Zak aka DVS1 (devious one), is certainly one of the more imposing figures in the world of sentinel driven acoustics, and as prominent promoter of some of the more successful events over the years, he’s certainly cemented his efforts as a sincere instigator of the more pressing low level ocular assaults. And really, that’s only if you selectively exclude his debut on Block Klock’s imprint Klockworks back in 2009, and since then has worked his way onto the legendary label Transmat, Perc Trax, Blueprint & Rejected. Furthermore, he’s certainly been vocal about what really is important in this scene. If you could call it that, because for him, and so many people, it’s their life. That’s the difference between making average contributions and setting your heart on something that means so much to you and making a difference as a result.
It’ll just be the one weekend in Australia for his debut, but we’re going to travelling from the East Coast to the West Coast for this one. Full props to the Perth crew grabbing this too, it’s a good sign when quality bookings spring up there more often. The techno party doesn’t seem to be stopping in Australia anytime soon.
Kn: In the past you’ve spent years investing your time operating your own sound company, to owning your own nightclub in your home town of Minneapolis. Looking back now, what did you learn about yourself during that time and how has that experience shaped the individual and more so the artist you are today?
DVS1: I’ve always said that my experience and time in this community over the years doing everything has shaped the vision, determination and motivation behind my vibe and my style. I feel those experiences have given me as much if not more of an ability to walk into any room anywhere in the world and do what I do. Had I found this success in my 20’s I don’t think I would have been ready on the level I am now having gone through all of those things.
Kn: So your mindset must of changed a fair amount over those years. Where do you see yourself now as opposed to then. Do you reflect on the past and how has that affected the way you approach things these days?
DVS1: Once again.. Yes. I spent so many years on all sides of the fence while at the same time playing music I was setting up the party, running the sound, the bar, the door, running the club and more importantly listening and dancing. When I walk into a party now to play, I look around at the details… If I see a light on that shouldn’t be on..I get it turned off. I’m extremely sensitive to my surroundings and how I would like them to be if I was on the dancefloor experiencing the night. I think it always affects my musical choices from the vibe to the power of the soundsystem and the tracks I choose to play.
Kn: You’ve been involved in the scene for two decades. What does it really mean to you as a person, what you want it to represent when all the lights turn down and also the musics’ role in participating in other goals in your life? Can you tell us a little more about where your heart is driving you?
DVS1: I was asked a very similar question in an interview I did for a blog called “once was now” and wanted to pull that answer as I think it fits well..”I’ve dedicated my entire life to this. I can’t even begin to count the hours, days, years etc…that I’ve spent in search of the beat and rhythm. I’ve missed holidays, missed birthdays, missed social interaction with people in the normal setting of life all for music. I’m not complaining, on the other hand, I’m just stating the truth, that this takes real dedication. If you give this much to something, it’s bound to give back to you.”
To answer your question about where my heart is driving me.. I’m trying to find the balance of entertainment vs. Artistry. I want to be able to entertain but more so I want to express my emotion at any given moment. What I’m feeling that week, that day, or even just that moment and to have the freedom as an artist to do just that through the music. This is a balance that we have to walk with our crowds. We are in a genre where people are coming to see what we will do and are open, but on the other hand they also want to be entertained and get value for their money and their expectations.
Kn: Starting a label is quite a big step. I mean, there’s a heavy importance in how one approaches these things in reference to what is being communicated, including the music. Having already successfully released on some major labels and a release on your own ‘Hush’ label what was your main objective and vision for launching Mistress Recordings and where do you envision the label in the realm of todays underground music ecosystem?
DVS1: To clarify. Hush is my techno label, no outside artist, no remixes..its my vision of purist techno and only for my music. Techno is my first love and hush is my wife. Mistress recordings is exactly what it sounds like. It’s there for everything else. All the other loves of my life. Mistress is also an opportunity for me to show the other sides of my taste, from house to techno to electro and beyond. There are no rules for mistress except that I would play it. So many people have this vision of either “house” or “techno” and they either stand on one side or the other. I come from an era of this music where if it was good, you played it. There was no boundary of genre or stereotype. Mistress has far exceeded my expectation in terms of its initial success and sales and looking back now, I think its because I’ve released music that is for everyone on both sides of that fence. Its accessible and playable!
Kn: What process are you going through to build and shape the labels direction in the context of signing fresh talent?
DVS1: Mistress Tracks are always things that I consider my secret weapons. People send me tracks in email, on soundcloud or just hand me stuff at gigs. If I like it, if I would play it, if it works…Then I’ll put it out. I don’t care about the name or the reputation of the artist. The music is what sells in the end. NO HYPE.. The first release was by a young german kid with a few things under his belt, but the 2nd and soon coming 3rd one are both new names.
Kn: Your debut Australian tour is imminent. What are you most excited about? And for those who have never seen you perform in a live setting tell us how your preparing for the tour and what we can expect.
DVS1: I’m always curious about new destinations. To see how the music is presented, how the vibe is and if people are just letting themselves get lost in the music. I’m coming with bags packed tight…I’m ready for any vibe I walk into.. I’ve got a lot of energy when I play, but only for 30 min to an hour on my own. If the crowd reciprocates the energy then I feed of that and return it back to them.
Kn: I’m sure there’s a lot in the pipeline and with the successful launch of your label (including represses), the momentum won’t be letting up anytime soon. What’s currently being lined up at the moment and what plans do you have across everything you’re involved with right now?
DVS1: Records – Mistress 3 and 3.5(10inch) are coming in the next 3 weeks. They are from a Minneapolis based artist named DOUBT. Mistress 1 and 2 are both getting another repress and I’m finally releasing HUSH 02 after a 2 year absence since the first one. I’ve also got another klockworks coming closer to summer. Other then that, just touring, staying healthy and sane and trying my hardest to keep this vibe moving!
George Alatakis Saturday 1st Feb 2014
Friday 7th February: Melbourne – Stranger
Saturday 8th February: Sydney – Abercrombie Sunday
9th February: Perth – The Court