Lucas & Steve are a DJ duo formed by Lucas de Wert and Steven Jansen, both hailing from Maastricht, a city in southern Netherlands. Since becoming official in 2010, they have released multiple hit EPs and remixes, with over 5M monthly spotify listeners, and over 59M streams on release ‘Where Have You Gone (Anywhere)’. They hosted their own radio show, Skyline Sessions, playing hour long soundcloud mixes, which has evolved into a dedicated event at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). Lucas & Steve are currently also touring all over Europe and the United States.
Editor-in-Chief, Ceskie, had the chance to chat with the DJ duo at Mysteryland Festival, which is known for showcasing some of the most noteworthy acts in today’s landscape of electronic dance and house music. Coming fresh from performing a set described by Steve as “straight energy and fire,” they shared what they have learned as they progress further in their music career.
How did you get started?
Steve: We had already been working together for ten years. We’re both from Maastricht. It’s a small city in the south of the Netherlands. We were both born there, and it’s not really big. So, if you’re a DJ there, you can get the contacts really easily. Then we started making music together and started playing together.
Lucas: Now we’ve been doing it professionally for four years, more or less.
I play the drums, piano, and I just started learning how to play the guitar.
Steve: Yeah, I don’t play any instruments.
What’s something that you guys have struggled with on your journey?
Lucas: I think what’s difficult is as soon as you release a track that has worth and has done some serious damage, then it can be really difficult to top that one. You always want your next track to be better than the previous one. So that can be a real struggle, but I think that in the process of every track we make, we learn something and that’s always valuable. So, in a way, it’s still doable to make every track better than your last one, because you’ve improved just a little bit every time.
How do you describe a good bass?
Steve: You have to feel it.
Lucas: That’s it, yeah. When you’re hitting the note, you gotta feel it throughout your whole body.
Steve: When it starts, it has to bump into your whole body. That’s a good bass.
Lucas: It has to give some warmth, that’s also important.
A good kick?
Steve: You have to feel it too! That's one of the most important things in your whole track. If you have a good kick and it sounds awesome and you played for 50,000 people who they have the same feeling, basically your track is good.
When you make a track, what's your process, do you have one?
Lucas: Well, the process that we have, is that one of us comes up with a melody, some chords or a sound or something that's interesting enough to work a little bit more on it. Then we always show it to the other and he either burns it completely or loves it. That's how it goes. If we both love it, we just go for it. Sometimes within moments, the track starts growing very fast, and sometimes it takes months to have the project really finished. That doesn't say anything about the quality of the track. Some tracks just need a little bit more time.
Describe your relationship.
Lucas: I think our creative relationship is all about just going back and forth with everything, inspiring each other. Even if the other isn’t blown away from the start, sometimes it's good to keep on believing in it, and elaborate on it so the other will understand the meaning of it. Sometimes it's best to just accept that maybe it's not that interesting and just move on and give the other the opportunity to contribute or to start something new, and both get hyped about that.
What inspires you?
Steve: We listen to a lot of music, from jazz to classical, to hip hop, to pop music, electronic dance music, everything. If there’s something in jazz music, you can grab that and put it in your own track, and that makes it really interesting. Music is so broad. You can do whatever you want with music, and if you listen to music you like, you can put your favourite parts into your own music. That’s where we get inspiration from.
Lucas: What I’d also add is that inspiration can come from moments in life. It doesn’t always have to come from other pieces of music. I've had inspiration while dreaming. I've dreamed about a melody and worked it out the day after. Sometimes you're just feeling good, having an awesome day, and get behind the piano and play something which ends up being awesome. It can be anything.
What’s the most important thing when connecting with an audience?
Lucas: Eye contact is always really important. if you don't look at them directly, it feels just too distant and I think this is the reason that sometimes on the big stage is where it can be really difficult to make eye contact. I mean, big sets are always awesome, but we've had some smaller stages where you're already close to the crowd, and you just connect more.
What would you say to your fourteen-year-old self?
Steve: Keep doing what you’re doing, and try to enjoy as much as possible. What we’re doing right now is going really fast and we’re traveling a lot, so if I had to go to say something to myself when I was fourteen, that would be to just try to enjoy every special moment.
Lucas: I totally agree. Sometimes just take the time to have a look around you and see what’s happening and how you and the people around you are enjoying life. That’s the most beautiful thing ever, so realize that as early as possible!