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Go BackTO VICTOR THE SPOILS – We ask the touring virtuoso Calderone to ‘Give It Up’ on his artful craft

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“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
- Henry David Thoreau -

NYC’s multi-talented musical maestro and visionary Victor Calderone is a sonic shaman! A leader of the modern day dance, Calderone is just as at home in his production studio as he is djing in front of vast audiences.
Victor’s extravagant club parties in NYC are as famously fabulous as the remixes he’s undertaken for Madonna, Sting, Gloria Estefan, Bette Midler, Ricky Martin, Elton John & Destiny’s Child (naming a few!) ‘Caligula: A Roman Orgy’ was a awe inspiring party held during Gay Pride Weekend at the Hammerstein Ballroom, featuring Cyndi Lauper and a fifty-piece orchestra as well as five thousand plus fans.
Perfectionist Calderone’s imaginative ‘Caligula’, ‘Provocateur’ & ‘Jungle’ gatherings are magnificent untouchable memories for the thousands who attended each club experience!

…A Brooklyn native Victor Calderone became entranced with New York’s nightlife aged just fifteen and enjoyed his track first signing a decade later to Sire Records in 1991. Early collaborations didn’t seem to meet with Victor’s exceptional expectations and he left music until 1996 when Athena, (his future wife), persuaded him to produce his debut solo single, ‘Give It Up’.
Both this single and the ‘Beat Me Harder’ follow up both impacted the Billboard Dance Charts heavily, a small indication of what was yet to come...
Victor soon had prestigious DJ residencies at NYC nightclubs like the Limelight and later the Roxy. Things really took off for Calderone when Madonna called him in 1998 to ask if he would remix her first single ‘Frozen’ from the ‘Ray of Light’ album. Madonna was so impressed by Victor’s skills that she recommended him to Sting for a remix! (‘Desert Rose’) Through a deal with Tommy Boy Music, Victor released his first mix CD, ‘E=VC2’ back in 1999; Vol. 2 followed in 2001 and a third instalment is due out soon. During 2001 Victor began prestigious DJ residencies at Stereo in Montreal, Canada and Tribal Sessions in Manchester, UK whilst over in the US, Victor resides at Crobar (Miami) and soon to be Crobar (NYC)… ‘Resonate’ Calderone’s latest DJ mix album (Statra Recordings) is out August 2003 and is an acquired taste of deep, tribal grooves and sexy bass lines for which he’s doing a DJ tour! Plus there’s several singles to come from this tribal master…
Read on as Lisa Loco throws light onto the beat driven clubbing connoisseur Victor Calderone.

LL: Your mix album Resonate’s now out, how do you feel?
VC: “I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m anxious to share it with everyone. I’ll be releasing ‘Deep Dark Jungle’ as my next single, and to follow will be the title track ‘Resonate’, another original production featured on the compilation.”

LL: Are there any NYC DJ residencies yet for Calderone?
VC: “Unfortunately not! There are no good venues in NYC open at this time where I would agree to play. Many clubs are poorly run and managed so I prefer to stay away from them, so its been a while since I’ve had a solid residency here in NYC but that’s gonna change real soon…. The guys who have Crobar (Miami & Chicago) are opening here in New York and they’re going all out! It’s a mega incredible space right across from where Twilo used to be with a monster Phazon sound system and it’s gonna be my new home. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait!”

LL: …So the sound system credentials are crucial to get you to DJ?
VC: “For me it’s the number one factor on my importance list, I’m afraid I have no more patience or tolerance for the people with no regard for this. Manager’s and promoters must understand clarity of DJ performance, because if people aren’t hearing all of the music they ain’t gonna respond to it. I mean we’re in the studio here producing on some of the best equipment then people are actually hearing the music through a sub standard sound system that’s really not where it should be!”

LL: Your famous for your spectacular dance parties like the Caligula and Provocateur experiences how did the Jungle party go on 28th June?
VC: “Yeah this year the theme was Jungle and the whole scene was tribal! It was very successful and I can relate more to this theme because of the music and where I’m at right now, so there was a strong connection to the event. I am a big tribal head so it was fun for me, not that the past years weren’t fun but I really go to play the music I love at the Jungle event!”

LL: What’s your Pride event in New York City about and when is it?
VC: “It’s usually at the end of June, and there’s a Gay Pride weekend on Sunday the 29th this year there was a parade…”

LL: Regarding your studio productions, are there conscious decisions in methodology? (E.g. do you lay the bass first, then beats whatever or is it totally random?)
VC: “For me it’s the beats. I always start with the beats. If it’s a vocal production or remix then I’ll start with my foundations of the drums then I build it from there. After the drums when I’ve got a solid groove going I’ll listen closely (for those things which are not yet there!) before adding the bass line and melody and it just evolves from there!”

LL: What are your favourite bits of studio kit?
VC: “Err… I would have to say my computer these days. I’ve been going Virtual lately and it’s been doing everything for me! Many synthesisers are build in nowadays (my favourite is The Virus) and I keep a Macintosh G4…”

LL: Do you play any instruments yourself?
VC: “No I don’t, I’m not a musician I’m more of a programmer. In the studio I could play in an individual part but it will take me a long time - I don’t consider myself a musician. I’ve mastered my technical equipment though and don’t use an engineer. It’s all I know is studio gear!”

LL: You want to work on movie scores, is that right?
VC: “Yeah, for me that’s the next step. I’m very interested in movies and always said if I weren’t already in music I would be writing or directing in films maybe! So for the future that’s something to do!”

LL: ‘Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent!’ is a quote of yours; do you regard DJ’ing as an art form?
VC: “DJ’ing? Err… Somewhat. Yeah there is an art to it!”

LL: …But maybe not as high an art as writing/producing the music in the first place right?
VC: “It’s not as intense as sitting there putting all the tracks together, but if you have a good eight hour DJ time slot at a club then you have to tell a story which is still an art form because you’re not just playing random records, there’s peaks and valleys – It’s a story!”

LL: Did you enjoy playing the Tribal Sessions (Manchester, UK)
VC: “It’s a really amazing room! Amazing people with a great energy! The crowd is very well educated there! They’re into hearing new music, not just the music they already have in their boxes, and that’s the best crowd for a DJ to play for!”

LL: Have you ever been star struck as you’ve worked with some very famous people?
VC: “Err… Maybe the time I worked with Sting on his last album and I did the remix of ‘Desert Rose’ for him. He called me up saying he loved the music but wanted to re-record his vocal to fit the new mix! I was blown away when came down to the studio to re cut the vocal, he said, ‘It’s your project, direct me!’ then got in the booth… That was definitely the high point of my career!”

LL: Who is left whom you’d like to remix?
VC: “Err… Bjork is on the list and U2!”

LL: If you had to ask yourself an interesting interview question, what would it be?
VC: “I think maybe ‘have I contributed anything to the scene?’ I think I have as I made ‘Give It Up’ which is still in my box after all this time and it gives me goose bumps when I play it even now. I captured something without knowing at the time and it’s special to me!”

LL: If you had the opportunity to ask another DJ anything at all what would you ask?
VC: “If they would tag team a DJ set with me! I did it with Angel Moraes at Stereo in Montreal and it was explosive. He was on the decks at times when I was on the CD & sampler it was just spiritual! You have to connect with that other DJ though…”

LL: Tell us something we would be surprised to know about you…
VC: “I like snow boarding! I fell in love two years ago with the sport up Whistler Mountain! I had to skip it this year though cos I’ve just had a baby boy!”

LL: That’s with Athena your wife right? Did she help with the ‘Caligula’ concept?
VC: (Laughs) “The concept is Roman but yes, she was a major part of the planning and party concept…. The Roman orgy thing had a full on fifty-piece orchestra giving me chills down my spine that night when a curtain went up at 4am. From the booth that night I wanted to be on the dance floor myself!”

LL: You take the DJ experience beyond the exceptional with your parties, what’s next?
VC: “It’s a lot to take on arranging such events as I actually prefer to stay in the studio or behind the decks but it’s worth it! I’ve had so many E mails since praising us for taking the risk with elevating clubbing to the next level it’s great that people appreciate it.”

LL: What do you think about Ibiza?
VC: “I don’t really know, I’m not feeling it right now, but I’ve only been there for two years as I’ve never been a big Ibiza DJ. I think the core scene has moved on from there, plus at this point I feel it’s kinda commercial there. I prefer the darker after hours sets and I didn’t especially find them there!”

Look out for Victor playing at Universe (UK) in August, as part of his world tour including Barcelona, Ibiza and London! For more information see target="_blank"

Victor Calderone – ‘Resonate’ (Statra Recordings)Album Out 08/03
‘Resonate’ is an acquired taste of deep, tribal grooves and sexy bass lines from NYC’s adored club connoisseur Victor Calderone. The 80-minute mix is energetic setting out with ‘What Awae Wanna’ by DJ Pippi and followed swiftly by Tedd Patterson’s club hit ‘Magnifique’ (the Chus & Ceballos Iberican Mix) so you can imagine where the next eleven tracks go from there... Roach Motel is next up from Superchumbo with some gritty ‘Wild Luv’, which is a raw but very effective track. The mixing is spot on as it progresses and builds nicely when Victor impresses us with some of his own (unreleased) productions like ‘The Drive’, ‘Deep, Dark Jungle’ and ‘Resonate’. The talented tribal master continues his punishing and tough workout reaching a pitch-dark point around track nine (DJ O’Neil – ‘Draw’) before he lightens the mood and finishes up with Underworld’s ‘Two Months Off’. Twisted and sometimes gruelling, but invigorating all the same…

Victor played the 17th August @ Pacha - Scandal

Words by Lisa Loco