Intro: Welcome to HNT Radio’s interview series. We are excited to be in company with Vince Blakk today and thank you Vince for giving us the time for this interview.
Vince calls home San Josè and has been a DJ on HNT Radio since 2019.
You can tune in to Vince Blakk pres. Explorer Club On hisregular time slot which is EVERY tuesday
| 6 PM (New York) | 11 PM (London) | 12 AM (Rome).
1. How did you first get interested in electronic music?
Hi Gary, hi guys.
First of all thank you so much for the opportunity.
Electronic music has always been part of my musical background, ever since I started my first classical guitar lessons when I was 12 years old.
I grew up mainly with rock, although my absolute favorite artists at the time were artists whose music was a mixture of electronics and slightly more traditional sounds. I’m talking about artists like Mike Oldfield and Jean-Michel Jarre.
Their music was fundamental for me, in fact they are still the only two artists of whom I still keep their complete discography, and yes, I am still a devoted fan of them!
I also loved bands like A-ha, Depeche Mode with their incredible “Violator”, Arcadia (Duran Duran) and… I could go on with the list (and genre) for a long time! (laughs)
2. Who are you biggest influences in the electronic music industry?
Oh, well, here I can only say one name: Markus Schulz
If I started to get passionate about the art of djing, this is certainly due to Markus and his legendary Global Dj Broadcast radio show.
3. What is your favorite genre of electronic music?
Difficult question to answer, for me…
Anyway, I have never been a lover of labels to stick on music.
Just as I have never understood those people who limit themselves to listening, always and only, to a specific musical style.
There is so much great music out there that just waits to be listened and appreciated, which really puts everything else in the background.
Look, let’s put it in this way: One of the most beautiful records, which I have had the fortune to listen to (and appreciate) during these long years is surely “Listen Without Prejudice” by George Michael.
… and that’s what I’ve always tried to do so far: “listen without prejudice”
Personally, I divide music in only two categories: good music and bad music.
Of course, this, however, does not mean, that, me too, like many others, have a favorite music style. A style that I feel mine more than others, etc.
Obviously in this case, I can only answer: Progressive! (Trance & House of course)
4. What DJ equipment do you use and why?
Over the years I have tried a bit of everything and more.
Although I have always remained tied to Pioneer DJ products.
I went from the classics Pioneer Cdjs, to the Denon Dj all in one controllers, and then definitively moved to the Pioneer Dj XDJ1000
Currently my studio setup includes 4 Pioneer Dj XDJ1000, a Pioneer Dj Djm 850 mixer (or an Allen & Heath Xone: 43C) and a Pioneer Dj DDjSp1.
Generally I don’t have particular requests for setup, which consequently can changes according to the club.
Therefore I often find myself playing with Cdj2000 NXS2 and DJM900NXS2.
A fairly standard setup at the end, even if, to be honest, the double decks and the ddjsp1 are the only two things that can never missing.
Without the double deck and the ddjsp1, in fact, I would not be able to edit and re-edit the tracks, according to the taste of the moment.
5. If you were to do a warm up set for any artist who would it be?
In a no particular order: Markus Schulz, Kaskade, Erik Prydz, Kyau & Albert, Above & Beyond, Swedish House Mafia and more.
6. Where do you see yourself in DJ’ing 5 years from now?
Well, honestly: If I have to answer, just thinking about everything we are currently experiencing now, due to covid-19, I only can answer you: (still) club resident dj.
At least. it would mean that the quarantine, the closed clubs, compulsory distancing, the obligatory masks, etc. in 5 years everything will be just a distant and painful past memory.
But, of course, if I have to answer, thinking about exclusively what were the pre covid-19 goals, well, then, I would see myself engaged in the first tours and festivals traveling around the world, no way.
I mean: Everybody us work hard, at the end. We work and do sacrifices and choices for these goals, otherwise what sense would it make?
Do not misunderstand me, I love playing in clubs, seeing people having fun, I love having direct contact with the audience. And if I had to choose, so, without thinking about it, I prefer a thousand times, the more intimate and “familiar” atmosphere that we can breathe in the club, rather than in the great outdoors. But we need to looking forward, always, that’s why: Tour & festivals rules, damn! (laughs)
7. How has your experience been as a DJ with HNT Radio?
my experience with HNT Radio has been, and still is, more than positive.
Gary is a fantastic guy, he has a great passion for this project. He is a really professional in every single detail. It’s really nice, after so many years, to still have the opportunity to meet passionate people like him. People that, always, pay morest attention on quality instead of pure business.
8. What is the origin of you DJ name?
As I said before, I started to become passionate about music since childhood, through the study of classical guitar.
From then on, I continued to study in different schools with different specializations.
Only at the end of my guitar school studies did I begin with music production and the art of djing.
Consequently my name is not tied to what I do now. But, it’s something was born almost for fun between friends.
At the time, in fact (we are talking about the early 90s) I wore very long hair, much longer than an actor from a tv series who in those years drove teenagers crazy: Renegade.
The actor was Lorenzo Lamas aka Vince Black / Reno Raines.
That’s why all that was after, is history! (laughs)
9. Have you ever been known as another DJ name?
Yes, but, more than anything else, it is something born to diversify some productions.
In the past, I have already used the same alias: “Angel II DemoN” for some gigs exclusively dedicated to another great passion of mine: Techno.
10. What inspired you to become a DJ?
Markus Schulz absolutely. I started following, and getting passionate about his #GDjB in 2005 even if, only later, in 2008 I started recording his sets on the radio, collecting the songs played, and then trying to reproduce, the transactions that I had heard him do in the show.
Markus and #GDjB have been fundamental for me, so much so that, most likely, today, I would not do this job, if it were not for the enormous influence that all this had on me.
11. Do you have any tracks in the works? Record label?
Yeap! just in these days, should be release “Thank You” remix by Artisan & Anki always on In Sessions/Infrasonic Recordings.
A track that I am extremely proud, and that you can listen a preview, on the latest episode of Explorer Club, number #43.
Other than this, currently, I have started working on another vocal track with a female singer, well known and whom, artistically, I have always loved.
But, the “behind the scenes”, for the moment, ends here. I’m sorry, but I don’t love to ruin surprises! (laughs)
12. Where have you performed? What venues?
Currently my live acts has been focused to the local reality only.
For different reasons.
In addiction, the current world situation, due to the pandemic, that we have all been called to face, of course, it is not helping us much to find new places available right now.
However, it is undeniable that before covid-19, thanks also to the contacts made between our managements with some Americans and European providers, it allowed me to start laying the basics for starting a much more extensive live activity.
13. Do You have any upcoming live shows?
No, in this moment, all the live shows are organized from home and/or in live streaming. No Club recording sessions, at the moment. Explorer Club series, is the only regular live show, right now.
14. Do you think you style/genre will change in the future?
Well, changes are part of the natural evolution of things.
And it’s an inevitable process.
Over time everything evolves, consequently, even music and same producers changes.
Personally I am more than happy with it. Try to imagine how boring it would be, doing the same things over and over again. No way!
15. Do you have a set time in the week when you practice?
Yes, since I seriously started in 2008 I still train at the console every day, for a couple of hours max.
Clearly, my actual daily training is very different from what you practice when you are starting out.
Obviously, I still feel the need to carve out a space for me, to dedicate exclusively to technique and tricks.
I love trying always new ways for smooth and melodic transitions.
However, training time, IMO, have always to be something funny to do, because boredom never brings good advice.
That’s why now every daily workout is rarely end in itself, but, in contrary is still always finalized to the next live set that I will play.
16. How do you choose the music for your DJ Session?
Generally I build a playlist with the most important releases of the month, based on different parameters.
A sort of compromise, between what I like, (songs by debut artists, and/or less famous included), chart’s most popular, the artist’s popularity and quality of the song itself.
From all this comes a definitive playlist with about a eighty / hundred max. of brand new songs (classics a part), which I will then propose over the month.
In this way, the most played songs are always established by the folks reaction.
Consequently, already after the first week, I have a fairly definitive idea on 60% of the monthly track list. The basis where the single show is built, while the remaining 40% varies from evening to evening.
17. How can your perspective fans learn more about you?
You can always follow me through the official website and the socials accounts linked to it.
Official website especially, is updated in real time with news, new stuff on the way, official collaborations, merchandising and much more.
You can subscribe to newsletter too, in this way you’ll be adviced through email, at each new update.
So, if I had to give you an advice, I say: Please check out www.vinceblakk.net (or .com) periodically.
Be the first, because all updates always start from there!
18. Is there anyone you would like to mention who has supported you in you DJ career?
There would be so many people to thanks, because all those who have been close to me, in all these years, have contributed, everybody in its own way, to help me reach the goals that I had set for myself, until now.
Anyway, if I really have to mention someone in particular, this is my mother.
In the end, I started to get passionate, listening all the music broadcast on the radio day by day, especially thanks to her, and his favorite radio stations.
Without this huge input, probably today, I would be, a completely different person.
19. Do you have any new release information you’d like to share?
Yes, like I already said before. In this days will be released my brand new remix of Artisan ft. Anki “Thank you”, always under “In Sessions (Infrasonic Rec.)”.
Is possible to listen a preview in the latest Explorer Club (#eClub43)
20. When Did you first become interested in music?
I started to get seriously interested, since I took my first guitar in my hands.
I was 12 years old, and at the beginning it was really complicated, I didn’t believe, until then, that it was so complicated bring out some decent sounds from a piece of wood with six nylon strings attached, damn! (laughs)
But, the initial difficulty did not demotivate me.
My parents realized this too, my mom in particular, so I started taking the first classical guitar lessons.
Then everything else, from that moment on, it was a direct consequence of all this. In other words everything is started from there for me.
21. What else do you do for fun besides DJ’ing?
Well, over the years I had several extra musical interests, although, in the end, I’ll always wanted to do more.
Unfortunately, the days are made of 24h’s only (laughs)
In any case, I did sports: football, martial arts, running, gym at a fairly high pace, always compatibly, to what were the commitments and musical priorities, of the moment. Clearly.
In recent years with the growth of work and family commitments, I needed to modify different things.
I have always been a science and technology lover.
Consequently, another one of my passions as a child: video games have quickly gone back to the top of my personal rating. (laughs)
In other words, it has been almost six years now that I have almost completely dedicated, in my free time, to videogames and games such as Gears Of War series, G.O.W 4 and Gears 5, especially.
Waiting for Cyberpunk 2077, always for Xbox of course.
I’m an huge XBox and Cyberpunk 2077 fan. XBox rules, damn!
Ok, ok, I shut up! Even stones know this, I know! (laughs).
22. Why did you choose to play electronic music
Well, when I started to be interested in music, as I said before, I was so much more interested to traditional sounds like rock but pop too. Consequently, I started to playing the guitar in different bands, but over the years, my dissatisfaction grew up until I decided it was time to give us a cut and try to do different things.
I grew up with the first personal computers, such as the “Commodore Vic 20”, the “Commodore 64” and the programming language called basic. then, the first Amiga and my first Atari ST …
I graduated from high school as a technician and hardware assembler.
This mean that I had reached a point in my life where I was carrying a wealth of technological culture that was not indifferent and that I was no longer using.
Something that I had to put aside, to continue with my guitar studies, at least, until I understood, that I could / should have put both my worlds together: music and computers.
As a result, I started learning how to compose the first phrases of electronic music on the PC. Something really easy, of course (The basic language of the commodore 64 was, in fact, a “basic” language) since daw stations such as Ableton, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cubase, did not even exist yet.
Simple harmonic loops, for guitar parts.
From then on, I never stopped, and after finishing my guitar studies at the “Centro Jazz” in Turin, I started to being, totally concentrated on how to produce professional electronic music. And here we are, the rest is history.
23. How would you rate the music scene in you home city?
Since I arrived, I have seen it change enormously over time.
Latin music, in general, was the undisputed queen everywhere not only in the clubs, apart some few, rare exceptions.
Then over time, also thanks to the many European (and U.S) DJs who started working in Costa Rica with continuity, even some type of house music, (in addition to trance and techno) have gradually conquered (new) space and (new) audience.
Obviously there is still a lot to do, but, “the hunger” and the growing interest of the people, for this kind of sounds, it bode well for the future.
Of course, latin music, still continues to be a sort of national-popular institution, rather than a simple musical genre, but, no matter!
As long will there is seat for everyone, everything will be fine.
24. Do you have any formal music education?
Yes, I have attended and obtained several specialization certificates in different guitar schools and guitar courses.
Between this, the most important experiences have certainly been: The four-year period at the Centro Jazz in Turin, and the off-site students years respectively at C.P.M. and Lizard of Fiesole in Florence.
Finally, as a producer, I studied advanced music production at the MAT Academy, with Ableton qualification.
Finally, the advanced djing course for off-site students of We Are Crossfeader of U.K.
Thanks you from all of us here at HNT Radio for giving us the time to speak with us today.
You can check out Vince Blakk Explorer Club show during his regular time slot which is every tuesday
| 6 PM (N.Y) | 11 PM (London) | 12 AM (Rome).
Thanks! House Music to Sooth the Soul.