You’re now in the Free Zone, where DJ Vasile has been for a long time, as this is his space when it comes to music, both timeless and familiar to us.
The fact that electronic music is ever-present in various Romanian mediums isn’t a coincidence, but, as all things, it had a beginning. Although it would be better to listen than to talk, through the following interview we’ll try to discover the motivation and string of events from the life of the one who transposed a personal pleasure in a continuous inspiration for the Romanian music scene –a pioneer in the true sense of the word. This was never a goal in itself, but a way to open and pave the way for many of us to the music that formed, educated, amused and entertained us ‘till the dusk of many mornings.
DJ Vasile’s radio career debuted in 1990, and in 1998 he launched the show “Zona Liberă” (free zone), which continues to this day (online), promoting local artists. He created and worked alongside Șuie Paparude (1995), NSK (1997), Nemos (2001), Shukar Collective (2003), and continues his work with the same originality and determination as before, always finding new bold and fresh directions for his music.
Keywords: groundbreaker, original, versatile, daring, mix, `90
Hello, DJ Vasile!
This is what feeder would like to know about you:
(please, fill in the blanks)
From the ‚’90s until now, I’ve…listened to music, what else?
Life’s more beautiful when…you listen to music 🙂
In the search for the ideal sound, I always pay attention to…music.
Between analogue and digital, I prefer…the leaf.
The most beautiful thing I’ve been told lately…a banal „I love you”, what can be more beautiful?
If I hadn’t produced music, …I would’ve listened to a lot of music anyway.
Life in Bucharest is…as short and the night just as long.
A few words I’d use to describe myself…autistic and a well-intended man.
As an artist, it matters a lot to…be able to escape from this world with what I am doing.
3 favorite collaborations…
NSK (Matze, Electric Brother, DJ Vasile) – 1997
Shukar Collective (Dj Vasile, Dan Handrabur – Dreamdoktor, Cristi Stanciu, Matze, Vlaicu Golcea, colaborări cu Mitoș Micleușeanu – Diafragma, Mircea Florian) – 2000
Ana Moca-Grama: Welcome,DJ Vasile! You started your career in music almost 25 years ago and you witnessed the growth and expansion of the electronic music scene in Romania You told us about how you used to play music in Club A, tell us more about the beginnings – how did a party look and sound like in the early days of the 90’s?
DJ Vasile: Thanks to the recently aquired freedom that created space for novelty, the beginning of the 90’s were some wild years. The parties back then were very similar to the ones today, the only difference laying in the fact that people listened to more new music, although the internet was practically non-existent. My challenge as a DJ stood in the permanent search and exposure of the new, which back then was found in abundance exclusively in the phonoteque of the radio I was working at. In only one night we would pass through all the music genres, and it remained this way for many years, afterwards I specialized in electronic dance music.
AMG: Which were the greatest musical influences back then, and in what direction do we tend to go now, in the multicultural digital era? In which ways did you use to find and get music back then, how about now?
DV: Up until the 90’s, the main musical sources were the shortwave radio and friends’ private collections. Later on, working in this field, everything became easier: I had access, in real time, to all the novelties. Today we thank the internet. What I found weird back then and now, regardless of the source, is the balance of the new in the nightlife of the Bucharest citizen who proved to be conservative.
AMG: How do you feel now, when the scene whose foundation you built, your „child”, is all grown up, bringing along with it more and more events and artists? Are you satisfied with this evolution, have you ever imagined it would eventually come to this?
DV: Too much to say „my child”, all I did was organize specialized evenings, a novelty in itself. But, up until 2000, it wasn’t that easy. The new generations brought and continue bringing artists who easily reach over the country border, without being noticed in their home-country, because of the same conservatism of the main majority of music consumers.I didn’t think it would come to this!
AMG: What place in the city is the one you enjoy most when it comes to having gigs? What other places are close to your heart, that evoke beautiful memories?
AMG: As for Bucharest, after you’ve travelled around the world, what makes you always come back here?
DV: Besides sentimental reasons, nothing. I’m really beginning to consider leaving after 50 years…
AMG: Did you notice any difference in perception between the local and the international public? What could we do to make things better when it comes to music and parties?
DV: The quality of the sound ruined a lot in the past, now I’ve noticed a greater care in this direction, whether they’re clubs or events held in the nature. The difference between their public and ours is given by the appetite for the new, otherwise, we drink more!
AMG: Which were your first musical instruments, whether analogue or digital? What gear did you have back then, what do you use now?
DV: As a DJ, my first instrument was the magnetophone, then the casette player, pick-up, cd player and traktor. More difficult with the piano…easier with the computer.
AMG: What are the aspects you always consider when creating a dj set or producing a track? Any specific habits when it comes to the creation process?
DV: It’s easy with the dj set, I compose it depending on the place I’m going to, many times right then and there, when what I had planned home mismatches the mood of the party people. When it comes to tracks it’s more difficult because of the lack of musical education. Working intuitively requires more time and moments of inspiration.
AMG: “Zona Liberă”is a long-lived project that always found a new medium of communicaton, from ProFm to Radio Guerilla, and now, online. You were always consistent in promoting Romanian artists, what are your criteria when it comes to choosing the musicians? What do you think are the necessary elements for becoming a good music producer?
DV: Zona Liberă is what it is thanks to Matze, the best in this branch. I admit the idea was mine, but without his skills it wouldn’t have been possible.
AMG: Feeder just turned 10 years old. What did the site mean to you and how did it influence you?
DV: Up until the appearence of the big socialization site, Feeder was the only information source that seemed to speak my language.
AMG: What are your plans for the near future?
DV: Some music and leaving the country.
AMG: Finally, tell me…with which artists, be they Romanian or international, would you like to meet up and talk? What would be your curiosities regarding them?
DV: There are too many with which I’d have a drink, and now there are so many Romanian electronic music artists who attract my respect that I don’t even get the chance to marvel at the international ones. The difference between ours and theirs lays in the promotion strategy. Here there’s lots of talent: : Argatu, Avantgard, Unu, H2opt, Trg, Gojira, Vlad Dobrescu, Shadowbox, Silent Strike, Doc, Alien Pimp, Norzeatic and many more etc. In Zona Liberă I’d like to know from them if they’re feeling alright. And that’s it!
AMG: Thank you very much, peace out!
Words by Ana Moca-Grama