Exclusive Interview with Dave Vega
Dave Vega started DJing in the late '90s in Karlsruhe in the south of Germany. It was here that Vega and friends organized illegal techno parties at secret outdoor locations, with soundsystems so loud that people in other villages kilometers away could feel the bass. Now he is going to be mixing and compiling the next "Sounds of Berlin" on Ministry of Sound. His music is a mix of House, Techno and Electronica.
Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Dave Vega, shortly before his performance at Glow Nightclub on Friday 16th November.
When did you start to DJ and what made you start? What equipment did you use and how did you get it?
I started to mix the first records together around 1998 on the turntables of my room mate. By that time I was already a passionate techno fan and went out every weekend with my friends. Some of them already started djing, and because I was always interested in music I also started to listen to my friends records and try to mix them together. Two years after I bought my own pair of Technics 1210 turntables and a Pioneer DJM 500 mixer, the same equipment thats still in my music room by the way.
What was the first record you bought?
Jeff Mills - Shifty Disco on the German label Gigolo
How would you describe your music in three words?
TECHNO ENERGETIC HOUSE
In 2007 you moved to Berlin and started producing your own music. What tracks did you release so far?
My home label is Exone, the label of the German techno act Exercise One. Here I had my first own release on Exone last year, my friend and wonderboy Seth Troxler was doing the vocals for »The Woes Of Me«, there is also a nice video on youtube. After I released another EP on the Canadian label Thoughtless Music called »Alters Of Magic«, and another one on Exone called »Missing Postcard From Venice« with a nice Marc Houle remix. Next to that I did some remixes and collaborations with my friend Mr. Statik from Athens on Mo's Ferry, and one track with my studio partner Marco Freivogel for a Toolroom Compilation.
A couple of days ago you released “Berlin - Monday Morning Hours Vol. 3”. What can you tell us about it?
Thats actually not my own release, it's just a compilation with one of my tracks on it. But I am happy they picked my track for a compilation that stands for Berlin Monday Morning Hours...
What - artists and music genres - are your biggest influences?
My background is something between deep house and detroit techno. German labels like Playhouse and Perlon were a big influence for sure, Classic and 2020 Vision from UK, Carl Craigs Planet E, Kevin Saundersons KMS, Peacefrog, Mosaic, Soma... I still like to play old records, more than half of the tracks in my sets are older than 10 years i guess. There is so much good and timeless music existing, I don't know why people always complain that all the new music sounds the same, there is so much good music still from the old days, I am never bored.
It’s almost 4 months since you last performance here in Bangkok - at Tapas. It was your first time to play in Asia. How was it?
I enjoyed the crowd and the entire night a lot. I was so excited to play in Bangkok, it's one my favourite cities in the world, a very special place for me. I love the asian culture in total, the food, the people. I even speak a little bit Thai, not much, but enough to say simple things, like thank you, hello and goodbye, not spicy please, the food is great, and so on... I always try to learn some words from countries I visit more often, I do that out of respect.
We have so many people here living in Berlin from outside, who can't even say "Thank You" in German after living here for many years. For me as someone who travels a lot i can't understand that there is no interest at all. I can say some basic things in thai, russian, italian, english, spanish, frensh and greek. Not much, but enough to show some respect to the people I am visiting, and guess what people are always appreciating your effort even if it sounds terrible.
What have you been up to since then?
I worked on some music during the summer, spend some time off in Italy and Spain, and tried to make the best out of the very bad summer Europe had this year.
In November you will play two gigs in Thailand. On 9th November in Pattaya and on 16th November at Glow Nightclub in Bangkok. Are you excited to come back?
Totally, I can't wait to come back, very excited already and making plans for things I want to see in Bangkok and visit apart from shopping.
The upcoming gig at Glow Nightclub - as well as the last gig at Tapas - is organized by the With Love crew. How did you guys meet?
Giuseppe is a friend of Cesare Marchese aka Cesare vs. Disorder, a friend of mine, who runs two labels here from Berlin. I actually tried to setup gigs during my vacation in Thailand before, but because I booked very last minute all the promoters I had connections to already had bookings for their nights, so I decided to travel without laptop and music and just enjoy my time off. While I was on Ko Phangan (with a very slow internet connection) Cesare contacted me and told me, that his friend Giuseppe would be able to setup a night in Bangkok for me to play. I told him that I haven't brought any music with me, not even headphones.
But yes I will do it of course. So I downloaded some of my old tracks that I bought on Beatport again, bought two usb sticks, and played with boroughed headphones of the resident dj. I played almost each of my tracks on the stick when they told me I have to stop now because the club is closing. I think I had one track left to play... But it worked out really well, I am not playing with cd players normally, I play with vinyl control and traktor and real records in between. But the people were happy, and obviously I am coming back, I guess thats a good sign...
What will you do between the two gigs? Will you have time to enjoy Thailand?
I hope I can spend some days in the sun on a proper beach. I love the ocean so much, I don't need a lot of things in my life, good friends, some love, music and a beach. Thats my 4th time in Thailand, the first two times I stayed for a month, made my open water and advanced open water diver, spend a lot of time on beaches and travelled once to the north, so I know the country pretty well. Still I am excited to see Pattaya, I never been there but I heard it's really beautiful.
Do you usually try the local dishes of the countries you travel to? Will you give spicy Thai food a chance?
Yes of course, there is a saying: In Rome, do like the Romans do! I love the Thai kitchen, next to japanese my favourite food. But it would be suicidal to even think my mouth could survive the real thai spicy food. I learned my lessen, never order spicy food in a country where spicy has an own dimension. Indians and Thais can eat spicy food pretty well, I ordered once a spicy salad in Bangkok, only the memory of that night brings water to my eyes... God I was suffering so badly...
What was the best and the worst gig you ever played?
The best gig was maybe this year in Berlin. There is a bank holiday dedicated to the workers, and there is a lot of partys going on everywhere. There is a bar in Kreuzberg with a huge soundsystem on the street, after late afternoon the entire street is packed with people, it's a proper street rave, and i was lucky to play the last set together with my friend Tobi Neumann from Cocoon. Playing in front of i don't even know how many thousands of people on one of the main streets of your city is pretty impressive. Here is a video from that night by the way: http://vimeo.com/41552007
Hard to tell the worst gig, plenty of bad ones for sure. My favourite time to play is the opening slot, so the club is empty, and slowly gets filled up. It's a big challenge to play the beginning of a night, the room is cold and nobody wants to be the first on the dancefloor. You have to be very sensitiv about each track you choose while the clubs is getting more crowded... If thats the fact, sometimes you also have to play at partys that are not established yet, another bigger dj is in town, or whatever fact is the reason for that nobody comes and you play the warm up that never ends. I had that the last time a few month ago at an opening party of a new club. They invited me and a friend of mine who should play live. I always prepare warmup sets a bit, depending on the night and with who i am playing with. So I made a plan with starting very slow and deep, and putting it slowly up in terms of speed and energy of the tracks. But nobody came!
I was stuck with around 20 people that were hanging around, don't know what to do. Than this two older women came in, and went straight to the dancefloor. They kind of activated the other 20 people to dance. I started with pretty deep and more housy tracks when the ladies got in, and obviously they liked house music. But the liveact I was playing with was a more techno act, so anytime when I tried to play something a little harder they immediately stoped to dance, and they were my reference point somehow. So I tried to keep the two women dancing, no matter what it takes, pretty stressful as you can imagine. In the end we had around 200 people, but the place was fitting at least 500, kind of a lame party all night. These nights take a lot of your motivation, you ask yourself what the fu** am I doing here and why?
You travel a lot. If you had to choose essential things you need to have with you, what would it be?
My Laptop is really important, because I am constantly listening to music and like to watch tv shows or movies on the plane. My I-Phone is a very good travel buddy too, keeps me connected with my loved ones and the world, I can take pictures in high quality from the road or play Sudoku.
Please tell us something about your year 2012, your highlights so far and things you are planning or looking forward to?
It was a real important year for me, playing the first time in the US (New York) was a milestone for sure. Another Highlight also is the chance to play twice here in Thailand, thats really exciting for me. Also I opened the Russian market for myself, I was already 4 times in Russia now and I like it a lot, so all new and far countries to visit the first time as a dj. Apart from that I will mix the next SOUNDS OF BERLIN from MINISTRY OF SOUND, a double cd that will also be available as a download. Thats a big project and honour for me, and I am collecting tracks already. The mix will be something between deep house and techno, with all the different spectrums that genres have.
What can Bangkok’s party people expect from your performance at Glow Nightclub on 16th November?
Somehow I have the feeling that the night will end in a crazy one kap...