Nobody is having a bigger year than Mr. Stephen Fasano, aka The Magician. From the massive success of his monthly Magic Tapes series and his stellar list of remixes to his collaboration with Yuksek as Peter & The Magician and back around to his original production & busy touring schedule, The Magician has done it all in 2011. Gotta Dance Dirty™ recently had a chance to catch up with their favorite supernatural artiste and get a glimpse of what’s behind that mysterious cloud of smoke.
Please note: This interview was conducted right before Stephen suffered a freak accident at the hands of a deranged fan, so we were not able to ask him about the incident. But rest assured, after catching his set at HARD Haunted Mansion this weekend in LA, The Magician is fully recovered and at the top of his craft. He dropped a magnetic + memorable set that was surely one of the weekend’s finest.
Check out the GDD™ interview with The Magician after the jump…
GDD™: You have your massive “Keep On Calling You” tour coming up in support of the new EP. What are some of your favorite cities to play? How do your sets vary from night to night? Are there any tracks/genres that you might slip into a set on any given night that might surprise people?
SF: Every city’s great, I try to enjoy each gig as much as possible. Usually, it’s a lot more exciting the 1st time in a city or club because you’re discovering everything new.
My sets can change a little bit. In clubs, it depends on the DJ who plays before. If he already built something “upbeat” then I keep the vibe and introduce my music as well as I can. If he plays a slower bpm, I can start at 110 bpm, make a story and it’s the best way to do it. The warm-up is so important. In festivals, it’s something completely different, the slot is smaller, it’s more about trying to play all tracks in a 60-90 minutes show! There is always a surprise track in every set.
GDD™: Plastic Plates & Fabian are two GDD™ favorites. Did you handpick the remixers yourself for the “I Don’t Know What To Do” EP?
SF: I’m a big fan of Felix Plastic Plates, everything he touches turns to gold. He sent me some music about a year ago…since then we’ve been in touch. He was on my top 5 remixers to ask to remix “I Don’t Know What To Do”. I’m really happy to finally meet & play with him for a Halloween party in New York City!
About Fabian, I’ve discovered him with “Last Flight” (released 2 months before my single). I got him to remix my track at the last minute and he did an awesome job. On time as well!
I wanted also other remixers but they weren’t available.
GDD™: Your mixtapes have become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. People love to play detective and figure out the track listings for each new mixtape, which are generally full of exclusive tracks by big name artists as well as some unknowns. What are the most gratifying and exciting parts about making the monthly mixtapes?
SF: Firstly, getting new and exclusive tracks from artists or labels is really amazing and humbling as well. It means they trust and respect my work. The most exciting part comes when I pick 10 best tracks out of the 200 I get every month and mix them together. It takes me about 2hrs to put it together before dropping it online.
GDD™: We’ve read that you’re a bit of a freak when it comes to promos & exclusives. It must be fun to get your hands on tracks well before their release. Can you run us through your monthly process of how you choose (and mix) the tracks for your monthly mixtapes?
SF: Indeed, I’ve always been like that. When I was young I always wanted that rare pair of sneakers, the toy that nobody had…and it’s the same for music. I want to be the first to play a track that nobody knows. It’s pretty dull playing the same tracks everyone else is playing. I prefer to try and create a buzz around a new track and give it a chance to become a HIT. I want to say a “challenger”, if that makes sense.
GDD™: “Challenger” is the perfect name for those types of buzz-y, undiscovered tracks! Have you ever received a demo from a fan while you were DJing that ended up being on a mixtape and/or in heavy rotation during your DJ sets?
SF: Yes, Flight Facilities’ “Crave You”. It’s the best definition of all explained.
GDD™: When the cape and white gloves come off, what does The Magician like to listen to during leisure time?
SF: I listen to many genres…Classical Music, Jazz, Salsa, Reggae, New Wave. And acts like Metronomy, Jamie xx or Danger Mouse. It depends the weather or how much sleep I’ve got!
And some basics…
GDD™: What studio and production equipment do you use when your spin/produce?
SF: At home, only Logic Pro, some drum machine samples and soft synths.
I’m going to Yuksek’s studio to use hardware and instruments. We mix every production there.
GDD™: Where does your name come from?
SF: It’s actually my girfriend who found the name. She was always saying that I have magical powers…at the beginning I wasn’t sure about that name, it can bit a bit pretentious to be called Magician after a split. Then my second level of humor approved it and we made the character live.
GDD™: How do you go about finding new music? Who are some of the artists we should definitely keep an eye/ear out for?
SF: I look through the blogs, the online record shops..I get lots of promo as well.
You must keep an eye on Perseus and his label French Express, Oliver, Gigamesh, Rogue Vogue, Plastic Plates, Edwin Van Cleef, Poolside, Krystal Klear…
GDD™: Indeed…that’s an amazing list! What are your first memories of music from childhood. How do these influences affect your post, past and current music?
SF: When I make music, I give a lot of nostalgia to it. I was born in the late 70’s, my childhood has been bathed in pop & disco with Michael Jackson, Giorgio Moroder, Prince, Supertramp, Abba, Queen…I remember listening to Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” in my dad”s car. It is a fantastic memory!
GDD™: How do you pick songs that you want to remix?
SF: If I really love a track and have an idea, I ask the artist but usually, I unfortunately never have the time to proceed like that. So, in many requests I get every week, I pick a song that I love and that can be interesting to remix about every 2-3 months. Also, there must be a vocal, I don’t like remixing instrumentals.
GDD™: If you had to wear a permanent life jacket or permanent helmet for the rest of your life, which would it be?
SF: I can’t wear helmets or hats, they never fit with my big head! I would choose a jacket and it would be a blue blazer.
GDD™: Whats your perfect/fantasy show? Intimate setting or large stage?
SF: A small club of 200 people, full or mirrors and mirror balls, the most wicked soundsytem, a professional light jockey and free drinks for everybody all night long.
From 6am, the ceiling opens to the sky and the dancefloor goes up to outside. Then the sunrise…
GDD™: WOW, SOMEBODY PLEASE MAKE THAT SHOW HAPPEN! What’s your favorite magic trick you’ve ever witnessed/conducted?
SF: Making people dance every weekend. Right now, I’m learning teleportation, it’s not easy…
GDD™: What are your favorite 5 songs to play at this moment?
SF: In no particular order:
• Moon Boots – Off My Mind (Rogue Vogue Remix)
• Cadillac – Make You Feel
• Yuksek – Always On The Run (Peter & The Magician Remix)
• Oliver – Memories Of The Future
• Coleco – Can’t Stop
BRAVO + THANK YOU TO THE MAGICIAN!!!
aRod + Tropicool