Dedicated Betches followers may remember 3LAU from back in 2012 when we posted his track “B#tch City,” inspired by none other than us. Good times. Since then, 3LAU has been making big moves—sharing the stage with Steve Aoki and Tiësto; founding BLUME, a not-for-profit dance record label; and kicking off the 3LAU HAUS world tour in major cities. We caught up with 3LAU at EZoo to see what he’s been up to since 2012. Here’s what he had to say.
Do you remember when we posted your song like, 4 years ago?
[Yeah, I was like] “Ah Betches Love This is so cool,” I was interning in New York, interning in finance back in the day. I was like 19, it must have been just when y’all started.
So we can take credit. We like, invented you.
Absolutely. I’ll say it.
We saw you our senior year at Emory headlining Dooley’s Ball, which is basically our school spirit week. How old am I—must have been like, 3 years ago?
Oh that was outdoors right?
Oh that was amazing. I remember that show. I crowd surfed that show. I jumped too. I stopped doing that.
What was it like going from college gigs to playing big festivals in not that much time?
“Not that much time” relatively speaking, it’s been kind of 6 years but most people don’t really think that way. But even so, I did start playing festivals right after the college thing—so 3 years ago when I started. It was a crazy transition, because it’s basically all the same crowd, just more spread out and more ginormous. The difference is, you know, college kids in general party so hard, and the same energy kind of relates to a festival compared to a club environment or like, a bottle service club environment, like in Vegas.
Colleges are the most fun. I actually just played a small college, it was Trinity University in San Antonio. There were like, 500 kids but the energy was insane. They were going crazy. Someone was in an ambulance, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because they had an asthma attack from dancing. I was like “Fuck yea!” That’s awesome.
What are some of your favorite festivals you’ve performed at?
Outside of Ezoo, my favorites are EDC (it’s a different planet) and Electric Forest in Michigan, which is kind of a definitely known but less visited festival on average. But what makes it really special is it’s a lot less about who’s headlining and more about the experience. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s really only true for that festival… You walk through the forest and there’s people in hammocks 20 feet up and there’s people serving drinks on unicycles. It feels like you’re on a different planet and that kind of escape from reality is what I think people look for, and it’s less about stacking the lineup with Tiësto and Chainsmokers; it’s a lot more about the experience.
We’re sold now.
I wouldn’t go attend a festival because I’ve been to so many. I would go to that one. That’s the only one I would go to.
I saw on Youtube that you handed out pizza at one of your shows?
I hand out pizza at a lot of my shows, as much as we can, because people get hungry! It’s so simple. People get hungry and people get thirsty when they’re partying, whether they’re drunk already or whatever they’re on—like, you’re hungry! I’m hungry, share pizza. It works.
It plays into this tour that we just started—it’s the 3LAU HAUS tour—which is the name of my podcast. It’s also a huge part of my brand, it’s just kind of a mixture of all different genres of music. The whole concept of 3LAU HAUS is it’s the music you’d DJ in a frat basement, which is how I started my career. And what do you do when you’re hungry after you party in a frat? You go and order pizza. That’s what I did all the time in college. So I figured why not just combine that all together and make it a part of my show?
So genius. What are your go-to pizza toppings?
I’m a pretty plain guy when it comes to pizza, but I can do sausage, pepperoni, sometimes, veggies/peppers maybe, hot peppers. I like the buffalo chicken pizza sometimes. Pretty good.
I saw you tweeted “Pikachu for president,” what is that about?
I just like Pokémon.
Pikachu for president
— justin (@3LAU) August 26, 2016
Do you play Pokémon Go?
Oh yeah, I’m stupid, stupid involved. I’m almost 32…
I didn’t know you could go that far.
Well I’m actually not almost 32, I’m 31—I lied. But I mean we’re getting there.
What team are you on?
Mystic. I feel like… You know what’s really funny is like most dancers are totally Mystic. I think it’s a creative thing and like, sports people are all Valor…and uh I don’t know, I don’t really know that many Yellow team, are you guys Valor?
Uh no, I have never played Pokémon Go.
Want to hear a fun fact about Pokémon Go?
66% of the users are female.
That’s impressive! I wouldn’t have thought that at all. [Editor’s Note: No, you’re not misreading, at this point the interviewer becomes the interviewee for a hot sec.]
I love your sneakers!
Thanks, your shoes are pretty cool too.
You know I’m not wearing them because they are Yeezys, [Editor’s Note: I didn’t even know that; I was just trying to be nice tbh] I’m wearing them because they are honestly so comfortable … they’re really good for playing live cause I’m jumping around.
Are you a sneakerhead?
Yes, but not like a collector, like I don’t like having everything. I just like having a couple things that I really like, but comfort is everything. Especially when you are traveling and going to airports and jumping onstage, having comfortable sneakers really does make a difference. I used to wear boots back in the day because I thought it was kind of cool and it was a mistake.
What other festival advice do you have, besides wearing comfortable shoes?
Uhhh for performing or in general?
Go see somebody you don’t know, because I think that’s the problem with a lot of festivals. You know, how many times have you seen me or like, Aoki? We’ve all been around for a while. I think it’s important for fans to go and try and find artists that maybe they don’t know that much about, take a risk and check them out, because those kids need that kind of support. That’s the whole point of these festivals. I try to encourage people to do that as much as they can, because even if that means that you miss a little bit of my set, you’ve seen me play before probably [if] you’ve been to an EDM festival, unless you’re younger. I’m gonna play something different everytime, but I think it’s really important to check out other young artists.