Image Wesley Hort
Brooklyn-based DJ AC Slater capitalised off that big electro sound we were all loving back in 2008, and reaped success, being signed to notorious label Trouble & Bass and cited as an artist to watch by Beatport. Since then, he has done anything but coast — starting his own label Party Like Us, traveling the world touring, releasing killer remixes, and trying not to take success and the scene too seriously. As the countdown to his new EP and NYE set at Laundry Bar elapses, JUICE decides to find out a bit more about the view from behind the DJ decks…
What’s on your to-do list before coming over to Asia late December?
Finish up my next EP and get all my remixes done. Need to bring over that new firepower.
What are you expecting when you get here? Are you going to do research? Maybe invest in a Lonely Planet?
I’m a pretty spontaneous guy. So I’m just going to come to KL and see what happens! I know a few people there so I’m sure I’ll get to see the local side and tourist side of the city.
You’ve done some fun remixes of artists like Chris Brown and Professor Green, how do you select a track for remixing? What are the requirements?
As long as there are 1 or 2 elements that really stand out, like a vocal or a riff, I usually immediately get an idea in my head. That’s when I know it’s something I want to remix. Otherwise it’s almost like creating a new song, and what’s the point in doing that and calling it a remix?
Art vs Science were recently in town for a show with Gossip, what brought them and their track Higher to your attention for remixing?
I did a tour with them in Australia. Every night I watched them perform before I played and their live show blew my mind. So I asked to remix one of their songs. They were planning ‘Higher’ as the next single so we just went with it.
You picked up on the 2008 electronic sound pretty early on with ‘Jack Got Jacked’, now you’re making bass music and also dubstep, do you think that’s a natural progression or a conscious change?
I just do what I like. I only think its natural to progress into new sounds. I would be so bored if I just kept making the same music. Usually the music I make reflects the type of music I like to play in my DJ sets.
As dance music changes do you find audiences less easily satisfied? Or more accepting?
I feel that the audience is much larger than several years ago. There are more people who come from backgrounds outside dance music, so they’re not used to those long house or techno mixes from back in the day. I’ve definitely noticed the attention span getting shorter. But I have a short attention span as well so it works out!
What are your opinions on DJs in disguise (via deadmau5, The Bloody Beetroots, Daft Punk)? What costume or gimmicky thing would you consider as part of your performance?
To get to a certain level you almost have to have something like that. Deadmau5 and Daft Punk’s identities are almost larger than the music they make. It’s cool and memorable to fans, and adds a whole other element to the show. I’m still trying to find my gimmick. Maybe I could stop in the middle of my set and do a standup comedy routine?
What do you think of the emergence of dubstep? Is it a trend or is it here to stay?
Dubstep has been around for a long time, and I’ve always played some dubstep in my DJ sets since like 2008 when people would say stuff like “what the hell is this?”. But once it finally took off in the USA, Americans just took it to the extreme, like we do with most things. It is currently one of the biggest genres in the country right now, but still not mainstream yet. It’s so crazy to me to watch it evolve to this point. I think it’s a good thing and good for all electronic music artists. It will evolve and change just like all other genres do. It’s here to stay.
How long do you think it will be before the scene evolves again? Any predictions on what’s in the near future for this type of music?
Pop has taken dance music under its wing. I think more underground dance music is going to become pop music over the next few years. I also see all these different genres fusing together more.
The name of your label is ‘Party Like Us’, how do you guys party, exactly?
You’ll have to come to the show and see!
You’re said to have come from a hip-hop, rock and punk background. What in your opinion is the best thing, musically, to come out of 2011?
There’s been a lot of good hip hop and dance stuff, but I think the most important musical thing of 2011 is all these worlds starting to crossover into each other. You’ve got Diplo and Afrojack producing hit rap/pop songs, and rappers coming to producers like me for remixes. I think it’s opening the doors for 2012 to be a huge year of collaborations and crossovers.
Do you have any music in your collection that is really surprising or unexpected?
I’ve got some bluegrass in there. Is that surprising?
What’s your favourite track to drop to pick up a slow crowd?
You can’t go wrong with a big electro build up and a nice vocal.
When was a time (maybe early on in your career) you cleared the floor with a track? Do you have like a track black list?
I think I may have cleared the floor at our Halloween event in Brooklyn a few weeks back by playing some grime. It was a grime kind of night and I’m okay with it.
You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you think the industry is too serious, what would be your dream fun musical collab?
I would love to do a song with Andre 3000 of Outkast. I bet that would be fun.
You’re playing at Laundry in KL for New Years Eve, what would be your perfect New Years Eve?
The perfect New Years Eve I would be surrounded by all my good friends, sipping some good drinks, and get to kiss the girl of my dreams at midnight.
What do you think your resolution will be this year?
To put out a lot more music.