I'm sure you're more than familiar with the name A-Trak, but let me fill you in case you've spent the past few years in an anechoic chamber. As owner of his own label, Fool's Gold, and having influenced no other than Kanye West on tracks like 'Gold Digger' and 'Stronger', A-Trak is hugely respected for his work both in and out of the studio. A true pioneer of the turntablism world (he's the first DJ to win all three major competitions in one year and the first to win five world championships), A-Trak has been leading the way in the DJ circles for nearly two decades.
Aside from music, he's a huge sneaker head and has one of the most impressive collections we've come across. He's also the brother of one half of the hugely iconic funk duo Chromeo, what proud parents they must be! But why all this talk of A-Trak? Well, you don't get to this level of fame without touring on the regular, so we thought we'd get a glimpse into what it's like to be a touring DJ in this exclusive interview with the man himself ahead of his show at Ministry of Sound on 21st November in London.
What can be found in your DJ bag?
2 laptops, headphones, a whole bunch of chargers, this week’s Economist.
What can’t you be without on tour?
Wifi. If I get to a hotel and it’s the most beautiful place on earth and the wifi is slow, it’s a catastrophe. Wifi is the record shop, wifi is the conference room, wifi is the news, wifi is facetime with family, it’s literally everything when you’re on the road.
What music do you listen to music whilst you’re travelling?
Not the same music as I play in my sets. Very little electronic music. A lot of hip hop. Some oldies. I love revisiting some classics when I’m on the road, maybe it gives me a sense of familiarity.
Best In-flight snack when flying?
Best Film or Series to Watch on a Flight?
We have different standards for movies on the plane. I don’t watch anything too heavy, whereas in real life I’m totally fine with a psychological bender. Planes are good for Avengers kind of movies, 80s-90s classics (If you go older than that the pacing is too slow. I watched Major League on a plane recently and it was literally perfect). I’ll watch a rom-com, every ounce of snob in me is gone when I’m 30,000 ft in the air. Wes Anderson movies are a good fit too.
Any Touring Nightmares You’ve Had?
Of course, you name it. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve had my luggage lost by airlines over the years. I’ve been locked out of hotels in the middle of the night in Europe. I’ve left my passport on planes.
What’s a Typical Day like for You When You’re Touring?
Wake up, rush to shower and pack, go to the airport. In other words, wake up to the pace of a “hurry up and wait” kind of day. Land somewhere in the mid-afternoon, catch up with calls and instagram stuff in the ride to the hotel. Hopefully I get 2 or 3 hours at the hotel to do my emails and download some music. I don’t do sound check myself anymore, I send my tour manager. Most of my time is spent just running my various projects, including my label Fool’s Gold. Have dinner, maybe get 1 hour to rest up a bit and go play a show! Go to sleep late and repeat the cycle the next morning.