Ska & Collabs: Dj Vadim Talks
DJ Vadim is a bit of a musical phenomenon. Over the last 20 years Russian-born Vadim Andreev has consistently remained ahead of the curve when it comes to the subtle shifts in music trends, in that time releasing 10 solo albums, 7 group albums, 4 mix albums and working with the likes of Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Wretch 32, Foreign Beggars, Prince, Aaron Jerome (SBTRKT), The Cure and, most extensively, Fat Freddy’s drop.
My personal favourite was his One Self project – a collaboration with MCs Blu Rum13 and Yarah Bravo. The jerky beats and odd strings of 'Be Your Own' was like nothing I had heard before and demonstrates Vadim's superb production skills at least on a par with anything from the likes of Timbaland. (Incidentally you can check out DJ Woody's scratch instrumentation from the record in this YouTube video:
However, the years have not been without incident. Since arriving with the launch of his own label Jazz Fudge in 1994 he would find himself involved in a legal battle in the US five years later when regulators (FCC) found Vadim's social critique 'Your Revolution' to be too crude ("Your revolution will not happen between these thighs"). To his great credit, Vadim refused to be cowed and, with the backing of Ivy league professors arguing for freedom of speech, returned to court to get the decision overturned.
In 2007 he suffered with a rare form of eye cancer which he happily overcame because it means he can now release the 11th album of his career and the sequel to his original reggae influenced Dubcatcher. Dubcatcher 2 is a feel good beat-driven extravaganza which features more collaborations than you can shake a stick at, most notably with legends like Max Romeo and Earl Sixteen. Demolition man particularly impresses on the opening track 'Fussin and Fightin'.
Currently touring the UK, we delved into DJ Vadim's psyche to find out which records changed his life and just who is the most talented person he has worked with.
Congrats on your release Dubcatcher II – what was the process like making it and how long was it in production?
About 18 months of work but it wasn't the only thing I was doing. I was also DJing, travelling, doing remixes and working on other projects…
What attracts you to the dub/reggae/ska rhythms?
I have always been into reggae and all its sub categories. But in my earlier day I guess I was more hip hop focussed. I think bass became more important and the times have changed. Also Hip hop became mainstream pop music whereas reggae retained a down to earth feel. Plus when you DJ reggae, everyone dances!
And you're currently touring the album – how's it been going down so far?
Yes. Well the shows are always there. Travelling around the world. Meeting new people and getting inspired
When you have so many different vocalists how do you get around that when touring?
Well I met vocalists on the road, and they either come to the studio or they do it in situ. Pretty easy these days as most people have decent home set-ups.
With 11 albums and such a wide range of tastes, what's been the most satisfying creation of your music career?
Well that's hard to say is I like it all. I made it. Also you can get lost in the moment so the dust needs to settle before one can single out certain songs. There has been a maturity as a producer and person.
What's been the album that you have heard over the years that has been life-changing for you?
Haha! Well there have been so many from A Tribe Called Quest to the debut Fat Freddy's Drop album to the first Slum Village to hearing shabba Ranks' 'Champion Lover'.
Who has been the most talented person you have worked with and why?
Good question. Everyone will be reading this one. They are all talented because that's why I work with them. Perhaps I would say Demolition Man because he has recorded perhaps 1000 songs and released only like 30. Raps, sings, dances…
How would you describe the music scene in Russia?
Very large and up for the party whatever the weather!
DJ Vadim Dubcatcher 2 (Wicked My Yout) out now on Soulbeats Records HERE.