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Stargazers: Who is Cory Lasser?

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On February 2nd, Eric Prydz made Essential Mix history with one of the most hotly anticipated and buzzed about Radio 1 mixes in recent memory. Listeners were taken on a journey through an impeccable selection of Pryda originals, but one track stood out as an anomaly in the set list – a completely unknown production from a completely unknown producer. “Cypher” by Cory Lasser, kicks in early during Pryda’s Essential Mix – buzzing and grinding its way alongside productions from one of the most highly-regarded producers in the world. The surprise wasn’t just one just shared by listeners – Cory himself had no idea that the track was being featured in the mix until a friend pointed it out after the show aired. We got a hold of the budding producer to ask him about the experience and the whirlwind of recognition that followed – and to answer the obvious question, “Who is Cory Lasser?”

As a kid Cory was always musically inclined, performing in various bands throughout high school as a drummer and guitarist before heading on to college to study classical guitar. His interest in electronic music only began recently, when the Brooklyn resident attended Electric Zoo for the first time in 2011. “After that I was hooked, I started DJing some dance parties in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I only started producing 11 months ago.” Cory reflects, “The raw energy of punk and rock mixed with the perfection of jazz and classical is what attracts me to dance music.”

Spending most of his time in the studio, instead of behind the decks, Cory considers himself a producer, not a DJ – citing his influences as Eric Prydz, Moguai, deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, and Steve Duda. Outside of EDM, he derives much of his influence from “classical and baroque music for their melodies and power, jazz for its playful, energetic and emotional nature, and traditional Japanese music such as Taiko for its raw, visceral rhythms. There’s not even any melody in Taiko, but the energy in the room at one of their performances is as much or more than I’ve felt with any other kind of music.”

When Prydz shouted out on one of his Epic Radio podcasts for bedroom producers to send in their tracks for airplay, Cory did what countless others have in the past – picked the track he was most proud of and sent it out with a hope and a prayer. Weeks went by without any news or contact but then, on one fateful night, Eric did something Cory had never expected – he played “Cypher” for a millions of listeners on the biggest dance music broadcast in the world. Cory recalls how he first found out his track had become a part of Essential Mix history;

I didn’t hear anything for a while and assumed it was lost in the millions of tracks he must have been sent. Then one Friday night as I was going out, I noticed a small uptick in my SoundCloud play counts. So I checked the Epic Radio podcasts, and he hadn’t posted one in a couple of weeks. My name was nowhere to be found, so I thought nothing of it. The next morning while on Dancing Astronaut I stumbled on the first article about his 2013 Essential Mix and how it was trending on Twitter. I scrolled down and saw my track and my name, and I just about lost it. I was screaming “holy shit” repeatedly to myself in my apartment and thinking that there must have been some sort of mistake. So I checked the BBC site and confirmed it. But to this day, I still can’t believe it.

Cory’s story and dream is one that is shared by countless other aspiring producers looking to catch their big break in the industry that they love, to them he has some simple but poignant advice. “Do what you want to do, make music that you enjoy and take a chance  because you’ve literally got nothing to lose. Try to connect with your heroes, chances are if you are responding well to something in their music, they will also respond to yours.”

When asked what he has learned from this whole experience, Cory simply responded. “[The experience] showed me that those who make amazing music are amazing people as well.”

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