Shortly ahead of his Australasian Tour, which includes seven stops throughout New Zealand and Australia, The Groove Thief spoke with the infamous (or by now is it legendary?) DJ Vadim.

TGT: What can DJ Vadim fans new and old expect for this “Dubcatcher 3 Tour,” and how dominant will dubwise sounds be?

Vadim: Dub wise wise wise wise echoing off into the distance… sorry, couldn’t resist. Just got echoes and reverbs in my head all day long.

I released a new album Dubcatcher 3 in October, so really this tour in part is about that. To let people know and give the album a platform. I have been on the circuit for a while. It’s a journey, where it’s going I don’t know. I have seen so many of my compadres fall off: people died, gave up making music for others, so I always give thanks that I can still do this.

I came from hip-hop and now yeah, there is a big reggae dancehall influence but it’s not that I gave up on rap. Still love it. It’s just not the only ting I like. I make hip-hop beats like on my YouTube channel where people can peep a new beat a week.

But back to the tour, all my shows are freestyles. Depends where the crowd is and the event I do. If the crowd say forward old-school foundation reggae, that’s where I go, or if it’s dancehall or more bass sounds or rap, it can really vary. My preferred is more a mashup of all styles. So let’s see…

TGT: Beyond all your other musical roles, you’re certainly a road warrior. You’re also consistently prolific in the studio. Any tips for staying fresh on the road, both creatively and mentally?

Vadim: They go hand in hand. Being on the road keeps me youthful, ear to the ground as to what other people are doing and also keeps me inspired. My only issue is lack of time. I got too many ideas.

TGT: I definitely want to ask about one of my all-time favorite tracks, “The Terrorist”, Coincidentally it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this year! What are your thoughts on how the track sounds now and what do you recall about the making of such a unique production?

Vadim: You know, Ninja Tune never wanted to put that out. I pushed them and we sold a heap of vinyl on that release. Like thirty thousand twelve-inches, which was really great for an indie record back then. Yeah, it’s great to listen back. I retouched that record so many times… remixed, refixed… guess I will keep doing it till the day I die!

TGT: The Dubcatcher concept has obviously led to some excellent musical productions. My “Fussin N’ Fightin” 7” definitely gets regular spins and the latest installment is loaded with vocal talent! That said, I’m curious about how you view this stylistic shift within your larger body of work, since you were once known primarily for lo-fi hazy beats. And then where is the Vadim studio sound headed in 2019 and beyond?

Vadim: Well of course, if you go and compare what I did in 1995 and then forward to 2019 you would think, shit, wow, big change. But go forward 25 years on any artist. Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, De La Soul, whoever… there has to be progression. Like I said, I haven’t given up on hazy beats or things like that. I’m bringing some of that back all just with more bass! Bassy hazy beats lol.

TGT: Finally, since I teach English as a Second Language (ESL), I am quite curious about how you think growing up in London, away from Russian culture (and language), impacted you creatively.

Vadim: Well, I left Russia when I was four years old and moved with my mum to London, UK. I didn’t speak a word of English but in about three months was fluent. Old me is jealous of young me because I’m trying to learn Spanish and four years into it I still am not fluent!

You are a product of your culture, of the things that surround you. So, if you take a fourteen-year-old boy from Mumbai, Atlanta, London, Bangkok, what would that boy listen to musically, what would he entertain himself with? Now, the answer may differ if the boy is black, white, Asian, etc.

Growing up as a white boy in London was different from if I had stayed in Russia. I would not have become a record producer, DJ, etc. If I would have moved to the USA, would I have gotten into hip-hop? Quite possibly, but it would have been different to the UK. I probably would have never listened to Portishead or Massive Attack. Never heard drum n bass, jungle, or been exposed to reggae music like I was in London. So London has greatly impacted my growth as a musician and my direction.

More info:
DJ Vadim website
DJ Vadim Facebook
DJ Vadim Australasian Tour

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