Recently receiving the #7 spot in Resident Advisor’s (truthful) Top 100 DJ Poll, Loco Dice is undisputedly one of the most successful, talented, and influential DJs in the global scene. From his unprecedented knack for A&R to his pumping DJ sets to thousands around the world, Dice garners a respect from those in and out of the industry, which is why I humbly requested to have a chat with the man to see what he’s been up to and what’s coming up for him.
Please read on after the jump to see our conversation about his label Desolat, how he likes playing in America, and what he thinks about people calling Vegas the new Ibiza, as well as find out how to receive one of the 4 pairs of tickets that we’ll be giving away to Loco Dice and Victor Calderone this Saturday, December 17th at The Music Box in Hollywood.
Gotta Dance Dirty™: Hey Dice! Thanks so much for taking some time to chat with us. We usually have a first question tradition here at GDD to break the ice, so what is your usual drink order?
Loco Dice: Sake!
GDD™: We love sake as well! Can’t go wrong with sake bombs. So can you tell me a little about Desolat? How did it get started? Do you have a specific vision for the label that sets it apart from other imprints?
LD: The thing about all of the artists and all of the sounds that we have…I don’t see Desolat similar to any other label. It’s just doing its own thing, doing it their way, and I’m happy where it is so far.
GDD™: And how did you and Martin [Buttrich] come about to get it started?
LD: The idea came…actually I wasn’t a big fan of having my own label. Martin used to have his own label with Four:twenty and I think he had another one in the past, but I was never a big fan of having my own, so when we were in New York, I was playing out a lot of demos that people sent me to play out and test. And by that time, I had 3-4 demos that I really loved and I always played in my sets. One of them, for example, was ‘Ribcage’ by Dubfire, and Martin was like, “Hey…me and you like it so much; we have to share it with the world!” And we sat down and shared our ideas and we came to the point that we shared the same ideas and had the same vision, so we said, “Alright, let’s do this,” so Dubfire was the first Desolat release and from there on, it went on and on.
GDD™: So do you and Martin currently still do the A&R for the label?
LD: I am more in charge of A&R, but we do it together. Because of my DJ work and travelling, I’m getting more of the demos and I do the first filter. When I dig something I send it over to Martin, and it’s always like “Yeah, I like it too!” We’ve worked 10 years together so we have almost the same musical taste, the same point of view. Of course, he sees things in his own way in his direction as I do with mine, but this is a good thing and this is why Desolat is so healthy.
GDD™: Absolutely, and you guys have your Christmas sampler coming out this December on the label. I’m assuming there’s some great new stuff on there would you mind telling me a little about the compilation?
LD: We started the compilation 3 years ago and we were not big fans of having a various compilation with foreign artists, but sometimes you find especially young artists like Danny Ocean or Yaya that have a big track that you want to do something with, but just giving it remixes and putting it out is just boring. So we said, “You know what? We need to share this with the people,” and what better time to do that than Christmas? So we created the compilation and called it the X Sampler from the X series that we do with Desolat. And we combine our artists with other artists who are not really Desolat artists but friends. And this is how the idea started and now it’s the 3rd sampler and we’re happy and proud. We have artists like Hector, Alex Kid, Danny Ocean, Filsonik from New York, Reboot, Guti, and more.
GDD™: Sounds like a pretty All-Star cast! So in addition to this sampler release you’ll also be coming through the US this December. Do you enjoy playing to the US market? I remember the last time I saw you was at Ultra Music Festival in Miami last March…
LD: Ah in the Carl Cox tent, yeah, that was great…But yes I love it I’ve been touring in the United States since 2001, and I never gave up on that market. Even when it had the breakdowns in 2006 and before that, I went through all the musical periods in the US and that’s why I’m more than happy that now the type of music that we are playing is rising up and there are people who know it and respect it and are digging what we’re doing and are open-minded cause they are not expecting the same set. They are expecting us to evolve and go forward with our music. And playing at Space Miami for 15 hours is just a result of this. It’s now healthier than ever. When I played in San Bernardino at this festival in a huge tent or Ultra, like you said, it just shows that Techno and our House music is really healthy and it’s growing healthier, and it never died or disappeared.
GDD™: Would you say that this underground sound is surfacing to the top in recent years?
LD: Always! I don’t know if you can really call us underground, but we’ve been there for ages doing our thing, and I have to say that it’s quality music and we never sell out and people feel it. I think now why it’s so successful is because people are paying it back with respect saying, “Hey, you guys have been doing this for so long and it’s still sounding so fresh, and it’s still so interesting, and it still gives us so much.” You know? And come on, you can go and dance 10 hours to this and not get bored and still not listen to one record that the other DJ played before. I think it’s a big thing.
And back to your other question before, I love playing in the US. I love the US people, the crowd, I love being there. I’m from Hip Hop and being there kind of gives me this Hip Hop spirit back. All the dates whether it’s Detroit, New York, LA, or San Francisco, they are all really cool cities and I have my home base of friends all over, so it’s always dope to play there.
GDD™: Have you had a chance to play in Las Vegas?
LD: I used to play Las Vegas a long time ago. Timo Maas took me as a support guest, but to be honest with you, since then I never returned there. I’ve only talked to friends that went and didn’t really like it. I think the market in Vegas is not our music. Other DJs fit the market there better than us, so why should we go there and force it?
GDD™: Ya I understand that. So what would you say to the people that are a part of the ongoing comparison regarding Las Vegas being the new Ibiza?
LD: Ah that’s bullshit. (Laughs) That’s big bullshit. Let’s look at it this way though I mean you have people in Ibiza that see it from another point of view. Ibiza is not only us and Techno, you know, Ibiza is more. There are many other scenes and of course those people going to Ibiza to hear this kind of music will go back to Las Vegas and find the same DJs and same music, so they go “Hey, Vegas is the new Ibiza.” I just went to Lima, Peru and I could say, “This is my new Ibiza,” or another DJ can tell you ,”I was in Buenos Aires or Romania, and this is the new Ibiza.” So it’s difficult. There are too many types of music, too many styles, too many scenes to bring it just on one point. But to be honest, Ibiza is Ibiza, and there is nowhere else in the world that can combine all of these on one island.
GDD™: Very well said I definitely agree with you there. So we at GDD are located here in Los Angeles where you will be coming on December 17th to play at one of our favorite venues, The Music Box. I know you described the Desolat sound earlier as being its own sound, but for those that are heading out to your show this week here in LA, could you describe the vibe or sound that we can expect from you on Saturday?
LD: It’s something between Techno and House music. I combine all of the new styles with all of the old styles. You will hear me dropping some old school flavors combined with new school stuff. It’s an organic beat that you can dance to. Not too fast. Not too heavy. It’s up and down and a nice dynamic. Vocals and everything. Like I said, something between Techno and House music (Laughs).
GDD™: Well that’s my style too so looking forward to it! And by the way did I hear earlier that you did a 15 hour set at Space in Miami this year?
LD: Oh yeah I did that (Laughs).
GDD™: How was that, first of all, and do you do those marathon sets often?
LD: Yeah I used to do them in Germany quite a lot. 8 hours, 6 hours, is a pretty normal amount of time to play out here in Europe for me. I’m not the only DJ who can do this, but doing this in the States for 15 hours, I only know one person who used to do it and that was [Danny] Tenaglia. But the first time I played on the Space Terrace I was scared because it was owned by other DJs, you know? And I really worked hard for it to be where it is now and I really appreciate that the people are giving back. It’s a mixture of people from the States, Canada, South America, Europe, and it’s great to see that this can happen in the United States, which is a totally different market for us. The sound system is great, the owner is super, the security—no stress, no nothing. And you just keep going 15 hours for the people and the people are having fun with you. It’s just great. I’m living in a different time zone all the time. I sleep when people go to dinner and I go to work when people go to sleep.
GDD™: Well we appreciate that lifestyle wholeheartedly (Laughs). So just to wrap things up here, do you have any other releases coming up besides the sampler that you could tell us about? Or any new artists signed to Desolat that you’re particularly excited about?
LD: Sure there’s a lot! I just finished a remix for Carl Craig for Paperclip People which is out on Planet E which should be available now. I am going back to the studio to work on other things to be released next year, but can’t say what it is so far…I’m really excited so far on our label we have tINI, a young artist that’s doing her debut album. We’re really proud to have released this. It’s out already and stirring up a lot of waves. We also released the Pulshar album recently which is completely different to what we play. It’s a bit more Chillout, more Dub Techno, and yeah, there’s quite a lot of stuff coming up. Next year I’m doing an Under 300 tour, where I’ll tour 16-18 clubs in Europe with 300 max capacity only, and then back to the vinyl!
GDD™: Wow that’s very exciting!
LD: Yes, lots of stuff this is only a bit of what’s coming!
GDD™: Well thank you so much again for your time I really appreciate the chat, and I look forward to seeing your set on the 17th!
LD: Thank you, Jonah and yes, it’s going to be a good one.
We’re giving away 4 pairs of tickets to see Loco Dice and Victor Calderone this Saturday at The Music Box in Hollywood. To enter to win, post the following via Twitter! Winners will be announced Thursday afternoon.
“@GottaDanceDirty I need a pair of tickets to @LocoDiceOFC at @TheMusicBoxLA this Saturday! I’ll bring @(your friend’s Twitter handle here)”
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