Scris pe 14.12.2007 de DJ Strike
Afara ploua torential, trenul imi pleca in doua ore iar undeva in celalalt capat al Bucurestiului mi se pregatea cina - o portie de costite in bere la tava - pe care eram convins ca o voi rata. Eu asteptam in sala racoroasa a Becker Brau Live Music ca probele de sunet sa se sfarseasca (cu bine) si astfel sa ii pot lua un interviu. In plus, eram prost dispus - CD-ul cu U.S.S.R. Life From The Other Side, pe care imi doream un autograf, il uitasem pe un birou aflat acum la sute de kilometri distanta. Erau asigurate deci toate premizele ca lucrurile sa degenereze si seara sa se desfasoare cat se poate de prost. O jumatate de ora mai tarziu - cat a durat interviul cu DJ Vadim - zimbeam multumit, taxi-ul traversa in goana capitala, iar eu ajungeam la timp pentru a servi cina.
How do you enjoy The Soundcather International Tour?
It's very good. I'm now in Romania. How people come because the weather's terrible?
I think they will, because you were in Romania 2 or 3 times already and as far as I know the public was pleased.
Yeah it was ok, it was good.
How were the other cities from this tour?
It's been very good. Everything's been really good: Canada, United States and Europe. Asia. Next week I'll go to Brasil and Argentina.
Do you feel there is a difference between the public from different continents and countries?
Yes, there is a difference. I mean, it's based a lil' bit on the culture. Like some countries are more musical. The music scene in some countries is more developed. It depends… Every country is different. Because sometimes, there's no even countries, it's like maybe cities. Because I'm sure Bucharest is different to the other cities in Romania. Cause this is the biggest city and things like that you know?
You've also been in Timisoara. So, how's the Romanian public? Is it musical?
It's good. I mean… I don't know if it is or isn't. Like for example: I put some music when I go to Japan, people in Japan they like to listen, they don't so much like to dance. They just stand and listen. It's a bit strange when you deejay, cause people don't do anything. But when you finish they give a big clap, and they're very happy. But that's there. It's a cultural thing in Japan to do that. Here in Romania, the crowds are very enthusiastic and I suppose because maybe not many things come here in comparison to London. Mircea told me Bonobo was here, he had 1200 people. It's impossible to have that in London because there's so much competition. Every night in London or in New York there's 10 000 concerts: hiphop, trip-hop, downtempo, electronica, funk, jazz, drum'n'bass. Every style. So it's very difficult to attract as bigger audience as it would be here. But then, you can sell a lot of CDs in England. It's very difficult to sell a lot of CDs here.
Starting this year, your new label - BBE is represented in Romania by Patpong Records. Do you think that now when they have the possibility the Romanians will buy your album?
I don't know, it's very difficult to say, because there's a culture of downloading now and you can receive music for free. So it's a real part of the generation now. I know people in Romania earn far less money then they do in England. So why you wanna go and spend 50 RON and buying a CD when you can download it for free and spend 50 RON on buying some beers or go to the concert. I know that. It's a very difficult situation but it's not one that's only affected just in East European countries when incomes are less. England is a much whealthier country but people still download. If you can get it for free people think: why pay for it? Doesn't matter where you are. It's a good thing that there's a label here that promotes the music. You see what happens.
Word on the street is that some collaborations were born between One Self and the romanian group Khidja Clouds Society.
I don't know anything about that…. Is that the guy… What's the MC called ? Vexx ?
Yes, Vexxatu Vexx. He used to work with Gypsy Bogdan in the group Methadon 3000.
Well yeah, they did some stuff. Maybe Vexx is doing some stuff with Blu Rum.
Speaking of Gypsy Bogdan, any chance to see Bogman (DJ Sleek) featured on some DJ Vadim / One Self project?
I think he's just busy working on turntable lab and collecting records in New York and stuff. He got his white papers this year - his green card and that's how he was able to come to Romania for the first time in five-six years. I think he's busy doing his own. I don't even think he's set the sampler up, he didn't told me about that. I think he was busy collecting records and working in the store. New York can be really stressy. Sometimes it's very hard to be creative there, because it's so expensive and everything it's moving around you so faster. It's too many distractions.
Every big city's like that. What about distractions in London?
Yeah, but you know… In London, I never got to the center. I mean Not never, but very rarely. I stay at home in my studio and stuff. And you know, Bogdan - he works in the centre of New York. So many things to do, and so many people come to see him everyday. It's very hard. And… I just stay in my studio, while I'm at home.
This tour promotes your new album - The Soundcather - that came out on 2nd of April 2007 at BBE. A new home for you. What happened between you and Ninja Tune?
BBE just got a good offer and I just felt it was time to move forward. The contract with Ninja Tune had finished and they were interested in doing more stuff but BBE had a better offer and had better vision for what I want it to do. There were a lot of different reasons, but BBE had fresh air. They were giving me new opportunities and to be honest I think right now, in terms of the catalogue, BBE is the best independent label in the world. I'm not saying that because I'm sides to them. I really feel that because they have from funk and jazz, from hiphop, house, techno and reggae. They're working with a lot of the main people in those scenes: from Dimitri from Paris, DJ Premier, to will.I.am, to J Dilla, to Jazzy Jeff, to Cut Chemist and Madlib. There are so many good names that are working with them so it felt really good to be on the label like that. Ninja Tune is going in a different direction. Some artist left them already. It's every artist for them selves.
What do you like and hate most at your job?
I don't like the traveling. I hate the traveling. It's very tiring: the security checks and passport controls. But once you get somewhere… I must admit being in a very rainy, cold Bucharest is not that appealing. I said once: the weather can't be worst in England. And it really is. But when the people come tonight and they give us the energy, then that will be really dope. Cause that's the highlights: making the show, meeting people, having basically a party - that's what it is. I get paid to party every night. It's fantastic ! So as long as people party it's cool.
Do you enjoy more being a producer or an entertainer?
It's both, but in different ways. Entertaining is like going to a party: drinking for free, dancing and having a good time. Being in the studio is something else. I'm not sitting in the studio drinking beers. I have to be very concentrated on what I'm doing, that's something else.
How do you create your music?
Each song works differently. Sometimes I have an idea in my head and I want to try it out. But when I tried out it doesn't come quite like I think it would. Cause sometimes you can imagine something and you think: "Wow, it's gonna be so good !" cause you imagine everything in your head. But when you actually do it, is not quite as good as what you think it was gonna be. Sometimes you need to do things like that because they'll lead you to another idea. You don't always start with the end of the product. Sometimes you have to start through a lot of different things. This thing leads to this thing leads you leads to that thing leads you to that thing and before you know it you feel like you're getting closer and closer to something that you really like. The Soundcather is got like 17 tracks or something, but every year I make 3-400 songs. They're not finished you know ? But I have to make those 300 to make the final 17. And even tough sometimes I'm not really into this or really into that, I'm just tripping a bit, but that might lead me to something else. Or I might comeback later and take something from there and make it into something else.
I've listen and reviewed The Soundcather and I must say that I've found it like a "sound journal" - like you've picked particular sounds from every city/place that you've been to.
I can see why you think that and I suppose maybe you can interpret it like that as well because some of the titles of the tracks are different cities around the world. The albums is called The Soundcatcher, but there was another title that I really liked, someone used it, but I really liked it, that could have been the title of this album. It's the title from an Atmosphere album, two albums ago - this album is called Seven's Travels. Well seven is my lucky number - everyone's lucky number - but I like Seven's Travels, because if seven is my lucky number, Seven's Travels would be my travel in a musical CD. And this album could be that as well, cause like you say, it's a traveling album, and there are a lot of influences and sounds from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Europe, US… You know… So you get that travel feeling.
But where did you catch those sounds… There in those places or going and cratedigging?
It's a mixture of both. I'm not going to lie to you and say I've been to all this different places. Sometimes it starts from samples, and the sample evokes a move, but my sphere of influence - what I listened to, what inspires me - is definitely been changed by where I travel to. Like when I first started making music in '92, I've never been to anywhere. Only Russia, France and England. I was living in England and once I've been in a holiday in the States. Since then I've been all around the world and I got to these places and I pick up music and I hear music. And people play me music. And these little things influence me, and inspire me. The album, The Soundcatcher isn't a world album in sense of… Every track is a different country. It's not like that. I'm not trying to make an eclectic album, that represents the world and I got to include every single country. That wasn't the concept, but there are sounds from different places, and on the next album I will have a bunch of different sound as well. Cause every album is fresh an new.
So how does it work? You try to reach someone, or people are trying to reach you?
Well if someone's tried to reach me and it didn't work out I don't know who they are. But… I didn't sit there with this album and think to myself that I have to work with that person, and that person, or that person. I didn't sit there and think: this is the album, now let's go on and record it. I was just working on tracks for two or three years, the same time I was doing the Oneself album, and then I said: "Here are these tracks, they sound really good together". That's how it works if you are a producer. If you are a vocalist, if you ask Katherin DeBoer, well it's different for them. Because maybe they sit down and say: "OK, I'm going to make an album, I'm the vocalist, the lead singer of this group. I'm going to do a song about love, about hate, about pain. Now I'm going to find some music for that." Me - I'm writing music, and then suddenly things fall together.
So how did you pick up the vocalists? Did you know them before or did you meet them on tour?
Most of the people I meet on tour, doing shows, or through people. I met Deuce Eclipse and Zion I in London at a show, and we made a contact. Abstract Rude - we made a show together in Nevada, two years ago. Emo - the reggae singer - I met him through the keyboard player. One of the first songs of the album that I did was Talk to me, and the guy that plays the keyboard on that one is called Daniel Mushinsky, and he is also the keyboard player for Emo, so he introduced me. Katherin - she is a friend of a friend of mine, and that person told me: "Listen to this singer, she's really really good!", and then we made a contact.
Who directed the video for the 2nd sigle of the album - Theme to Big Willy Dee?
Well, on my myspace page there are five videos. Theme To Big Willy Dee was directed by a polish director. All the people who did the videos, I met them on myspace. All the songs that have videos are different, but I want to get a different feel, I don't want to be the same or become predictable.
What did you felt during the DJ Krush vs DJ Vadim show in London, this year? Any undisguised connection with the master from Japan?
With Krush I djed like 10-15 times. We make a lot of shows together - Japan, Australia, France. This was the first time we made a show in England. And it was good - a lot of good energy. I've working with him for 12 years, so we were already had a really good report. It was really funny cause he doesn't speak any english. Nothing. Like two-three words: Hello! Goodbye! Thank you! It's crazy, because he tours a lot of places in the world, so he has to communicate with people. So you think after 12 years of touring, or even longer, he's been touring longer than me, that he would pick up more than three words. You know I mean ? But anyway, we communicate through music: he'll play me some music and I'll play him some music, it's like that. So, the show was really good - he did his set for an hour, then we do this thing together for 10 minutes, I have my drum-machine and he's making some scratches, and then I djed for an hour, and he came back on and we did another 15 minutes together. It was really dope !
Do you feel you're still making hiphop? Or it's just good music?
It's funny because, I remember when I came out with my very first record, people labeled me as a trip-hop producer. And I got so annoyed on that. I was so angry, I was like: "No! I don't make trip-hop! I hate trip-hop! I make hiphop! And you're going to see it on this record!" I was like on a mission to convince everyone that I was a hiphop producer. And with time… I mean… Right now I really don't give a shit! People can call my music the way they wanna call it as long as they liked it. Right now I listed to all kinds of music. I listed to soul, hiphop, sometimes I listed to pop, rock, house - it doesn't matter. Good music is good music! But The Soundcather - if you want to describe it from a journalistic point… Or if you want to sell it in a store, and you really describe it by what it is, not because you know who I am, or you know the label, or the history, then is not really a hiphop record. It's a record that has some hiphop, some rapping on it, some singing, some reggae, some instrumentals. It's a mixture of that. You can say it's urban - maybe. A lot of the music that I do, sometimes fall between the gaps - it's not really this and it's not really that! It's a mixture. I've started from hiphop in a sense of production - in the idea of taking the samples, and sampling - that all came from hiphop. I take that and then I blend it with different things that I'm into. That's as much as hiphop as DJ Shadow does. He takes samples and he definitely come from hiphop. But he's taking it where he's taking it and I'm taking it where I'm taking it.
Which are the latest hiphop albums you've been listening to? And also enjoy?
You wanna see what's in my iPod ? Ok, this is what I have. [Vadim scoate din buzunar un iPod si imi arata pe ecran copertile albumelor din playlist - Danger Doom, Mos Def, De La Soul, Hi-Tek]. I like the new album from Pharaoe Monch - Desire, Common - Finding Forever. I like their album - Bellruche (indicand spre Kathrin DeBoer aflata in preajma). I listen to so many things but there are some artists that I will always check for: MF Doom - I like his voice and what he raps about, Common Sense - since 1992, since his first album, De La Soul, Ghostface Killah. I like people who are individual, a lot of people make music in 2007, but not all that music stands out. What I like in music is the music that stands out. When I listed something on a radio - I'm like: "Oh, that's an unusual voice, but it's really good!".
In the end, some words for the romanian public attending the Becker Brau Live Music in Bucharest on 17 November ?
I hope they're bringing an umbrella! I hope to people come, have a good time, have a party! That's the most important thing! If people could take away one thing form one of my shows is that they have a good time. That's what I'm here for! You said it before: I'm an entertainer! I don't want people to stand there with their arms like this, because I'll have the feeling that they're really bored. I want people to have a good time, to dance, to drink, and to go home happy. That's my job - to make people happy!