DJ A-Trak has been called many things: a legend, an innovator, a tastemaker – and they all aptly apply. His passion for music takes him beyond the decks as he continues to push music forward. Georgie caught up with A-Trak to talk about reinvention and how he stays ahead of the curve.
G—You are often credited as being the bridge connecting hip-hop and electronic music. How is your audience responding to your musical evolution?
A-Trak—I feel like my audience has evolved and grown with me. I’m lucky to have their cooperation and also be able to update my audience with time. I’m excited when I have fans who only know about my work from the last three to four years. They might not know that I’ve won DMCs or that I worked with Kanye, or this or that.
G—Your record label, Fool’s Gold, is known for being cutting edge and you are known as a culture curator. Do you feel pressure to be an innovative sound-seeker for Fool’s Gold?
A—I put the pressure on myself. I never want to be old school in my stance, in my taste, what I represent, or who I present. I always want to be on the cutting edge of what’s new but it has to feel natural.
G—You’re running a record label in a time of DIY digital where the entry point for artists is easier. How are you keeping up with this change?
A—At Fool’s Gold we have good ears, we have good feedback and we have a good sense of presentation. We know how to take a song and get it to the right set of ears, audience, tastemakers, remixers. We stay ahead of the curve by really nurturing the artists we sign and helping them reach their potential.
A-Trak’s single “We All Fall Down” (feat. Jamie Lidell) is now available on Fool’s Gold Records.
Over the past four years, Halifax pop artist Ria Mae has accomplished dreams she has openly spoken about: being produced by fellow Nova Scotia success story Classified and touring with Tegan and Sara and Coleman Hell. Since creating her self-released demo of “Clothes Off” in 2013, she has signed with Sony Music and Nettwerk Management. The former has helped develop the careers of Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Coldplay, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, and many more. The finished version of the song – her major label debut – earned Mae her first Juno nomination, for “Single of the Year” in 2016, which put her in direct competition against Drake, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber. From Mae’s new home in Toronto, only two days removed from a cross-Canada tour with Scott Helman, she spoke with Georgie about her sudden rise, working with Classified, stepping up as a voice for LGBTQ groups, and more. G—As you’ve discovered, you can make a lot of unexpected connections in a small town. But that can be a good thing because working with people who differ from you in their approach forces you to create from new perspectives. Do you ever have reservations about working with people who