Canadian-born DJ and producer Alain Macklovitch is more recognisably known as A-Trak. Following on from his 2007 release, A-Trak has spent the summer months plugging his free mixtape whilst touring Europe; gracing some of the continent’s hottest festivals. i-D Online caught up with the music man for some down-time.
Tell us about A-Trak… I started DJing when I was thirteen. My brother used to write graffiti and I used to just be the younger brother who would scribble on paper in the style of graffiti. A-Trak was just a tag on paper when I was twelve and the name stuck.
What have you been up to? I’ve spent most of the summer touring Europe. I’ve played a lot of festivals and a couple of clubs. Last summer I spent touring America; I wanted to come back to Europe this year, I have more of a presence here.
Tell us about Dirty South Dance 2? I was working on the material at the beginning of this year, writing it on the move; on aeroplanes, in hotel rooms, wherever I was I was working on the mixtape. It has a very specific concept, it’s really me making bootlegs, mashing them up, taking tracks and acapellas that I might find, and adding a bit of production to them. On the vocal side of things, it’s mainly southern rap songs, which works primarily for the tempo; a lot of rap is sort of slow and matches up with the kind of double-time tempo of dance music. I found a whole bunch of acapellas from rap records and match them up with a mixed bag of dub, house, electro, whatever grabs my ear. It has samples of everything, from the Martin Brothers to Eric Prydz, Afrojack, Steve Angelo and Joker but I’ve still tried to make it sound coherent. At the end of the day it’s still one project and I wanted a common thread through the sound. It’s all about the surprises I think; about taking an acapella that wasn’t meant to be at a certain tempo or go against a certain vibe and have it somehow magically work in a holding context. That way it’s more interesting.
What’s next? The main thing to look our for is my work with Armand Van Helden under the umbrella of Duck Sauce, our new tune called Barbra Streisand was released 10 October and that’s something I’m pushing toward the charts. I’m working on two remixes right now as well, it’ll be a while yet until my record comes out.
Who would be your dream i-D cover girl? Charlotte Gainsbourg.