Around the World with A-Trak, Part XII

January 06, 2009

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 XII: Ed Banger, Australia, Murs, Catchdubs Storytelling, Santogold, Missing Luggage

Is everyone excited to be back at work? Would it piss you off if I told you that I'm in Sydney where it's summertime? No, right? OK cool, you guys are good friends. Now let's go over the last couple of weeks, shall we? So umm... I don't even know where to start. Christmas/Hannukah time was a bit hectic for me because it's deadline o'clock and I'm at the finish line for my Sebastien Tellier remix and this mix CD. (The former goes on the latter). As you may recall in my last post, we had that Fool's Gold holiday party with the legendary DJ Premier and Cipha Sounds. Our sponsors Pepsi decorated the space heavily with Christmas trees and snow flakes. It was a bit more festive (in a family sort of way) than expected, but I think that just brought everyone together even more. Since practically everyone on Fool's Gold was in town for the weekend, I had a little get-together at my house the next day and we sipped on egg-nog while listening to Catchdini's tall tales of grimy New York hip hop. He's an even better storyteller than Abe Simpson.

I flew to Montreal on the 24th to spend the X-day with my parents. I wasn't done with my music stuff so I brought everything with me to finish on the road. Just as I was packing my stuff, half an hour before going to the airport, I plugged my sound card into my laptop for a quick test and all hell broke loose. Not again!! (I'm starting to hate firewire.) There was no time to do anything, I had to catch this flight. So I grabbed my backup drive and went to the airport. I had to leave to Australia on the 26th and of course all the stores were closed on the 25th. So on my way to my long flight on Boxing Day, I bought a new laptop and sound card and went off on my journey. The tricky thing is, that journey turned out to be much more epic than expected. I went into greater detail on my blog but essentially, I had a connection in Chicago (to get to LA to get to Melbourne) and Chicago airport was a total mess due to storms and holiday traffic. My flight to Chicago was super late, and then I spent the day in Chicago waiting for the LA flight, which ended up getting cancelled. I spent the night there, and the next day had to fly to Reno, spent 7 hours at that strange, green airport and finally fly to LA. Got to LA and miraculously my suitcase was waiting for me. The 15 hour LA to Melbourne flight was actually really nice because I was in business class, so I had one of those cocoon seats that reclines into a fully horizontal bed, and I also had power plugs and empty seats next to me so my workstation was in full effect. I landed in Melbourne one day later than planned, on the day of my first show. My suitcase wasn't there. How they manage to mess this things up is beyond me.

This was a problem because right as I landed in Australia I had to go to 4 cities in 4 days. I was worried that my suitcase would end up playing catch-up with me the whole way. There's only one flight per day from the US. My first show was in a beach town called Lorne 2 hours from Melbourne, at the Falls festival. We told them they just needed to get me a pair of Serato records because mine were in my bag. That's all I needed, everything else was set to go. So I got into Melbourne, stopped by the Perks And Mini store to get a few tees, bought some essentials and we drove out to Lorne. Lovely drive. I was closing out the festival that night, playing after Late of the Pier. So I got there an hour before my set and went to see my set-up. "Looks good, where are the records?" "Oh we couldn't find any", they say. And just because of that, I couldn't play. So bizarre!!! Luckily the next day I had to go through the Melbourne airport again and my suitcase was there. So I flew to Hobart, Tasmania for the 2nd date of the Falls festival. Doesn't Hobart sound like it's in Middle Earth? Well it kind of is. Sidebar, I was expecting hot summer weather during this trip. Let me tell you, Hobart was fuh-ree-zing. My set was late that night, from 2 to 3:30am, after Jamie Lidell. Nice guy, that Jamie. Very tall. The show was fun. I prepared some new material for this tour so I was just glad to test it out for the first time. Right after my set I had to go straight to the airport. It was New Year's eve and I was playing the Rhythm and Vines festival in Gisborne, New Zealand. I had to take 3 flights on no sleep! Dreading the whole luggage thing, I had a plan. My first connection was in Sydney. Knowing I was going to Sydney on the next day, I had a friend come meet me at the Sydney airport at that connection and gave her my suitcase to hold onto for 24 hours. Then I flew to Auckland for the 2nd connection. Mehdi, Busy P, Fafi and Switch were actually on their way back from that festival, where they played the day before. We were texting each other like "I'm about to leave Auckland" "I'm heading to Auckland now!" Finally I ran into them on the tarmac walking onto the tiny plane as they were deplaning. Classic moment, and yes we have the picture to prove it.

Gisborne is a lovely town with beautiful mountains by the water. The setting of the festival was picturesque, it almost looked like Jurassic Park. I didn't manage to get any good flicks of it. The show was fun but I think it was a bit strange for me to play on New Year's Eve away from my friends. Everyone who was out there was playing different gigs and back home it was still the 30th, so it felt off for me. Anyway I got 3 hours of sleep after my set and at 8am I left with Digitalism to the airport. There's a ton of people in Australia at the same time right now doing the festival circuit, and on the 1st we all reconvened in Sydney for Field Day. We landed in Sydney and Digitalism was missing some gear. Not just any gear, apparently the "brain" of their set-up. Eventually we got to the festival, where the weather was perfect. Finally some heat! I was playing on the main stage in front of thousands of shirtless beach folks, right after Santogold. Here's a glimpse:

After my set I was dead, as you can imagine. I went to the hotel and slept for a solid 10 hours. Then I had my first day off since the beginning of the tour. I got some music done and went to my homie Levins' house for a delicious BBQ. That boy can cook a mean bird. After that I flew to Perth for the Southbound festival. That's a 5 hour flight, equivalent to New York to LA. Middle seat blues. The festival is actually in a beach town called Busselton, a 2 hour drive from Perth. So much sitting around, I used up the batteries on all 3 of my laptops. The hotel was actually a sort of golf resort with individual cottages and a squash court. There was a ton of flies in Busselton, flies that don't give a crap and sit on your face. It was also really dusty and my hayfever kicked in big time. The show was super dope though, there must have been 5,000 kids in that tent and they were going off. It was mostly bands on the line-up, I was one of the only DJs.

After Southbound I headed back to Sydney for a couple of days off. First I had to sit on a bus for 3 hours (long conversation with Murs) to get to the Perth airport. I'm glad I left my suitcase in Sydney because the luggage belts were busted at that airport. Then the 5 hour flight. Finally I got to the hotel, ready for 3 days of stability. Yesterday I went to visit Fool's Gold affiliates the Bag Raiders at their studio and borrowed some monitors from them. I went back to the hotel, set them up in my room and finished mixing down my Tellier remix. Mehdi, Fafi, Pedro, Boys Noize and his lady all got into town that evening so we went to get sushi at this lounge-y restaurant where you eat on couches and all the waitresses look like Winona Ryder. I told them it was my birthday so we all got some free cake. My birthday is March 30th.

And there you have it! I'm about to grab some lunch and finish up this mix CD once and for all. Toodaloo!

From The Collection:

Around The World With A-Trak
Posted: January 06, 2009
Around the World with A-Trak, Part XII