• A-Trak Tells His Story in Comprehensive Interview

    Posted by on | No comments

    A-Trak
    A-Trak at ComplexCon in Long Beach, CA / Oliver Scherillo

    A-Trak‘s gift behind the tables coupled with his ambitious and selfless personality has helped him transcend DJing. With his Fool’s Gold label and Day Off festival, the Montreal native has flourished into one of the most influential and respected figures in the music industry. And, after a prolific 20-year career, A-Trak continues to push forward with no end in sight.

    The Fool’s Gold chief recently got a chance to tell his inspiring story in a comprehensive interview for Complex’s Blueprint series (he’s the first DJ to be featured on the series). The 36-minute conversation covered most of his career and is full of valuable insights and lessons.

    Topics discussed include how working with Kanye West changed his life, launching Fool’s Gold, the rise of EDM, his Goldie Awards DJ battle, and why continually reinvents himself.

    On why he and Nick Catchdubs started Fool’s Gold:

    “The fact that we’re a DJ-run label was important because a lot of the early releases fell into this unclassifiable category of club music. We had a few rappers that were experimenting with electronic beats, which at the time was not the norm at all. So we had that, and we had electronic music that appealed to hip-hop heads. Nick and I knew that as DJs that all made sense and not only that, but that was the most exciting music at the time.”

    On the rise of EDM:

    “Ever since I was a kid scratching, it was so important for me for DJing to have legitimacy. And when EDM exploded in North America, we finally got it. Rather than getting hung up over, you know, some sides of it that maybe weren’t the version of DJing that I like or whatever else, my thing was like, ‘Hey, we finally got people’s eyeballs. This is the moment now. We got people’s attention. Everybody wants in on this.’ … DJ culture. That’s what the EDM really is. DJ culture conquered the world, and to me that was exciting.”

    On his financial standing:

    “I’ve never taken a salary from Fool’s Gold. This company is not how I make money. This company is how I get cool ideas out. I make my money being A-Trak. And occasionally that involves Duck Sauce or whatever else.”

    On being open-minded to different music:

    “I’m such a child of the DJ Premier era. I’m such a child of boom bap. And when keyboard beats started appearing, that sounded so wrong to me in the beginning. But [then] I realized that I was clinging on to one paradigm and that it’s wrong to do that in music, especially as a DJ.”

    On staying relevant:

    “In general, I will say that the entertainment business and music as a whole is designed to give people like myself, and anyone that makes music, a career normally of like five years. The challenge is longevity, and the way to overcome that challenge I think, or at least I’ve found, is this sort of constant reinvention. I always think of where the path is going and, you know, what I did before and what I’m about to do next. And that’s why none of the new elements that come into what I’m doing are ever too much off course because I know the story. I’m writing the story.”

    Watch the full conversation below.

    Related: A-Trak Breaks Down His ‘rockstar’ Routine

  • A-Trak Breaks Down His ‘rockstar’ Routine

    Posted by on | No comments

    After giving fans a look at how he produces, A-Trak has shared how he constructs a routine.

    In the 12-minute video, the Fool’s Gold chief breaks down his flip of Post Malone and 21 Savage‘s smash hit, “rockstar.” A-Trak talks through his ideas and works them out live on the tables. In the end, he performs his finished routine.

    “I wanted to share more than the final flips of these songs,” the Montreal native said in a Facebook post. “I wanted to start sharing the creative process, as I come up with the patterns and how the ideas come together.”

    Post Malone’s “rockstar” has remained atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for a fifth consecutive week. The track, which was certified double platinum on Tuesday, was DJcity’s 3rd most-downloaded song of September.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch A-Trak Flip Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s ‘All the Way Up’

  • Watch A-Trak Flip Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s ‘All the Way Up’

    Posted by on | No comments

    A number of turntablists have flipped Fat Joe and Remy Ma‘s “All the Way Up” since it dropped in 2016, and now A-Trak has joined in the fun. He might be late to the party, but the Fool’s Gold chief’s version is one of the most creative we’ve seen yet.

    Watch above and grab “All the Way Up” on DJcity.

    Related: Watch: A-Trak Reflects on His Career and Performs a Routine at Serato

  • Watch: A-Trak Reflects on His Career and Performs a Routine at Serato

    Posted by on | No comments

    A-Trak
    A-Trak at Coney Art Walls in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mel D. Cole)

    Following the success of his Goldie Awards DJ and producer battle in September, A-Trak sat down with Serato to reflect on his career. The Fool’s Gold chief also performed a routine using his single “Believe” featuring Quavo and Lil Yachty.

    The seven-part interview series is broken down into the following topics:

    – Starting off as a turntablist
    – When he learned how to rock parties
    – How he discovered Serato
    – Where he gets his inspiration from
    – Why he improvises his sets
    – His evolution as a producer
    – Why he launched the Goldie Awards

    Watch the interview series and routine below.

    Related: Watch A-Trak Explain How He Produced ‘Believe’ Feat. Lil Yachty and Quavo

  • Finalists for A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Revealed

    Posted by on | No comments

    Goldie Awards

    After months of entries, A-Trak‘s Goldie Awards has chosen eight DJs and eight producers to compete in the finals in New York City on Sept. 7.

    The DJ finalists are John Beez (U.S.), K-Swizz (New Zealand), Kayper (U.K.), Miles Medina (U.S.), Rocket Jackson (U.S.), Rafik (Germany), Vekked (Canada), and Yuto (Japan).

    The producer finalists are DJ Brace (Canada), City The Beatmaster (U.S.), Fresh Kils (Canada), Holly (Portugal), MSCLS (U.S.), R!OT (U.S.), STFU (U.S.), and Young Sidechain (U.S.).

    The competitors will be judged by a panel that includes Diplo, Craze, Just Blaze, Mannie Fresh, and Destructo.

    The winning producer will get to release a song on A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold label while the winning DJ will get to perform at the Fool’s Gold Day Off festival.

    Check out the finalists below.

    Related: DJ Brace Enters A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Battle

  • Watch A-Trak Explain How He Produced ‘Believe’ Feat. Lil Yachty and Quavo

    Posted by on | No comments

    While fans often get to see A-Trak perform DJ sets, they rarely get to see his creative process as a producer.

    However, the former Grammy nominee has showed Genius how he produced his latest single “Believe” on a new episode of Deconstructed. The track, which features Lil Yachty and Quavo, currently sits at No. 7 on DJcity’s Hot Box chart.

    In the video, A-Trak says he recorded the song a year ago but stored it away for a few months. He breaks down the changes he made to it over time, including adding a playful sound inspired by the Rugrats theme song. A-Trak also recalls getting advice from his brother Dave 1 from Chromeo and Fool’s Good artist Promnite.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch 1Mind Explain How They Produced French Montana’s ‘Unforgettable’

  • DJ Brace Enters A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Battle

    Posted by on | No comments

    After recently winning the DMC Online Team Championship with Vekked, DJ Brace has set his sights on A-Trak’s Goldie Awards battle. The Canadian turntablist is doing something different though, this time competing as a producer.

    The Goldie Awards is a new DJ and producer battle that will take place in New York City on September 7. Competitors will be judged by a panel that includes Diplo, DJ Craze, Just Blaze, Mannie Fresh, and Destructo. The winning producer will get to release a song on A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold label while the winning DJ will get to perform at the Fool’s Gold Day Off festival.

    To be considered for the live final, entrants must upload a one-minute video on the Goldie Awards website by August 6.

    Watch Brace’s entry above.

    Related: Vekked Enters A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Battle

  • A-Trak Encourages DJs to Be Creative and Open Minded

    Posted by on | No comments

    A-Trak

    With the release of his new single “Believe” and upcoming Goldie Awards battle, A-Trak stopped by Shade 45’s Sway In The Morning to catch up and drop a turntablism-friendly mix.

    During the convo, the Fool’s Gold boss explained that he created the Goldie Awards to push the art of DJing forward.

    Scratching with current sounds:

    “… I don’t want scratching to be an old school thing. I don’t want people to look at the way I DJ and be like ‘Oh you brought it back.’ To me, scratching always sounded futuristic. There’s subtle choices you can make as a DJ whether it be the sample that you actually scratch. We don’t have to still scratch on the ‘ahh’ and the ‘fresh’ from ‘change the beat’ and some James Brown shout. Music sounds more synthesized now so the samples that I scratch on, I’ve been choosing sounds that are more synthesized too.”

    Adapting to modern DJ technology:

    “A couple of years ago I started using the CDJs for those shows where maybe there’s strong winds and crazy vibrations or confetti being blasted on the stage. I remember just standing and thinking, ‘Why am I removing a confetti from the vinyl and the needle when I should just be performing for this crowd.’ And it just made me realize that I had to adapt to the evolution of equipment…”

    Being creative and open-minded overall:

    “I personally love turntables, and I hope turntables stay available to people for a very long time. But I also don’t want potentially, aspiring kids, people who want to become DJs, to think that they have to have a Technics 1200 to scratch. … Or even if it’s not literally scratching, [people should] learn how to come up with their own tricks. To me, it’s all about scratching and turntablism and just like the hip-hop approach to DJing that’s very subversive and taking equipment that was made to be used one way and using it another way. It’s always about that creativity and flipping what’s in front of you. … I wanna challenge the new generation to come up with new, original tricks on any kind of equipment because I don’t want [DJing] to be a legacy art form.”

    Watch the full interview and mix below.

    Related: Vekked Enters A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Battle

  • Vekked Enters A-Trak’s Goldie Awards Battle

    Posted by on | No comments

    With under two weeks left to enter, Vekked has submitted an entry for A-Trak’s Goldie Awards battle. The five-time world DJ champion made the announcement on his Facebook page.

    “Currently on a coast to coast Canadian tour, but I decided to come out of solo DJ battle retirement one last time to take a shot at A-Trak’s Goldie Awards. I put a little spin on a routine you may have heard before… this time with even more Mortal Kombat, some Street Fighter, Earthworm Jim, and NBA Jam.”

    Vekked told us that he connected an Xkey Air keyboard to Serato Pitch ‘n Time via Bluetooth to control the pitch of the Sega loop.

    The Goldie Awards is a new DJ and beat battle that will feature six DJs and six producers competing in their respective categories. The competition will be judged by a star-studded panel that includes Diplo, DJ Craze, Just Blaze, Mannie Fresh, Destructo, and Mija. The deadline to enter is August 6, and the live battle will take place at Brooklyn Steel in New York City on September 7.

    Watch Vekked’s routine above.

    Related: Watch Vekked and DJ Brace’s Final DMC Online Team Routine

  • A-Trak Launches New DJ and Beat Battle

    Posted by on | No comments

    A-Trak
    A-Trak at the We the Future Festival in Puerto Rico. (Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel)

    A-Trak has launched a new DJ and beat battle called the Goldie Awards. The Fool’s Gold chief first announced it on DJcity’s MikiDz Show back in May 2016.

    “The Goldie Awards isn’t the same old DJ battle,” A-Trak says in the trailer for the event. “We’re allowing literally any piece of equipment you want to bring. We’re welcoming anything that’s part of the art form of DJing now in this day in age.”

    The competition is “designed to reflect the genreless, borderless, and limitless nature of music today,” according to Thump, which is a co-sponsor of the battle.

    The Goldie Awards will feature six DJs and six producers competing in their respective categories. The DJs will be judged on originality, creativity, technical ability, music selection, crowd response, and stage presence. The producers will be judged on originality, creativity, technical ability, musical range, and crowd response.

    Judging the categories will be a star-studded panel that includes Diplo, DJ Craze, Just Blaze, Mannie Fresh, Destructo, and Mija. Harlem rapper Dave East will host the event.

    The winning DJ will get to perform at the Fool’s Gold Day Off festival, and the winning producer will release a song on the Fool’s Gold label.

    To enter, entrants must upload a one-minute video to their Instagram or YouTube accounts with the hashtag #GoldieAwards and fill out the application on the contest’s website by August 6. The judges will then select six DJs and six producers to be flown to the live battle, which takes place at Brooklyn Steel in New York City on September 7.

    Get more information, including the competition’s rules, at the Goldie Awards website.

    Watch the trailer below and grab your tickets for the event on June 9.

    Related: A-Trak Reacts to Possibility of Expanded of Laptop Ban on Flights