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ARTICLE
By Paul Dakeyne.
With a distinctive sound that has captivated DJ audiences worldwide, DJ “S” is a genuine ambassador of soul, funk and disco, and one of the foremost producers in the industry. Recently, he joined forces with Mastermix where his Vol.1 Remixes of contemporary sounding but period-faithful re-works/edits are now available on the platform. Paul Dakeyne recently sat down with him to find out more about his background as well as his new collaboration.

Q. At the point of winning a Greek DJ competition in 1992, was there already a DJ “S”? And what formed your musical roots?

I grew up in the early 1980s with my older brother, both as ‘radio pirates’ until the mid-90s, but I started mainly DJing at home. It was my brother and his friends who were into the 'urban’ music styles [soul, funk, rare groove], so I was influenced by and enjoyed that, even though across in the UK it was more the styles of new wave and punk, stuff like that.

Q. What would comprise an average day or week in your life as a DJ and producer?

The truth is, I do almost the same thing every day and all week. In the studio, I work with Cubase, regularly cutting and editing music, which leaves me little time to DJ online via Twitch.

I like to spend time fixing tracks, firstly for my own library, then later to be uploaded onto my YouTube channel. Being older now, I don’t go out to clubs or venues as such, because we would want to listen to specific types of music (not being into modern styles such as trap or reggaeton). Relaxation time is more seeing friends at restaurants, chatting about our youth and love for music!

Because here in Greece the 80s US/urban music I like is not so popular, I prefer to play abroad, although I do play at some venues here during the summer months.

Q. What is your approach to choosing which track to work on and executing the remix?

DJing for many years with the tracks I love, I became aware of the sections I would want to improve or fix, thinking primarily as a DJ rather than a producer.. This would be to make the track more friendly, as a tool for DJs to mix with and sound better. My production approach though is to cut the kick, snares and hi-hats of a track and lock them to a fixed tempo/metronome in Cubase.

For the beats I add, I utilise sounds from my own library that are from the same period as the track I’m remixing. I don’t want to add hard kicks, beats and more ‘housey’ stuff like that, as I want to remain close to the original school of thought. I try and work on the tracks as if I had the original multitrack tapes – that is my procedure.

Q. Was there a tipping point, when your YouTube channel views went from modest numbers to millions of views and 300,000 followers?

I don’t know that there is anything specific I can point to – it happened, that’s it! Back in 2009 though, when Greece was in its financial crisis, I was out of work and spending time at home, as the nightlife was difficult, with no gigs. Popular in Greek clubs then was traditional Greek/Balkan/Middle Eastern sounds, so at home I started to make these edits and re-works – for myself, mainly, but I was uploading them (as was the trend at the time) to Soundcloud and later YouTube.

I’m actually not so familiar with the online technology and the internet thing, but the increase in listens and views just happened naturally over time.
Back then, not so many people were doing these kinds of works and uploading them. It wasn’t a trend at that time; it was too early for the internet community, let’s say.

Q. What is your preference between studio work, DJ gigs and livestreaming, or are they all of equal importance to you?

I like to do all of them, but for me the internet thing is my ticket to go abroad, outside of my country! As in my pirate radio days, it was all about your transmitter, how many watts it had and the placement of the broadcast antenna, whereas now it’s an amazing thing to be able to transmit sound and video all around the world. As the music I like to play is not very popular in Greece, I’m comfortable performing from home, though my friends tell me if I want to be a DJ outside, to go to New York.

Q. When did you leave the world of playing actual vinyl records and move in the world of DVS (digital vinyl system)?

I think it was around 2007/2008, when I bought Serato DJ, known as ‘Serato Scratch Live’ back then. It was a great thing for me because I was able to continue using my original 80s Technics turntables and, as I never invested in CDJ players, I found this very useful for me at home.

I was also glad to be able to combine playing my ‘real’ vinyl records alongside, and then into, the DVS system. I do try and find good quality files of my music online but if there is perhaps a rarer track or B-side I can’t find, then I will rip my vinyl copy on the computer.

Q. From your perspective, what are you most looking forward to with your new collaboration with Mastermix?

It’s a great opportunity to reach a wider and more specific DJ audience. But more importantly for me, it is an official and legal platform for music distribution – this is without doubt the biggest thing for me.

DJ “S” Mastermix:
mastermixdj.com/dj-s-producer-page

Instagram:
instagram.com/deejaystathis
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 124, Pages 56-57.
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