On the day he finished mastering his latest song, “Helium,” Chris Lake felt unabashedly confident.
“I’ve just done the best record I’ve ever made in my life,” he gushed. “I’m fucking excited about it. It’s quite radio friendly, and club-appointed, but a full song.”
The track, released in January, now gets a proper music video. Watch the premiere of “Helium” here:
As a DJ, producer and head of his own label, Rising Music, Lake wears many hats, but refreshingly the enthusiasm he has for his music is spread to the artists he signs. He knew, for instance, that TJR’s “Funky Vodka” was a radio-worthy song and encouraged the producer to pursue an opportunity with Pitbull that led to the Top 20 hit and platinum-certified “Don’t Stop The Party.” He also knew that a once-unknown fellow Scotsman who sent him records under the moniker Nom de Strip was a worthy act to invest in as a future star of underground dance music.
“He was still living in his granny’s house in Scotland making beats out of her spare room,” Lake says of Nom De Strip (given name Chris Elliot). “So I invited him to move to LA and stay with me and share my studio.”
Elliot, whose production and DJing credentials have been burnished by an outsized personality that largely revolves around universally enjoyed inebriated stage antics, now works steadily on his own as a Rising Music artist and lives on his own but still works with Lake regularly. Last summer the two ended up in an unlikely collaboration with Kylie Minogue, when the pop star happened to be meeting with her manager in the same building Lake was meeting with his.
Minogue and her manager, Jay Brown, chose a track from amongst a set Lake played for them and later that night went to the studio with Nom De Strip and The-Dream to write and produce a song. The result was, “Skirt,” which rose to No. 1 on the Dance/Club chart and hit No. 18 on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
“I’m really excited that a record like ‘Skirt’ happened,” Lake says of the tune with bass-heavy club sounds not typically associated with the pop star. “It’s very daring and really challenging for a casual listener. I’m really glad that [Minogue] had the balls to go ahead and choose the record and put it out.”
Though the song was a huge hit for Rising Music, which got to release the track and its accompanying remixes, Lake’s favorite part of the Kylie experience was more personal.
“It was a big deal for me because I’m British and we’re all infatuated with her bum,” Lake jokes. “I couldn’t wait to tell my dad. The funniest thing about it was I was FaceTiming with him in Scotland and I was like, ‘I’ve just been in the studio with Kylie Minogue’ and he’s like, ‘You fucking prick. Is she still there? Can I fly over?’”
For “Helium,” Lake looked closer to home for a collaborator: his wife, Gita. The two met via MySpace in 2005 and have been married since 2007. A singer/songwriter, Gita Lake had penned the original version of “Helium” over two years ago, with Lake having produced “about 15 different versions” of it since. The final iteration came together when the Lakes tapped UK singer Jareth for a studio session last year.
Lake promises an album sometime later this year, to include “Helium” as well as other previously released singles alongside some new ones. For now, he’s careful to mix up his tour dates with studio time.
“If you take 25 dates a month, you’re not getting any studio work done,” he explains. “I tell my agent, let’s take half of that and get some studio work done. Music first, that’s what people want.”