Interview | DJ Dream Team Go Back To Vinyl
Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)
DJ culture is at its lowest and highest point. Fans would say that superstar DJs are the new rock stars: jet-setting around the world, playing solsold-outows and dating supermodels, while critics would mock these same DJ’s as no-talent “button-pushers” who make “real” musicians like Perry Farrell want to puke.
No matter what side of the debate you’re on, you have to respect OG DJ’s like Richard Vission and Bad Boy Bill. The two veteran DJ/producers have been mixing hit records for longer than Martin Garrix has been alive, laying the groundwork for electronic music’s rise from underground warehouse parties to the headlining stage at Coachella.
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Vission is a Grammy-nominee with over 40 #1 Billboard dance chart remixes, while Bill is considered one of the “godfathers” of Chicago House Music. After long careers in front of the “one’s and two’s,” both have also achieved success behind the scenes as tastemakers, hosting radio shows and running music labels. Now, the two have teamed up for “Back to Vinyl,” a North American tour that presses pause on the DJ debate by taking house music back to its roots. The all-vinyl DJ sets include retro classics mixed in with new material like their just released crowd mover, “Everybody’s Jumpin’ (listen to it below). “Back to Vinyl” makes a stop in LA this Sat (8/6) at Sound Nightclub.
I had a chance to ask the dynamic DJ duo some questions via email about why it’s important to go back in order to see where DJ culture is going.
Crave: With the world so focused on “the next big thing,” why did you guys decide to go “Back To Vinyl?”
Richard Visson: We felt we weren’t being challenged as DJ’s. Technology has made it so easy that my mom can DJ.
Bad Boy Bill: We also felt the art of DJing was being lost and by pressing up our entire set on vinyl we were able to bring some of that magic back.
Richard: Playing new and unreleased music on vinyl is exciting to us and we knew there was a whole generation of younger people who had never experienced a DJ mixing on vinyl.
What’s the main difference between DJ’ing with vinyl records and digital recordings?
Richard: A lot of skill, haha! We love digital and have nothing against digitally mixing, but when you’re mixing vinyl, the music breathes and moves.
Bill: The difference is like listening to a drum machine versus a live drummer. When you’re mixing vinyl, you’re locked in like a live musician, you become aware of everything, you’re hearing every hi hat, every kick and snare. It’s a completely different feeling.
You’re stranded on a deserted island what’s the vinyl record you would bring?
Richard: U2’s The Joshua Tree.
Bill: Sade’s Stronger Than Pride which features the song “Paradise.”
What’s your go-to record stores to go crate digging?
Richard: Amoeba in Hollywood.
Bill: Gramaphone in Chicago and discogs.com marketplace where we found a couple gems recently.
As OG’s, how has the scene changed/remained the same?
Bill: It’s going through a transition and we feel it’s going to go more underground. The scene has gotten so big that it has become pop music.
Richard: There was a point in the 90’s that it had started hitting the pop charts as well, but just like after the 90’s, it is starting to back to its underground roots and we LOVE that.
What’s something you didn’t know about each other that you do now?
Richard: Both of our high schools mascots were the Panthers!