A-Trak sits with Andrew W.K. to discuss the hip hop/EDM synergy and why pre-recorded sets don’t matter
Since winning the DMC Championship in 1997 at the age of 15, Alain Macklovitch has prided himself on being a turntablist and DJ’s DJ. He introduced Kanye West to Daft Punk, launched the Brooklyn-based tastemaking imprint, Fool’s Gold, and stormed stages across the globe with his unique blend of hip hop, EDM, and turntablism that has set him apart as one of the industry’s most unique talents. In a recent interview conducted by professional party monster, Andrew W.K., A-Trak looks back on his roots and imparts his own wisdom on the great “what is a DJ” debate. For A-Trak, it all started in 2006 with his Dirty South Dance mixtape (a must listen for any fan), from there he bridged the gap between hip hop and EDM with open format style sets that were in sharp contrast to the sounds coming out of Europe at the time. His most recent crusade, his #REALDJing mantra, has rejuvenated the scene’s passion for technical finesse behind the decks.
Despite his stance and DJing ability, he doesn’t take shots at his peers who pre-record their performances; “If there’s a beautiful light and video show, and in order to achieve that, they have to prepare certain parts of their set, more power to them. As long as there’s craftsmanship somewhere—there’s artistry.” A-Trak tells WK. The problem, he acknowledges, are lazy performers who do the bear minimum to stay in business; “What sucks is when you have a DJ who will go to a festival and have a one-hour set and will play all the biggest bangers. And then the next day they will play a 500-person club, where people would be open to a more adventurous set, and they play exactly the same thing. Then you realize that they had a premade set.”
For A-Trak, DJing is a medium of self-expression and he wants to educate US fans to what being a DJ really means, not the misnomer as it currently exists:
“There’s this giant paradox right now where the whole of America is infatuated with DJ’ing, but nobody really knows what the hell DJ’ing is”