There is very little that DJ Vadim hasn't done in the cause of good music during his time on this planet. Multi-award winning DJ, producer, collaborator, veteran of playing in 69 countries, the Grammy-nominated polymath is back with a new album, Don't Be Scared on BBE Records, out today. We thought it was about time we spoke to him, and he also drops a mix for you below.
Vadim, good to touch base with you. People are clamouring for your new album – so give them a taste of the styles and reach of the record.
Well I wanted to do a different record from The Electric that came out last year and more like soulful hip hop. So i went more electronic, darker. It’s got elements of house, afro beat, dubstep, grime, electronica... just a real musical journey, touching a lot of dots...
You’ve also got a new video dropping which looks like it was amazing fun – how important is the good-time aspect of your music to you?
Well I want music to be fun but it’s more than that. It has many levels and one can appreciate it as a person new to music or if you want to go in deep it has that too. It’s not a 'super serious chin stroking album' but it’s definitely not a jovial jokey thing either.
Talk to us about where the ideas for the new project have come from.
Well I started the album in New Zealand, then Hawaii, the Caribbean, Tokyo, Malaysia , finished it in the UK and then back to Japan... so perhaps you get that in the music, a journey through time, style and pattern...
The album speaks of change, progression and newness. How and why are these things reflected, and what is your vision of the album?
Well without evolution as an artist, one would die musically. There is a huge graveyard of artists long gone, forgotten etc and that’s nothing to do with talent but just that one can become obsolete. Without a huge radio hit, one has to be on the cusp of change all the time. It doesn’t matter you sold out forum 6 months ago. People can forget about you just like that. It’s easy to stay in a comfort zone but get too cozy and you’re done.
My vision for the album is that - change, evolution of sound and connecting musical dots for it’s one drum our heart beats to regardless of the name you give it genre wise...
The sound of the record mixes melancholy with fun – how has your sound and your style developed over the years?
Well the melancholy I wanted to do was as a juxtaposition to The Electric. I wanted to do something darker....but like you say there is a fun side as well. Evolution wise, that’s part of society, what i hear and also the technology available to us. 20 years ago, you couldn’t do a fraction of what you can do now, and what you could do then took very expensive, serious looking and very heavy clumsy big equipment to do it... Now you can do pretty much everything with just an iPad.
In a similar vein, how has your personality developed? How do you see yourself now after so long in the game?
Well I am so much more open to music, to other things that perhaps I was when I was younger. Just really listening to all sound. When I was younger I was just this hip hop kid making beats.... nowadays I still listen to hip hop but also to loads of other music....
What do you see as your greatest success?
I guess that I’m still here after nearly 20 years of making beats....
What can we look forward to in the mix you have for us?
Fireworks and explosions!
Can you say what it is about music which keeps you coming back for more – from a listening and production perspective?
For me music is like air, it’s what I breathe every day. It’s why I get up, smile, dance, move, work...
Do you prefer, or find easier working on your own or with others?
I like both. Obviously when you do it solo you are the captain in charge but with a group you share responsibility....
Talk to us about some of your other projects.
I have a brand new album with Gregory Blackman - he is on two tracks on my album. I created a whole new thing with him with the band of Fat Freddy’s Drop. Did that in the Red Bull studio in Auckland last year. Just took ages to finish... also got a reggae project on the go. So loads of things on the go...
I love the Bernard Shaw quote on your website - ‘Some men see things as they are and ask why others dream of things that never were and ask why not’ - what does it mean to you?
I guess that’s my motto. I see it all the time in effect. So many times I see things and think, ‘why isn’t it done like this or that or why don’t they put that there, it would be so much better’. I guess it’s probably because
1 - most people really don’t care about anything except themselves
2 - people really don’t like to think
3 - we love to just obey, keep our heads down - just do what is asked and not ask questions...
Download the mix here.
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