de-VICE #2

TIM DELUXE: ego killer

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de-VICE #1

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"It's about the music and the parties mum and dad don't know about, you know? Not that whole celebrity and Ibiza thing, and not fucking Puff Daddy turning up in the clubs... if that's your thing, man, then it's cool - but it's not mine."

So waxes aggravated Tim Deluxe over the phone from his studio in London.

A word of warning: don't ask this particular deejay-producer his pet hate in 2006, if you don't want to cop an earful. I have.

Deluxe is indulging in a rare spot-break between bouts at work on his new album, and he's beginning to sound like a born-again underground technohead.

We've been talking shop on the subject of contemporary dance music and the tired, money-oriented commercial scene that surrounds it.

This is especially the case in Britain, the country that first gave rise to the notion of superclubs like Gatecrasher and Ministry Of Sound -although somewhat ironically, it was one of those clubs, Ministry, that happened to give a young Tim Liken his first big deejay break as a teenager over 10 years ago.

Deluxe (who adapted his name from his earlier hip-hop moniker) has since cut a wad of successful club hits like "It Just Won't Do" and "Less Talk More Action!," collaborated with Sneaker Pimps and Byron Stingily, remixed other famed producers like Norman Cook and Ultra Nate, regularly recorded for Darren Emerson's Underwater imprint - and often appeared on the bill at those self-same superclubs, raking in extra dosh for the fat-cat owners.

"They aren't doing so well now."

Deluxe, in peeved mode, is of the opinion that that the superclub scene is waning.

"I saw that last year," he continues. "The atmosphere was whack at the big clubs; you went to the smaller parties to see the more cutting-edge deejays play, and they were hot."

Deluxe in fact sounds as aggrieved as he is obviously annoyed.

"A lot of dance music bothers me these days," he says. "It's too contrived. A lot of it is built around the idea of having a hit dance single. The whole scene - myself included - got caught up in the notion that this person has to like your record, and that other person has to play your record, and so on. It's all a game; all politics. Prestige, money, and ego. It kills the imagination. And you know what? That's all bollocks, because it's made people forget why they're really doing this."

Deluxe stops himself momentarily at this point, reflecting perhaps on his own role in the scenario.

"That's another thing that's made me step back and look at what I'm doing," he surmises. "I went back to the drawing board and thought, 'Well, why do you do it?' What do I want to achieve with my own music?"

The outcome of these deliberations?

Deluxe parted company with Underwater to set up his own label, AT Records, and thereby effect his own musical reconstruction (of sorts).

Say hello to Ego Death, an album-in-progress set to be released here in Japan through Beat Records. Deluxe admits that he views the album as an attempted antidote to his own musical misdirection in recent years - although, outside of his own recent self-awareness, Deluxe is quick to assert in his next breath that the spirit of contemporary dance music is not all doom and gloom.

"I think there's been a resurgence of genuine electronic music over the past year," he ruminates, "most of it from Germany - and it's because those guys don't give a fuck about the fame, the money, or the scene."

"I don't want to jump on the bandwagon, but it's thanks to labels like Great Stuff Recordings and Perlon out of Germany, who've got some great young artists and an excellent setup, and people like Luciano, Trent Muller, Loco Dice and Anna Schneider. These guys are all coming at it from a different angle, making use of new technology, and certainly not resting on their laurels; they're right in there, and they're banging it out."

He actually starts to sound happy.

"You know, there are people doing good music still..."

 

Tim Deluxe will play July 14 at Womb in Shibuya, Tokyo, (03) 5766-6571; July 15 at Karma in Osaka, (06) 6344-6181; July 16 at Ozon in Nagoya, (052) 242-0780; July 21 at Yellow in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo, (03) 5766-6571; July 22 at Freud in Sapporo, (011) 208-0651

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