Technical mastermind and designer of lush breakdowns, Levente Márton is better known in the Anjunabeats world as DJ and producer, Sunny Lax. Hailing from Hungary, the trance and progressive house producer and DJ was a mere 13 years old when he taught himself to play Vangelis on a computer keyboard. Witnessing his dedication, and getting a kick out of their son creating music without an instrument, Levente’s parents bought him a digital piano. He quickly became enamored with creating music and was largely self-taught. After Levente entered several Hungarian remix competitions, he began gaining enough notice to warrant a moniker. Seventeen year old Levente chose Sunny Lax, as he longed for the sun and believed Los Angeles to be a shining mecca of music, which he could fly into via the LAX airport.
At the ripe old age of 19, Sunny believed his demo track “P.U.M.A.” was “good enough” and sent it in to the Anjunabeats label. The boys of Above & Beyond played it on repeat for weeks and were so thoroughly impressed by it they signed him to the label immediately. “PUMA” became Armin Van Buuren’s Record of the Week and was featured on his iconic “A State of Trance Year Mix Album of 2005“. Unsurprisingly, it has gone on to become one of his most successful tracks to date. As you can imagine, this kind of attention did nothing but open doors for the young man. Sunny began receiving remix requests from the biggest trance and progressive house producers in the world, sometimes releasing one per month. He now has his own “Anjunabeats pres. Sunny Lax 01” album, which is a great introduction if you’re unfamiliar with this trance anthem creator.
Despite the well-deserved notice of world-renowned artists over the years, Sunny has retained a sense of humility and a true connection with fans, some even leading to genuine friendships. He continues to create tracks with booming basslines, dramatic buildups, and gorgeous drops. Not one to selfishly guard his own expertise, he continues to help up and coming producers with his “Sunny Lax Modern Trance Vol 3” sample pack series, the most recent of which contains 10 construction kits. Since 2017, Sunny has been working on his first major album, and although I’m waiting on bated breath for its release, I’d rather he take his time perfecting it. As one of Anjuna’s most prolific producers, obviously the man knows what he’s doing!
*When reading Sunny’s answers below, keep in mind that his English far surpasses my non-existent Hungarian AND he did these during Miami Music Week! Thank you, Sunny!*
FMF: What was it like having your very first track signed to Anjunabeats at just 17 years old? Did it change your perception of your future? In what ways?
Sunny Lax: Yeah. As far as I remember. Actually, my point was just try out myself, try to get feedback about my productions to see if my productions are “good enough” or not. The fact that Anjunabeats was interested has changed my life completely. It changed my perception, cause from then I felt that I can reach my dreams actually. So I can thank so much to the label. Without them I probably wouldn’t live my life the way I live now, as professional musician/DJ. And also through the Anjunafamily I met so many amazing people, like I got to know most of my closest friends though this music.
At my last count, you’re up to roughly 50 releases, not including remixes. And yet, you haven’t gifted us fans an album yet. Any progress on the album you said you were beginning to work on in 2017? You’d mentioned it was going to be experimental and contain different genres, can you tell us a little more about that?
It’s still a bit early to talk about it. I’m definitely on it, but it takes time. I think my key points are to create a journey and to try to tell a complete story instead of just to collect a bunch of single songs. And also I try to be more experimental, cause in my opinion good music has no borders, and if you’re telling an interesting story the genre as an environment just helps certain songs to shine more with the different instrumentation or tempo. But to answer simple, I’ll create music whatever I feel, not necessarily trance.
How would you say producing an album is different from singles or EPs? Since this is a first for you, how are you going about creating it? By starting with a single track and branch out from there? Plan out your beginning, middle, and end, and then fill it in with appropriate tracks that fit the feeling you’re looking for?
Yeah something like this, my approach is to figure out a concept as a whole first, then I can start to build and organize the songs around that concept. And as I mentioned most of the time being a trance/progressive producer limits a few things, like tempo and certain musical elements, which is not a bad thing at all, limits are great actually. But an album is just a great opportunity to see what’s happening if we break all those walls.
You’ve said in the past that being a producer who’s unable to play instruments is really bad. Yet you could play Vangelis on your computer keyboard… something most pianists can’t do! Can you play it on the piano now? Did you teach yourself any instruments, or get any lessons?
I still can’t play the piano in the meaning of to be able to play complete complex pieces/songs, but I don’t need this skill luckily 🙂 I learned a lot about music theory which definitely helps when I get stuck at some point, or just helps to be more sophisticated at times. But without any knowledge, even the amateurs use music theory without knowing. It’s like when a chef uses loads of physics and maths unconsciously while cooking a recipe. Sometimes it’s good to know the reasons and rules how and why something works or not, but the good music is like good food, if you enjoy making it, and you used the right spices and ingredients, it’s gonna taste great.
I’ve heard you have a lot of pride in Hungarian music. Which artists or tracks are some of your favorites? Do you have any suggestions on Hungarian producers, composers, etc?
Since you got your name Sunny Lax from the LAX airport and your desire for sunshine, what do you think about LAX and Los Angeles now that you’ve traveled there quite a bit? Has your impression changed over time?
I love that city, I always felt like it’s the perfect symbol of the American dream, the place of opportunities and freedom. Nothing has changed since then, I love everything about the city. The people, the vibe, the sun, the smells, everything but the traffic. 😀
Some fun questions to get to know Levente, the man beneath Sunny Lax, the artist:
With all your traveling, do you have any interesting stories about losing your luggage on a trip?
I never, ever lost my luggage, cause I only bring one carry on all the time, even if I’m away for three weeks. It has its disadvantages too, but at least I never lost my luggage.
What would you try if you had no fear?
Produce 138 bpm music.
If you could master one instrument, which would it be, and why?
Piano, cause for me it’s more like THE instrument, cause it covers the whole tonal frequency spectrum with its 7 octaves.
Which long lost childhood object would you most like to find?
Genix gave away your love of American burgers… what’s been your favorite so far?
There is a place in LA, the Fathers Office, and Genix told me, he ate his best burger of his life and I needed to try it. I had to wait a year or even more, while he kept telling me stories about this magical burger, building unreal expectations in me. So when I tried it finally I was like, meh it’s just a good burger, but not the best of my life. 😀 But I ate a very good, memorable burger in New York at a place called Emily.
Click below for tickets to see Sunny Lax headline the All In Tour at Whiskey Bar in Portland. Let’s tell him we’d LOVE to hear a 138 bpm Sunny Lax Track! After all, didn’t he say in 2018 to “Adapt Or Die”?!?
*Featured Image of Sunny Lax Via Elda Photography*