Around the World with A-Trak, Part VII

November 17, 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 VII: mtvU Woodies, Chromeo, more Kavinsky, Erol Alkan, BBC's Essential Mix, Fake Blood




Last week I went back to New York for a few days for the mtvU Woodies. I was DJing the event and they also had me announcing one of the categories with Kid Sister. For those who aren't familiar (get familiar), the Woodies are MTV's award show for lumberjacks and carpenters. No, no, that's a bad joke. It's an award show for bands who "sell wood," i.e. cool stuff for college kids! It was at Roseland Ballroom, and I basically spent the whole day there Wednesday. They had me doing interviews in the afternoon, including this virtual thing that I didn't really understand until I got there. In fact it was a bona fide chat room! There was a Dell laptop with a virtual A-Trak character (I could pick the clothes) and I went into a "party" and talked to people. I realize that I sound like a grandma right now but I was completely out of my element. It was pretty funny still. I think my favorite thing about award shows is the seating: in the afternoon they have pictures of the "celebrities" to mark their seats. I was meant to sit next to Debbie Harry and Moby but I never actually saw them at the seats. Anyway, I was DJing a lot of the time.



Award shows are strange when you're actually there because there's a lot of dead time when they're just showing videos on the big screen. But this one was still fun, we were with a bunch of friends and family. As I mentioned I was presenting an award; I knew Chromeo was nominated but didn't know they were going to win. I had my hunch since they picked me to announce the thing but my brother was so convinced that he wasn't going to win that I stopped assuming and was genuinely surprised when we announced them. The last performance of the night was a collaboration between them and Vampire Weekend, which was pretty bitchin', as expected.



After New York I flew to England for some gigs on the Annie Mac tour. The first one was in Bournemouth with Erol Alkan and was going to be broadcast live on BBC as that week's Essential Mix. Big look! These mixes get dissected by hordes of music fans for all of eternity so it's a bit scary to do one live, but I don't have time to pre-record one right now and certainly can't say no to the opportunity so I went for it. Erol and I got a driver together from London and we stopped in Southampton on the way to do a quick radio interview before the broadcast. I also bought a little elephant on the way there and brought it to the gig.




The club was smaller than you'd expect. The room we played in probably had 500 people, and there was another room that played commercial R&B hits from the days of yore, including but not limited to "No Diggety." The show was fun and you can listen to the broadcast at www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/essentialmix/.

We drove back to London late that night and the next day I went to Leicester for another gig with Annie Mac and Fake Blood. From what I'm told Leicester is the city with the most bars in England. The gig itself was in a university. Bunch of rowdy British kids... hard to go wrong. I wanted some food after and all we could find was chicken pot pie served upside down on a pile of French fries. Worked for me! I also had a revelation about the scarcity of garbage cans in the UK. You can read about it on my Colette blog. (Ooh, the mystery!)



I came back to Paris yesterday (Sunday) and as I walked into Mehdi's house there was a big dinner with a bunch of homies: Kavinsky, Sebastian, Surkin etc. Good home-made lasagna and fine wine. Kavinsky played the luth. What more can you expect from your friends? It was a lovely evening just as I'm about to leave Paris. Yes, my stay here is already over. Today I did a photo shoot modeling Sixpack's next collection, and tomorrow I'm homeward bound! The adventures continue....

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Around The World With A-Trak
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Around the World with A-Trak, Part VII