“I’ve always enjoyed drumming. I guess that’s why I was brought up listening to 70s Rock bands like, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden in the 80s. After that, the music of the 90s was beginning to get a bit cheesy for me!”
Laura May Lovegrove was a bit of a tomboy growing up. In fact, she still is. The Workington, England native atteneded The University of Central England in Birmingham where she played soccer and studied criminal justice, and can remember vividly her first encounter with dance music.
“Some of my teammates would go clubbing and I hadn’t been before,” recalled Laura May. “My first time was around the year 2000 and I immediately dropped the 90s music and began to embrace the Underground Hard House that was being played. That’s when I started my vinyl collection.”
After a time of clubbing, always admiring the DJ booth thinking to herself, ‘I could do that’ she attended a friend’s after-party where she was invited to play some decks. “They told me I beat-matched pretty well,” said a proud Laura May. She enjoyed the experience so much that she used her $800 of student loan money to purchase a Numark TT 100 turntable package and lived off spaghetti for the rest of the semester.
Spending countless hours in her bedroom, she taught herself the art of DJing with vinyl, and began to showcase her talents around the city. “I was enjoying playing this genre (Hard House) of music until a few years later when I found myself at Godskitchen which played more Uplifting Trance. I began to think, ‘I like this genre more!'” said a laughing Laura May. “Obviously, I’ve always enjoyed varying types of music but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
You see, this is the beauty of music. It doesn’t hold any boundries and Laura May was begining to see a pattern of simply going with what she liked and wasn’t about to be held to just one genre because the industry said that she had to.
“I began to build my vinyl collection on Trance, and around 2005 I was emailing some local agents to ask if they needed new DJ’s to play. But, this was during the time when the production side of the industry began to take a strong hold with the advent of the software that was available,” said Laura May. “So, I immediately started to learn how to produce.”
Reason is the proverbial Digital Audio Workstation software choice of Laura May since she began by downloading the 2.5 version. “This was before the days of YouTube,” recalled Laura May. “So, I again spent many hours in my bedroom playing around with it and taught myself. Being a drummer, it certainly helped because the rhythm and time measures were easy for me.”
Laura May met Rick, her now husband in 2002, and they had their first son together in 2006 and another in 2009. “I was a mom, so it became difficult to learn during this time, but I kept on. I took notes from other producers while creating my own sounds that I liked,” said Laura May.
In 2007, she started to have her collaborated material signed by small record labels and 2008 saw her first solo effort, a remix of Plastic Boy’s, “Silver Bath” picked up by Bonzai Classics. “I was shocked,” exclaimed Laura May. “I couldn’t believe they signed that!”
Over the years and many signed tracks later, Laura May still doesn’t hold herself to any particular genre. “I start out with a few percussion and bass lines and see where it takes me,” she admitted. “This year I’ve five Techno and three Tech-Trance tunes, but I’m not intentionally doing it. I just open Reason and start writing, and whatever it turns out to be, it is.”
With the percussion and groove emphasis that Techno employs, Laura May’s drumming background certainly comes into play with that genre. On the back end of that comes her love of the harder side of Trance. “I’m always looking for and trying new things,” said Laura May. “I’ve even sampled my own sounds by holding my phone next to my washing machine knocking on the cubbard door during the spin cycle for a cool beat, and recorded myself hitting a Nutella lid with a drumstick. It’s fun!”
And, her love of performing live hasn’t diminished either. Still playing 5-6 shows per year, Laura May prefers smaller, underground clubs but of course, isn’t opposed to playing larger venues someday. “I grew up in those small clubs,” she said. “I like the intimacy and randomness of them, but I’d certainly like to play to a festival crowd! I don’t go out that much anymore because of the kids, but when I do perform I’ll join the crowd afterwards and unwind a bit and it would be great to be in a festival type setting!”
“The last place I performed was London’s Fabric and before that I did a couple of gigs with a small brand, welovehardhouse.com, where they rent out a hotel for the weekend. I don’t really play Hard House anymore, but a friend recommended me and I enjoy performing there because it takes me back to my early days of DJing.”
Asked if she was worried that her talents would be diminished by the public because of her gender in an otherwise male dominated profession, Laura May was quick to say, “My personal opinion is it shouldn’t matter what sex you are or how you look. It should be based on your talent as a DJ/Producer. I do feel though that you have to prove yourself a bit more as a female.”
Laura May isn’t worried that she’s perceived as a sex symbol on stage because, “I’m old enough to be most of these clubber’s Mom!” said a laughing, almost blushing Laura May. “I don’t even consider it. My husband is my number 1 fan and he’ll often be in the crowed pointing to the DJ booth telling other people, ‘That’s my wife up there!'”
And, there’s no timetable for Laura May, either. She enjoys what she does and plans to continue on until it’s not fun anymore. “There’s a lot of men out there in their 50’s pushing 60 that are killing it,” exclamied Laura May. “Now, whether a woman could do that or not has yet to be seen. Is it about the looks or the music,” she aksed herself. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see. When it stops being fun for me, I’ll quit.”
Laura May’s new Uplifting single, “Autumn Sunrise” will be released soon on Trancegression Records: