The Red Bull Music Academy has been pairing music legends and emerging beatsmiths since 1998 in cities such as Berlin, Cape Town, Melbourne, Barcelona, São Paulo, London, New York City and Tokyo. This unique combination of old school knowledge and new school sounds is unrivalled for its creative exploration and achievement. Each yearly Academy edition leaves behind structures to encourage musical collaboration and creative exchange for years to come. By the end of 2014, there will be eleven fully equipped Red Bull Studios around the world. Recently the Red Bull brand were on their Road to Paris tour in where they stopped here in Leeds to conduct a lecture with DJ Deep and last years winner Mumdance.
Here, Rob Chadwick sits down with DJ Deep regarding the tour, his first releases in 15 years and his thoughts on the city of Leeds.
I’m sat here with DJ Deep, very nice to meet you, did you have a good show?
Nice to meet you too. Yes it was a very good show thanks, I really liked the crowd and some of the questions were really interesting.
The Red Bull Road tour to Paris Tour and Red Bull in general has been extremely popular over the past few years, what do you think the catalyst behind that is?
I think one of the great things is they have been able to really focus on the product of music from all walks, from behind the scenes to the music itself. They have taken ideas from other styles and other amazing ideas and combined them to create their own. Obviously they are a voice for a lot of people and musicians who don’t have the tools or recourses to come in into the light if you like. It gives people an opportunity to express their passion and offer tips to others like tonight for example.
And the tour itself, what are your thoughts on it?
Its such a great idea, bringing musicians into cities to express their feelings and show what the lectures are like in intimate venues like the Hi-fi club. From what I can see tonight there are a lot of hungry musicians with a key eye and ear for what we do. I think Mumdance touched on this also. Its only thanks to Red Bull for allowing me to do this but also the fact that they have been able to showcase future talent and bring them forward.
Speaking of the product, do you think that with people having easier access to technology these days and the internet being a nucleus for the likes of Beatport is a hindrance at all?
I think maybe to a certain extent, however technology cannot take over your brain and your ideas. I hope what I was transmitting tonight was that if you get a tap on the shoulder from someone who can give you a little bit of confidence in you then it doesn’t really matter. If you have 100gb of tools on your computer or a Roland 909 you maybe still not get the best out of it if you don’t have the passion or confidence. I think personally that the likes of Beatport sometimes get a bad reputation because of the minority releasing anything they like.
And just a quick word on Mumdance, did you know about him before?
You know I didn’t, it was great to meet him actually. It was really inspiring to hear him talk about Tokyo and his journey. I will definitely be checking out his music.
Do you think production and the art of DJing is now a package, I know you briefly mentioned it in your lecture that DJing can sometimes fall behind as production has taken over. However you don’t seem to get many DJ’s that don’t produce these days?
I think its just the way the business of music has evolved, with more record labels and artists coming through, again due to technology being more accessible. On the other hand I do feel as though sometimes productions are rushed. Further more I think DJing does often take a back seat these days because of production. Its a slight shame but there are still a lot of quality performers out there too. Making music and DJing are two different things but I really feel you need focus on both. Occasionally as you know the musical world of house and techno goes round in cycles so it can be a case of inventing and reinventing yourself if you understand?
Of course you can actually see that with bookings in major cities, with how the cycle of house comes through and then in Leeds now you see more techno…
For sure, thats a way of looking at it, cycles of different genres keep flowing, one minute you have a lot of house DJ’s playing together then a year later or two techno is huge again. The ones that have a long standing career are able to adapt to both, I think a great example is Carl Craig.
Also going off the back of what you said in your lecture was that Derrick May was a huge inspiration for you. What makes Derrick so special for what did you make of the orchestra he did?
I think Derrick is an inspiration for a lot of people, his energy on the stage his unbelievable and his productions and ethos have been able to last for over 20 years. I think this is an interesting question as I think its amazing how artists can flirt with fresh ideas like this and make them happen. Not everyone can do this but Derrick is such an iconic figure it was such a great sight to see him be able to configure that moment. I do think people have tried different ideas before and it not worked because it has gone so far from its original routes it often doesn’t sound in place.
We are in a time now where we can try different elements within music though…
I could not agree more, we are in a perfect environment as to where we can offer this in so many different areas. I think the money is there, we have a lot more promoters and venues, festival and so on, so this can these ideas and projects are so accessible. Its a great time for music right now. I will also always check the likes of Carl Craig and Jeff Mills as their ideas will not always work but because they have the following they always get support they need to go to the next step. For example with techno its never really gone but just changed and people have adapted options with the time signature of the beat and so on.
This is leading into another question regarding techno, especially in the UK, London and Glasgow in particular which are widely regarded as the homes of techno in the UK. Listening to Dave Clarke recently he said its now the best its ever been, would you agree? Why the resurgence?
Again, its all part of the cycles, I think right now techno has a lot of younger guys coming through as well, especially in here in the UK and in Leeds too. We are in a real strong flux right now with house and techno music in general. We have a resurgence of older talent mixed with new and with some amazing showcase around the world and festivals I believe it will only get better. Plus brands like Red Bull offer something extra where you can learn and develop your skills too. I think it used to be a case of when you’re already big you can fall asleep to a certain extent because you have no one looking over your shoulder, that has chnaged now and everyone is gunning for bigger and better sound so to speak
You’re also making music again, its been around 15 years since your last record, why now?
Because on the amazing Roman (Poncat), hes a great talent and he offered me some amazing ideas which I could really relate too.
And why release on Tresor?
Well I really like the club and the label. I’m also really good friends with the owner who was really keen on our releases. When I did the compilation previously for Tresor I really developed a sound I liked and a relationship so when me and Roman created these sort of ‘bangers’ we were so blown away with the results there was only really one option for us to release on.
Finally as we are in Leeds, we need to ask, what do you think to the city and the musical history here?
Well the UK in general is just amazing, you have all the great record stores as well as the clubs so that to me is just heaven. Leeds is a great city, the clubs here are amazing and so well known all over the world. It has a beautiful history engraved into its heart with Back to Basics and The Mint Club and even Wire and The Warehouse all being well known. They all offer different memories and you don’t get that a lot.
Mumdance was selected as a UK participant in 2014 and attended the Academy in Tokyo. Prospective candidates can apply: http://apply.redbullmusicacademy.com