John Lau • John Lau EP




The John Lau EP is delightful in its journey and proficiency, a great collection of tracks that is satisfying in full. John Lau is a collaboration between friends Tony Piazza and Kevin McMahon and is the result of a year of experimentation. The EP delves into familiar styles of electronic music, stitching them together in a sophisticated way.

The EP begins with ‘Bleed’, a pulsating, disjointed track that sets the tone perfectly with it’s Aphex-Twin like pops and pulsating lows with a menacing guitar feedback loop attached. The next track ‘Shy’ is a dark club banger that feels like it could keep going on for 10 minutes. It’s upbeat and banging but maintains a strung-out quality perfect for late-night spaces. The project wraps with ‘Serum,’ a cool instrumental track that has math-rock vibes, mixed with a dash of grunge.

The final product is a unique juxtaposition of natural and synthetic sound. It starts in one place and moves effortlessly to other territories that don’t necessarily share a border at face value. With the support of Brooklyn based label Sorry Records, Piazza and McMahon are proving potent partners, and These Days is happy to present their debut The John Lau EP.

Find out more in our exclusive Q&A below!

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Can you explain how this collaboration came together?

It came together pretty naturally. We’re good friends and were in a period of exploring different styles of composition...eventually some themes started to take shape. At a high level, we’re into the open source nature of the technology we’re using, and wanted the project to reflect that. For us, that means being open to working with a variety of folks and focusing on the output rather than who the project consists of.

What were the different things you saw in each other’s production style that made it feel like a good fit? 

First is that we have no issues saying when we like or don’t like something. While we’re usually on the same page, that’s super important with the amount of possibilities in a given arrangement. And while it wasn’t conscious, one of us is really strong in the present and idea focused, and the other willing to sit with the details and more meticulous components of patching those ideas together.

 What are some of the main influences on this music?

 Might not be too on the surface in these pieces, but we really love Kranky Records. Without getting too specific outside that, very into musique concrète, beat tapes, and Warp, for sure.

How long did it take to complete the project? 

It took shape over the course of a year. Mostly due to us taking our time experimenting, editing, deleting, etc. We had several other tracks come out of it, but we’re very “less is more” type people.

 How much of the project is computer produced vs live instrumentation? Seems to vary a lot from track to track. 

Varies. We each play instruments and it’s hard to feel something is totally done without live elements involved. Just depends on the track.

 Can we expect more from this group specifically, or will there be more collaborators involved?

 Yes & Yes.

 Do you think Chicago is somewhat untapped in terms of this style of music?

 Hard to say seeing as we’re not aware of the entirety of music being made in Chicago. It does feels like there’s less interesting electronic-centric music getting attention then we’d like there to be.

 What’s the one thing our readers should know before pushing play?

Use good headphones if you got ‘em?