Written by: Peter Bonamici (@VinceMici)
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Lasko: My name is Lasko, i'm 19, and i'm a Chicago based producer, pianist, and engineer. I got my start in music with taking piano at a young age and have been playing for about 14 years now. I got turned onto the controllerism movement in my freshman year of high school and it kinda naturally led into producing my own stuff.
A few months ago you released your first big project, Jazzis, which really took off with the sheer amount of talent from local and national features. How was the comedown from it?
Lasko: I kinda hate everything I make, I'm never sure if my stuff is very good. So that whole project was really humbling and a huge boost in my confidence. I had no idea so many people would actually take to my sound. The follow up after was extremely positive, met some amazing people since and have been able to work or are going to be working with a lot of them. Listening back to the project, its crazy to see how much I’ve improved and now I hate about 70% of the jazzis album.
Some artists featured on Jazzis have been doing really huge things lately. Frank Leone recently released his debut album EnterWild. Monster Mike and Kolby Woods have also been releasing a constant stream of music every week or so. How does it feel working with these artists as they are on the rise themselves?
Lasko: It was great getting all those guys on the project, the Asinine track we did was a great idea. I gotta give a lot of props to Frank since he was the guy that gathered Mike and Kolby on that track. It’s a really amazing feeling knowing I got to work with these guys and seeing where they are now, and i'm sure there will be more joints with them on it in the near future.
You've been working with Femdot for the past few months, can you tell us more about your project?
Lasko: The project has been in the works since around September and we've gotten to record and finalize a couple tracks so far. We’ve both been crazy busy so had to delay work on it a bunch, and not to mention after sitting on some of the instrumentals, I ended up not liking them, so we’ve been changing a lot of instrumentals. This whole project is somewhat of a dream of mine to do, just a classic “golden era” style project which is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. Femdot is the perfect emcee to work with on this.
Will Femdot feature exclusively on this project? Or will he have any support from other artists?
Lasko: We are looking at a couple features, we’ve got Aaliyah Allah and Akenya to do some vocals. We are still deciding if we want an emcee feature. Lowkey been lucky enough to get in contact with ShowYouSuck and if we could get him on the project I think we’d be set.
When will we expect this to be released?
Lasko: Late April or early May.
Are there local inspirations that you have that keep you motivated to create and better your own music?
Lasko: The biggest local inspiration would be Thelonious Martin, his Wünderkid album is just a masterpiece in my eyes. I’ve recently taken up a position at Professor Fox’s studio and have gotten the honor of being able to work with him and Jarofmy. Those two guys have really shown me things that I never thought of before and what’s better than learning under Fox, the guy is brilliant. But most of my inspiration comes from outside of Chicago, musicians like Nujabes, Madlib, Knxledge, Mndsg ,and Jazz Liberatorz amongst others.
There are heavy influences of jazz in your music. How did that come about?
Lasko: Like I said earlier, playing piano has been a huge part of my life. Playing in a bunch of ensembles over time naturally translated into me playing Jazz. My first experience with Hip-Hop is when a good friend of mine introduced me to Nujabes back in highschool. His music really spoke to me and made me realize that Hip-Hop can be so much more than the modern pop shit that is out there (don’t even consider that stuff as hip-hop). Listening to Nujabes led me into really immersing myself in the culture and history of the genre, and fell in love with it. The beauty of Jazz is it came from very humble bare bones roots and Hip-Hop came from similar humble roots.
2014 was the year of one-hit trap wonders. Coco, Trap Queen, U Guessed It, the list goes on and on. Most producers heavy rely on 808 bass and rapid hi-hats. Can you contrast your own music from the ever-expanding trap production?
Lasko: I try to stay away from listening to any of those types of tracks. I’m not really concerned about what people in those scenes are doing. But I guess my stuff is similar in that some of my tracks have a person rapping over it. Other than that I wouldn’t say my music is too similar. I feel there is a lack of soul in that type of music and it speaks to a different audience. Granted I’ve done a track or two with 808’s and rapid hi-hats but not along the lines of a party song or in the spirit of trap/drill music.
Kendrick Lamar recently released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly, which awed fans with a somber jazz feel for most of the tracks. Do you think jazz influence will be prominent in producing in the near future?
Lasko: Not entirely.There have been a lot of popular tracks that have sampled jazz, in my opinion they don’t really give the feel or soul of Jazz justice. To Pimp A Butterfly I feel is a rare example of a Jazz influenced album that got major mainstream attention. Artists like MF Doom, Madlib, Blu, Odisse, etc... have been doing Jazz/Soul inspired projects for a while and they’re all great, but they have never hit the mainstream attention that Kendrick’s did. I think that is a good thing, they aren’t trying to appeal to the masses and the fact there is people still like that is a good sign.
Are you selling your beats freelance for artists to lease or buy exclusive rights? If so, where can we contact you?
Lasko: Yes selling both leases and exclusive. If anyone is interested contact me either on Twitter (@laskobeats), Soundcloud, or my email firstname.lastname@example.org. Just a quick PSA for artists, when contacting a producer please please work on how you reach out, a lot of producers are gonna ignore your message if its is along the lines of “lets collab bro” and expect a free beat.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any more collaborative singles?
Lasko: There are a few artist I’ve got some singles in the works. Got a couple of tracks on Stormy English’s EP, a track or two with VeeMiyagi, and some stuff with Courtlin Jabrae. I’ve got some conceptual projects in the works, the only one I can talk about is a project titled Iru which is gonna be a bit of a departure from my usual sound, it is going to follow the concept of Dream States. Iru will hopefully will be done in June and the features lined up so far are from Beach Jesus and Stormy English.