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Every DJ has one: that unique gig that he or she talks about every time again on birthday parties. In 2017 Marceline had a chat with the American Amy DB about her Most Memorable Gig.
“I remember the first monumental set of my career where I could impress the international electronica community. This was when the iconic Robert Babicsz aka Rob Acid asked me to be his guest performer at his infamous birthday bash in 2013. I was ecstatic, overwhelmed with surreal belief, and ever so proud.”
'Beethoven of electronica'
“Robert is my hero in music. I call him ‘the Beethoven of electronica’, and rightfully so. He invented software plug-ins and VST’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s, that Native Instruments still uses today. He designed hardware synths and drumkits that still surpass most hard instrument machines we currently have in use. He built this incredible studio that whets any top-DJs palette, and only performs live sets using only his originals or remixes of his music. And this during four to twelve hours on end.”
Most memorable gig of my music career
“Just one of Robert’s legacies that he bequeathed at the age of his early twenties, is perfecting the art of European acid house. This commenced with the likes of DJ Pierre in Chicago. Robert cultivated it into a genre that took over the electronic soundscape of the late 80’s and 90’s within the global underground dance scene. Through this, trance, progressive house and techno could attain such heights. Ask the likes of Dave Seaman, Nick Warren, John Digweed, Carl Cox, Joe Smooth or Paul Oakenfold which name they would give to our modern-day Bach or Beethoven, and unanimous their reply will be ‘Robert Babicz’. To spin for him, in his hometown of Cologne, Germany, was the best endorsement of my musical depth. To play and pay homage to this musical demigod was my first monumental and the most memorable gig of my music career.”
“The setting was in all senses perfect. I was the chosen DJ act of that year. The year before it was the esteemed Guy J, whose label Lost and Found was a sub of the acclaimed Bedrock Records of John Digweed and Nick Muir. The year before that, it was Solomun and before that Sasha was asked. It was an epic and significant honor to be selected in this DJ community. I had only been internationally touring from my origins, in the city of house, Chicago, for less than two years after my productions and DJ performances were gathering international acclaim.”
“Robert had asked the brilliant young German native Tim Engelhardt to do a live performance of his recently released artist album. Tim was only sixteen at that point. Genius knows no age or boundaries. To say that the night was buzzing with sublime and reverberating energy, is the greatest of understatements. Robert took us to his favorite local restaurant in Cologne where he and Tim, the legendary Polish based producer Jacob Seville and myself, had the best of conversations. Meanwhile we got to know one another on a human and soulful level. It was the perfect prologue to a perfect night to come.”
“Cologne in general was quaint, charming and of course historic. Home to one of the oldest universities, it’s also an epicenter of some of the top technological companies of innovation we have today, and home to many musicians of past and present. This was the first time I would play in Cologne and I was beyond elated.”
“After dinner, on the commute to Gewölbe Discotheque, I was brimming with anticipation. This was a club where Robert regularly played. As well as Sasha, Digweed. Carl Cox, Chris Liebling, Stephan Bodzin – the creme of the creme. And soon I would as well. To represent not only a true artist’s voice but that of the femme artist in DJ land. I had two new tracks that I just produced and this is where I would first play them. In front of Robert, in front of the brilliant German dance public. Euphoria was setting in. Pride in my accomplishments took a hold of me. The feeling of present mindfulness of the moment and eternal gratitude, all surged within my core.”
“The final soundcheck was complete and Gewölbe was open! I was told there was already a massive line outside where the local Germans were anxiously waiting to hear and see us play. Robert barely plays in his local Cologne, as he constantly tours the world with his magnificent music and energy.”
All worth it
“This further substantiated the level of my elation. How could I, alone on this path, have accomplished such a feat? Following my dream at an incredible expense of sacrifice and undeterred determination, almost to the point of madness, was my circumstance. And it had led me this far. In my mind everything and anything that I had experienced, the bad and the ugly and the good, all were worth it, in the end. In my consciousness, even before I started spinning, I felt that I finally belonged to this extremely exclusive yet excluding industry. The hardships that almost had broken me and over which I had shed an unimaginable number of tears, culminating into this one very intense moment, right before I laid down my first track. It was indescribable. I remember thinking: ‘Amy, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know your name, it is of no matter. Respect and integrity are bigger than fame. You are now Respected! The Robert Babicz’ s of this world respect you and want to share your music with theirs!”
Time for music
“As I started my first track, I remember inhaling deep to breathe in the moment. I forever imprinted that memory in my mind. The dancefloor had just opened and was already bristling with bodies. The lights and the fog created the mood. It was time for the music!”
“I played transcendent, soul-inspiring progressive house and progressive techno to stimulate all the senses. It was a perceptive crowd who offered smiles, salutes and love signs with their hands, while their bodies were literally jumping to my music. I took it all in and felt humble and in massive gratitude. My own sublime pleasure attained even greater highs.”
I felt the love
“I received an immense amount of response, support and love. People came from everywhere. Random people, thanking me for one of the best sets they had ever heard. They asked who I was, wanting to add me to their music channels. I felt the elevated energy. I felt the love. Love is what this was all about. Love for the music. Love for having the unique opportunity to spin at an amazing venue in a magnificent historic city. And at a premise beyond belief, such as at the birthday party of an incredible legend. I was and still am eternally grateful for it.”
“And that is the lesson I took with me then and still carry with me today, from city to city: it’s only about the music and about love. Without that, the experience of the journey becomes vapid. I vowed to ascribe to this mantra each and every single time. Instead of playing the usual funfun music or the stigma of the druggy music of the underground, I vowed to stick to my truth as an artist of the melodic electronica. Music that inspires and touches souls: my progressive trance roots. And with that touch people to their very core. I had arrived in my musical growth, at that exact moment in time, in Cologne.”
“In the end, I received an amazing compliment of Robert Babicz himself. He called me ‘gifted’ and ‘ten times better than other female DJs’.
This interview with Amy DB was originally published
on DJMag.nl on September 21st 2017