Through The Fire _ Interview with Israel Vines
What was it do you think that prompted you to get into producing music?
First and foremost, I’m a DJ. DJing was my first love with this whole thing, and I started with that back in ’94. For the first several years, I was focused solely on DJing and trying to get as good as I possibly could. It was always kind of in the back of my head that I wanted to produce music, but I didn’t get around to trying until several years after. In about ’97-’98, I got a bit of gear and started messing about, mostly making really awful and amateurish stuff. It was a good exercise to get me started, but nothing solid ever came of it. Having limited funds and knowing that I needed more proper gear if I wanted to do anything, I eventually got rid of everything and bought my first laptop and a copy of Logic. That was fucking abysmal. I don’t really blame the software, but I could not for the life of me figure it out and make it work for me the way that I wanted to. I finished one track in like, seriously, three years. With that, my confidence was pretty shaken and I was left thinking that maybe making music just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t that big of deal, as I still had DJing as an outlet, but I definitely gave up for a couple of years.
Shortly before I started the label though, I figured I’d give it another go and bought a copy of Ableton. Game. Fucking. Changed. Ableton is just a really, really solid fit for me in terms of how my head works and my fairly low level technical skills. I know that in the last five years, I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do, but it’s been a lot of fun and I feel more comfortable with it every time I sit down and work.
Sounds very encouraging to those who want to get into making music! What was the first electronic music gig you attended and what are your memories from that?
The first proper party I went to was in 1994, and it was in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The headliner was a guy named Dj Sho. I’m not even sure if he’s around anymore – but hearing him and experiencing the music on a decent rig was enough. I got home around six in the morning, and I immediately woke up my roommate and told him, mate – we’re getting fucking decks. I knew immediately after that night that I wanted to be a DJ.
Haha, great story! Would you have frequently gone to gigs in Detroit?
I did, but not too many, sadly. Around the time I was getting into all of this, I was also tending bar and managing a restaurant to pay the bills and get through university. This meant that I worked on the weekends a lot, and thusly missed a lot of parties. That said, I did go to enough of them, and had my mind blown on enough occasions to understand what great DJing is compared to mediocre DJing. Also, the whole party “scene” was never something that I fell for completely. I was never there looking to score girls or make friends or whatever. I didn’t go looking for hugs and PLUR and all of that nonsense. I went to watch, listen to, and learn from the DJs. I’m not saying that I was entirely antisocial, but I was pretty focused and not really there for any communal experience. When I went, I was there to study.
Would you think DJ’s/ Producers are more introverted as opposed to extroverted?
Oh I don’t think that’s the case at all, really. I mean, have you seen all of these clowns with twenty people in the booth with them, drinking champagne, and spending half of their sets waving their hands in the air and all of that garbage? I don’t really think that on the whole, the percentage of DJs who are extroverts or introverts is all that different from the general population. And I mean, even if you’re not that type of DJ that I just mentioned, you have to be a little bit extroverted to be a performer of any sort, don’t you? Maybe not in the typical social realm, but you are sort of putting yourself out there and hopefully trying to connect and engage with people while you’re performing – otherwise you’d just be holed up in your studio and never sharing what you do with anybody else. With that said, some people just go about it differently than others. I tend to, with a few exceptions, appreciate the DJs more who just kind of put their heads down and get on with the damn thing rather than the ones who spend half the time trying to pump the crowd up or whatever.