DJ Vadim: International Man of History

Art & Culture

We caught up with beat legend DJ Vadim for a chat ahead of his next London gig and managed to prize a juicy 30 min mix from his fingertips.

A one-man powerhouse of beats and blends, Vadim is renowned the world over for his deck wizardry and production artistry. He's ran his own label (Jazz Fudge), put out releases on Ninja Tune and BBE, and been the driving force behind acts One Self and The Electric. Oh, and then there's The Terrorist, and that summary merely scratches the surface of the man's output.

What were the sounds you were listening to when you felt you wanted to take up djing?
I started with hip hop and from there came James Brown, soul then raggae etc.

You're famous for incorporating the vast array of sounds and genres that influence your production into your dj sets, has this eclecticism been there from the start?
No, it's been a growing passion. When I got into music there wasn't the amount of genres we have now. Just think of the amount of totally different variations of house and hip hop there are now. Some of the styles are completely incompatible with other sub genres of it's own genre.

Which artists have had the most influence on you and on your career?
Well, loads, from listening to Boogie Down Productions, A Tribe Called Quest, James Brown, Parliament to Masters At Work, D-Train, Soul 2 Soul to Marley and Lee Scratch Perry.

Do you find you're influenced in different ways now to perhaps you were in the past? Do you look for different things in the music you listen to?
Yes but that's because I listen to way more now than ever before. I listen to everything from classic to hip hop to kitch to soul to house to electronic to rock to anything. So in everything there are good elements and that's what I draw from.

How do you source your music these days? Do you still have a sift through dusty vinyl?
Yes, vinyls, Mp3, YouTube, Vimeo. People give me shit, recommend bits, send me stuff. I'm on so many lists so I get music everyday.

Developments in technology has seen the trend of re-editing become increasingly popular, often resulting in rare and forgotten classics from days gone by getting a digital polish and finding their way onto the desktops of a whole new generation. As a dj who's grown up hunting for vinyl but one who's also embraced technological advances are edits your bag?
I have actually made loads myself: Stevie, Prince, James Brown, old disco, Latin, hip hop etc. I update old tracks, add basslines. with Serato you can play anything immediately. Back in the day you would need to make dubplates which you could only play like 10 times! Fuck that. It's instant now.

Digitalisation has seen a shift from dj's fingering through vinyl sleeves to clicking through titled playlists… this naming process may have helped to start a few new 'genres' at the same time. What's the most ridiculous playlist title you've created?
Uahjaha, my sexy time playlist! Everyone has one of those.

Catch DJ Vadim do his thing like no one else this Saturday at The Den, Bedroom Bar alongside Craig Bratley and live performances from Black Black Hills and Elephant.

More info here