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 VI: Kavinsky, Russia, Paris, A-Trak & Me
I was supposed to go to Russia a few days ago but I didn't. Not because I didn't try. Not because we didn't plan ahead. Because of a magical establishment called the consulate. I had to go to the Russian consulate in Paris to get my work visa, and since I was doing this in France they actually worked something out with the French embassy in Moscow whereby I was presented as a special guest of the French embassy on an official "mission". The consulate is 45 minutes away from where I'm staying in Paris and it's only open from 9am to noon. As I mentioned at the end of last week's blog, I went there Monday morning only to find out they were closed for 2 days due to a national holiday in Russia. This led me to Wednesday, the day before my trip. The stakes were high that morning. I woke up at 7:30, showed up at 9:30 and there was a huge line all the way outside the building, probably because of the 2 day back-up. I had these instructions that said that being a special guest, I wouldn't need to wait in line, but in reality there was no one to speak to until you got to the end of the line and the place was too intimidating to start acting like a hotshot. I went through the metal detector and queued up for an hour and a half in this Kafkaesque office while President Medvedev's national address was being broadcasted live on a small TV screen in the corner. I was looking for signs that said "foreign diplomats" or something similar, to see if I could shorten my wait, but alas all the signs were in Russian. As I got closer to the front of the line I could hear one of the officers, a lady with a shrill voice who spoke French with a heavy accent, ridicule applicants and turn them away. When my turn came I actually got the other officer, a young man who looked like a substitute history teacher. He seemed nice enough. I had all my paperwork filled out and a file reference number for my "mission." I placed my documents on the little counter and he immediately honed in on my Canadian passport. "You're Canadian?", he asked me in French. He went to the back for a few moments. He came back, looked up my file and said that regardless of what this file says, applications for Canadians take 3 weeks. I could hear Souls of Mischief in my head saying "That's when you lost!" He basically stated that there was absolutely nothing he could do because that's the rule for Canadians. Later that day the Russian promoters actually had someone from the French embassy in Moscow call me and she was like "that guy lied to you, he's completely wrong. I'm sorry, this happens sometimes. You just fell on the wrong guy." It was too late to change anything so I didn't go to Moscow.
During my stay in Paris, Kavinsky's kinda been my Kramer, my wacky neighbor. He lives 5 minutes away, we'll just hit each other up like "lunch? Yeah" and we always go to the same restaurant. On the next night, the Justice posse were in Paris on a night off from their tour, having just flown in from the US, before heading to some more European dates. Kavinsky has more iPhone apps than anyone I know (I strongly recommend the Koi Pond, you can thank him later) so of course he's got iChat on there. I'm at home and he hits me up: "we're at the restaurant" (no need to mention which one) "with Xavier, So Me, Sebastian, etc, come through." So I went and said hi to the boys and we shared jetlag stories.
On Saturday I flew to Barcelona for what turned out to be my only gig of the week. At the hotel I decided to do a complete overhaul of my playlists on Serato. New deal. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to categorize. Ask Catchdubs how many spreadsheets I make. Ask him! So anyway I spent 3 or 4 hours at the hotel making my new playlists. The promoter came to pick me up at 2am. My set was at 3. We walked into the club and the spot was empty, there was like 30 people. I thought "aw man, not one of those..." But he assured me that kids in Barcelona stay in bars until they close around 2:30 or 3 and then go to the club. I went to the dressing room and, funnily enough, saw that K-man was here before me:
When 3 o'clock came, I walked down to the stage and sure enough, the spot was rammed. Whew! I was supposed to play until 5 but I was so excited to test out my new playlists that I kept going until the club closed at 6. I went to sleep at 7am. My thought as I lay in bed: "So I was supposed to go to Russia for a day before this?"
In closing, to compensate for the fact that I barely took any pictures this week, I have a special Youtube clip to share. Joi Starr is the singer on the Kanye tours and she and I used to crack up on the road. She filmed some of our antics and she wanted to start a self-edited series called "A-Trak & Me" but alas she lost a bunch of files. The stuff in this clip was filmed about a year and a half ago and up until last week she thought it was lost for good. But here it is, for the world to enjoy.