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Loco Dice - Let The Dice Roll

Author: Nina Bertok
Monday, May 4, 2009

He’s been on many wishlists to tour Australia for years and finally the prayers have been answered. This week, for the first time ever in Australia, German electronic DJ Loco Dice will be playing.

Want to piss of one of Germany’s biggest electronic DJ/producers Loco Dice- It’s pretty easy – just call him ‘minimal’ and watch the man get fired up.

“I don’t understand why people have labeled me that,” he says. “I’m not a minimal DJ. I think that at the time the whole minimal thing started I remember I was in Ibiza and I was very bored with stuff I was hearing so I decided to bring more Detroit and drums into the game. It made me a little different and then the minimal movement started by that time so a lot of young producers started to follow it and minimal became a huge hype. It’s funny because when you looked at what I was playing and what the real minimal DJs were playing, you couldn’t even compare it, it was totally different.”

No, Loco Dice cannot be boxed in – as he points out, a typical set is anything but typical, managing to cover everything from techno to electro and house.

“I’ve never been the kind of DJ to play one sound in my set, I play everything you can throw at me and that’s why people don’t know what to expect from my playlists,” he offers. “So how about I don’t say anything about my Australian set and you don’t say anything about what Australia is like – I would like to experience it for the first time entirely through my own eyes.”

Strange comment indeed, but not exactly unexpected from a DJ who’s built a reputation on exploring unknown territories. Rewind a decade and you’d find Loco Dice producing rap tunes and blowing up the stages of Germany’s biggest RNB clubs. The decision to completely switch genres was initially a hard one, as he recalls, but ultimately the best one he’d ever made.

“It was difficult because I was broke from one day to the next,” he says. “I had no job, I couldn’t pay the rent. I’d just gone from hip hop into house and electro and nobody knew me in that scene. At first the transition comes slowly and then without you even realising it, it takes off really fast after that. I guess it happened when I started going from hip hop parties to house and techno parties and I liked the music but I had no clue about it so I slowly started to learn about it. On top of that hip hop became so boring at the end of the ’90s – its glory days were over as far as I was concerned. I was looking forward at that time, I wanted something else and I found it in electronic music. Electronic DJs can play their emotions, you can feel the vibes, the music tells a story.”

Although Loco Dice parted ways with hip hop music as a career, he never really disconnected himself from the scene itself, he insists.

“Oh, I’m still very much hip hop, even today,” he states. “I was living hip hop then and I’m still living it now. All my friends are in hip hop, you can’t just leave what you are. It’s funny because a lot of them come to my shows but there’s a handful that just stay well away from it, they just cannot get into it, which is okay with me – they’re still friends, you know- In the beginning it wasn’t just my friends that were like, ‘what the hell are you doing-’ it was also a lot of the people in the German dance scene. Some of the big DJs were looking at me very suspiciously like, ‘what the fuck do you want-’ but other people were just interested.”

While Loco Dice claims a part of the reason he was put off hip hop was due to its pop leanings, he also cites Timbaland and Pharrell Williams as fellow producers he would one day like to collaborate with.

“I don’t want to name any names but it went downhill for me when people started taking ’80s hits and making them hip hop,” he says. “Even now hip hop is very pop. All the old cats like Public Enemy and EPMD don’t get the proper respect they deserve for what they did for hip hop. On the other hand there are some new cats like Timabland and Pharrell who are very good and who are able to combine pop, electronica and hip hop but still keep it real.”

But it isn’t the big players in the game that inspire Loco Dice at the end of the day – it’s the up-and-comers with nothing to lose that send shivers up this DJ’s spine.

“Sometimes you just watch them and you’re blown away,” he says. “That’s true inspiration for me. It’s the no-name DJs that just do residencies at a club or whatever and they come a couple of hours before your set so you get to listen to them. It’s amazing because you can see they have no pressure over them, they’re just doing their thing, they know they’re not the headliner and they just let go. Because they have no hits, they combine new school and old school together and come up with something pretty incredible a lot of the time – how can you not be inspired by that- That’s evolution right there.”

That magic island of Ibiza serves as yet another major inspiration in Loco Dice’s music and life, he adds. “You have to go to Ibiza,” he warns. “No, seriously, you have to go there. Anybody who is anybody goes to that island and they’re never the same again. It’s the vibe of the whole place that makes you fall in love with it, it really is pretty magic. It’s the Mecca of electronic music but you can hear all different styles, it’s not just one thing. Ibiza is something that you look forward to every year. It’s like the magical island of music.”

WHO: Loco Dice
WHAT: Plays The Likes of You at Manning Bar
WHEN: Saturday 16 May