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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 “Learn Chinese”.

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 ‘Love is Here’ at Abby Road studio… how d’ya feel?

James : Feel alright!

All : (Laugh)

Alyson : Have you ever imagined even doing this before getting in the business?

James : No… emm… difficult to answer that really… (paused for a minute) I always see people as people really, and I think everyone’s on the same level, I know Phil Spector is a great legendary producer, but to me he’s just another man, and so if I  met Muhammad Ali, it’ll be great to meet him, but he’ll still be another man… but I think… 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 mean… 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, I’m never overwhelmed by anyone.

Comparing ‘Silence Is Easy’ to ‘Love Is Here’:

James : When we did the first record, I think we were quite young and naïve, really… and when everything happened… and I think on the second one, we’ve 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, really… and we were happy… to be doing the best job in the world, I think.

Favorite from the two albums:

James : Oh well, probably emm… ‘Telling Them’. (As for the first album) ‘She Just Wept’.

Others : Any reason why you like these songs?

James : Emm, I always liked slow songs really… and… I think we write better slow songs than better fast songs… it’s just the way we write.

Favorite albums of year 2003:

James : Emm… The Strokes ‘Room On Fire’… Elbow…and ours…

On Coldplay:

James : Oh you said that word… 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 we’re absolutely nothing alike! The only difference is we’ve got four heads, and so have they! But… I do like them, I think they’re alright, ‘Politik’ 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 Destiny’s Child… 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 Destiny’s Child… there’s 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 Cent… I like Eminem, I like some of Beyonce’s stuff, like solo stuff.

Others : Can we look for hip-hop remix of a Starsailor’s track?

James : You’ll never know! I’ll tell you what! It’ll be great to work with Dr. Dre, ‘coz Dr. Dre is like the Phil Spector of this era. He’s definitely got his hands on the… on his brain.

On impact to teenagers:

James : You’ll have to ask them! I don’t know… emm… when I was younger, we liked bands that’d give you hope… if you know what I mean…

Others : Wanna be remembered?

James : Yeah… otherwise there’s no point.

On Starsailor’s emotional growth:

James : I think we’ve come together more on this record, I think on the first record, we’re just like rabbits caught in head lights really… we were like starting really… we were like “what’s happening!”… we sold a million records… and on this one, everything’s changed really… everything about us has changed. Personally, for me… I look at the band members differently than what’s on three years ago.

On the next record:

James : I think we’re 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 : We’ll be in America for three months, than back in the UK, we’ll only start recording an album till December this year, which is a shame, we’d 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 it’s all wrong now with the promotion, no offence to you all, it’s very strange of me sitting down and talking about records, when I wanna do another one. This one’s old to me now.

Alyson : Really? New materials are coming out already?

James : Yeah, oh yeah! We’ve got four albums worth materials now.

New York’s Freak Scene Is Alive & Kicking. “The  ‘freak scene’ is still alive and thriving through the efforts of a few. And you see lots of interesting kids appearing all the time.”

Chatting to Skrufff from Manhattan this week, ex-pat Englishman-in-New York Boy George revealed he’s been impressed by the vibe he’s found in Manhattan club-land, since relocating from London this September.

“We 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,” said George.

“It was especially fun because I have fallen madly in love with a boy who swims in a big fish tank in the wall and it’s the small things that make a night out. New York is different but so is London- them youth are very conservative, on the whole.”


Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): How’s Taboo going?

Boy George: “Taboo 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 I’m 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.”

Skrufff: Where are you spending Xmas Day?

Boy George: “I will be in Connecticut with some English pals and I’m vegetarian so no turkey for me. I imagine it’ll involve lots of eating and lazing around because Boxing Day doesn’t happen here in America, meaning it’s back to work on Friday.”

Skrufff: What do you make of this year’s new marketing buzzword ‘metrosexual’?

Boy George: “I thought metrosexuals were people who wore make-up on tube trains. For me it’s just another pointless label since sexuality is a grey area with pink spots and it’s omnipresent. People talk about sexuality as if it’s 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. I’m actually presently working on a photo-book of men right in all sorts of homo-erotic poses and outfits and it’s very interesting how far people will go.”

Skrufff: Do you have any tips for men wishing to wear make-up?

Boy George: “I 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.”

Skrufff: What’s happening with your ‘Do I Look Like a Slut proteges Avenue D?

Boy George: “Avenue D are doing gigs here and there and we are about to release ‘Slut’ with a remix in the UK. I am also about to record a new track with Avenue D and The Twin and we’ve also done a cut-up mix of Here Come The Girls combined with ‘Slut’ 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 ‘Slut’ in almost every bar and club I go to and it still sounds much better than Camel Toe.”

Skrufff: What’s ahead for 2004?

Boy George: “I’m 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 he’s a f**king babe and very free with his body. Nothing like myself of course.”

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 “Too many cooks spoil the broth” applies only all too well these days and that “Too many DJs spoil the broth” 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, it’s 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 Year’s 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.  I´m very proud of that.  Today, it’s 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 it´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.  I’m still looking for a good booking agency.  It’s 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
choice?

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 “Nachtwerk – Electric Delicate” 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 Väth, Chris Liebing, u.a.  In Clubs like Flex – Vienna, Cazin Club – Linz,... .  I’m at the wrong side Austria!

Al:  Have you DJ'd outside of Europe yet?  Where would you like to go?

MT: I’ve played in Germany, Switzerland and Croatia already.  I hope that I will also get some bookings out of those countries.  I don’t like the Austrian scene and I would rather live in Germany-Frankfurt or England–London, but it’s 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 “shift work” 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 don´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. It’s not too hard sounding but grooves and it´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
friends?

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 “Waldorf Pulse”! As for software, we use Logic with many plug-ins and I also like the programm “Remix”. 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 don’t 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. We´ll never stop!!

Al:  Thankyou so much for talking to HKCLUBBING.COM, it's been a pleasure!

MT:  It’s been a pleasure too!

Interview by: Barry Hinselwood

 The Bush Administration Are the Biggest War Criminals of the 21st Century.  â€œThe club crackdown affects me more than the kids, because the kids seem very chilled out and somehow unaware of what is really going on. They’re not even conscious they’re tuning out, they just seem to be totally absorbed by TV.

For me and my immediate friends, though, it’s a rough call, because what we see today is fascism; we see Hitler in a double breasted suit.”

Detroit techno legend Derrick May has long been known as being one of dance culture’s most talented and outspoken characters, and chatting the line from his beloved Motor City today, he’s typically passionate about exercising his free speech.

“I never thought I’d 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,” he continues.

“I think the Bush administration are the biggest was criminals of the 21st century.”

US elections issues aside, though, May’s focus remains electronic music, with his primary interest right now being Detroit’s massive Movement Festival (DEMF), the city’s annual three day street parade, which he’s recently taken control of. There’s 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 he’s nowadays more ambivalent about coming back.

“There 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,” he says.

“Then 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 I’m talking about the age of the superclub, the Mixmag (type) magazines and that whole over-rated drug culture. People lost focus.”

“It changed when the money came in and people started knowing they could get their pictures in the magazines. There’s 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 don’t stink.”


Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Your playing at London’s Turnmills next weekend and Split’s flyer says they’re distancing themselves from the ‘moody trainspotter” blokes often associated with modern techno, how  do you view these characters?

Derrick May: “I 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 wasn’t 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.”

Skruffff: How do you feel about techno nights usually attracting far more men then women?

Derrick May: “I don’t like women to be disconnected from music. I think that if techno has this macho image, it’s 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 who’s intrinsically knowledgeable about life, than a shirtless, sweaty guy who’d dance to anything that has a beat.”

Skrufff: You’ve just signed a deal to run Detroit’s Movement Festival for the next five years, what’s your vision for the event?

Derrick May: “We 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 don’t know if there’s 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 (Barcelona’s 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. We’re also hoping to bring those who’ve already made musical history, bands like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, even someone like Ruichi Sakamoto, just to show that there is a next level, and it’s not over just because you leave dance music. Electronic music has many other aspects and levels beyond dance music.”

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: “I 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 wasn’t for me, I had lost focus. I actually got booted out; I wasn’t University material. I was quite introverted too, and never socialised much.”

Skrufff: Did you go clubbing much then, or visit clubs in Chicago or even new York’s Paradise Garage, for example?

Derrick May: “No, I didn’t 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 didn’t 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 ‘one love’ to ‘angelic’. You could smell nature against this electronic backdrop. It was almost supernatural. You were transported somewhere different. I’ve always thought that if I had the chance to re-live a moment in my life, that’d 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.”

Skrufff: America’s entire nightlife and club culture seems to be under direct threat from the Bush Administration right now, what’s your take on what’s going on?

Derrick May: “Well, 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. They’re not even conscious they’re tuning out, they just seem to be totally absorbed by TV. For me and my immediate friends though, it’s a rough call, because what we see is fascism; We see Hitler in a double breasted suit. I never thought I’d 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, wouldn’t have allowed this to happen, while my generation, people in their 30’s, seem to be totally unaware and hopeless. But it’s the new generation, those around 25 and under, that really worry me, and the way they’re being bred to cope with the new system. They’ve been given all the possible choices under the umbrella of consumerism and that’s all they’re into; their MTV, VH1, Nike, Prozac, videogames, whatever. Even the psychologists sitting around the President’s 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 they’re 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 stuff…”

Skrufff: You sound quite pessimistic about the future, are you?

Derrick May: “I am optimistic, but I’m also a pissed off black man. What makes me optimistic is the belief that there’s already some five year old kid out there who’s like Kevin Saunderson was when he was five. Someone who, when he sees a shade of pink is going to say ‘that doesn’t look like pink to me’ or when he sees blue says ‘that doesn’t look blue, that looks more like turquoise’. Or ‘you know what? I don’t want to watch TV today, I wanna’ go outside’. That’s what makes me optimistic- to believe that there’s someone out there right now who’s going to think with his or her own head. And he may not even make music, he might be a fucking garbage man, but he’ll be somebody different, somebody interesting.”
Skrufff: How much do you believe in fate and destiny?

Derrick May: “I 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, I’ve altered your life and you’ve altered mine. We don’t know how, be we’ve altered each other’s lives. I’ve pretty much always believed this.”

Skrufff: How have your attitudes changed as you’ve aged?

Derrick May: “There 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 didn’t understand anything, Id simply lost my focus, got angry and forgot what my mission was for a minute. But I’m on it right now, I got my mission back.”

http://www.turnmills.com (Derrick May, Guy Called Gerald, Chris Finke etc @ Split etc: Turnmills, Saturday February 7: tickets £12 in advance)

http://www.movementfestival.com (May 29-31, Hart Plaza, Detroit)

http://www.transmat.com (Derrick’s 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 war… 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.”

Hitler’s 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 ‘Odyssey Of a Cockroach’ at London’s ICA East Warehouse, in Shoreditch. Above her, towers an equally gigantic poster displaying Hermann Goering’s infamous post war propaganda quote, though it’s at ground level that her new show is principally focused, specifically the microscopic worldview of the insect.

Themed around cruelty and man’s 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 Goering’s infamous quote, which dominates the ground floor room.

“That’s a great quote, isn’t it, more people should be made aware of it,” Yoko murmurs.

“Many people are still believing in the propaganda that’s being put out and I’m saying ‘Hey, don’t believe in everything, try to see reality.”

The last time Yoko chatted to Skrufff (in March 2003) she’d been in London to perform her seminal 1980 club classic Walking On Thin Ice at Nag, Nag, Nag, though this trip she’s firmly focused on cockroaches rather than clubs. Still best known as the wife of murdered Beatle John Lennon, she’s finally now achieving mainstream recognition for the massive contributions she’s made as an artist, with the likes of Brit art darling Sam Taylor-Wood recently eulogising her in The Guardian.

“Everyone knows her name, but no one knows how good Yoko Ono is as an artist’,” said Taylor-Wood.

“It 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,” she suggested.

Seminal in inventing Conceptual Art (in which the idea mattered more than the artwork’s form) Yoko also remains the best-known character in Fluxus, a movement New York art critic Peter Frank defines as ‘a sensibility, a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever evolving aesthetic practices’.

“Fluxus is still going very strongly,” says Yoko.

“The essence of Fluxus is knowing that life is about change, it’s all about change, which mean things can’t accumulate. Otherwise they end up becoming an institution.”


Frank also describes her as “one of the most daring, innovative and eccentric artist-performers of her time” and it’s the way she’s applied the same fearless approach to her life that’s 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 cockroach’s eyes?

Yoko Ono: “Cockroaches are a very strong race, just as we are as humans, we’re a good match, so I wanted another strong race to look at us and see what they see.”

Skrufff: What were the key differences you spotted between humans and roaches?

 Yoko Ono: “They can see clearly what’s happening about dead bodies and blood. The 20th century was a very violent century though it didn’t 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. We’ve just been repeating the same pattern ever since then.”

Skrufff: You’ve highlighted Herman Goering’s 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: “Because that’s reality, you have to know what’s reality rather than living in a dream and accepting what is happening is happening, in the way that’s constantly being advertised. Many people are still believing in the propaganda that’s being put out and I’m saying Hey, don’t believe in everything, try to see reality.”

Skrufff: The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said recently ‘allowing women to mix with men is the root of every evil and catastrophe’, how do you think that kind of extremist thinking can be combated?

Yoko Ono: “I think if we try to combat every insanity we’ll end up insane ourselves. It’s 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 they’re so angry, and they just end up joining a different group of violent people, by being different, by being angry. It’s 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.”

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 you’re spreading could be seen as subversive, how do you view the authorities?

Yoko Ono: “I don’t think I’m being subversive, I think I’m being very normal.”

Skrufff: Do you have any concerns about them interfering?

Yoko Ono: “Well you see, the way I look at it is this; when the FBI were checking us, I hope they enjoyed it. But they didn’t 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 didn’t try to be some particular way, we simply were as we were. And that’s very important. So instead of getting upset with the people who were trying to invade our personal lives, we ignored them. They can’t really invade as long as we are totally involved in ourselves. They might be thinking they’re invading, but that’s their view.”

Skrufff: You’ve been globally famous for 40 years, what do you make of today’s fame culture?

Yoko Ono: “Instead 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.”

Skrufff: Sam Taylor-Wood said in this week’s Guardian ‘To look at Yoko’s work is to look at an artist who isn’t afraid’; what advice would you have to people wanting to overcome their own fears?

Yoko Ono: “Just do it.”

http://www.liquidpics.com/odyssey/index.htm (Robert Young’s filmed installation of Yoko’s 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: ‘Her work influences more people than anyone realises. Her films must have influenced Andy Warhol, who is one of my own influences . . .’)

http://www.artcommotion.com/Issue2/VisualArts (Peter Frank on Yoko and Fluxus)

Interview by: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Subscribe to skrufff music newsletter at www.skrufff.com


 

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 ‘Hong Kong’, 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 ‘Are You Ready?/Blind’ came out, these fellas certainly proved everyone wrong. “We need more heavy bands.” Fieldy added, admitting that even though critics claimed that Rock ‘n 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. “I like those guys, Linkin Park is pretty good.” 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. “Everyone’s different,” 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 ‘Play Me’ on their latest album ‘Take A Look In The Mirror’. 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 ‘Life Is Peachy’, than this is the one for you. “But you can’t do everything in the same way... there’s always gotta be something different.”

Not just collaborating with music greats, Korn has always been one of the favourites for movie soundtracks. ‘Did My Time’ was one good example, standing out as the theme song for ‘Tomb Raider – The Cradle Of Life’. Speaking of soundtracks, lead vocal singer Jonathan had helped many productions with movie music, such as the late Aaliyah’s ‘Queen OF The Damned’ and more, now other than Jonathan, Fieldy also released his solo project 3 years ago. Currently, Fieldy goes from ‘Fieldy’s Dreams’ to ‘Fieldy’s Nightmare’, and as he said, this one’s even darker, and more suicidal, “But don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill myself!”

Chart-toppers from ‘Freak On A Leash’ to ‘Y’All Want A Single’, they took this particular track as the song that can represent Korn, ‘Here To Stay’, 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, there’s actually one thing that Korn would like to take out from their lives, “Europe… you be there for like 5 weeks, you’ll feel like you’re in prison…” Careful guys, you may not like the continent, but you’re going back there later this year… “we’re gonna go back to hell… Europe I mean…” As for fans in Hong Kong, they do recognize our number topic at the moment – Chickens! “Stay away from them, don’t go near them, don’t even go near to the people who get them… coz they’ll f*ck you up!”

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 you’ve just had a long flight, so how was that?
C:  Yeah, it was good, was eleven hours… had a bit of sleep… not that much!
A:  Gee… so how you’re feeling so far?
C:  Yeah!! It’s pretty ok…
A:  Barely alive?
C:  Yeah!
A:  Haha… I know this is your first time in Hong Kong, anywhere in particular that you wanna go to just for a visit? Or let’s say… you wanna buy something in Hong Kong?
C:  Ehhh… actually I wanna buy… one thing I want to buy is the most… well… un-useful electronic device.
A:  Un-useful?!
C:  Yeah, like the most extreme gadget you can get… *giggle* That’s 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?! I’m sure someone’s gonna take you there! Have you heard anything about the Asian club scene?
C:  Well… I heard about, of course in the magazines, but that’s about it… we don’t know anything about it… coz it’s so far away for us in Europe… so it’s pretty nice to be here.
A:  Now I know you’ll be playing tonight here in Hong Kong, what can we expect from your set?
C:  Well… I mostly play trance, so that’s what it’s going to be. I think I’m going to play for about 3 or 4 hours, so it’s gonna be… a long journey!
A:  Cool! I know your sets are very different from other DJs, what makes you so different?
C:  Umm… maybe the energy that’s in it… 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 ‘Venus’ 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 it’s 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 it’s real good!
A:  That’s really nice! So apart from Tiesto, any other DJs that you would love to get a remix from?
C:  Well… a lot of artists I want to remix from, like artists like BT, or Moby… when they remix your tracks, it’s real honor, so it’s very nice if they remix my tracks, but if it’s ever going to happen… I don’t know… Haha!
A:  I’m sure it’s 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 there’s a DJ Magazine chart with listings like the Top 100 DJs, and I know you’re in it! Do you think it actually is important for the whole dance music scene?
C:  It’s important. For the whole dance music scene? I don’t know… coz people look up to that list, it’s what the people voted for. So, I don’t know if I’m within the Top 100 DJs, but well… for the public I am, so it’s nice!
A:  Talk about plans in 2004, anything you wanna be focusing on? Maybe a solo album?
C:  Well… not a solo album yet, I think it is something for next year, but I’d like to concentrate more on producing my own singles, new single is going to be released soon, it’s called ‘Healing’. 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 I’ve been asked to ask this question, have you left a special someone at home on Valentine’s Day?
C:  Ehh… No, well… yup, my mother! LOL!

To find out more about him Check out:

www.djcorfijneman.com

From ‘Nancy Boy’ to their latest single ‘English Summer Rain’, 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 they’re playing at the show, their superstitious thoughts, to Chinese food!

The Interview:

A: Alyson
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 you’re 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: It’s cool! I went out last night for a few drinks, it’s a good vibe for a Monday!
A: LOL! I know what you mean!
P: It was close to eleven… actually we’ve been told that going out for a drink at midnight is early, it’s REALLY refreshing! You know?
A: Yeah… normally we sneak out… like one… one-ish…
P: Cool… You haven’t got any licensing laws, have you? Hahaha…

Not only they went to Lan Kwai Fong, they also took the time to try out some local Chinese food!

P: It’s difficult to get a Chinese in England, it’s good here, it’s wicked!
O: What did you have last night?
P: Lots of Beef… haha…
O: Not chicken, huh?
P: Nah, skip the chicken… 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: Well… it’s kind of our biggest solo headline show… To us, kind of… marking how so far we’ve… how many of our ambitions that we realized over the past seven years from our humble beginnings. And… we have a very special, and very close relationship to our French fans, so we’re guaranteed a crazy audience, so there’s 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 are… 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 ‘Classics’?

P: Depends on what you consider to be ‘Classic’, you know… everybody has a different opinion on that. I think even though we’ve released four albums, we find it kinda hard to squeeze together an hour and a half worth of music that we actually like… haha… so what you get is the stuff that we feel good playing! Because we’re quite contrary that way, we won’t play songs we don’t have an emotional connection with anymore. And they don’t represent how we’re feeling today.

Everyone has been curious about the song on their first album, which is titled ‘HK Farewell’, and here they are, telling us HK-ers about that!

P: Yeah! The time, it was instrumental. We just kind of… (It was before... became Chinese again!)  I don’t 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 is… China, Hong Kong… HK is ruled by China, but still there’s kind of a separate legal system here…

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 ago… but there’re no real plans to do anything together in the future… we don’t actually know each other very well… we didn’t become booze and buddy anyway when we’re on tour. So… No plans now…

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 they’re 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 know… old school… stuff with a message.

O: Any chance of hearing those elements in your own music?

P: Kinda been there already… if that’s our next step… whatever you listen kinda comes out in some shape before, like whatever you’re influenced by when you’re a teenager, sort of comes out.

Speaking on the UK Rock Scene…

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? We’re always trying to embrace technology, and we’re always trying to (suits) genres, as much as we can, and make record that looks forward instead of backwards… 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 don’t know, if there’s about… twenty people having a drink, and two people clink their glass, then the entire twenty people would have to clink their glasses… silly things like that…These are just silly things like that…
P: (Stefan and Steve) Why is that? Why is that bad luck? Like seven years of bad sex!
P: (Brian) I don’t know!! Yeah! If you don’t look at each other in the eye when you do ‘Cheers’, 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 ‘Velvet Goldmine’… it was…

P: Funny…

A: …fabulous!

P: No, nothing in the pipeline, no such… not interested in playing musicians who are vampires. We’re 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 dark… (after 15 seconds) Three man with a hairy lady! LOL!! It’s 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, but… need’s time, the world’s a big place. Just looking forward to the show. There were plans for us to do a more extensive tour around China, we’re 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: When’s the last time you’ve been overdosed?

P: LOL! I’ve never overdosed, contrary to popular math, no, I’ve never actually overdosed. I think it’s very very impolite to turn blue on your friends’ coach.

O: Would you like to change the style of your music on your next record?

P: We’re gonna do a country western record! Haha!

O: Someone calls you a Gothic band, what dya think about that?

P: No… Is PJ Harvey Gothic? Is Nick Cave Gothic? Some people say the Smiths are Gothic, it’s because you do something that’s quite dark, doesn’t make you him… I never really listen to that… certainly I guess we’re attracted to the dark side of human emotion because it’s more disturbing, and more interesting, and it’s more insightful to the complexity of the human nature… ‘I Cant Get You Outta My Head’ which is brilliant, or ‘Bootylicious’ which is brilliant as well. But I think we’re just naturally pulled towards the dark pastures… Goth-Country and Western… it’s do-able! Is Johnny Cash Goth?

 

 

Paul Van Dyk Interview on George W , Cannibals & Living in A Dictatorship. “I don’t 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.” Germany’s 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, he’s as politically astute as he’s gloriously outspoken, revelling in using the opportunities his music’s brought him, to express himself as much as he can.

“I still think you’re able to say what you think in The States though it’s a little bit more dangerous than it was five years ago,” he tells Skrufff.

“But at least you still can and that wasn’t possible in East Germany in the past.”

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.

“Maybe I’m 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,” he suggests.

“Because I saw what life was like, living with no basic rules of democracy; when you couldn’t vote and everything was done the way the authorities said it should be done, you had no choice.”

15 years since the Berlin Wall fell, he’s become one of the world’s 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.

“When it comes down to music, I’m 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, “ he says.

“To do something with substance you always have to put your heart into it.”


Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): You’re 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: “I’m very pleased, on the one hand it’s already my most successful album, it’s 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.”

Skrufff: You’re one of the world’s biggest name DJs, is the  goal to replicate that level of success as a producer?

Paul Van Dyk: “I wouldn’t complain with where I’m at now, because I’m 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 don’t 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 I’m able to translate my ideas into music and reach people with it. From that perspective I have to say I’m 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.”

Skrufff: Does the term ‘underground’ have any meaning for you?

Paul Van Dyk: “Underground 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 ‘underground’ records basically consist of a few bass drums and a hi-hat, which can be interesting but most of the time they’re not. Then people use the term ‘commercial’ to put a negative slant on music, though I’ve 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.”

Skrufff: Ferry Corsten said recently ‘the biggest threat to dance music is that everybody wants to be too cool’, would you agree?

Paul Van Dyk: “Let 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 it’s been home grown and homemade. In Germany, in comparison, we have quite a strict separation between discoteques and clubs, whereas in the UK I didn’t 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 didn’t 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 ‘progressive’. By doing that, they lost all the fun in the music and ended up playing really boring stuff. I’m not interested in listening to a track for 15 minutes in which nothing happens, then thinking that’s really cool- it doesn’t make any sense.

Then suddenly there was that issue of image, of people saying ‘I’m this or I’m that’ (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, I’ve always been just the way I am and people have to accept it or not. There are probably people out there who think I’m very cool and others who think I’m totally uncool, I don’t really care. Not everyone likes what Madonna’s doing but she still has a lot of fans. For me, it’s not a question or being cool or not cool the question is ‘for what reason are you in this business?’ If the answer is because of anything other than music, then you should leave the business.”

Skrufff: You’re the best-known DJ to be involved in America’s Rock The Vote election campaign, despite being German, why do you think they asked you?

Paul Van Dyk: “I think one of the reasons was because they knew I’m 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 who’s prepared to stand up and say ‘it doesn’t make any sense to sit in front of a TV, moaning about how bad Bush is then not voting’. On the other hand, it was very surprising that they asked me, given that I’m a German. I’m 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 we’re going to have registration booths at the gigs, so people can register themselves, while they’re at the clubs. I think it’s an important project.”

Skrufff: American authorities have also been criminalizing club culture via policies such as the RAVE act, why do you think that’s happening?

Paul Van Dyk: “The RAVE act is a very unconstitutional law, though I wouldn’t even call it a ‘law’ because you can’t 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. That’s pretty much what the RAVE Act says. Right now, I don’t know any cases going on where a promoter or club owner has been charged under that law. I’m sure that the moment they start using it, they’ll 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 I’m pretty sure they’re going to rule it out. Because there’s still some democracy left in that country.”

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: “It was completely different. Firstly, there wasn’t such a thing as democracy in East Germany at all; it was a dictatorship. I still think you’re able to say what you think in the States though it’s a little bit more dangerous than it was five years ago. But you still can and that wasn’t possible in East Germany. But maybe this is why I’m outspoken about my political views and about my stance as a democratic person- it’s 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 couldn’t vote and everything was done the way the authorities said it should be done, you had no choice. I don’t know what is more dangerous.”

Skrufff: You’re 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: “As 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 don’t 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 didn’t really make any effort to hide it.”

Skrufff: Were you questioned by the secret police at any time?

Paul Van Dyk: “We 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.”

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: “I don’t 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 it’s become much more difficult to get into The States. You need at least two hours for immigration and it’s definitely more difficult than it used to be, that’s for sure. I remember once when my wife and I were travelling there, having a problem in New York, which is a place where you’d 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 ‘Hello’ and she just grunted. My wife asked her ‘why are you so unfriendly, we’re just visitors, we just want to see your country?’ and they basically held her back at Immigration, for more than two hours. Things like this have started happening more.”

Skrufff: Have you had many similar hold ups yourself?

Paul Van Dyk: “The 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 weren’t visitors.”

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: “I don’t think I’m patient enough. When I see something as being perfectly logical if I try to explain it to someone and they say ‘I don’t get it’ then I don’t have the patience to keep on explaining. I don’t know if I’d make a good politician to be honest, it’s not my goal either. I try to do something in my immediate day to day world and through the charity organisations I’m involved in in India, also here in Germany and even in Iraq. I try to involve myself directly, Rock The Vote is another outlet.”

Skrufff: How comfortable are you with making massive amounts of money these days?

Paul Van Dyk: “I come from East Germany and I remember times when I was earning 5 Deutsch marks (US$5)  a week, having to decide ‘do I eat something or drink something today?’ 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, I’m trying to do something good with it, because this is something I really learned. It’s not enough to just sit back and believe what all the organisations and Government programmes do, it’s 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 don’t feel bad about making a decent amount of money.”

Skrufff: Your biog starts with the line ‘Paul Van Dyk is on a mission, do you feel a sense of destiny?

Paul Van Dyk: “Mission 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 I’m trying to do something that really helps.”

Paul Van Dyk’s 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.).

http://www.paulvandyk.de

Interview By: Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

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