Jin Tha MC (who gained himself the title of being the 1st ever Chinese/Asian rapper to be signed to a major record deal under the Ruff Ryders record label) performed to a jammed packed Club Ing in December.
There was no room to move anywhere on the dance floor when Jin came out and laid down some wicked tunes including his recent hit single âLearn Chineseâ.
James Walsh (Singer), James Stelfox (Bass), Barry Westhead (Keyboard) and Ben Byrne (Drums) paid Hong Kong a short visit, not just for their concert (11th Dec, 2003), but also for some Christmas shopping at Shanghai Tang.
Starsailor surprised their dedicated fans here in Hong Kong, with their sense of humour, amazing live performance, and grounded attitude. Having the opportunity to talk to bassist James Stelfox, here we find out even more about Britain's best folk band.
Alyson : Having the chance to work with so many legends, or even just recording this album âLove is Hereâ at Abby Road studioâ¦ how dâya feel?
James : Feel alright!
All : (Laugh)
Alyson : Have you ever imagined even doing this before getting in the business?
James : Noâ¦ emmâ¦ difficult to answer that reallyâ¦ (paused for a minute) I always see people as people really, and I think everyoneâs on the same level, I know Phil Spector is a great legendary producer, but to me heâs just another man, and so if I met Muhammad Ali, itâll be great to meet him, but heâll still be another manâ¦ but I thinkâ¦ people are people within the same kinda thing, I think people are fortunate to have the opportunity to do things, if you know what I meanâ¦ Phil Spector was fortunate to be Phil Spector, Muhammad Ali was fortunate to be Muhammad Ali, have the opportunity and took it, which is great, Iâm never overwhelmed by anyone.
Comparing âSilence Is Easyâ to âLove Is Hereâ:
James : When we did the first record, I think we were quite young and naÃ¯ve, reallyâ¦ and when everything happenedâ¦ and I think on the second one, weâve traveled the world, twice over, seen a lot of great things, different cultures from Asian to American, to French, to German, and it change the way we looked at things, reallyâ¦ and we were happyâ¦ to be doing the best job in the world, I think.
Favorite from the two albums:
James : Oh well, probably emmâ¦ âTelling Themâ. (As for the first album) âShe Just Weptâ.
Others : Any reason why you like these songs?
James : Emm, I always liked slow songs reallyâ¦ andâ¦ I think we write better slow songs than better fast songsâ¦ itâs just the way we write.
Favorite albums of year 2003:
James : Emmâ¦ The Strokes âRoom On Fireââ¦ Elbowâ¦and oursâ¦
James : Oh you said that wordâ¦ you said the word! (I feel) Numb! I think Coldplay is a good band, I really do, I really do think Chris Martin is gentleman with talent, the band is working really well, but I think weâre absolutely nothing alike! The only difference is weâve got four heads, and so have they! Butâ¦ I do like them, I think theyâre alright, âPolitikâ is a good song.
On American Music:
James : I think now Americans have the greatest music scene in the world! Their hip-hop and their R&B are unbelievable, from 50 Cent to Destinyâs Childâ¦ If you look at the British rappers or the British girl bands, for example, Atomic Kitten is the biggest British girl band at the moment, compared to Destinyâs Childâ¦ thereâs no comparison really. I think Americans are doing music a lot better, I think the producers in America are quite far ahead than the British at the moment.
Music that you listen to:
James : I listen to 50 Centâ¦ I like Eminem, I like some of Beyonceâs stuff, like solo stuff.
Others : Can we look for hip-hop remix of a Starsailorâs track?
James : Youâll never know! Iâll tell you what! Itâll be great to work with Dr. Dre, âcoz Dr. Dre is like the Phil Spector of this era. Heâs definitely got his hands on theâ¦ on his brain.
On impact to teenagers:
James : Youâll have to ask them! I donât knowâ¦ emmâ¦ when I was younger, we liked bands thatâd give you hopeâ¦ if you know what I meanâ¦
Others : Wanna be remembered?
James : Yeahâ¦ otherwise thereâs no point.
On Starsailorâs emotional growth:
James : I think weâve come together more on this record, I think on the first record, weâre just like rabbits caught in head lights reallyâ¦ we were like starting reallyâ¦ we were like âwhatâs happening!ââ¦ we sold a million recordsâ¦ and on this one, everythingâs changed reallyâ¦ everything about us has changed. Personally, for meâ¦ I look at the band members differently than whatâs on three years ago.
On the next record:
James : I think weâre absolutely writing heavier stuff at the moment, I think a lot of music gets a bit more rock orientated.
Alyson : What are your plans for 2004?
James : Weâll be in America for three months, than back in the UK, weâll only start recording an album till December this year, which is a shame, weâd rather record now, instead of touring really. To be like the days of Led Zeppelin or The Doors when you can release two albums a year, instead of one every two years, I think itâs all wrong now with the promotion, no offence to you all, itâs very strange of me sitting down and talking about records, when I wanna do another one. This oneâs old to me now.
Alyson : Really? New materials are coming out already?
James : Yeah, oh yeah! Weâve got four albums worth materials now.
New Yorkâs Freak Scene Is Alive & Kicking. âThe âfreak sceneâ is still alive and thriving through the efforts of a few. And you see lots of interesting kids appearing all the time.â
Chatting to Skrufff from Manhattan this week, ex-pat Englishman-in-New York Boy George revealed heâs been impressed by the vibe heâs found in Manhattan club-land, since relocating from London this September.
âWe did a gig with The Twin at Stingray at the Coral Rooms and it lured all the young weirdoes out as well as some of the diehard premier freaks,â said George.
âIt was especially fun because I have fallen madly in love with a boy who swims in a big fish tank in the wall and itâs the small things that make a night out. New York is different but so is London- them youth are very conservative, on the whole.â
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Howâs Taboo going?
Boy George: âTaboo is going well so far, most nights are full, the crowds stand up at the end and they all seem to love it. Of course, theatre is unpredictable and January is a treacherous month so who knows, but it seems to be ticking over nicely. My legs are also looking sexy because I have to climb three flights of stairs, about seven times during each show and Iâm quite pleased to have shed a few inches. The show is both fun and hard work because of all the make-up changes and costume dramas.â
Skrufff: Where are you spending Xmas Day?
Boy George: âI will be in Connecticut with some English pals and Iâm vegetarian so no turkey for me. I imagine itâll involve lots of eating and lazing around because Boxing Day doesnât happen here in America, meaning itâs back to work on Friday.â
Skrufff: What do you make of this yearâs new marketing buzzword âmetrosexualâ?
Boy George: âI thought metrosexuals were people who wore make-up on tube trains. For me itâs just another pointless label since sexuality is a grey area with pink spots and itâs omnipresent. People talk about sexuality as if itâs some battery pack that you can switch on and off. I would say we are all as gay as we are straight and what you choose as a major preference is no more important than preferring one kind of cheese against another. Of course, this is a very basic response because I feel the sexuality issue is colossal and complex and every time you reach an understanding something pops up to contradict it. Iâm actually presently working on a photo-book of men right in all sorts of homo-erotic poses and outfits and itâs very interesting how far people will go.â
Skrufff: Do you have any tips for men wishing to wear make-up?
Boy George: âI think you should always wear what makes you feel comfortable and pretty and f**k fashion, because everything is eventually revived. If you ignore fashion, you stay ahead of it.â
Skrufff: Whatâs happening with your âDo I Look Like a Slut proteges Avenue D?
Boy George: âAvenue D are doing gigs here and there and we are about to release âSlutâ with a remix in the UK. I am also about to record a new track with Avenue D and The Twin and weâve also done a cut-up mix of Here Come The Girls combined with âSlutâ which should be floating around soon. They are always up to something, dragging me along to see bands and them disappearing to Florida to paint walls. They always full of positive energy and great fun. I hear âSlutâ in almost every bar and club I go to and it still sounds much better than Camel Toe.â
Skrufff: Whatâs ahead for 2004?
Boy George: âIâm still working on final tracks for the Twin DVD and shooting porn stars and other interesting things. This beauty (on the picture above) is called Johnny Hazzard and heâs a f**king babe and very free with his body. Nothing like myself of course.â
Interview by: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
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Photo: The Twin
PV and Toneman elite Austrian producer Mike Tales has not had an easy path to follow to enter the dance industry and shedded some incredibly personal feelings with regards to just what it takes to make a name for yourself these days.
It seems the old English proverb âToo many cooks spoil the brothâ applies only all too well these days and that âToo many DJs spoil the brothâ is an ever recurring conscious thought in clubland. He proves the constant battle between balancing shift work, studio work and family life is not everything you may have imagined behind every successful producer, DJ and artist, more an image that has been hidden and hung out to dry by the glossy media. Like every other performing art, itâs talent, dedication and how determined you are to get where the rest of the industry will let you prosper, that will ultimately spell out your career path for you. DJ Alixir spoke to Mike about life, love and borderline house/techno music just before his hectic Christmas and New Yearâs schedule beckoned.
Al: Hello Mike, just where and when did the DJ trip begin for you? What made you want to become a DJ? How long have you been doing this now?
MT: Because of a friend, I had my first contact with records and turntables. It intrigued me and tried it all by myself. After some time, and quite a lot of hard work, I had the chance to prove my flawless abilities in an amazing club. After a successful debut performance I was quickly hired as the resident DJ for the venue. Now I have practiced it since 1998.
Al: What was your first major gig and what style of music were you playing? How did it go? Were you nervous?
MT: My first Major gig was in Croatia in the year 2000. It was at a fortress near the sea, it was a wonderful Location. I was very nervous at the beginning of the set, but after some time I became more confident cause the people were in a good temper and freaked out!
I started with groovy minimal techno and than I raised into driving party techno and the guests celebrated. It was a really formative experience. I will never forget.
Al: How would you explain the Mike Tales DJ experience to others?
MT: In the first 3 years I never had to ask if I could play in a club or at a party because I had a good reputation, and so I got to know a lot of acquaintances. The other thing is that I also played a different style to the others and so I got a lot of bookings without asking. IÂ´m very proud of that. Today, itâs not so easy anymore.
Al: Do you hold any residencies in any clubs at the moment? Do you have a busy schedule for DJ'ing?
MT: No, because I live in a city with about 130,000 inhabitants and there is no longer a Techno club. It has been closed for 1 or 2 Years. The next good club is about 2 and a half hours away and itÂ´s too far away to play there for bad money the whole year. In this time I mail some demos around and contact them per email and so I try to get my gigs. Iâm still looking for a good booking agency. Itâs not so easy these days.
Al: You must have played with some very well known European DJs, who have you played with and who would you like to play with if you had the
MT: I played with DJs like Pascal F.E.O.S., Monike Kruse, Massimo,..The Last good gig was in one of the best clubs in Germany called âNachtwerk â Electric Delicateâ with Monika Kruse. That kind of gig I like very much. That was a really good party!! If I can choose I would like to play together with Carl Cox.
Al: What is the club scene like in Austria at the moment? Where are the best clubs to play?
MT: At the moment I have less bookings in Austria. There are some good clubs over the other side of Austria and there are some parties with good headliners like Sven VÃ¤th, Chris Liebing, u.a. In Clubs like Flex â Vienna, Cazin Club â Linz,... . Iâm at the wrong side Austria!
Al: Have you DJ'd outside of Europe yet? Where would you like to go?
MT: Iâve played in Germany, Switzerland and Croatia already. I hope that I will also get some bookings out of those countries. I donât like the Austrian scene and I would rather live in Germany-Frankfurt or EnglandâLondon, but itâs too chancy for me to emigrate cause I think the whole techno scene is very bad these days.
Al: Being a producer and a DJ must be very time consuming! How do you find the time for studio work?
MT: I have got a âshift workâ full time job, so i can produce one week in the morning and one week in the evening. If i have to work between the times 1 pm to 10 pm, I wake up at 6 am and drive at 7 a.m. I then go to my studio and produce there until 11.30 am and then I have to go to work. In the other week it changes. Long and hard work, but if you want to be someone you have to do so!
Al: You've had a lot of successful releases on Toneman, PV, Decomplex Audio and featured on a Global Compilation mixed by Carl Cox amongst
numerous others, are you going to continue releasing on these labels?
MT: We always want to update our sound and want to keep up with the times so we produce some songs we like and then we mail it to those labels associated with that sound. They pick out the songs they like and release them. If they donÂ´t find some tracks then we make a few new and mail them again. Up to now the labels have always found something, so I think that we will continue releasing on the labels we have had success with.
Al: You must be proud to have a track on the Carl Cox mix, which track is it and is it one of your personal favourites?
MT: Yes, I am very proud of it because it was my first release and was selected for the cd of the famous DJ Carl Cox. What an honour!!
This track is also one of my personal favourites. Itâs not too hard sounding but grooves and itÂ´s not too straight. I like it!
Al: Your production partner is Garry Trace, how did you come to release tracks with him? Have you known each other long? Are you old
MT: Garry founded a record shop in Innsbruck which is where I bought my first records. We found out that we had the same interests and nearly the same talent. Both produced tracks on the computer with a tracker programm. After some time I bought my fisrt synthesizer and then we built a studio to work more professionally together in 2000.
Al: When producing, do you use hardware and software? What's your favourite hardware and software?
MT: I use both. My favorite hardware is my âWaldorf Pulseâ! As for software, we use Logic with many plug-ins and I also like the programm âRemixâ. So I produce.
Al: Do you use sample CD's? If you do use samples off of sample CD's, do you put them through Recycle or use them as they are?
MT: I use a lot of samples. I re-process it completely. I Copy, pitch and effect the samples until they groove.
Al: How long would it normally take you to finish a track? Do you engineer and master the tracks yourself?
MT: For one track, we sometimes need about one and a half weeks, because we try to make it perfect. Garry always does the engineering and mastering because he likes it<grins>
Al: Personally, I love "The Game", it's just so different from any other track you have produced. How did this track come to be? Was it inspired by the sample of the woman? Who is the woman!
MT: I donât know who the woman is! Also some samples off of a cd. We tried to make this track like each others, but suddenly it wanted to become more and than the voices, perfect, different from any other.
Al: What future releases do you have coming out? What is next from Mike Tales and Garry Trace?
MT: Now there is a small release stop cause of the economy. There is no money around and we have to wait a little bit until the whole scene recovers itself. But something is in arrangement. WeÂ´ll never stop!!
Al: Thankyou so much for talking to HKCLUBBING.COM, it's been a pleasure!
MT: Itâs been a pleasure too!
Interview by: Barry Hinselwood
The Bush Administration Are the Biggest War Criminals of the 21st Century. âThe club crackdown affects me more than the kids, because the kids seem very chilled out and somehow unaware of what is really going on. Theyâre not even conscious theyâre tuning out, they just seem to be totally absorbed by TV.
For me and my immediate friends, though, itâs a rough call, because what we see today is fascism; we see Hitler in a double breasted suit.â
Detroit techno legend Derrick May has long been known as being one of dance cultureâs most talented and outspoken characters, and chatting the line from his beloved Motor City today, heâs typically passionate about exercising his free speech.
âI never thought Iâd live to see an American government, who totally disregard public feelings and opinions, using- on top of everything- fear tactics to stop people saying how they feel,â he continues.
âI think the Bush administration are the biggest was criminals of the 21st century.â
US elections issues aside, though, Mayâs focus remains electronic music, with his primary interest right now being Detroitâs massive Movement Festival (DEMF), the cityâs annual three day street parade, which heâs recently taken control of. Thereâs also the small matter of his return to London next week (February 7) to spin a 3 hour DJ set at Turnmills though he admits heâs nowadays more ambivalent about coming back.
âThere was a time when I considered London to be my second home in the late 80s and early 90s and at that time it always felt like a special place,â he says.
âThen the sensational and the populist became popular again in London and the music took a polite back seat, which meant I stopped seeing it as quite the same place it used to be. When I say populist and popular Iâm talking about the age of the superclub, the Mixmag (type) magazines and that whole over-rated drug culture. People lost focus.â
âIt changed when the money came in and people started knowing they could get their pictures in the magazines. Thereâs nothing wrong with that; I love to get paid for what I do; I love to make a lot of money; I do make a lot of money and I love to be appreciated too, but what happened was, a lot of guys started believing their shit donât stink.â
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Your playing at Londonâs Turnmills next weekend and Splitâs flyer says theyâre distancing themselves from the âmoody trainspotterâ blokes often associated with modern techno, how do you view these characters?
Derrick May: âI remember the crowd from the very first time I went to Europe and I noticed even back then, that as soon as I started playing, the guys moved up to the front pushing the girls away. I remember thinking that this wasnât a good thing at all. That night really defined my future attitude to DJing, because every time I saw that happening, I started purposely play a record that I knew was going to piss the guys off, something fluffier, more tender, that would be better received by girls.â
Skruffff: How do you feel about techno nights usually attracting far more men then women?
Derrick May: âI donât like women to be disconnected from music. I think that if techno has this macho image, itâs because women have not been involved as much as they should have been. The female element is vital to the art and the life; women bring an honest opinion to the music; they bring life to this planet and they hold the secret of life. I always prefer to play to a chick whoâs intrinsically knowledgeable about life, than a shirtless, sweaty guy whoâd dance to anything that has a beat.â
Skrufff: Youâve just signed a deal to run Detroitâs Movement Festival for the next five years, whatâs your vision for the event?
Derrick May: âWe want to bring as much attention to the city of Detroit as possible, because I think this may be the last chance that we may be able to do it through techno music. I donât know if thereâs going to be a next generation of young musicians coming through to follow up in our footsteps. Our intention is to make it like Sonar (Barcelonaâs world renowed music and arts festival), in some ways, to showcase and give exposure to, not just local young talent, but also to artists from across the country. Weâre also hoping to bring those whoâve already made musical history, bands like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, even someone like Ruichi Sakamoto, just to show that there is a next level, and itâs not over just because you leave dance music. Electronic music has many other aspects and levels beyond dance music.â
Skrufff: Going into your own days as a young face on the scene, your old Detroit contemporary Kevin Saunderson used to DJ at college fraternity parties in his pre-techno days, did you also go to university in the 80s?
Derrick May: âI was a runner (sprinter), I used to run 100m or 200m, so I started off with a college scholarship, did six months or so and then left when I realised it wasnât for me, I had lost focus. I actually got booted out; I wasnât University material. I was quite introverted too, and never socialised much.â
Skrufff: Did you go clubbing much then, or visit clubs in Chicago or even new Yorkâs Paradise Garage, for example?
Derrick May: âNo, I didnât go to Paradise Garage, I went to places like the Music Box run by Ron Hardy and The Power Plant run by Frankie Knuckles, which clubs in Chicago. I was just a kid then, I didnât make music or anything, but I was captivated by the atmosphere I found in those places. When Frankie played an electronic track the whole vibe of the place changed from âone loveâ to âangelicâ. You could smell nature against this electronic backdrop. It was almost supernatural. You were transported somewhere different. Iâve always thought that if I had the chance to re-live a moment in my life, thatâd be it. Ron was a very radical DJ, mixing high pitched records, re-mixing Stevie Wonder tracks, he was future then, and he would be future now.â
Skrufff: Americaâs entire nightlife and club culture seems to be under direct threat from the Bush Administration right now, whatâs your take on whatâs going on?
Derrick May: âWell, if anything the crackdown effects me more than the kids, because the kids seem very chilled out and somehow unaware of what is really going on. Theyâre not even conscious theyâre tuning out, they just seem to be totally absorbed by TV. For me and my immediate friends though, itâs a rough call, because what we see is fascism; We see Hitler in a double breasted suit. I never thought Iâd live to see a government who totally disregards public feelings and opinions using on top of everything fear tactics to stop people saying how they feel.
Our fathers, the previous generation, wouldnât have allowed this to happen, while my generation, people in their 30âs, seem to be totally unaware and hopeless. But itâs the new generation, those around 25 and under, that really worry me, and the way theyâre being bred to cope with the new system. Theyâve been given all the possible choices under the umbrella of consumerism and thatâs all theyâre into; their MTV, VH1, Nike, Prozac, videogames, whatever. Even the psychologists sitting around the Presidentâs office make decisions according to demographic figures. For example, they may take into account that 50 million kids bought a Playstation last year, and they know exactly where these kids live, since all Playstations are barcoded. So they know where they live, they know what theyâre buying and they know how to centralise these people out of control. They also have the power to influence the creators of these videogames to make more games about soldiers, and marines, all that USA kicks ass stuffâ¦â
Skrufff: You sound quite pessimistic about the future, are you?
Derrick May: âI am optimistic, but Iâm also a pissed off black man. What makes me optimistic is the belief that thereâs already some five year old kid out there whoâs like Kevin Saunderson was when he was five. Someone who, when he sees a shade of pink is going to say âthat doesnât look like pink to meâ or when he sees blue says âthat doesnât look blue, that looks more like turquoiseâ. Or âyou know what? I donât want to watch TV today, I wannaâ go outsideâ. Thatâs what makes me optimistic- to believe that thereâs someone out there right now whoâs going to think with his or her own head. And he may not even make music, he might be a fucking garbage man, but heâll be somebody different, somebody interesting.â
Skrufff: How much do you believe in fate and destiny?
Derrick May: âI believe in it completely. I believe everything happens for a reason, I believe in timing, I believe that if I tap you on the shoulder and I talk to you even for a couple of minutes, Iâve altered your life and youâve altered mine. We donât know how, be weâve altered each otherâs lives. Iâve pretty much always believed this.â
Skrufff: How have your attitudes changed as youâve aged?
Derrick May: âThere was one period when I made a lot of money when I started believing I had already done my part. In fact, I was being ridiculous, I didnât understand anything, Id simply lost my focus, got angry and forgot what my mission was for a minute. But Iâm on it right now, I got my mission back.â
http://www.turnmills.com (Derrick May, Guy Called Gerald, Chris Finke etc @ Split etc: Turnmills, Saturday February 7: tickets Â£12 in advance)
http://www.movementfestival.com (May 29-31, Hart Plaza, Detroit)
http://www.transmat.com (Derrickâs label Transmat)
Interview by: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
Subscribe to skrufff music newsletter at www.skrufff.com
"Why of course the people don't want warâ¦ that is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.â
Hitlerâs propaganda minister Hermann Goering, speaking during his Nuremberg war crimes trial, 1946.
Sitting on the toe of an enormous replica of a shoe, Yoko Ono looks incongruous surrounded by the giant-sized exhibits that make up her new show âOdyssey Of a Cockroachâ at Londonâs ICA East Warehouse, in Shoreditch. Above her, towers an equally gigantic poster displaying Hermann Goeringâs infamous post war propaganda quote, though itâs at ground level that her new show is principally focused, specifically the microscopic worldview of the insect.
Themed around cruelty and manâs inhumanity to man during the 20th century, the exhibition tells the tale of a cockroach as it wanders round New York City, encountering such situations as a bloody crime scene, bombed out building and numerous giant artefacts scattered around all three floors of the gallery. Surrounding the sculptures are billboard sized photos of the scenes plus Hermann Goeringâs infamous quote, which dominates the ground floor room.
âThatâs a great quote, isnât it, more people should be made aware of it,â Yoko murmurs.
âMany people are still believing in the propaganda thatâs being put out and Iâm saying âHey, donât believe in everything, try to see reality.â
The last time Yoko chatted to Skrufff (in March 2003) sheâd been in London to perform her seminal 1980 club classic Walking On Thin Ice at Nag, Nag, Nag, though this trip sheâs firmly focused on cockroaches rather than clubs. Still best known as the wife of murdered Beatle John Lennon, sheâs finally now achieving mainstream recognition for the massive contributions sheâs made as an artist, with the likes of Brit art darling Sam Taylor-Wood recently eulogising her in The Guardian.
âEveryone knows her name, but no one knows how good Yoko Ono is as an artistâ,â said Taylor-Wood.
âIt has been said before that she is very much an artist's artist, and it's true - artists can really recognise her thought process, see the ways in which ideas bounce from one thing to another. Artists can respect that. Other people don't find her so accessible, but perhaps that's because they can't get past her relationship with her husband,â she suggested.
Seminal in inventing Conceptual Art (in which the idea mattered more than the artworkâs form) Yoko also remains the best-known character in Fluxus, a movement New York art critic Peter Frank defines as âa sensibility, a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever evolving aesthetic practicesâ.
âFluxus is still going very strongly,â says Yoko.
âThe essence of Fluxus is knowing that life is about change, itâs all about change, which mean things canât accumulate. Otherwise they end up becoming an institution.â
Frank also describes her as âone of the most daring, innovative and eccentric artist-performers of her timeâ and itâs the way sheâs applied the same fearless approach to her life thatâs made the 70 year old Japanese icon as relevant to the present as she was in the 60s. Yet sitting on her giant shoe sculpture, the immaculately presented artist could easily be mistaken as a demure even passive character, save for her focused, highly alert gaze, which projects the same blazing intensity that shines throughout her work.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What inspired the concept of looking through a cockroachâs eyes?
Yoko Ono: âCockroaches are a very strong race, just as we are as humans, weâre a good match, so I wanted another strong race to look at us and see what they see.â
Skrufff: What were the key differences you spotted between humans and roaches?
Yoko Ono: âThey can see clearly whatâs happening about dead bodies and blood. The 20th century was a very violent century though it didnât need to be. We were just feeling like we had to be violent and we were. The days when we needed to be violent for self-defence, for example, happened maybe ten centuries previously. Weâve just been repeating the same pattern ever since then.â
Skrufff: Youâve highlighted Herman Goeringâs famous quote about leaders as opposed to ordinary people, wanting to wage war, as the main highlight of the exhibition, why did you choose that quote in particular?
Yoko Ono: âBecause thatâs reality, you have to know whatâs reality rather than living in a dream and accepting what is happening is happening, in the way thatâs constantly being advertised. Many people are still believing in the propaganda thatâs being put out and Iâm saying Hey, donât believe in everything, try to see reality.â
Skrufff: The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said recently âallowing women to mix with men is the root of every evil and catastropheâ, how do you think that kind of extremist thinking can be combated?
Yoko Ono: âI think if we try to combat every insanity weâll end up insane ourselves. Itâs important that we ignore it and keep on doing what we believe in instead of listening to others or getting angry about the insane mode of others. We should not be critics we should just do what we believe in, and for that we should try to see reality as it is. Just by being very peaceful, we can actually help the world to be peaceful instead of being violent. Peaceniks tend to be violent because theyâre so angry, and they just end up joining a different group of violent people, by being different, by being angry. Itâs very difficult not to be angry and not to be violent but we have to understand that if we want world peace we have to start creating peace.â
Skrufff: The news is full of stories about Intelligence agencies and their role in the Iraq War, and you and John Lennon were famously investigated by the FBI in the 70s, given that some of the ideas youâre spreading could be seen as subversive, how do you view the authorities?
Yoko Ono: âI donât think Iâm being subversive, I think Iâm being very normal.â
Skrufff: Do you have any concerns about them interfering?
Yoko Ono: âWell you see, the way I look at it is this; when the FBI were checking us, I hope they enjoyed it. But they didnât affect us because we were in our own world, living our lives in a way that was us, we just tried to be what we were. Or rather, we didnât try to be some particular way, we simply were as we were. And thatâs very important. So instead of getting upset with the people who were trying to invade our personal lives, we ignored them. They canât really invade as long as we are totally involved in ourselves. They might be thinking theyâre invading, but thatâs their view.â
Skrufff: Youâve been globally famous for 40 years, what do you make of todayâs fame culture?
Yoko Ono: âInstead of criticising or reviewing culture I take the approach that whatever I have I try to use it for the good of the world, for ourselves and for me personally too.â
Skrufff: Sam Taylor-Wood said in this weekâs Guardian âTo look at Yokoâs work is to look at an artist who isnât afraidâ; what advice would you have to people wanting to overcome their own fears?
Yoko Ono: âJust do it.â
http://www.liquidpics.com/odyssey/index.htm (Robert Youngâs filmed installation of Yokoâs new show Odyssey Of a Cockroach: the show runs between Thursday 5 Feb to 7th March 2004 at ICA 'East' 14 Wharf Road, London N1 [free entry, 12 noon to 7.30pm, daily]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1136693,00.html (Sam Taylor-Wood on Yoko: âHer work influences more people than anyone realises. Her films must have influenced Andy Warhol, who is one of my own influences . . .â)
http://www.artcommotion.com/Issue2/VisualArts (Peter Frank on Yoko and Fluxus)
Interview by: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
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February 3rd, 2004 is certainly a day for Hong Kong to remember, as one of the biggest bands of the decade was here for their debut concert. Even though Korn was on an extremely tight schedule, just arrived by 2am in the morning, while the concert was only 18 hours away, the 5-piece still manage to meet the media early this afternoon.
As what we all expected, Jonathan, Fieldy, Head, David and Munky came into the venue with their usual casual costumes, and of course, their attitude too. We started the interview with their impression of Asia, and as what Fieldy said, when he heard the words âHong Kongâ, he soon relates our city to King Kong! Being a collector himself, he was still crazy about that huge creature on the building, and still had the will to find a poster of that in town.
Since 1994, Korn has released 6 albums in total, and achieved a record sales of over 20 million, having such success as no one ever expected when âAre You Ready?/Blindâ came out, these fellas certainly proved everyone wrong. âWe need more heavy bands.â Fieldy added, admitting that even though critics claimed that Rock ân Roll is dying, but there still are some good quality sounds out there. Letting us know this unconfirmed information, Korn may be touring with Linkin Park and Snoop Dogg this year. âI like those guys, Linkin Park is pretty good.â He added.
After working with so many hip-hop greats, and other huge names in rock, David told us that on most of the collaborations, they do write up most of the songs, and search for talents to rap/play on it. âEveryoneâs different,â they replied on who worked out the most chemistry with Korn. Examples like Nas, the band finished writing the song, and somehow Nas was available to do something with the band, and so we have âPlay Meâ on their latest album âTake A Look In The Mirrorâ. Bassist and drummers of Korn definitely appreciated their contribution on the new LP, as they told us that if you wanna hear something as hard as âLife Is Peachyâ, than this is the one for you. âBut you canât do everything in the same way... thereâs always gotta be something different.â
Not just collaborating with music greats, Korn has always been one of the favourites for movie soundtracks. âDid My Timeâ was one good example, standing out as the theme song for âTomb Raider â The Cradle Of Lifeâ. Speaking of soundtracks, lead vocal singer Jonathan had helped many productions with movie music, such as the late Aaliyahâs âQueen OF The Damnedâ and more, now other than Jonathan, Fieldy also released his solo project 3 years ago. Currently, Fieldy goes from âFieldyâs Dreamsâ to âFieldyâs Nightmareâ, and as he said, this oneâs even darker, and more suicidal, âBut donât worry, Iâm not gonna kill myself!â
Chart-toppers from âFreak On A Leashâ to âYâAll Want A Singleâ, they took this particular track as the song that can represent Korn, âHere To Stayâ, as it reveals different sides of Korn and brings in more elements than ever in just one single song.
With multi-million record sales, massive fanbase, outrageous live performances, and a grammy in hand, thereâs actually one thing that Korn would like to take out from their lives, âEuropeâ¦ you be there for like 5 weeks, youâll feel like youâre in prisonâ¦â Careful guys, you may not like the continent, but youâre going back there later this yearâ¦ âweâre gonna go back to hellâ¦ Europe I meanâ¦â As for fans in Hong Kong, they do recognize our number topic at the moment â Chickens! âStay away from them, donât go near them, donât even go near to the people who get themâ¦ coz theyâll f*ck you up!â
Also catch the interview with Jonathan @ HKClubbing.com radio to feel the explosive power of this Metal icon. Coming at the end of February 2004!
The DJ from Holland who had a great 2003, visited Hong Kong for the first time in February to show off his skills on the decks at Queens Club in Hong Kong. DJ Alyson spoke to the man and found of what he is up to for the new year and what he has planned for Valentines Day.
C: Cor Fijneman
A: Alyson for HKClubbing
A: Hello! First of all, welcome to Hong Kong, and I heard that youâve just had a long flight, so how was that?
C: Yeah, it was good, was eleven hoursâ¦ had a bit of sleepâ¦ not that much!
A: Geeâ¦ so how youâre feeling so far?
C: Yeah!! Itâs pretty okâ¦
A: Barely alive?
A: Hahaâ¦ I know this is your first time in Hong Kong, anywhere in particular that you wanna go to just for a visit? Or letâs sayâ¦ you wanna buy something in Hong Kong?
C: Ehhhâ¦ actually I wanna buyâ¦ one thing I want to buy is the mostâ¦ wellâ¦ un-useful electronic device.
C: Yeah, like the most extreme gadget you can getâ¦ *giggle* Thatâs what I want! And yeah, I just want to take a look around.
A: I think for electronics, Sham Shui Po maybe the place to go?! Iâm sure someoneâs gonna take you there! Have you heard anything about the Asian club scene?
C: Wellâ¦ I heard about, of course in the magazines, but thatâs about itâ¦ we donât know anything about itâ¦ coz itâs so far away for us in Europeâ¦ so itâs pretty nice to be here.
A: Now I know youâll be playing tonight here in Hong Kong, what can we expect from your set?
C: Wellâ¦ I mostly play trance, so thatâs what itâs going to be. I think Iâm going to play for about 3 or 4 hours, so itâs gonna beâ¦ a long journey!
A: Cool! I know your sets are very different from other DJs, what makes you so different?
C: Ummâ¦ maybe the energy thatâs in itâ¦ People have to hear it for themselves.
A: Some more questions about your career. What would you think was the time when your career really took off?
C: I think it was last year, when my âVenusâ track was released, we needed to get Jan Johnston (featured as) singer. So that was the big turning point of my career. Then I got all the gigs around the world, first of all was mostly in Holland, and sometimes in Europe but then it really took off for the world.
A: Speaking of that track, I know itâs been used as the theme song of Tiesto In concert last year, how did that actually happen?
C: Well I made the track, and he did a remix for it, and then they had to have a theme song for the concert, he liked it so much that he chose it. So itâs real good!
A: Thatâs really nice! So apart from Tiesto, any other DJs that you would love to get a remix from?
C: Wellâ¦ a lot of artists I want to remix from, like artists like BT, or Mobyâ¦ when they remix your tracks, itâs real honor, so itâs very nice if they remix my tracks, but if itâs ever going to happenâ¦ I donât knowâ¦ Haha!
A: Iâm sure itâs gonna happen! What else do you listen to when you have a free moment?
C: I have a really wide musical taste, so, I listen to classical music, the hit chart stuff, so I listen to mostly everything!
A: Speaking of charts, I know thereâs a DJ Magazine chart with listings like the Top 100 DJs, and I know youâre in it! Do you think it actually is important for the whole dance music scene?
C: Itâs important. For the whole dance music scene? I donât knowâ¦ coz people look up to that list, itâs what the people voted for. So, I donât know if Iâm within the Top 100 DJs, but wellâ¦ for the public I am, so itâs nice!
A: Talk about plans in 2004, anything you wanna be focusing on? Maybe a solo album?
C: Wellâ¦ not a solo album yet, I think it is something for next year, but Iâd like to concentrate more on producing my own singles, new single is going to be released soon, itâs called âHealingâ. And then yeah, move on with other good singles, also play all over the world!
A: Cool, I think Hong Kong is a good place to start! Ok, this is final question of the whole interview, now Iâve been asked to ask this question, have you left a special someone at home on Valentineâs Day?
C: Ehhâ¦ No, wellâ¦ yup, my mother! LOL!
To find out more about him Check out:
From âNancy Boyâ to their latest single âEnglish Summer Rainâ, the multi-national band Placebo has been taking risks and breaking grounds. Now the trio has finally reached our shores here in Asia, and particularly, in Hong Kong, for a one night only concert. We talk to the band about what theyâre playing at the show, their superstitious thoughts, to Chinese food!
P: Placebo (Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt)
O: Other press
A: First of all, welcome to Hong Kong!
P: Thank you!
A: Hope youâre enjoying your stay so far! I see you guys talking about the view outside of the beautiful Harbour, so what dya think of the town?
P: Itâs cool! I went out last night for a few drinks, itâs a good vibe for a Monday!
A: LOL! I know what you mean!
P: It was close to elevenâ¦ actually weâve been told that going out for a drink at midnight is early, itâs REALLY refreshing! You know?
A: Yeahâ¦ normally we sneak outâ¦ like oneâ¦ one-ishâ¦
P: Coolâ¦ You havenât got any licensing laws, have you? Hahahaâ¦
Not only they went to Lan Kwai Fong, they also took the time to try out some local Chinese food!
P: Itâs difficult to get a Chinese in England, itâs good here, itâs wicked!
O: What did you have last night?
P: Lots of Beefâ¦ hahaâ¦
O: Not chicken, huh?
P: Nah, skip the chickenâ¦ haha!
Back to the show, as the band will be releasing a DVD of their live performance in Paris, what do French fans have over any others to get the privilege to be filmed?
P: Wellâ¦ itâs kind of our biggest solo headline showâ¦ To us, kind ofâ¦ marking how so far weâveâ¦ how many of our ambitions that we realized over the past seven years from our humble beginnings. Andâ¦ we have a very special, and very close relationship to our French fans, so weâre guaranteed a crazy audience, so thereâs 18,000 fanatics out there in that crowd. And it was also space for us to our biggest show so far, with lights and visuals and all of that. For the DVD format, it seems the best place to do it. Because the audience are just as much part of the show as you areâ¦ you know the energy that they give you. It was a chance for us to do something really quite impressive.
A: Now on your current tour, are you focusing on the latest CD or will you be performing some of your âClassicsâ?
P: Depends on what you consider to be âClassicâ, you knowâ¦ everybody has a different opinion on that. I think even though weâve released four albums, we find it kinda hard to squeeze together an hour and a half worth of music that we actually likeâ¦ hahaâ¦ so what you get is the stuff that we feel good playing! Because weâre quite contrary that way, we wonât play songs we donât have an emotional connection with anymore. And they donât represent how weâre feeling today.
Everyone has been curious about the song on their first album, which is titled âHK Farewellâ, and here they are, telling us HK-ers about that!
P: Yeah! The time, it was instrumental. We just kind ofâ¦ (It was before... became Chinese again!) I donât know, but we were stoned! LOL! It was 3am, the end of the recording session!
P: No, we know about the culture and the tradition in China, yeah a little bit about it, but Hong Kong isâ¦ China, Hong Kongâ¦ HK is ruled by China, but still thereâs kind of a separate legal system hereâ¦
A: This is a question from Ben from Uncle Joe. You and Silverchair have previously toured Australia together. Are there any future plans to team up with any of the members of Silverchair or possibly even with Daniel johns' new projects with aussie DJ Paul Mac THE DISSOCIATIVES?
P: They did a remix for us a while agoâ¦ but thereâre no real plans to do anything together in the futureâ¦ we donât actually know each other very wellâ¦ we didnât become booze and buddy anyway when weâre on tour. Soâ¦ No plans nowâ¦
A: Well anyone in particular that you would like to work with?
P: Chuck D, Polly Harvey!
Surprisingly, knowing that Placebo not only listens to rock when theyâre on tour, they also spend time on listening to hip-hop, reggae and dub!
P: Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, BDP (Boogie Down Productions) stuff like that, you knowâ¦ old schoolâ¦ stuff with a message.
O: Any chance of hearing those elements in your own music?
P: Kinda been there alreadyâ¦ if thatâs our next stepâ¦ whatever you listen kinda comes out in some shape before, like whatever youâre influenced by when youâre a teenager, sort of comes out.
Speaking on the UK Rock Sceneâ¦
P: We find it quite puzzling, what the point of being a rock band this time and age, and try to sound like somebody else? Weâre always trying to embrace technology, and weâre always trying to (suits) genres, as much as we can, and make record that looks forward instead of backwardsâ¦ it makes more sense to us.
A: Any of you are superstitious? Like is there anything that you HAVE to do before you go on stage?
P: (Brian) We have to have a group hug, and shout! Very very loud! And go rock!! I donât know, if thereâs aboutâ¦ twenty people having a drink, and two people clink their glass, then the entire twenty people would have to clink their glassesâ¦ silly things like thatâ¦These are just silly things like thatâ¦
P: (Stefan and Steve) Why is that? Why is that bad luck? Like seven years of bad sex!
P: (Brian) I donât know!! Yeah! If you donât look at each other in the eye when you do âCheersâ, that means seven years of bad sex. I found out how you can reverse the broken mirror thing the other day, if you break a mirror, and that means seven years of bad luck, what you have to do is you have to burry a piece of mirror nearby.
P: (Steve) Who told you that? (Donald) Cool!
A: Dya have any movie plans coming up? Like âVelvet Goldmineââ¦ it wasâ¦
P: No, nothing in the pipeline, no suchâ¦ not interested in playing musicians who are vampires. Weâre more interested in probably turning up in a soundtrack.
A: What kind of a movie would you like to do a soundtrack for then?
P: Just needs to be darkâ¦ (after 15 seconds) Three man with a hairy lady! LOL!! Itâs not good!
Words for HK:
P: Good to be here, do a show eventually, it takes us a while to get here, should spend some more time here, butâ¦ needâs time, the worldâs a big place. Just looking forward to the show. There were plans for us to do a more extensive tour around China, weâre just getting squashed with time, and traveling around, gotta get back and do festivals and things... hopefully on the next record, we can try to concentrate more.
O: Whenâs the last time youâve been overdosed?
P: LOL! Iâve never overdosed, contrary to popular math, no, Iâve never actually overdosed. I think itâs very very impolite to turn blue on your friendsâ coach.
O: Would you like to change the style of your music on your next record?
P: Weâre gonna do a country western record! Haha!
O: Someone calls you a Gothic band, what dya think about that?
P: Noâ¦ Is PJ Harvey Gothic? Is Nick Cave Gothic? Some people say the Smiths are Gothic, itâs because you do something thatâs quite dark, doesnât make you himâ¦ I never really listen to thatâ¦ certainly I guess weâre attracted to the dark side of human emotion because itâs more disturbing, and more interesting, and itâs more insightful to the complexity of the human natureâ¦ âI Cant Get You Outta My Headâ which is brilliant, or âBootyliciousâ which is brilliant as well. But I think weâre just naturally pulled towards the dark pasturesâ¦ Goth-Country and Westernâ¦ itâs do-able! Is Johnny Cash Goth?
Paul Van Dyk Interview on George W , Cannibals & Living in A Dictatorship. âI donât think anyone seriously believes that all of us in Germany are potential cannibal killers. That guy was one geek, one freak; every country in the world has its weirdoes. And in some countries those weirdoes are even President.â Germanyâs biggest superstar DJ Paul Van Dyk paid little attention to the recent court case of infamous cannibal killer Armin Meiwes, though stories about Presidential weirdoes are a different matter.
Recently installed as the first non-American to join voter registration drive Rock The Vote, heâs as politically astute as heâs gloriously outspoken, revelling in using the opportunities his musicâs brought him, to express himself as much as he can.
âI still think youâre able to say what you think in The States though itâs a little bit more dangerous than it was five years ago,â he tells Skrufff.
âBut at least you still can and that wasnât possible in East Germany in the past.â
Growing up in Communist led East Germany in the 80s (under a regime he unequivocally brands a dictatorship), the teenage Berliner experienced life under tyranny first-hand, particularly after his Mother applied to leave the country in 1986 (some three years before the regime collapsed as the Berlin Wall fell). Branded subversives and placed under Stasi (secret police) surveillance, the 14 year old enjoyed cat and mouse games with the police, simultaneously developing a genuine appreciation of democratic values, notably the importance of freedom of speech.
âMaybe Iâm outspoken about my political views and about my stance as a democratic person because I saw how what a dictatorship was like as a teenager,â he suggests.
âBecause I saw what life was like, living with no basic rules of democracy; when you couldnât vote and everything was done the way the authorities said it should be done, you had no choice.â
15 years since the Berlin Wall fell, heâs become one of the worldâs most popular (and successful) DJs, enjoying riches and acclaim far beyond his wildest dreams, though he attributes his mammoth success to his abiding passion for music.
âWhen it comes down to music, Iâm a total geek, I love electronic music and I give everything for my music, I think this comes across and lots of people appreciate it, â he says.
âTo do something with substance you always have to put your heart into it.â
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Youâre shortly re-releasing your latest album Reflections with a new remix bonus CD included, how pleased are you with its performance so far?
Paul Van Dyk: âIâm very pleased, on the one hand itâs already my most successful album, itâs been top 10 in Germany and has been very well received in the US too. People also seem to have appreciated the fact that I took elements from other genres and incorporated them into my music as well the fact that I included more serious issues with my lyrics.â
Skrufff: Youâre one of the worldâs biggest name DJs, is the goal to replicate that level of success as a producer?
Paul Van Dyk: âI wouldnât complain with where Iâm at now, because Iâm one of the few people that can go anywhere in the world and find at least a few thousand people there that are interested in what I do. This is something that I find amazing and major. But I donât really define success by how many people recognise me on the street or by what kind of chart position I achieve. Success to me is when Iâm able to translate my ideas into music and reach people with it. From that perspective I have to say Iâm very successful in what I do because obviously there are quite a lot of people on this planet who enjoy electronic music, and also enjoy in particular, the kind of electronic music that I make.â
Skrufff: Does the term âundergroundâ have any meaning for you?
Paul Van Dyk: âUnderground means underground (chuckling). At the beginning of the 90s there was this weird separation between those being called underground and others labelled commercial but neither term really reflected on how necessary the music was that was being made. Lots of âundergroundâ records basically consist of a few bass drums and a hi-hat, which can be interesting but most of the time theyâre not. Then people use the term âcommercialâ to put a negative slant on music, though Iâve never done that. Because firstly as an artist, I try to reach as many people as possible, which is the goal of any artist. And secondly, I love electronic music so much that I hope to see electronic music expanding into all different areas of music, wherever. So for me it was never a question of underground or overground, it was about good or bad music.â
Skrufff: Ferry Corsten said recently âthe biggest threat to dance music is that everybody wants to be too coolâ, would you agree?
Paul Van Dyk: âLet me give you an example; take the UK club scene. There was a huge slowdown with their clubs in recent years and I always said itâs been home grown and homemade. In Germany, in comparison, we have quite a strict separation between discoteques and clubs, whereas in the UK I didnât really see that happening. Discoteque music that would never be played in a quality club in Germany, at one point starting having huge exposure in the UK in big time clubs. So some of my DJ colleagues became more and more commercial because they didnât really understand the music with all their hearts, so they just played the music that they thought the people wanted to hear. But moving in the opposite direction was just as bad, ie those DJs who started playing the music they called âprogressiveâ. By doing that, they lost all the fun in the music and ended up playing really boring stuff. Iâm not interested in listening to a track for 15 minutes in which nothing happens, then thinking thatâs really cool- it doesnât make any sense.
Then suddenly there was that issue of image, of people saying âIâm this or Iâm thatâ (genre), and all that kind of bullshit in the dance community, which never previously existed. I never was a part of that, I never projected some kind of image, Iâve always been just the way I am and people have to accept it or not. There are probably people out there who think Iâm very cool and others who think Iâm totally uncool, I donât really care. Not everyone likes what Madonnaâs doing but she still has a lot of fans. For me, itâs not a question or being cool or not cool the question is âfor what reason are you in this business?â If the answer is because of anything other than music, then you should leave the business.â
Skrufff: Youâre the best-known DJ to be involved in Americaâs Rock The Vote election campaign, despite being German, why do you think they asked you?
Paul Van Dyk: âI think one of the reasons was because they knew Iâm politically active and I say what I think; that when it comes down to politics, I actually take a stand rather than just shutting my mouth. For an organisation like Rock The Vote you need someone like that, someone whoâs prepared to stand up and say âit doesnât make any sense to sit in front of a TV, moaning about how bad Bush is then not votingâ. On the other hand, it was very surprising that they asked me, given that Iâm a German. Iâm the first foreigner ever to be involved in the campaign. All the tours and gigs I do this year are going to be under the Rock The Vote banner and weâre going to have registration booths at the gigs, so people can register themselves, while theyâre at the clubs. I think itâs an important project.â
Skrufff: American authorities have also been criminalizing club culture via policies such as the RAVE act, why do you think thatâs happening?
Paul Van Dyk: âThe RAVE act is a very unconstitutional law, though I wouldnât even call it a âlawâ because you canât make someone liable for something that was done on their property. If you can then that means if someone is doing something wrong in a Hilton Hotel ,for example, then the Hilton sisters can go to jail. Thatâs pretty much what the RAVE Act says. Right now, I donât know any cases going on where a promoter or club owner has been charged under that law. Iâm sure that the moment they start using it, theyâll be a huge outrage with lots of lawyers getting involved, wanting to defend the club owner, because this is going to go to the highest court in the States and Iâm pretty sure theyâre going to rule it out. Because thereâs still some democracy left in that country.â
Skrufff: You grew up in Communist East Germany and were under surveillance for four years, do you see any parallels between the Bush administration and the East Germany of old?
Paul Van Dyk: âIt was completely different. Firstly, there wasnât such a thing as democracy in East Germany at all; it was a dictatorship. I still think youâre able to say what you think in the States though itâs a little bit more dangerous than it was five years ago. But you still can and that wasnât possible in East Germany. But maybe this is why Iâm outspoken about my political views and about my stance as a democratic person- itâs because I saw how what a dictatorship was like as a teenager. I saw what life was like, living with no basic rules of democracy; when you couldnât vote and everything was done the way the authorities said it should be done, you had no choice. I donât know what is more dangerous.â
Skrufff: Youâre family was under Stasi (secret police) surveillance when you were aged between 14 and 17 after your Mother applied to leave East Germany, did you notice being watched?
Paul Van Dyk: âAs a kid it was like playing a game of cat and mouse, it had a fun element to it as well, because being young you donât get the whole picture of what was going on. My Mum quite often pointed things out, for example, there was an apartment across the street from us and for some reason they had this weird mirror set up by their window where they could see who was going in and out of our door. Stuff like that went on all the time and it was quite obvious, they didnât really make any effort to hide it.â
Skrufff: Were you questioned by the secret police at any time?
Paul Van Dyk: âWe had to go randomly to the Ministry of Internal Affairs which was the official constitutional headquarters of the Stasi- the secret service. We were questioned regularly- Why did we want to leave the country? Who were our friends inside the country and outside the country? All that kind of stuff. That happened randomly though regularly.â
Skrufff: Have you found yourself under surveillance in the West at all, or had problems with immigration officials in the States for example, given your outspokenness?
Paul Van Dyk: âI donât think it has anything to do with me being outspoken, or that they recognise me at the border and give me special harsh treatment. Though since the Republicans started governing the States itâs become much more difficult to get into The States. You need at least two hours for immigration and itâs definitely more difficult than it used to be, thatâs for sure. I remember once when my wife and I were travelling there, having a problem in New York, which is a place where youâd expect them to be more open-minded and used to foreigners. The woman behind the Immigration desk was really rude to everyone and my wife came up to the desk and said to her, very friendly âHelloâ and she just grunted. My wife asked her âwhy are you so unfriendly, weâre just visitors, we just want to see your country?â and they basically held her back at Immigration, for more than two hours. Things like this have started happening more.â
Skrufff: Have you had many similar hold ups yourself?
Paul Van Dyk: âThe last big queue I faced was for over four hours, in Houston. I missed three connecting flights and almost missed the last connection to make my gig. Things like this make you wonder. I understand they have this control freak mentality because of what happened (on 911) but I think they should channel that in the right direction. None of those people (the hijackers) went through normal immigration. They were already in The States, studying there, they werenât visitors.â
Skrufff: Ronald Reagan started his career as an actor; do you see yourself becoming a politician at some point in the future?
Paul Van Dyk: âI donât think Iâm patient enough. When I see something as being perfectly logical if I try to explain it to someone and they say âI donât get itâ then I donât have the patience to keep on explaining. I donât know if Iâd make a good politician to be honest, itâs not my goal either. I try to do something in my immediate day to day world and through the charity organisations Iâm involved in in India, also here in Germany and even in Iraq. I try to involve myself directly, Rock The Vote is another outlet.â
Skrufff: How comfortable are you with making massive amounts of money these days?
Paul Van Dyk: âI come from East Germany and I remember times when I was earning 5 Deutsch marks (US$5) a week, having to decide âdo I eat something or drink something today?â So I still really appreciate having money and also particularly the small things that happen. Of course, I earn a good amount of money for what I do but one thing is, I work very hard for it, which lots of other people do too, and I also take on the responsibility that comes with it. Not just spending it for myself, Iâm trying to do something good with it, because this is something I really learned. Itâs not enough to just sit back and believe what all the organisations and Government programmes do, itâs good that they do things but if you want to change something and do it better you have to do it yourself. I take on that challenge and that responsibility, so therefore I donât feel bad about making a decent amount of money.â
Skrufff: Your biog starts with the line âPaul Van Dyk is on a mission, do you feel a sense of destiny?
Paul Van Dyk: âMission for me means having belief in yourself and in trying to do something with that belief. That means on the musical side, that I do what I believe is right. I make music firstly to satisfy myself, because I have to perform in front of people and present my music. I have to be 100% behind my music so I make it without compromises. Of course, my engagement in other activities is also a mission, of course Iâm trying to do something that really helps.â
Paul Van Dykâs new single Crush is out on March 15, while a new edition of his latest album Reflections hits the shops on March 29 (including a bonus disc with 8 new versions of album tracks.).
Interview By: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
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