WHO?MAG: Talk about your new album on BBE? Dmitri: It’s a compilation of classic and not so classic Philly Sound recordings. I wanted to document how the Philly sound was born out of a group of musicians rather than a label. The same musicians created the Disco rhythm years before anyone used that name to define a genre. To this day the beat created by drummer Earl Young for “The love I Lost” in 1973 is still used in every other dance music cut. The main point of this project was to finally give those creators the credit they deserved.
WHO?MAG: Why did you choose the Philadelphia music sound of the 70’s as the theme of the compilation? Dmitri: For me the Philly Sound is the ultimate dance music sound, it’s a perfectly balanced mix of driving rhythm, soul singing, very detailed arranging, and was all the work of a very accomplished team. They called it “Soul with a tuxedo” and I like that definition.
WHO?MAG: What new projects are you working on after this? Dmitri: I have several remixes I need to finish and a new compilation that would focus on more contemporary stuff.
WHO?MAG: What is your approach to doing a remix? Dmitri: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I like to keep what makes the essence of the song, and that means not always dumping everything and creating a new track from scratch. If the original production is not suitable for clubs then I’ll produce what I think would work but I always try to stay close to the original vibe.
WHO?MAG: Of your remixes which is the one you most enjoy and why? Dmitri: My favorite is the remix of Stetsasonic “Talking All That Jazz” because I was able record a live band doing a new backing to it.
WHO?MAG: How do you approach producing a song? Dmitri: If it’s mine, I have no rule. I can start with a melody, a beat, or a sample, and build up from it until it takes me somewhere I like. If it’s someone else’s I need to understand where they wanna go vibe-wise and offer my sonic view of it.
WHO?MAG: What is your approach to DJing at a club? Dmitri: Improvisation. I started with vinyl which is very good to teach you programming as you could only carry so much with you. Now I have the added value of using CDs, which multiplies by a hundred the amount of songs I can use. I have no pre-planned sets, I look at the crowd and try to get them as much as I can into my groove.
WHO?MAG: Are you going to be doing any more projects with Playboy in the near future? Dmitri: Possibly.
WHO?MAG: What equipment do you use for DJing and producing? Dmitri: I use CDs to DJ with Pioneer CDJs and Allen & Heath or boutique rotary mixers when available (E&S or Alpha Systems). For producing I use a Mac with Pro Tools and some analog outboard and synths.
WHO?MAG: Who are some of your influences musically? Dmitri: A lot of the Philly Sound, underground Disco from everywhere, rare groove, early rap, roots reggae and dub, early 80’s dance music, 90’s house, and everything in between.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about House music in 2010? Dmitri: The bulk of it bores me, too many people seem content with stacking a bunch of two bar loops with occasionally a two note chord. Luckily there are a few more music minded people that have a sense for detail. I particularly like what comes out of Germany at the moment like Tensnake or the Gomma and Compost labels. Also some of the nu-disco guys like Ajello or Anthony Mansfield are worth checking.
WHO?MAG: Talk about your first album Sacrebleu? Dmitri: It was a fun thing to do. It would be impossible to replicate today as too many sample dead ends would arise.
WHO?MAG: Any last words? Dmitri: I’m hopefully not dying too soon, so I’ll save those for a later time.