Steve Lawler is a definitive DJ and producer, renowned as one of the hardest working DJs in the industry with an acute ear for a tune and a technical ability that is second to none. His rise to the top has been the result of pure talent and dedication to playing and producing the finest quality house music first. It's been a steady rise from the infamous 'motorway raves' of the early 90's, to his legendary sets at Space in Ibiza, his pioneering success with Session in Birmingham, the current triumph with Harlem Nights at The End, and his Lights Out Miami concept at the Winter Music Conference. Lawler continues to build an ever-growing band of avid followers who pack out any venue that bills his name.
Steve Lawler has been hailed the pioneer of twisted house. His sound has evolved through the years but the main elements remain meandering through deep, dark, chunky, drivin’, sexy house tracks. Still evolving, still redefining boundaries, Lawler is the stuff of legends and undoubtedly a staple diet of dance music for years to come …
Turning to electronic music from an early age, Lawler used to buy Depeche Mode records, and he obviously loved electronic sounds without even realising it. But it was Acid House that really turned him on. Tuning devotedly into a local pirate radio station gave Lawler a taste for house music, and it wasn't long before his mates were luring him off to warehouse parties. This would soon change his and many other people’s lives.
Lawler was inspired to put on his own illegal parties at the age of 17, in a disused tunnel underneath the M42 Motorway (1990 – 1994). These few parties became legendary throughout Birmingham and across the Midlands, but were soon stopped due to pressure from the police.
This didn’t deter the ambitious young Lawler. Next stop Ibiza where Lawler has been every year since 1990. It was his residency at Cafe Mambo in 1995 which was his real breaking point, where he performed eight-hour sets, seven days a week, as well as playing three times a week at Pacha on the roof terrace. It was there that he was spotted by Darren Hughes (then promoter of Cream), who recognised his talent and ambition and signed him to Cream's DJ agency and gave Steve an immediate residency at the eponymous Liverpool institution.
Following his residency at Cream, Steve launched his new residency for Darren Hughes at HOME at Space in Ibiza in 1999, the place where his legacy was truly realised. Only two incredible years into his residency in Ibiza earned him the well-deserved title ‘The King Of Space’ and he began to get his props both within the discerning dance press and the industry at large.
With a solid fan base, a proven track record, legions of fans and his first compilation ‘Dark Drums 1’ locked down what he needed was a home in the UK, and that is exactly what he got. He set the capital alight with his weekly Friday night residency Deep South at Leicester Square’s multi-million pound super club HOME London. Again his marathon 6-hour sets quickly became something of legend as he weaved his magic across the club's awesome sound system, wowing clubbers and critics alike. The latter half of 2000 saw the timely release of his hugely successful Home compilation that epitomised his successful residency.
Lawler fast became the DJ every clubber wanted to hear but he wanted a new home. The perfect solution came in the form of his own monthly Thursday night at Code, The Midweek Session, which fast become one of the most important club nights in the UK, where guests such as Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Pete Tong, Futureshock, Carl Cox, John Digweed, Danny Howells, and Laurent Garnier joined him behind the decks. Success followed success and it was in March 2001, Lawler then released his revered Nu Breed album with compilation kings Global Underground.
Lawler was by now touring North and South America, South Africa, Australia, Asia and Eastern Europe to great acclaim. Due to this workload, he decided to end The Midweek Session after 12 parties, ending on a major high. His second Dark Drums compilation ‘Dark Drums 2’ followed in September 2001, further appeasing his worldwide fan base, being listed as Compilation of the Month in may publications, and also in many end of year polls.
In 2002, Lawler launched two new concepts around his distinctive sound. The first was his ‘Lights Out’ compilation series, released in the summer of 2002 with the follow-up ‘Lights Out 2’ hitting the shelves in October 2003. The third instalment ‘Lights Out 3’ will complete the trilogy in October 2005. The second Lawler concept was Harlem Nights which saw him make an eagerly anticipated return to London in 2002, with his own monthly night - Harlem Nights at The End, which to this day continues to provide the perfect club setting for Lawler to unleash his six-hour sets. Harlem nights has one of the most dedicated crowds and sounds around.
Harlem Nights is where Steve Lawler feels completely at home as a DJ. It’s the umbrella for his sound, taking things back to basics and setting a vibe that keeps people coming back for more. As Steve himself states: “This is my baby, and a lot of my musical direction and inspiration comes from that night, from that crowd. I feel so comfortable from the second I walk into that room. Harlem Nights to me is one of the best parties in the world.”
It's not all about being a DJ though. Lawler's accomplished productions are always favourites amongst the elite. His singles 'Rise In’ (2000), ‘Andante’ (2002), ‘Lost’ (2003), and ‘Out@Night’ (2004) prove that Lawler understands how to work a crowd. More recently, Lawler has produced a range of new tracks, which will form his debut artist album in 2006. The first fruits of this process is ‘Souls On Ice’ (2005), a collaboration with hype production outfit King Unique, and featuring the incredible vocals of former Happy Mondays singer Rowetta. Winter Music Conference watch out, as Lawler’s ‘Illectronic Music’ (2005) single is already being tipped to be a Miami WMC classic.
Lawler’s recent remixography consists of Dido’s ‘Sand In My Shoes’ (a Billboard USA Dance Chart number one), the second Shapeshifters single ‘Back To Basics’, and a hot remix of house classic ‘Reach for Me’ by Funky Green Dogs‘.
Post-Miami Steve Lawler will join Thirst 2005 where his acute ear for a tune will no doubt be at the forefront of the minds of this years Thirst finalists, when Steve acts as international judge for Thirst 2005 across 6 Asia countries.
Steve says of Thirst: "I am delighted to be a part of Thirst, as it has managed to take the concept of the DJ talent search to a global level. Dance music has always been about embracing the new, and it's great that there is now a competition like Thirst to help fast-track DJs to a higher level."
Steve Lawler is a DJ who has never taken the easy path to success. A DJ whose passion for house music overthrows the boundaries of just playing records. From his mammoth sets at Space in Ibiza to his tendency to re-edit half the tracks in his box, he has stunned all detractors of the house sound. Steve Lawler continually proves his true passion. As Jockey Slut puts it, ‘One of the best DJs in the world.