you feel more at home in the pop world?
ML: I never saw such a strong line between pop and dance music and I don’t think in these categories when I’m writing or listening to music. I also don’t think that the strange popularity of EDM and “drops” is the first time electronic music is happening in pop music – pop music in the early ’80s was getting a lot more electronic and synthesizer-heavy.
PD: You’re also an avid remixer, putting your touch on indie heavyweights and some of the hottest names in house. Are there any songs out now that you’re dying to remix?
ML: I’d love to do a ’70s disco remix of one of Adele’s tracks. I listened to her album and the vocals would fit in great in a diva-esque disco production.
PD: Are there any songs you wouldn’t want to touch?
ML: Yes, as I’m quite picky with my remixes; there are a lot of tracks I wouldn’t want to remix. I’m only working on things that have a good vocal line and where I think i can add something with my own sound.
Intrigued? You can catch Roosevelt at the Big Apple Stage this Friday at 12:45 or that night at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.
Andrew Karpan is known to jam on the ivories at certain hours at Washington Square Park. He’s not that guy but he’s close enough. Follow him on Twitter.