Named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 10 Acts to Watch in 2016, Lookas has been making major achievements for years. The self-taught Miami artist arrived on the scene in late 2013 with his successful remix of “Tsunami” by DVBBS and Borgeous. Next, he honored Low Rider’s “War” and was approached by Flo Rida & Sage the Gemini for “GDFR.” More recently, he surged through the charts with a popular original, “Apollo,” and a collab with Crankdat titled “Game Over.”
The Miami native has been transforming his iconic trap sound into something more radio-friendly, while still putting out bangers, like the recent “Mercy, and will see to iconic label Monstercat for his upcoming release. We sat down with him before he took the stage at New York’s Terminal 5 to talk about what it was like to go quadruple platinum, who will be featured on his upcoming EP and more.
Check it out below and keep an eye out for his EP, coming to Monstercat, soon.
You recently released a brand new single, “Mercy,” on your label Loko Records. Can you tell me a bit more about the label and why you decided to start your own?
For now, it’s kind of my own label, just for my own music. I’m planning on starting a label later on with a different name, but for now it’s just something for me just to be independent with.
Does the name have anything to do with Four Loko?
No, I wish. The first song I ever made was called “Loko,” so I was like “Alright, cool, I’ll just call it “Loko.”
How long ago was that? When you made your first song?
Like four, fix, maybe six years ago? I’ve lost track of time, to be honest with you.
You’re touring right now, with several more tour dates for fans to look forward to this year, like Washington, Kansas City, and more. What do you do to prepare for a set and what can fans except to hear from you if they are going to see you in a live setting?
A lot of my DJ sets consist of unreleased music, but I try and put in those songs everybody likes to sing along to, the crowd-pleasers. I usually play my favorite of the crowd-pleasers, if that makes sense, my favorite songs that I know people will sing along to, and I would like to sing along to. Besides that, a lot of unreleased music of my own, and a lot of my friends’ unreleased music as well. What can my fans expect? A lot of new music, a lot of fun energy, and a good time.
Speaking of new music, you have an EP coming out soon. Can you give us any hints as to what is going to be on it or what the vibe is going to be like?
Yeah, I think we’re ready to just tell people what’s up. So, I’ve been working on this EP for about 4-5 months now. I took a big window of time off from making music and touring to just figure out what I want to do as a career choice with music and I took a step back from some of the stuff that I’ve built my career off of, which is more of the trap and bass sound, and have moved towards more making more lyrical records, songwriter records, just making different genres of music that I enjoy making, sort of tapping into making all kinds of music.
So, this EP is going to be very different. For the first track, it’s a solo record by me with a lot of hints and tastes of “Can’t Get Enough,” my past record that I put out. It’s a really dope, fun record to play out and the second record is with Krewella. So, I helped write Krewella’s “Be There” and we ended up working on another song that’s going to be on the EP as well, I think people are going to love it. They kill it, they’re awesome girls, they’re really fun to work with. The third track on the EP, it’s a three-track EP, is with my buddy Able Heart who sings and songwrites and wrote the song, and that track’s amazing. I’m really excited for people to hear that one as well.
Another cool thing about the EP is that we’re doing three music videos, one for each song, and it’s a storyline starting from the first song to the last, so it’s going to be really cool. You’re going to be able to watch the music videos from one to three. It’s like a mini-storyline that’s going to be all tied together within the music and the lyrics and it’s going to be really fun and interactive for the fans to enjoy.
You were talking about how you are steering away from the trap and bass vibes, but some of your biggest tracks, like “Apollo” and “Game Over,” were some of the most iconic tracks of the past few years. Do you feel there’s a certain pressure to top those every time you put out music?
I mean, maybe people feel that way, but I don’t feel like I need to top any songs I’ve ever made. I always strive for better, I always strive to make better, but I have no goal of trying to reference any of my music and try and make it better than it was. I think at the end of the day, if I finish a song and I’m very happy with it, that’s the end result and that’s what it’s going to be. If people like it, they like it, and if they don’t, then whatever.
What would you say was the biggest turning point in your career, when you were like “Damn, I made it?”
I feel like I haven’t come to that point in my career, for sure. I’m just enjoying the ride, you know? I think one of the biggest points in my career would be when “GDFR” happened with Flo Rida. I had made a remix of “War” by Low Rider, and that ended up becoming a multiplatinum record with Low Rider, so that was probably the biggest point in my career and when things started really taking off.
Besides that, just me putting out music and the interaction with my fans, they’re so dedicated and hardcore. It’s like everything I put out they show love to, it just gets insane amount of views over and over again. That’s the highlight my of my career, my fans, because they so show much love. Anything that I put out, they don’t bash me for anything. If I try something new, they’re just going to enjoy it. That’s why I’m really excited about this new music. I think everyone’s going to love it as well.
I think that’s all you can ask for, that your fans love what you do.
Yeah, I mean I see a lot of artists that get bashed putting out music that’s not their ‘style’ that they start out with, but we’re all producers at the end of the day. As a producer, we have the capability of making any kind of music, which is what’s cool. I can make a pop song one day and go make a rock song the next day. I can make a hip-hop song one day, and then I’ll make an R&B song the next day. I have the power to do whatever I want to do when I’m sitting in that chair and writing a song. If I want to put it out, I’m going to put it out. If you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t. That’s it.
Well, I am excited to hear you go in a different direction with your EP.
So, after the EP, I have a record coming out with my buddy Calvin from Timeflies. It’s a super pop, reggaeton, dancehall record that’s really feel-good summer vibes. I’m hoping for it to hit radio, because that’s the goal with the record.
You’ve hit radio before right, with Flo Rida?
Yeah, “GDFR” with Flo Rida went quadruple platinum. It was the song of the NBA Finals and it was all over the radio, it was crazy. I’ll never forget the first time I heard it on the radio. I was with my mom and my dad and they helped me into my place in L.A., and we were going from my place to IKEA or something, and we hop in the car and the first song I turn on was my song, and I was like ‘”Damn, this is real. This is crazy.”
What’s something you can be found doing if you’re not working on production?
Probably playing video games, that’s what I do. I’m either making music or I’m just playing video games. I play a lot of PC games, or X-box. Or hanging out with my friends, that’s pretty much it.
Do you have any favorite games that have come out recently?
One of my favorite games right now is PUBG, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Shoutout PlayerUnknown, he’s my homie. And then I’m excited for Destiny 2 as well.
Any last words?
Shout out Noiseporn for giving me the interview today, you guys are awesome. I’m really excited to show you guys the new music. There is going to be a lot more new music coming along and a lot more content, and I really want to make this project special. I’m excited.
Following our conversation, Lookas graced the decks of New York’s iconic Terminal 5 Venue. Playing everything from his “Tsunami” remix, to some of his newer material, and even a Linkin’ Park festival trap mash-up, he definitely wooed the crowd with some serious trap mayhem. Stay tuned for his upcoming release, and in the meantime, make sure to check out his brand new single, “Mercy,” above.