Around the World with A-Trak, Part III

October 20, 2008

Join The FADER's newest weekly columnist, A-Trak, who will be sharing with us the life and times of a superstar DJ and globetrotting gentleman. His column is called Around the World until he tells us otherwise.

Part III: Paris, DJ Mehdi & Fafi, Kid Sister, Herve, Armand Van Helden, Martelo, Congorock

Last week I finally arrived in Paris to settle in for my six week stay here. I'm doing a house swap with the DJ Mehdi & Fafi household. They've already been living at my spot in BK for a few weeks while I was finishing up these tours, which made me homeless for a hot second. Right as I landed from Japan I got an invitation to dinner with my favorite living-dead (and new neighbor) Kavinsky, permanent dresser-in-black Sebastian and their respective female companions. A swift reminder that Parisians are prone to social meals and, as the food was served, that this is a great destination for a fine palate like myself. I walked home seemingly ready for a good night's rest after essentially circling the globe. Hah. I guess I underestimated the formidable power of jetlag. 6am monday morning, I was up.

I spent he next few days easing into the Parisian lifestyle. There were more dinners and lunches with local friends, all of them delicious. I got accustomed to my neighborhood, got my lil' Frenchie phone and also caught up with day-to-day business and Fool's Gold stuff that I didn't quite get to tend to while I was in Japan. Mehdi's got his studio set up in the attic so I also plugged in my gear and got the blinking lights going. Word to Show & AG. After a few days here I came to the conclusion that the Parisian pace is the complete opposite of New York. Everyone's heard about a "New York minute", it's pretty astonishing how much you can get done in a day. (Don't make me bust out the multiplication tables to show you how many said minutes are in a day.) I mean heck, that's the reason why I moved to Gotham two years ago. In Paris if you link up with friends for at least one if not two meals a day (and you're seen as an ogre if you don't), and you factor in stores' brief opening hours, then your days fly by in a heartbeat. It's very pleasant, but I've got some recording to do so I've gotta be vigilant here.

My first dose of reality came when I had to wrap up some leftover matters with the Kid Sister album. We mastered the album a month ago, but the label was still clearing samples and it turns out one of them was unclearable. (Word of advice to the producers out there: stay away from Tangerine Dream!) We got the music replayed, and on Wednesday I had to oversee the new mixdown through the magic of online streaming. It was actually taking place in Upstate New York, but the internet had that baby playing on my Parisian speakers. Oh, the joys of being an Executive Producer. We finished Thursday morning and I hopped on that jolly underwater vessel the Eurostar and choo-chooed my way to London town. I went straight to the mastering studio and we finally put that CD to bed! Woo! In the evening I linked up with the homie Armand Van Helden and we went to my favorite party Yo Yo where we hung out with Herve, Martelo and friends. Herve's never been to America because he has a hard time flying. Armand shared his dream of a separate sleeping class on airplanes where passengers are administered some sort of natural sedative and woken up when they arrive at their destination.

Friday I had some meetings and a photo shoot and what I would call a self-destructive schedule of gigs. I had to go to Bristol for an 11:30pm set, and then come back to London for a 4 to 6am set. It's a 2 and a half hour drive each way. The show in Bristol was with my Fool's Gold Italian ambassador Congorock and Brooklyn's own Drop The Lime. The London gig was at this new club Matter which is in what used to be the Millenium Dome (about as successful as the Bridge to Nowhere, that dome) and is brought to you by the fine people who run Fabric. For the first couple of weeks of its opening they have a headlining act curate the guests each weekend. So I played at Armand's night, right after him. The sound system in that place is the stuff of legends. One of the guys told me: "You know how at Fabric we've got speakers under the floor? Well at Matter we put pistons. They were testing out the bass one day and my vision got blurry. My teeth were chattering." I asked him "Are you sure that's enjoyable?" and he said "Yes it's quite nice actually."

On Saturday I went to Rome, again with Congorock. I didn't have much time there so I told the promoters that the only thing that mattered for me was that I get a proper Italian dinner. Boy did they deliver. I had the best carbonara of my life. I didn't want it to end! And for starters we had fried zucchini with stuffed cheese... Man oh man. The party I played in London was called "This is not London" but in terms of food, Rome was definitely NOT London! It was divine. So I went back to the hotel to get ready for my gig and that's when the meltdown happened. I don't know what in the world went wrong. I kinda suspect there was something wrong with the electricity. But my Serato computer and my Serato hard drive (both of them!) got their firewire ports fried. Now what?? I put on my troubleshooting glasses. The only solution was to copy the mp3's I needed and play this gig off an internal folder. I figured out a piggybacking trick to mount my drive on my other computer and I started dragging mp3's one by one. After about an hour, maybe a bit more, I was finally ready. Well, as ready as I could be since it was half an hour till showtime. Thank heavens the show went without a hitch and I got through the night.

I got to Paris last night with a burgeoning cold and didn't even want to look at my computers at first. I turned them off, let them recharge, gave them some alone time. Then I walked over with my most zen/rectifying energy, took a deep breath, booted up the music laptop. Ran a software update just for the hell of it. Let it load up. Then I plugged in my drive. Nothing. Shit.

So here I am today. I'm kinda sick and in computer hell. But it's cool, I have a plan. And a backup plan. And a backup drive for my backup plan. So next week when you read my next blog I'll be all good, just watch.

From The Collection:

Around The World With A-Trak
Posted: October 20, 2008
Around the World with A-Trak, Part III