Having traveled to 74 countries in the span of his 20-year career, producer and DJ Daddy Vad aka DJ Vadim has always made music that touched on themes of political awareness and social consciousness. With a wide-ranging musical palate that reflects his worldly travels, his style combines hip-hip, dub, reggae, and cultural beats. While touring relentlessly, he has held membership in groups like The Bug, The Isolationist, The Russian Percussion, One Self, and The Electric, and has collaborated with artists from DJ Krush to Kraftwerk. Currently on tour for his latest record, the dancehall reggae album Dubcatcher, he will make his Dub Mission debut this Sunday, Oct. 19, at Elbo Room.
[jump] With 20 years of DJing and countless countries under your belt, which location has left the most lasting impression on you?
In all honesty, I can’t even remember where I was two weeks ago, let alone 10 years ago! I have played in 74 countries now, and everywhere is special but for different reasons. Some places I go to I have amazing parties but I wouldn’t necessarily go there on holiday, while other places are stunning, with great food, but the parties are just okay at best.
If you could go back and relive any year in dance music history, which year would it be?
I wish I could go back to the early ‘90s with the knowledge I have now of promotion, the music industry, and social interaction. I would kill it. I remember in 2002 a friend of mine who was designing my website said he wanted to add this section to the site where I could put my feelings, thoughts of the day, or what I was doing. He said people are interested in that. This was of course before Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. I said, “What a load of crap, who wants to know what I’m doing?” Things have changed indeed. In fact, now people are more interested in knowing what you are doing than what you have actually done or what it sounds like.
Your new album, Dubcatcher, has an old-school type of superhero on the cover. What qualities does this superhero possess?
He has the ability to start the party when needed and stop it when the music is terrible. So beware to rubbish DJs! He is coming after you (laughs).
What inspired you to work with a variety of vocalists for this album?
Life in general, and the meetings of like-minded souls across the globe.
Which track was most rewarding to make?
That’s difficult…'cause it’s like, which of my children do I prefer? I love them all. But if I had to choose, perhaps it’s “Hope,” because of the message of the innocent sons and daughters of the poor being sent to fight a war that makes no sense. It only benefits the rich and affluent and a crooked parliament.
Your music has always been very positive and socially conscious. As an artist, how do you use your musical platform to raise awareness of issues that affect you?
Through lyrics, song titles, and social media. Yes, I’m aware of lots of things around me both in the U.K. and globally. I try to be a voice of positive change. Life is an evolution: Socially, mentally, and physically. We have to accept that we need change. We may think, “Oh, our lives are just fine, thank you DJ Vadim.” But that isn’t true. Sexual equality and race equality are two huge issues. Women get paid less for doing the same jobs and if you are black, Hispanic, or Asian, even less. That’s across the board, even in top white-collar tech industries like Silicon Valley! We’re in 2014, with so many regulations against discrimination, yet there is still so much to do. People are still arguing about abortion. Many want to get rid of it. Really, this is 2014, not 1914. Wake up, world.
Since you barely seem to take any time off, what would your perfect day off consist of?
A long sleep-in, Jacuzzi, delicious meals, and lots of nature.
You have a pretty awesome and unique style. Where do you seek inspiration from for your looks?
(Laughs). Have you been checking me out? Fashion is something I suppose I fell into. When I look back at what I wore in 1998 or 2002, it wasn’t anything special. However, I guess my palate widened and I got attracted to more original styles of clothing like African, Asian, and Indian. I also started clashing styles, like taking classic vintage British dress, golfing dress or boating and clashing it with street styles from Asia. It’s a bit like how I make music. People like Andre 3000, Common, Kojak or James Bond all have that je ne sais quoi about them.
We're very excited for your debut at Dub Mission this Sunday. What kind of vibes can your San Francisco fans expect?
I’m gonna bring strictly good vibes for all the nice and decent people there!