Passion and style: 5 minutes with DJ Vadim

Passion and style: 5 minutes with DJ Vadim

For the last 20 years DJ Vadim has situated himself as one of the world's leading exponents of all things beats-related. Known for his sunny productions on labels like Ninja Tunes and his own legendary Jazz Fudge Records (now defunct), he has worked with some of the world's biggest musical talents through a series of projects and remixes that includes Erykah Badu, Alice Russel and even Prince. It's easy to understand why Vadim's popularity knows no end - just look at his touring schedule that sees him play on average 170 shows a year all over the globe. With Let Them Eat Cake Festival penciled in as part of his upcoming itinerary, we caught up for a quick chat with the legendary beat smith...


You’ve been touring Australia since 2002 and you were here most recently earlier this year with Red Bull Music Academy. It’s undeniable that you’ve seen many changes in the music scene… what changes (if any) have you seen in Australia? 
I think the first time I came it was more like 97 with the Herbaliser and Good Vibes crew. Of course there has been much change. For starters, u have a 'urban music scene' now which I didn’t see in 97. You have the whole Aussie hip hop thing too which at that time also was probably very underground.  You have loads of concerts and acts coming over, as many as the UK almost, but with a population 60% smaller. So it’s very competitive to get people to come to the shows - so many festivals and events happening! I’ve also noticed how expensive Australia has become: Drinks, chocolates, cigarettes, food… It’s on par or even way more expensive than some items in the UK. Australia used to be so cheap for English visitors!

How did you enjoy your time the last time you were here? I had a blast!

How does Australia compare to the rest of the world? I think musically, and with EDM, Australia has somehow jetted itself forward very quickly. You now have artists like Flume and Chet Faker that are doing really well internationally. Of course you have had a pop rock scene for years, but it’s these new things in the electronic soul field that are captivating people abroad...

Together as ‘One Self’ you collaborated with your wife, Yarah Bravo as well as Blu Rum 13. How was it working together? There were ups and downs like with any group. It was fun and people gravitated to songs like ‘Blue Bird’... 

You’ve played in 76 countries now. Where was your favourite place to visit? What was the weirdest country you have been to? Haha, people ask me that all the time that. It’s hard because everywhere has a charm. Right now, because I spend so much time in major cities, I prefer shows in the country side near nature. As for what is weird that’s up to individual perception of what weird is. I remember being in Minneapolis in USA and someone there remarked how strange it is to have black music and black people in London. I was like why? Do u think black/ colored people only exist in USA? 

I read that in 2007 you were diagnosed with cancer but an operation got rid of it and saved your life! That’s really amazing and congratulations. You’ve spoken in other interviews about having a new lease on life and creating more. What’s it been like for you in 2014 and how has your outlook changed? Well I’m basically a producer on steroids in terms of production output, literally pumping it out and I’m really seeing the vision and creativity more clearly, and having a lot of fun at the same time too...

Not only is your music eclectic but you are an impressionable dresser too. Where do you get your style inspiration? What are your favourite pieces of clothing? Well thank u. I think it’s not so much that I dress well, but the fact that so many DJs and artists dress so badly. There has been many times where I have met famous DJs or bands who were in quite a state. I met DJ Hell once at WMC in Miami, and he looked like he had just puked all over himself. A real mess but he was sober! Bit weird, one would think u would put on a clean shirt to go out and jeans without stains and sneakers not covered in soot! lol 

Having worked with some of the most amazing including Krush, Stevie Wonder, The Roots, Prince, Public Enemy, Dilated Peoples, Kraftwerk, Sly and the family stone, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Super Furry Animals, and Paul Weller. Who was best to work with? Did you ever get star struck? Who do you want to work with in the future? I love music and love anyone who shares that passion. That’s the thing though; in the music industry it’s very rare to actually find people who like music. It sounds like a totally weird thing to say, but most people I meet do music to either make money, get girls, drugs, etc... that’s not just DJs but bands, musicians, people who got to shows...  I can have a 5 hour conversation with a heavy metal dude who is passionate about music, not because I like heavy metal, but because we share the same passion. That’s what I look for when I work with singers and other musicians, that passion. I cannot guarantee money or fame, but I can say let’s have a great time creating future classics...

Jazz Fudge sounds like the little sister of the ‘Hash Brownie’. What is Jazz Fudge and what would it taste like? Good point. Well it would be sweet with a slight sea salt taste, a little Picante and have some sort of biscuit bass! 

 On a more serious note, do you think you’d ever resurrect your Jazz Fudge imprint when you’re less busy?
I will resurrect Jazz Fudge when Tupac comes back!