Straight outta Brooklyn comes an all-day electronic-music/hip-hop event that elevates a typical lazy Sunday to an epic, booty-shaking blast that you’ll be talking about for months.
Fool’s Gold Day Off, an outdoor festival that lands at Mana Wynwood in Miami’s Design District on Sunday, gathers the cream of the crop in cutting-edge acts from Fool’s Gold, the renowned indie label founded by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs back in 2007, including Flosstradamus, Laidback Luke, Sleepy Tom, Vic Mensa, Post Malone, Alison Wonderland, Bosco and many more.
The marriage of sick dance beats and hip-hop is certainly not new, or exclusive to Fool’s Gold, but no one does it better. A-Trak, a Canadian world-champion turntablist and DJ prodigy whose real name is Alain Macklovitch, explains in an interview with Miami.com about the show, how he found success at the tender age of 15, and how he went on to become Kanye West’s personal DJ.
What’s this show all about?
Well, since you asked, Fool’s Gold Day Off is a series of daytime events that we started about six years ago in New York. Our first one was on Labor Day 2010, and we got this space that was essentially a loading dock for a restaurant – it was a lot in SoHo, and because it was Labor Day, we called it Day Off. It was to be a sort of end-of-summer, back-to-school block party.It’s still on Labor Day every year in New York, but in the meantime, we’ve expanded to more cities. The past two years, we had it in Miami actually coinciding with Art Basel, but this year, we decided to keep them all together closer in time.
What can we expect musically?
Day Off is a mix of electronic and hip-hop, which is really what Fool’s Gold stands for. And these Day Off events in particular tend to lean a bit more on the hip-hop side. We’re trying to fill a gap in the market, because we know there’s an audience in America that doesn’t just listen to one genre of music. For some reason, festivals are still very genre-specific, but no one only listens to EDM, and no one only listens to rap, you know what I mean? The iPods and Napster broke all of that 10 years ago, and that’s what we want to bring to the event space. And we also want to bring in the on-the-come-up artists alongside the well-established, classic artists.
You were the youngest-ever DMC World DJ Champion, at 15. What drew you to the turntables, and why at such an early age?
It started out in a way that I think most people in my generation or age group know, in the sense that I just tried scratching on my dad’s record player one day. You know, I used to hear it on rap records, and see it in videos. Anybody who has a turntable in their house must have tried it at some point, to see if they could emulate what they see on MTV or whatever. The only difference is, most people try, and the record skips and they get discouraged, and they’re just like, “I don’t get it.” Whereas me, for some reason, I just kind of figured it out right away. I had a knack for it, and then I just kept going. I started at the age of 13, and somehow at 15, in what felt like the blink of an eye, I became world champion. And that really put me on the map – this was in 1997. That’s what started everything for me – that’s how I started getting bookings, internationally, while I was still in high school.
How did you become Kanye’s personal DJ?
I met Kanye in London really by chance. And for a DJ, you can’t exactly audition – DJs use equipment that you can’t just carry around, so to have someone actually see you do your thing as a DJ, they gotta be at the right time and place. I went to London for a gig in 2004, and while I was there I did a performance at a record shop – sometimes they do these in-store performances to promote an event. And they invited whoever was in town or whoever was buzzing to this event, and there was an up-and-coming singer called John Legend – who we all know now, but was quite unknown then and was really just a guy who would sing on Kanye’s records – and he was in town with Kanye. And this record shop invited both myself and John Legend to do little performances. And Kanye was with John to support him, and he saw me do my thing, too. I did maybe a 10-minute scratching routine, and Kanye really liked what he saw, and he needed a DJ – he had just put out his first album, “The College Dropout,” and he was planning his first big tour. So as soon as he saw me, it just kind of answered the question for him. It clicked in his mind that this was his DJ, and the next thing you know, I toured with him for four years.