Around the World With A-Trak: The Tour Continues

By A-Trak
August 03, 2010

When we last spoke I was halfway through my European festival tour, reaching grueling levels of travel erosion, feeling the wear-and-tear of sleep deprivation and nonsensical flight routings. I had two days "off" in London, which only meant that I didn't need to go to an airport during those days, not that I was actually resting. My next show was in Norway for the OsloLive festival, in a park inside the city. That show was a lot less of a mission than the others, in the sense that we didn't have to drive out into the wilderness and my set was at a civilized hour. Even within city confines, Nordic crowds like to get down and scream in unison. The Scissor Sisters played right after me and I'm currently obsessed with their album. I also met Tony Senghore, whose tracks I've been spinning in my sets for the last year or so. He's Swedish and he was talking to me about various Swedish producers who live in isolated towns up North, far from everything. Reminded me of this show that I did many years ago on a boat in the land of the Svensk. But I digress.

I went to Belgium for the Dour festival. My brother was also doing the European festival run with Chromeo and this was the first time we were on the same bill. I played an hour after them, so we were each other's cheerleaders. The next day was the last hurrah of the tour: two festivals in two countries in one day. I woke up in Belgium and a driver took me to the Netherlands for Extrema festival. It was meant to be a two hour drive and we planned it out so that I'd get there an hour and a half before my set. Except we didn't factor in that this driver would be a nincompoop who got us lost. Once we approached the town of the festival, this dude circled around for two hours, nervously chain-smoking cigarettes while his flip-flop laden feet fiddled with the pedals, as he called the festival organizers claiming that his GPS was indicating roads that had been changed. I missed the first half hour of my set, and we couldn't push it back because I still needed to go to Germany after. That's what happens when you put your fate in the hands (and feet) of someone with flip-flops. But frankly the show wasn't my steez so I didn't mind cutting my set short. Too many muscles in attendance. Once that was done, another driver—this time with real shoes—took us to Dusseldorf so that we could fly to Berlin, to then be driven to the town of Dessau for the much fabled Melt festival. This site was something to behold. It's in the middle of a gigantic industrial structure that looks like something out of Terminator with enormous metallic cranes, and the sky was filled with light beams. It's nuts. The music programming is top notch.This time the Montreal takeover of the stage was even deeper: Tiga, then Chromeo, then me. During Chromeo's set I went up on stage and played the cowbell at the end of "Night By Night." I loved DJing there, and it's especially gratifying to end a tour on a high note like that.

As you can imagine that ended pretty late. Late enough to get breakfast at the hotel before going to sleep. Too late to get to Berlin in time to catch a flight home, unless I wanted to sacrifice sleep, which I didn't. So I took a day off in Berlin, this time a real day off, and finally flew back to New York.

The next weekend I went to sunny southern California for Audiotistic, which is basically a big rave that also books a few hip hop acts. They used to have it every year in the early 2000's and I played a bunch of times back then, and last year they brought it back. It's in San Bernardino, a town made famous by Frank Zappa. A bunch of my Fool's Gold buddies also played so it was cool to rekindle after all this time away in the Old Continent. Lately it seems like every event tries to outdo the competition with their stage production. It's like a nuclear arms race. So here I played in the middle of a humongous video wall. A lot of these Californian concert-raves also provide dancers in the strangest costumes. My stage had these girls wearing gas masks and literally juggling fire. What ever happened to pom-poms?

On the following afternoon I played an unannounced set at my favorite party in America, the Do Over. After all thumping sledgehammer music it's always a pleasure to show up there and play funk, disco, boogie, classic hip-hop and even a touch of yacht rock on a sunny LA terrace. We dubbed it the Fool Over since I was joined by my consigliere Nick Catchdubs and Craze. And later that night I played yet another surprise (short) set at Samantha Ronson's little "anything goes" party at Dreis. While walking out I was accosted by a TMZ videographer but I told him I didn't know who A-Trak was, and then a paparazzo came up and asked for a picture with me, not for the tabloids but for himself "because I'm a fan," he said. The streets of Hollywood were getting too weird for me so I retreated to my batcave and crawled into bed.

From The Collection:

Around The World With A-Trak
Around the World With A-Trak: The Tour Continues