Urbana was definitely poppin’ champagne the other week, as 3LAU rocked the stage at The Canopy Club and showered his fans with bottles of champagne. At only 21 years old, the progressive house producer attained his stardom in less than a year. Justin Blau has rapidly made his name within the music industry through his signature mixes, developing a new standard for bootleg artists.

Heading to the green room for the interview, the UPC crew was accompanied by a group of eager admirers. Justin graciously invited a few lucky fans to hangout as he got ready to take stage and exhibited his genuine desire to connect with his fans. 3LAU seemed to appear relaxed and candid as he revealed a number of his unreleased tracks and playlists. Read all about his love for music and more below.

UPC: Let’s start out with a question that has been driving me crazy… How did you manage school, making music and touring all at the same time?

3LAU: I didn’t. I was very psychologically impaired and it was really hard. Now, I’m taking a break from school but I’m touring three times as much and working more on my music.

UPC: What inspired you to pursue a musical career? Did you ever think you would become this successful in such a short time span?

3LAU: I certainly never thought I’d be this successful. I saw this as a hobby. But now, just being at every show and talking about myself, it just reminds me on how insane this feels, because I don’t feel like it should have happened but it did. I didn’t necessarily decide to go into music. It all just happened because music has always been a part of my life. I don’t think there was ever a time growing up where I wasn’t listening or creating something with music. Out of the gym, doing homework, even going to bed… I had trouble sleeping if there wasn’t music on. I constantly explore different genres, weird ambient to epic rock to soul music. I have such a weird variety of musical knowledge that I gained through my friends and teachers and developed a huge appreciation for unique sound. Did I ever think I would make it in this industry? No. I guess since I love it so much, it turned out that way.

UPC: Since you have an appreciation for unique sound, in what ways does that show through your music?

3LAU: I started by making mixes and I always composed by piano or guitar, and I’ve always sang. I think a lot of that stuff will come through my later work, but right now, I haven’t spent much working on my own music. Instead, I spend most of my time touring or working on the business side of things. In three weeks when the tour is over, I am going to have a lot of freedom to work on my music for the first time ever. I’m not going to take shows. I’m  just going to stay at home and work on what’s important, which is obviously producing new songs. That’s the time I have been waiting for my whole life. I’ve always had homework and there’s always been a distraction. For the first time ever in three weeks, I will have no distractions. The only thing I will have to worry about is making music.

UPC: What techniques are you working on for your future sound?

3LAU: Everything is always about technique. It is about how much time you put into learning and developing a style. I spend most of my time learning and that’s reason why I haven’t come out with new music in a while. I’m not confident enough yet to expose it to the world. I mean, it is all fine but I think it could become more amazing if I spent more time on it. I’d rather not put something up that is only done 70% of the way. Instead, I want to go the 110%, and make sure it’s perfected. I know it’s going to be a really unique and new sound that my fans are going to like. Hopefully, it will also reach new fans that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

UPC: I know you first started out with indie-rock music. What exactly happened in Sweden that drew you into the electronic dance world?

3LAU: Nothing really happened… I think it was all from what I experienced and heard. I never experienced dance music before I went to Sweden. I was so blown away by the EDM scene that I just automatically wanted to become a DJ. I think many people end up that way after they go to their first EDM show because it enables you to appreciate music on a whole new level. They’re like immediately, “I want to be a DJ!”

UPC: Where were you?

3LAU: Stockholm. I spent about fourteen days there. I enjoyed going to the clubs and it was where I heard Avicii’s song, “Bromance,” for the first time.  It was just released in Europe and didn’t reach the United States yet. My friend was like “Yo! This song is by [Avicii]! It’s so amazing… you just have to hear it!” After that, I thought to myself, “I GET MUSIC. EDM is really fucking cool.”

UPC: What are your favorite musical genres to explore?

3LAU: I love ambient… like big pads and big chords. I made a lot of it but I just haven’t released it yet. As I get a little bit bigger in the dance music scene, I hope to reach the point where I release whatever I want. Then, I’m definitely going to release most of my ambient work under a different name or something.

UPC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

3LAU: 10 years is a long time. I would love to have a bigger fan base and have one very successful album. I want a complete body of work that is an expression of my creative thought, but I think that’s the goal of many artists, it just takes a long time to achieve. Currently, I am not comfortable in my creative self right now and I think that I need time to gain a better grasp of my imagination. I know it is going to take time, but recognizing that is the first step, then the second is just to commit to it. I’m so excited to explore those things because I haven’t yet in my entire life. It’s only the beginning of my journey.

UPC: Is there a certain message or meaning that you are hoping to convey through your body of work?

3LAU: I want my body of work to be extremely epic and uplifting music that can be played at a live setting. I don’t want to make background music. I don’t want to make music that you can just chill to in the car. I love that kind of stuff but it’s not my style. My goal is to produce music that takes people to a new emotional place, one that they haven’t been able to conceive. A lot of my favorite artists already do that.

UPC: What do you think you would be doing at this exact moment if you were not a DJ?

3LAU: I would be working on finance and be very miserable. I’m also a poet so I write a lot as a hobby, but I don’t think I’ll ever be published. I think many artists have so much creativity in different realms but they just don’t know how to explore it. I would love explore my creativity as I start to have more free time.

UPC: What is your favorite technique to excite the fans?

3LAU: The One-Two-Three Jump is unstoppable. It makes the fans go nuts when I say it through the mic!

UPC: That really works?!

3LAU: Oh my god! You don’t even know.

UPC: When should we expect a new release from you?

3LAU: I plan on releasing this new song that I was playing earlier, but I have no planned date. It has been finished for a while but I am just waiting for the right vocalist. After that… we’ll see!

UPC: Ok, last question… Besides your cellphone, what is one thing you cannot live without?

3LAU: You assume I can’t live without my cell phone?! You are very right! I guess one thing is my laptop…

UPC: How about something besides technology? What is one thing that you hold dear to yourself?

3LAU: I have not really thought about that… One thing that I cannot live without that isn’t technological? Hmmm… That’s a really hard question! I guess it’s my meaningful jewelry and certain things I wear.

UPC: What kind of jewelry?

3LAU: It’s a super meaningful necklace. I really don’t want to go into because it’s too personal. If I lost it… well I actually did lose my old one at one point and I flipped a shit! I guess that is the first thing that comes to mind.

Chowing down on some Manolo’s pizza before the show. You can keep up with 3LAU’s latest music on his Soundcloud. Just a warning, his electrifying mixes are known take control of your body.