Friday, October 01, 2004

svs

interview & photos by todd ~ Originally from Long Island, NY, SVS has been playing around in Kansas City since mid-2000, playing different types of music over that time and finally settling on Jungle & DnB and pushing the limits of that since. Mike has never been one for a lot of words, but I thought that it was high time that I sat down and found out a little more about where he's been and where he's going. First I had to figure out who I was going to talk to, because for the longest time, I thought this guy was about three different people. I knew Lingo and I had heard of the DJ SVS and then there was Mike.

So, SVS? Where did that nickname come from?

I used to be really in to Mad Magazine and the whole Spy vs Spy.

Listening to you speak, it's hard to believe you're from Long Island. You have no accent at all really.

No. I adapted pretty fast. I came out in December of 1999. I think I was about 20. I got a lot of people telling me that I talked weird, so I started talking a bit more nasal and midwestern.

Any urge to move back?

Oh yea, about once or twice a month. I sometimes think, "Man, why did I come here?"

(laugh) Well, Why did you?

My dad moved out here after I graduated High School and initially, I stayed out in New York with my mom. Then, she got transferred out here and one day I decided that I wanted a change and came out here to check it out.

Where you in the "scene" out there?

I went to like two parties out there. I wasn't really super huge into it, but it was something that was kind of cool to go to every once in a while.

So, you're first party was out there, do you remember anything about it?

It was Woodstock '99. They had bands all day and DJs all night in an airplane hanger. So, my first party was Daft Punk, Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers, Deiselboy. I couldn't tell you who they were at the time.

You still didn't get heavily involved though?

No, I went to those few parties, but it wasn't something that I just had to do. I was still more into alternative rock and heavier stuff.

Was there anything in particular that moved you in the direction of going to parties more and DJing?

I was just out one day and saw this kid that looked like a raver and I asked him, "Do they have raves out here?". He pulled out like four flyers and gave them to me and I've been going ever since.

When did you start playing and what did you play and what did you play?

Somewhere around spring of 2000. I played some really horrible, epic-progressive-house-trance or something. I don't know. Rob Lee got me started playing. He was playing that same crap. I bought similar stuff.

So you moved in to jungle after that?

Yea. I played for a little bit. I played Trance that summer and moved to Lawrence and then Topeka and I kind of like... dropped out, just started listening to music a lot. Jungle seemed a little more appealing to me.

You don't just play, you also promote too. You threw the first Christmas Massacre pretty much on your own and have been involved in numerous other events What else have you been involved with?

I used to help out Bradshaw and Soda with the Echobass parties. Rob Lee and I have done quite a few parties together. I think every party that I've done he's been involved with and vice versa.

It sounds like Rob Lee has been a pretty big influence in your party and DJ life.

I think he was like the second DJ that I met here. We met at an after party and he asked me if I wanted to go to St Louis with him the next day, so I did and we've been hanging out ever since.

Any other influences?

Yea, I lived next to Offtrack for about a year and a half and we used to trade records back and forth. I would get bored with Jungle and I would borrow like 20 of his records and he would borrow 20 of mine and we would just play at my place, or I would go over to his place and play. I played Jungle kind of like Trance at first, because that was all that I really knew, then I started playing it more like Techno because I was playing with Offtrack a lot. I think I just kind of combined the smoother blending of Trance with the chunkier, slappier side of Techno.

Sounds like a lot of experimentation went on before you finally choose the genre you are currently playing. Though, I haven't seen a demo from you in a while. Have you just been really busy, or are you making the same move that everyone else seems to be making these days and moving your CD distribution to the internet?

I still do them every once in a while. I'm getting ready to do another soon. I usually give my CDs out a little more randomly. I would rather hand them out to random people that I don't know, rather than give them to people that I do know. Because if it's good or bad, they usually don't tell you much. Well, if it's bad, they'll get on the list and tell everybody it's bad, but if it's good, they won't say anything.

So, where do you things are headed? Do you think things are fading?

I don't think things are fading. I think it just got so mainstream and that really wasn't the point of it. I think things are moving back to the way they used to be. We've kind of reached a plateau and everyone started doing it. It wasn't about the music anymore, it was about trying to be cool. I think a lot of the people that did it for the right reasons are still out there trying to keep it low key and keep it underground, sort of.

When do you think that peak was and what brought it there?

I think it was all of the attention on drug use. Everyone in the media put so much attention on raves, telling people that they shouldn't go. If you start telling all the kids not to go to these really fun parties because they might have too much fun and they get a bunch of drugs and suddenly everyone wants to go. I think electronic music is no different than punk or rock-n-roll. We're still pretty early in our movement. It took rock probably 20 years to become accepted. All the adults hated Elvis back in the day because they just didn't understand it.

That's exactly right. When the Rock-N-Roll culture first emerged, it was treated in much the same way that Electronic music has been treated. Back then, all of the music that was being done was done for the adults. The kids didn't have music of their own. They listened to what their parents listened to. Rock-n-Roll burst on to the scene and it exclusively for the kids, not the adults. The tables have kind of turned now and Rock-n-Roll is something that every kid's parent listens to, so the kids want something of their own, something their parents won't like and sing along with on the way to the soccer game.

Right. I know some parents though that listen to all of that crap, even some that listen to Korn.

(Charity from Sublunary AM had been sitting with us and at this point interjected that her mom had come to a party at one time, or still does come to them. The recording was kind of bad, and I don't remember exactly, but it led to the next question.)

You ever take your mom to a party?

No. She supports what I do, but I don't think she likes it. She doesn't really understand or has the wrong idea because of the media propaganda, but realizes that it's my thing and supports it.

Is there anything else you've been up to?

I have a new cd coming out in December that is so far untitled, but mainly trying to get the Massacre party put together. Technically it's the third. The real Massacre 3 just didn't happen because we had lost so much money on Space Banger that we couldn't afford to do it. But this year it's going to go off, definitely. Everything is in place this time.

The first one was like 500 kids. The second one was about the same. Last year fell through, but this one, I think is gonna be great. We're also putting together a New Year's Massacre on New Year's Eve. Christmas will be all house and then the New Year's will be mostly Jungle. I just figured that every New Year's Eve there's all kinds of club events going on, but rarely any all ages events. My thing is mostly that I am trying to do really good cheap shows.

Back to your music though. You have been playing a lot more shows recently, and you've been playing down here at the Cup & Saucer for Wednesday Perk more and more, what's going on there?

I started off just helping Des and Brian out, as a sort of a backup. Brian just got a new job and starts next week or something and he's not going to be able to be as involved as much and I am going to step up for him and will be the new resident starting in October. I am playing a party in Des Moines on October 30. They are doing it at the Blake Park Zoo. I don't remember the name of it and then there's the Pravis Nox - Juggalo Gathering, the night before (10/29), here in Kansas City. Supposedly, the band that's headlining appeared on Howard Stern or something like that.

For the Perk, what will you be playin, more downtempo or just the darker SVS style?

It's hard to know what the crowd is going to be like here from week to week. Sometimes, you have a lot of kids down here, sometimes it's more Emo or Rocker. I try to not play my darker stuff here because it is such a mixed crowd. I usually try to play a bit more upbeat Dnb, I guess.

So, give us a feel for what you really like. Give me a top 10, if you can.

Well, some of my favorite labels are Virus, L Plates, Renegade Hardware, Outbreak and Magic Vinyl. A couple of my favorite web sites are MW-Dnb.com, BeatPort.com & OLEO Clothing. I would have to say that my top 10 records of all time (in no particular order) are:

artist|album|label

V/A "The X PROJECT pt1" Technique Recordings
Bad Company "Book of the Bad vol 1 & 2" BC Recordings
Peshay "Miles From Home" Blue
Stakka & Skynet "Clockwerk EP" Underfire Recordings
Dom & Keaton "Archeon" Moving Shadow
Dillinja "Cybertron" Valve Recordings
Trace "Mutations I-IV" DSCi4
Optical & Ryme Tyme "Twisted" Virus 001
Gridlock & Silver "Pacemaker" unknown
Plejik "Surrender - Muffler & 420 rmx" Magic Vinyl
For more information about DJ SVS, be sure to check out his web site at DJSVS.com, or drop in on Sublunary Artist Management's web site.

He also his most recent mixes, such as The Visitor, Punisher & Insomniac, are available for download on his web site, just click the link here to listen now!

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