zaterdag 6 september 2008

Wondering-While-Wandering mixtape 04

More than two months overdue, the fourth mixtape in our WWW-series is finally online. To make it up, we’ve also added an interview with this time’s guest, Hardrock Striker. This French-American is quite the busy bee. He is DJ, producer and party promoter. Hardrock Striker is the man behind three running concepts in Paris - Cosmic Club, Kick out the 12”s and the Skylax parties - that cover a wide range of genres, going from italo to house and electro. Previous guests include the likes of Radio Slave, Daniele Baldelli, Justin Robertson, Steve Kotey from Chicken Lips, Chateau Flight, Riton and many more. At the same time Hardrock Striker also runs the Skylax label and booking agency. The label counts twelve releases so far and mainly offers Hardrock Striker’s own work and re-released old gems (Marshall Jefferson, Mr Fingers, Mike Dunn) with remixes of Prins Thomas, Optimo and In Flagranti to name but a few. Let’s listen to the man himself.

The Belgian crowd is not that familiar with you. Tell us something about your accomplishments in the music business.

I have been working for years to reintroduce some forgotten legends to the scene. For instance, I’ve been one of the first to bring back disco don Daniele Baldelli in Paris. The club was not so crowded, but all the key people (Gilb’r and I:Cube from Versatile, Romain BNO, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, ...) were present and Baldelli played an amazing set. When he stopped playing, everybody stood up and applauded. I was very proud at that moment. Usually people don’t get it, they need the magazines and the buzz to make them understand when something’s hot.

Next to organising parties in Paris I’m also busy releasing music. I started out with the label Parisonic/ Square roots (which doesn’t exist anymore) in 2003, releasing some tracks from Manu Dibango (from his great album Africadelic), with remixes from Jazid / Lindstrom’s first band, nobody knew him back then but I knew already that he was great. I also released tracks of Butch Cassidy Soundsystem, one of the first to combine electro with heavy metal guitars (check the Black Limited mix). Later came releases of for example Kleeer, Stevie Poindexter and Farley Jackmaster Funk.

I guess it’s my work to re-release some timeless tracks that still sound so right at this moment. It’s very important to me to bring the kids back to the old school vibe. This is how you can create a great DJ mix, by including modern and timeless tracks. You can create a story and it makes sense.

I also remember the release of Ralphi Rosario’s “In the night” (Gusgus rmx) on Square roots in 2004 (probably the best known release on the label). That track received massive feedback (from Trevor Jackson and James Murphy amongst others) and also Ivan Smagghe was playing it a lot. He even compiled it on his Death Disco compilation. At that time I was also doing an administration management for him and the best future French DJs: Jennifer Cardini, Chloé, Dan Ghenacia, Djul’z and Jef K.

Another thing that I’m proud of is the support from king of re-edits DJ Harvey. He for instance compiled my remix of Martin Circus “Disco Circus” on his Sonic Disco #1.

I found it peculiar I wasn’t able to find your real name anywhere. Is it that awful or are you just a modest man?

I prefer to stay underground, so Hardrock Striker is the right moniker for me. My motto has always been “Stay underground, it pays”. This also was the idea behind my first record company called Parisonic/ Square roots. With Skylax our motto now is “Music for dancers, music as an alternative". I guess it’s quite a logical extension.

What is your opinion on the nu-rave electro scene that seems to be dominating Paris these days?

Honestly, I am not really into that. All these breaks and blips don’t appeal to me, the way I am mixing and building my sets is more progressive. About Justice, Ed Banger and so on: They are doing great and I am happy for them. It really helps pushing the French scene. However, for one good pop band like Justice, you have 1000 of imitators with a very cheap sound and poor inspiration. This genre won’t last and I feel like it’s over already. Only true originals will stay.

Is there a new Skylax coming up? And when can we expect the next Hardrock Striker EP? It’s already been more than six months since your last release!

Yes! I have just signed Beppe Loda as Italowerk. His first EP is mad as hell, underground italo electro (circa 1982) with a modern vibe to it. He really is the man to me right now. I have also signed Bogus & Bonnes, two guys from Modena, Italy. They sound like a modern version of Klein & MBO. You know that normally I prefer to re-release old tracks with brand new remixes next to my own productions, but I have the feeling those guys wrote some amazing tracks that could still be played in 20 years.

Obviously I’m also working on the new Hardrock Striker EP, featuring a very special collaboration, but I can’t tell you more on that right now. Last but not least, I’m doing re-edits on Cosmic Club under the moniker Cosmic Club Mastercuts.

Our own Belgian Glimmers played one of your parties recently, how did they do?

I contacted them because I’ve always loved what they were and are doing. They are real crate diggers (remember their Serie Noire compilation, a must have) and very charming men. Moreover, they really know how to manage a crowd!

To end with, suppose you were asked to compile a CD with your favourite sex tracks, which track(s) would surely be on it?

Tony Sylvester “Pazuzu” (Hardrock Striker Supreme Orgasm Re-edit). I guess it speaks for itself!

You can download Hardrock Striker’s exclusive mixtape here! Prepare for an italo ride, from the past to the future and back.

Check the Skylax myspace here.

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