For the past decade A-Trak (Alain Macklovitch) has played a key role in redefining the party experience. From his humble beginnings as the youngest ever winner of the Technics/DMC World Championships in 1997, at age 15, the Montreal based turntablist has taken the world by storm. A devastating figure on the global scene, Macklovitch was first recruited as Kanye West’s personal tour DJ in 2004.
From there he progressed to founding the Fool’s Gold record label, became a street wear culture icon after his collaboration with Nike and most prominently shattering dance floors worldwide with his monstrous productions. These include his original and remix work under his A-Trak moniker as well as his infamous collaboration with Armand Van Helden, Duck Sauce.
On the back of what has undoubtedly been Macklovitch’s biggest year yet, he reflects back on 2010.
“It’s been a pretty crazy year. I’ve been involved in a lot of different projects and have always been really busy,” he explains. “Back in spring I was working on a mixtape project called Dirty South 2, in February I began working on a project with Travis Barker of Blink-182 and then since March it was about six months of touring the world straight, playing shows all around the world at different clubs and festivals. It’s been non-stop”.
In conjunction with Macklovitch’s recent achievements, his role in the New York City based disco-house revivalists Duck Sauce has seen him receive an enormous amount of commercial success. After the 2009 hit aNYway, the sophomore single Barbra Streisand has risen to the ranks of one of the year’s most infectious and successful tracks, reaching number one on the ARIA Club Chart.
“We definitely have a creative role each but we do everything together,” he says of his collaboration with Van Helden. “When we’re in the studio we’re always working on everything together. Everything about Duck Sauce is about finding the best samples. It’s that simple. It’s a quest for us to find the best loops that also have the same feeling that we’re trying to convey. It’s all about taking the feel good vibe and trying to make it sound the best we can.
His finesse in the studio is underpinned by his original productions, working with artists such as Kid Cudi, Kid Sister and Lupe Fiasco in the past year alone, while producing several releases with Stones Throw and Kitsune.
“I always try to grow. Everything I produce is a bit of an experiment for me. I really try to learn every step of the way and make the best productions that I can. I don’t just take on any project and I put a lot of effort into everything that I put out and I think that’s reflective, I really chisel away until I believe that a track is the best that I can get it” he shares humbly.
“As far as what I look for in a track that I remix, I say no to the majority of the remix requests that I get. The track needs to be special to me, whether or not I’m a big fan of it prior or if the first time I hear it there’s an element of the track in particular that I know I can do something with. Then it just becomes a question of finding what sort of style and sound I want to make for that remix.”
In 2010 Macklovitch’s DJ performances are going from strength to strength. Renowned for his seamless mixing and infusion of Electro, House and Hip Hop, Macklovitch’s shows encompass his vast musical knowledge and are reinforced by his skill and unbeatable technique behind the decks.
“There are always certain parts of my set that are planned before where I already have instrumentals, acapellas and mixes that I know work well, but then there’s always a big part that’s just simple on-the-spot spur-of-the-moment type things,” he explains. “I’ve always got a big playlist that I’ve organized in certain ways and then when I’m playing I put them together based on how the set is going and how the crowd is reacting.”
On the eve of his return to Australia Macklovitch shares his expectations and anticipations for his tour, which includes several festivals, intimate club shows and touring nationwide with his brother, David Macklovitch of Chromeo.
“It’s always great touring with David. We spend a lot of time together when we’re on the road and having someone like him when you’re all over the world is a big advantage.” He pauses momentarily. “I’m looking forward to coming to Australia, I’ll be approaching the shows in the same way I’ve approached my sets all over the world this year. I’m never quite sure where my sets are going to go but I’ve only ever had great times in Australia. It’s always a party.”
A star that only continues to rise, the world of dance and electronic music is truly A-Trak’s oyster. Following his most successful and diverse year in an already firmly established career, the future seems only too bright for the turntable prodigy, who shares his future plans and expectations for the year to come.
“I don’t really know what to expect from 2011. I like to think bigger and better things. That’s how I always look to the future, hope for bigger shows, biggest tours and bigger productions. I’m going to be releasing a lot more music, producing a lot more tracks and taking on a lot more projects.”
A-Trak [CAN] plays Killer at Billboard The Venue on Friday January 7, supported by M.A.F.I.A, Post Percy, Opulent Sound and more.