Luminox was a pioneer of EDM trap music, and he’s making new music again after an extended hiatus due to a near-death experience.
Anyone that’s familiar with the OG EDM trap scene remembers Luminox. In an era where SoundCloud remixes were popular and trap music was trending, David Lopez (Luminox) was a master of trap bootlegs and productions.
The genre was getting played out on the main stage of some of the scene’s biggest festivals. Luminox’s remixes of iconic tracks like “Epic“, “Rattle“, and “Original Don” were getting support from Skrillex, Diplo, Flosstradamus, Zeds Dead, A-Trak, Borgore, and Dillon Francis. But after posting a couple tracks around 2015-2016, Luminox disappeared from the scene before reappearing in 2021.
Where was he all of those years? The Internet had plenty of theories. Some suggested that Luminox was in jail or quit music after getting his laptop stolen at Paradiso Festival. Luminox actually stepped away from music after a serious car accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. After years of recovery and reflection, Luminox is ready to bring his trapstyle back to the scene.
Read our full interview to learn more about Luminox’s incredible story, and listen to “Cosmic Purp”, a track he made exclusively for Premier EDM below.
I think the best way to start this interview is to first chat about where it all started. How did you get interested in electronic music?
I’m originally from East Chicago, Indiana. Chicago itself had a very thriving hard dance scene about 15 years ago when I first got into rave music. Artists like DJ Caffeine, DJ Bam Bam, DJ Bizerk, and DJ Irene did a hard house/jumpstyle type of music that had a huge influence on my sound. I got to see all of them at underground raves. Their parties were super hype and the music was wild. Then, I caught wind of Dutch House around 2008. Guys like Afrojack, Sidney Samson, and Angger Dimas. It has a similar energy to jumpstyle, but different drum patterns. I love that vibe and what it does to the dancefloor.
Outside of EDM, my dad always listened to hip-hop. Specifically Southern Rap like Master P, No Limit Records, and Three Six Mafia. My drum programming is heavily influenced by Southern Rap, and my artistic vision as Luminox is to fuse all of my influences together. I started doing that around 2008-2009 on MySpace, and it led me to where I was at the beginning of the SoundCloud explosion. I was making remixes of Dutch House and Hardstyle tracks, and that’s how I made a name for myself.
Let’s talk about your first “big break” in the industry. You made some huge remixes for artists like Bingo Players and Flosstradamus back in the day. What was it like having that overnight success?
I can kinda contribute the “overnight” explosion to big DJs supporting me. Especially the Mad Decent Crew: Diplo, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, etc. Once they started playing my music at these big festivals, a lot of people were trying to figure out what these tracks were. I gotta give all those guys my utmost respect because they really helped get my music out there.
When did you first start pursuing music production?
I started making beats when I was like 14. I was grounded for bad grades, and all I had was a computer for the summer. I had a program on there called Mixman Studio. You couldn’t really do anything besides stack premade loops. You could arrange them and add effects, but you couldn’t make your own beats. I realized I wanted to do that. Growing up, music always captivated me. Particularly, electro breaks were a major influence. The 808 Break sound is timeless. I was super into stuff like Afrika Bambaataa, Egyptian Lover, and Twilight 22.
I found a demo of FL Studio and immersed myself in it. I slapped together some pretty crappy beats for a few years, but eventually, I was able to grasp music theory and put what I had in my mind into the machine. I tried to recreate the sounds of popular hip-hop producers, and eventually, I was selling instrumentals for like $50 on a site called RocBattle.com. Most of the beats were sold to unknown mixtape artists trying to come up. That’s where I first got confidence in my production – people buying my beats when I was around 16 years old.
Was touring a reason that you took a break from music?
No, not at all. I always wanted to experience the lifestyle of a DJ. I grew up listening to house music, and my dad was going to events with Bad Boy Bill. I wanted to perform in front of people, and I wanted the crowd to feel the music the same way that I felt it. As a kid, I would listen to DJ sets and pretend I was scratching in front of the mirror. Going on tour and playing festivals was a dream come true.
Let’s talk about what happened at Paradiso Festival. I saw on Reddit that your laptop got stolen there.
I did lose my laptop, but I got it back! I left my gear in the artist trailers. After your set, you really only had access to your trailer for another hour. I needed somewhere to leave my backpack, and another artist let me store my stuff in his. When I came back later, the trailer was completely empty.
I had nothing backed up. I was panicking. I had years of work on there that I couldn’t get back. A couple of weeks went by, and then someone from the USC Events company contacted me and said they had my stuff. Thankfully, I got everything back.
Tell us a little bit about the hiatus you took for the last 5 years. After taking a break, you just started releasing music again in 2021.
Around 2015, I was discovering a lot of new artists that were influencing me heavily. Stuff like Mr. Carmack and Soulection – both musical and heavy sounds. I was just known for making loud and crazy trap beats before. I loved that, but a part of me wanted to exhibit a more musical side. I felt like my music was disposable to a degree. I wanted to tell stories & show emotions other than just hype. I didn’t grow up with formal music training, so my attempts to make this stuff weren’t landing how I wanted them to. I planned to take about a year off and learn formal music theory and come back as a better artist.
I was living in Phoenix at the time and was moving to a new place. I packed up my stuff and rented a U-Haul. This was New Year’s Day 2017. No one was on the road with me, and it was storming a lot. In my rearview mirror, I see headlights coming up pretty fast in the HOV lane. He’s probably going at least 90 MPH, and I’m going like 60 in the next lane on the right. He flies past me and starts to hydroplane. His car bounces off the wall, hits the front of my truck, and starts tumbling. I had to stop.
I pulled over and made sure the guy was alright. I needed to take a picture of his ID and insurance, but I couldn’t since it was raining heavily. I went into the passenger side of my U-haul and stepped in halfway so I wasn’t getting rained on. As I was taking the picture, I hear a loud “whoosh” noise from outside. It was another car speeding and coming right for me. It slammed into the back of the truck and the inside of the doorframe hit me in the head. Time totally skipped and next thing I know I’m laying on my back in the street about 10 feet away from my U-haul.
I sit up, and blood is gushing out of my forehead. It felt like I was taking a shower in blood. I was afraid I was about to leak out and die. My phone broke so I couldn’t even call 911. I got up, felt very dizzy, and ran back over to the first guy’s car and told him to call 911. The ambulance shows up, and I ended up with a traumatic brain injury. I was just happy to be alive.
Days and weeks go by, and I realized that I felt completely different. These types of injuries affect your brain chemistry and hormone production. It felt like my personality got knocked out. You know that feeling of a word being on the tip of your tongue? Imagine that but every other sentence. Whatever connected my brain to my mouth was not working. I basically I lost my vocabulary.
It affected my confidence and my social life. I went to physical therapy and speech therapy, and that helped a little bit. I had also lost a lot of memories from the years prior. Any movies that I saw, I could watch again and they were brand new. I was messed up, and I didn’t feel like I could go onstage and conduct parties the way that I was supposed to. I wasn’t in the right mindset to be a public figure at all.
I became a little bitter and angry that something like this could happen to me. I just wasn’t in a good headspace. It took a very long time for me to feel normal again. It affected my relationships and friendships. My mood in general was completely apathetic. I didn’t care about anything and it didn’t feel like music was important anymore. I felt like I needed to rebuild myself mentally before I took on my career as a musician again.
When you’re going through something, you can’t just pull away from everything the way I did. Things that we can’t control happen to everyone. Life’s a trip, and sometimes, the trip goes through some dark tunnels. You can either let that crush you or you can elevate and grow stronger. I didn’t handle what happened to me very well. I wish I had come back sooner because although I’m feeling good now, I’m honestly no more ready today than I was a few years ago.
If you don’t feel any more ready than you did a few years ago, what is the main motivation driving you to get started again now?
Over the last few years, I’ve regained confidence in music. I definitely studied a lot of music theory. I’ve made a bunch of dope stuff and fell in love with music again. I was looking into new styles and getting inspired by the new wave of artists. What really got me started again was just…flicking the domino. I could’ve done that years ago, but I just didn’t care about music as much back then. I took up a lot of other hobbies like studying and learning history, archeology, philosophy, self-help books, etc. It helped sculpt me and my mentality. I still feel like a different person, but I’m happy.
I was just sitting around in a dark tunnel and letting myself drown in negativity. I wasn’t taking the steps to get back into music like I wish I had. There was encouragement from my family and friends, and I had people from all over the world reaching out to me saying they missed my music. That definitely meant a lot…shoutout to all those people, they know who they are. There were Facebook messages and people emailing all of my email addresses to show support.
Also, music has evolved so much. I didn’t wanna come back with the same old sound. I wanted to make sure my art was up to par – I’m more confident in my music now than I ever have been.
What kind of music have you been making?
Currently, I’ve been going through a nostalgic phase. I know I said I wanted to move forward with my music, but I do feel like that authentic trap sound is missing from the scene a little bit. I plan to release a few trap releases that kinda sound like rap records, but I also have some more sound design-focused, scientific drops in the works.
Those will be as Luminox? Or a different project?
Yeah, that’ll be as Luminox, but I do have a few aliases. I have an alias called Vibrator that’s gonna be electro/808 breaks. I’m making Memphis/Phonk under the name Contract Killer and deep dub stuff under the name AM Assassin. I plan on increasing my output of music majorly. I want to make up for lost time.
What are some artists/labels that you’ve been digging lately?
Duploc, Encrypted Audio, Jadū Dala and Sable Valley. Also, shoutout to FUXWITHIT!
What are some of your goals for the next few years?
I think increasing my output is the big one. I want people to get used to me dropping music and seeing my name in the rotation again. I miss the days where I would check a mix and find my name in the tracklist. It was like that for a long time, and after letting all this time pass me by, I feel a little left out! Another goal is to release on labels I really respect. I also have a dream of playing a set in every single state.
I want to give every city the trapstyle treatment and reinvigorate the scene a little bit. Trap isn’t totally gone, but it’s not the focus anymore. There were years where trap was the big ticket. It was mainstage music. I had Porter Robinson and Tiesto playing my songs at one point. Shoutout to Tiesto for dropping my “Epic” and “Rattle” remixes. The authentic OG trap vibes are lacking a little bit, and I think people might be craving that again.
I do feel like the genre is coming back now with Sable Valley and guys like ISOxo.
ISOxo definitely has the fire. I’m very inspired by the new wave of artists. I can attribute them to getting me excited about making music again. People are bringing new sounds and mixing the new school with the old school.
There are so many new artists these days that it’s almost difficult for a DJ to keep up with it all. People say SoundCloud is dead, but every time I go on there, I’m finding bangers from artists that have under 2,000 followers. That motivates me and makes me want to get involved again.
Maybe one day, the trap scene could do something like Excision does at Lost Lands. I’d love to see some kind of festival circuit for trap music.
Finally, do you have a favorite track or remix you’ve made?
It’s hard for me to look past my Bingo Players “Rattle” remix. When Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Flosstradamus started playing it, a lot of other artists did, too. It really got my career started as a touring act. There were even times when I was driving here in Arizona and I would hear it on the radio! I also really liked remixing tracks from The Partysquad. I’d love to collaborate with them one day.