Next Thursday the 30th May, DeadWeight! will be bringing their next mid-week instalment of international, underground bass music to Geisha Bar in Perth. With previous shows this year delivering only from the best in the world (Doshy, Tunnidge, RSD, Goth-Trad, Joe Nice, Mensah & more…) this one will be no different; “a long overdue debut Perth performance for a French dubstep innovator and badman DJ; Von D.”
A couple of weeks ago the DeadWeight! dudes asked me if I’d be interested in interviewing Von D before his arrival on Perth shores. Of course, I got some questions together and sent them off for him to work on amidst his busy schedule. Here’s the interview; bring on May 30!
Hey Jerome, what’s been going on? How’s the move to London been? Are you finding it’s an easier place to get your music known?
Hi, well a lot has been going on as usual. My move to London has been very easy as I was going to London a lot already for gigs and radio etc. My career pretty much started in London (Croydon) when I made that hit ‘Show Me’ with Phephe and all of a sudden the pioneers of dubstep accepted me as part of the scene. DJ Chef was the first to play my tunes on Rinse FM and then within a week all the big names sent me emails to let me know how much they loved my tunes and how much those tunes were original to the scene. When Skream remixed ‘Show Me’ almost 5 years ago, he sent me an email that ended with “welcome to the Family”, so this is where everything started for me pretty much. So yes, I love London and most importantly, London ‘loves’ me. I know everyone in the scene and some of those people are real family to me so I really feel at ‘home’ over here.
Any gigs since being there that have stood out the most? Is there one place in the world that has stood out and had the best reaction?
It’s always hard to pick one particular gig when you’ve had so many good ones and always more to come. The main difference I can notice with the UK and the rest of the world is that the crowd really know the tunes, and always notice when I play VIP mixes of them. Apart from that it’s pretty much the same; a good sound-system, good music and good atmosphere always lead to an amazing night and I always make sure I rock the place with my music. I never plan a set, it’s always a new adventure every time and that’s what’s really exciting about it: looking at the crowd feeling the vibe and the love and having a good time.
Obviously the European / American festival season is coming up, tell us what you’ve got planned in terms of touring this summer.
I’m going on this New Zealand/Australian tour today and I have a bunch of festivals to play at as well as European gigs. The usual Von D life really.
What’s in store release-wise for you this year? Are you working on anything that you’re particularly excited about?
My last EP ‘Wicked Pharoah’ was released in April and the main tune was ‘Tune of the Month’ in MixMag so that was really good news.
Then I have my new EP that is gonna be released on Get Darker Later this month; another big one with tunes with Phephe and Riskotheque.
I’ve also been busy in the studio With Silkie and also with Mizz Beats, two very good friends of mine and those collabs are really good! (I’m gonna play those tracks on tour).
I also just made a remix of a tune by Chef & Bluesy feat. the Ragga Twins which has been played by a lot of big names as a Dubplate so far. Then I’m also doing few remixes for a bunch of labels, but most importantly I’ve started the process of writing my second album and this is what I’m all about at the moment.
Who do you think we should be looking out for in the future? Any really talented producers in particular that you’re digging at the moment?
To talk about the ones that are not really known yet, I really like what Aeolho does, J.K.L; Keyed Up from Bristol really do good tunes aswell. I always support new artists when the tracks are really good and also it’s all exclusive music so even more interesting as the tracks are not released.
It sounds like you’ve been living the life lately. Obviously you put in enormous time and effort into writing your music but is it all glitz and glamour? Are there any downsides to touring and being a musician?
Honestly I feel like I’ve been living the life for years now. When it all started to pick up from one month to another I’ve been constantly touring the world, playing shows, collaborating with people from everywhere in the world and making money. So yes, I’ve been living the life for years now. There’s always a good side and a down side to everything but in my case I never feel down or bad; it happens to all of us at the end of the day but honestly, I feel so blessed and happy to be able to do that everyday and share this music with the world. I’ve always been music and that’s all my life.
I come from a poor little French family and when I feel down I just remember that I have shoes on my feet and I can eat food everyday; there’s nothing to complain about and I’m proud from where I come from.
Tell us what you think of the current state of the electronic music scene. Do you think there’s still a serious lack of originality coming out of dubstep in relation to the whole “Skrillex-sound” or are people starting to warm back to the bass-driven sounds that started dubstep in the first place?
This question always comes up in interviews and the only thing I can say is that I’ve never been affected by this “Skrillex sound” as I’ve always been making my own stuff in a genuine way. Promoters and fans like my music cause I came with a different sound and this is what it’s all about; being original and having something special.
That doesn’t mean I cant play ‘hard stuff’ though, and I make Hard Stuff aswell. It’s just all about playing good music whether it’s hard or soulful. I never think too much about that and honestly I don’t really care. I produce music with my soul and if it doesn’t give me goose bumps then the tune will never leave my studio; its just as simple as that.
Besides that all I can feel at the moment is that people are tired of all that noise and the whole music scene is going back to the melodic and Funky/soulful stuff. We are humans at the end of the day and can’t be listening to noise all day long…we need variety and feelings in the music. Robot music can be good for an hour or two but come on, a whole night of noise? I love to go to a party and feel like it’s been going through different genres and atmosphere otherwise it’s like listening to the same tune all night long … who wants that? No one. So here we go; real music is back!
Are you continually trying to make a Von D ‘signature sound’ that people will instantly recognize? Do you think this sound will always be dubstep or do you prefer to just produce what comes naturally?
I’m not trying to sound like ‘Von D’ happens itself. Whether it’s dubstep or not, people would be really surprised to know that my first releases – when I was 17 years old – were ‘breakcore’ and very abstract noisy tracks.
For me it’s important to be original and this is what I love about certain producers; tracks are very different but you don’t have to tell me its ‘him’ cause I can tell just by listening to it. This is what it is all about; having your world and dragging people into it to have a good time. Whatever I do it’ll always end up sounding like Von D … and what is Von D? It can be many different things, but people recognize the sound and the style and that’s all that matters.
This only happens when I sit down in the studio and let the music flow – this is how I make the best tunes. I’m here, I don’t give a fuck and I write music that I love and then when the track is done I can’t even tell that it was me doing the track. It happens to me a lot, because I let the music flow without thinking about it then I listen back to the track and I’m asking myself; ‘did I write this track myself?’ And the answer is Yes. Just cause it’s been flowing so naturally it feels like the track is been made almost by itself. It’s more like this track is just “happening” rather than “I control this”.
Do you have a favourite label?
Sorry … too hard to just pick one, so no I don’t have a favourite label.
To conclude the interview, can we expect anything special for the Perth show?
What you can expect is me to come to the club, feel the vibe and give you the best of music for that night, at that particular moment… Fresh dubplates from my own music and from producers I love; I mostly play unreleased stuff …and also I don’t play with a computer, I burn tracks on CDs every week so I can come and DJ and focus on the vibe of the crowd and still be a very technical DJ but I love to not stare at my computer when I play in a club … Why? Cause I want to look at people and talk to them with my music! That’s what it’s all about! THE VIBE!