Name: Vadim Peare aka DJ Vadim
Current release: DJ Vadim's Feel Up Vol.1 is out via Soulbeats Music.
If you enjoyed this interview with DJ Vadim and would like to find out more, visit his official homepage. Keep up to speed with his work via Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
Each song is different and so is the inspiration. Sometimes I may be watching a movie and hear a sound or formulate an idea. At other times I may dream about it. Other times I may be listening to music and that creates an idea.
Ideas are not the problem for me, finishing music is. I just have too many ideas always pulling me in different directions.
Of course there are social and political issues at play such as BLM and police aggression or Brexit or Trump etc … so it's a mixture but these influences work in different ways. For example with the song "Murder murder" from dubcatcher 2 with earl 16., the music was already done but the political situation with police made me want to do something in that way.
So I spoke to the singer and we went down that avenue. Politics as such wouldn't dictate the music so much – it's more about the direction.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
Music isn't like constructing a car. With a car, you know you have the engineering and body and then comfort things like seats, head rests etc. But there is a point when you know the car is finished … with a song, any song, one could keep tinkering with it and that is the hard thing.
To know when to stop, to know when a track is finished, when it feels right, well that's a hundred million $ emotion that producers like Quincy Jones on the Michael Jacksom albums or Dre Dre had. And it's similar just a little less successful for me!!! (laughs)
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
Some songs come together in literally 30 minutes whilst others may take many incarnations. They may even be made up of the leftovers of something else I abandoned . So if I was to play you "Fear no evil", the early version is very similar to the final. Just a matter of EQ and balance.
Whereas "Rotten Fruits" - that had like 5 different versions. Each quite different. Not just EQ - but completely different drum, rhythm etc. I just wasn't happy …
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating?
Smoke lots of weed? Some rum or gin …
Sounds funny but my mind likes to move a lot so ‘getting into the zone’ for me is helped a little by those things. But nothing crazy. I ain't bob Marley blazing or Ozzy Osbourne drugging it up either.
What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
As above. You need to feel cozy in your zone. Each person is different.
But stimulants help. Where would the world be with out drugs? Possibly the vast majority of recorded music, cinema, theatre, art would never have happened.
Or it would of happened in a very different way. Imagine if Dali hadn't been on something … and don't tell me he wasn't! (laughs)
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
The first note is easy as is the 2nd/3rd/4th. It's finishing that is hard … I get bored if it's just not hitting the way I want. So I have to go to the next idea. That is why if you looked into my draft beat folder, I have like 1500-2000 drafts there of unreleased songs in various states of readiness.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
90% of the time I do the music first and the lyrics come next. But sometimes I'm in the studio with the lyrcist and we do it similtaneously. That can be fun too, cos it has a very ‘live’ and in the moment feel.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
That's like saying wat makes a song good. So difficult to answer:
Is it the text?
Is the the rhythm?
Is it because they are catchy?
Or because they are very prevalent to the time we are living in now?
All of those but then it's also the voice because you can have the greatest words sung by the wrong person and destroy the idea.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
For me making music is a little like a sculptor who is moulding wood or ice etc ... you start with a big piece of wood and slowly you work your way around it until it takes form and you refine it … so.a song might start with some drums, or a bassline and I build from there.
It really varies because unlike some other producers the range I do isn't just one style. A track could go reggae or afro beat or soulful or smoked out or hip hop or a bit trappy or even uptemp like jungle or house …
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
I don't feel that. Perhaps authors of written words do? Not sure
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
As a human on any given day my mood will vary and what I gravitate towards - I might be more loving, more hyper, more chilled, more pensive, more playful. And that will reflect in the music I make so even though I have an idea, my mood affects what I choose and the sounds that I work with.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
I can't do that. You can watch how indigenous people from all over the world communicate with the afterworld, afterlife etc through music and encourage a certain change.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
I remember reading an interview with DJ Shadow and he said that once he has finished a song he puts it away for 6 months and then comes back to it to see if he still likes it. I think that's great advice.
It's too easy to get stuck in the moment. Creating space between yourself and the music helps self awareness and objectivity with what you are creating …
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
Well I do all the pre mixing and mixing set up and then I do the post production. I have help for the middle part and then an engineer for mastering
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I don't feel that because even though I finished Feel Up 1 year ago, I've been working on so much other music … I just keep going.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I think there are a lot of parallels between making music and cooking. Creating drinks also.
For example I was in a bar the other day and fancied a cocktail. Their menu was off the chain. They had all these amazing combinations I'd never heard of. Usually when you go to a bar it's always the same boring things - Sex on the beach, etc … So I respect that someone has taken their time to care to want to offer something different something originaI. I think it's the same with craftsmen like tailors, and seamstresses …