Artist Profile: A-Trak

February 9th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

To those who live elsewhere in our beautiful country, I owe an apology for continuing to focus on Toronto shows. I appreciate that not all parts of the country are lucky enough to get the best in EDM on a weekly basis. For that reason, I try to give you something fresh and unheard in my Friday and Monday posts. But when an artist of the calibre of A-Trak comes to town, there’s no hiding my pure, unadulterated enthusiasm! After all, this man and his brother are among the best electronic artists we Canucks have ever produced.

Tonight at The Hoxton, Toronto gets an up-close look at the prodigal son — a man who’s been a crucial part of our EDM culture and a pioneer in every sense of the word. Possibly Quebec’s finest export since Patrick Roy, Alain Macklovitch is primed to drop one of his unforgettable sets for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

So who is A-Trak? First off, play this …

S├ębastien Tellier – Kilometer (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


All right, background music in place? Perfect. Now, back to the question.

Who is A-Trak. Well, for starters, he is half of the ever stylish and trendy Duck Sauce, in partnership with Armand Van Helden. They’ve taken the EDM world by storm, mixing disco, house, electro and hip-hop sounds — all in the same four bars. But funky, always funky.

A-Trak is also founder and CEO of Fool’s Gold Records, a label whose roster includes names like Kid Sister, Kid Cudi, Jokers of the Scene, LA Riots, Donnis, Lil B and so, so many more. Fools Gold also has one of the best websites for finding everything fly. Fresh is what this label is all about. With a singular ability to keep reinventing itself, it stands to become a name that will live in infamy.

Oh, and A-Trak is also is the younger brother of Chromeo vocalist David Macklovitch. So it’s eveident that music .. excuse me, good music, runs through this man’s veins.

To put it in a nutshell: A-Trak is a perfect example of Canada’s dominance in EDM. Loved by all his peers, with an impeccable ear that serves as a window into the sounds of the future. More than just a producer, more than just a DJ, A-Trak is an icon. Before he was making smash hits and touring the world, he was winning DJ competitions (Vestax, DMC and ITF). Not just winning them — absolutely killing them. And doing it at the tender age of 15. A-Trak is, simply put, ahead of his time.


Sure, we all love “Barbara Streisand,” and “Big Bad Wolf” has a cult following. But it’s the remixes that have won the hearts of the purists. Check out this Boys Noize remix — you can hear him taking elements from the track and make them his own, while keeping it all fresh and unique.

Boys Noize – Oh! (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Then, of course, there are those remixes where he touches up the song ever so slightly, yet somehow turns it into a club banger. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs already had a killer track in “Heads will Roll,” but it’s A-Trak’s re-work that has kept it in the clubs right up to this moment. The track is perfect.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Then, of course, there are his Fool’s Gold Radio mixes, which are a must-have every month for fans of any music.

Fool’s Gold Radio – January 2012 Mix: LISTEN TO IT HERE


I won’t sit here and write endless praise for A-Trak — I really don’t think I could fit all he deserves in the time allocated to finish this article. But I will say that this Montreal born, New York (BROOKLYN!!) based DJ is going to be be a major presence in the genre for a very, very long time. And here’s an important reason why: when he was touring as Kanye’s DJ, he could easilyhave put on his ego cape and snuffed the small crowds. He didn’t. After dropping hits with Duck Sauce, he could have shut down the radio mixes and started to charge people for them. He didn’t. Not his style. He remains behind the scenes, always listening for that next new sound.

Of course it doesn’t hurt to pop his head out occasionally — say, to grace the cover of Billboard alongside Mad Decent owner Diplo and DJ-in-demand Skrillex.

The other great thing about A-Trak, after all of that? He’s a Canadian, just like you and me. So what’s up?!?!

Dennis Ferrer tomorrow…………….c’mon son!

 


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter