Around the World with A-Trak: Europe, LA, NYC and Back

By A-Trak
October 04, 2010

Where does the time go, where does the time fly? We're long overdue for another edition of Around The World. The question is how am I going to fit two months into one post? Let's look at some highlights.

After spending the month of July in Europe, I was back in America for the first half of August. I hopped onto the Fool's Gold vs. Stones Throw "Discotheque" tour, which you can read about here. High point: boat party in Vancouver. High point outside the gigs: eating a $60 burger in SF made from kobe beef topped with foie gras. At the end of that run I stayed in LA to DJ the Teen Choice Awards. They had me up on stage mixing in and out of commercial breaks. Seems like the music we're making is reaching a wider audience, and I got a chance to play some of my songs on national TV for the teenybopper market share. I also saw Diddy scream at a production manager. You know, fun stuff. Note for future reference: never do the red carpet right behind the Kardashians.

Munich. Photo Eric One.

Then for the second half of the month I headed back to Europe. I started with the "-ich" towns: Zurich and Munich. The Munich venue was interesting, it was inside a museum that was originally built by Hitler! I told the promoter "You waited for me to get here to tell me this?" Obviously it's completely different now, and I actually had a great time DJing that night, playing much longer than planned. Then I went to the Netherlands for the Lowlands festival, where I was slotted between a mau5 and a Lazer. I remember when I played "Barbra Streisand" the crowd continued to sing the melody for super long even after the song was done, over other songs! After that I had a few days off so I went to meet my French cousins from the Ed Banger family who rented a house in Biarritz. My mom had just brought me back a traditional robe from Morocco (above) called a gandoura. She said "men wear those around the house, they're very comfortable," so I brought it along and it became my vacation garb. Mehdi was proud. As the weekend approached, I headed back out to combat. First stop was Brussels for one of my favorite parties in Europe, Forma-T. Then came Dusseldorf, all I remember is that's the day I caught a cold, and it stayed with me for three weeks. Germs from Germany. And finally I went to London for SW4 Festival. It takes place within the city (the name is a zip code) so there are these sound regulations that are pretty strict. It's really too bad that the sound was so low. I stayed in town for an extra 2 days though, as it was Notting Hill Carnival. I filmed a segment for the BBC TV show "No Hats No Trainers" and also played a few parties, including the album release for Count & Sinden in a room with elegant chandeliers. For me, playing these Carnival parties was a great counterpoint to all the festivals and late-night clubs that I was doing right before. It gave me a chance to play a mixed bag of disco, boogie, classics and UK funky and it was just what I needed as a nightcap for this tour.

SW4 Festival, London. Photo Justin De Souza.

Check out the hotel where I stayed:

I returned to New York with a daunting week ahead of me (and a mean cough to boot). We started shooting the "Barbra Streisand" video with So Me, which I HOPE you've seen by now. It was a volatile operation, 7 days of running around New York capturing the city and chasing down various luminaries. I had 3 shows in New York on the same weekend, and I seldom play in the city usually. First came the Fat Beats closing in-store, where I had the honor and privilege of playing alongside DJ Premier, Just Blaze, DJ Scratch and many more. I prepared a 20-minute routine, part of which you can see here:

Photo Nick Damiano

It was a memorable day for me, having such a long history with that institution. My previous record label Audio Research was distributed through Fat Beats; when Dave and I made our first hip hop records in the late '90s we were proud to adhere to that brand and everything that it stood for. I'm glad I got a chance to share that last day with great friends, many of whom I hadn't seen in years.

The next day I went to the opposite end of the spectrum and spun at Electric Zoo on Randall's Island. The crowd was pretty insane, especially in the Red Bull tent where we played. The dusty field didn't help my cough, though. And after that came the Fool's Gold "Day Off" block party on Labor Day. The event was an overwhelming success, I was touched to see so many people come out and spend the whole day with us and was equally impressed with the quality of all the performances. I think that was the moment Yelawolf really won over New York. I gotta give and extra special shout out to our #1 supporter Denise (Dnyce) and to the Jelly NYC team for helping us pull it all together. I didn't even get a chance to try the burgers but I hear they were exquisite. Anyway, we finished shooting the Duck Sauce video in the days that followed, and I also played Opening Ceremony's Fashion Night Out event. Before long, it was time to cross the Atlantic again.

I toured all around France and delved deeper into more regions than I had ever gone in the hexagonal country whose language I speak. I played in Paris in the real Moulin Rouge where it got hotter than the color rouge, then dipped to the South to Avignon, stayed in a little chateau and spun at a club that's inside a cave. I crossed the South from East to West and played in Bordeaux with Mr. Oizo at one of my favorite clubs, Le 4Sans. We also visited a televised kitchen.

Here's a video of the crowd yanking my leg into an unprompted crowd-surf. I thought those things ended in 2007? When in Rome, I guess…

I made a pit stop in Ibiza for a few days where I filmed this hotel review:

A few hours before my set at Pacha my manager got a text saying something like "tell him no bangers, just sexy disco and house." I already knew that was the M.O. out on the island though. It's not about playing the hardest tracks—there it's all about the kick drum. I went back to France, played Marsatac festival in Marseilles and Ososphere festival in Strasbourg (peep my meal) and now I'm in Paris for a couple days, with Fashion Week kicking off into high gear. Bong bong, more news soon!

From The Collection:

Around The World With A-Trak
Around the World with A-Trak: Europe, LA, NYC and Back