Interview with DJ Antoine

MARK VAN HUISSELING meets… 

«DJ Antoine» Konrad

 Successful and a fine guy – could the music producer also relaunch himself as sympathetic and cool?

Have you already produced the summer hit 2014?» – «Today it has come out – ‹light it Up›.» (The conversation took place last Friday evening at the «Angels Bar» of the hotel «Radisson Blu» at Zurich airport.) «And that will be the summer hit?» – «I don’t know that, but it’s the first time I have a sample [excerpt of a music recording] in a, with quotation marks, hit – it’s ‹Tarzan Boy› in it, but only the Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Pro Sieben has entered with a giant campaign in Germany, for the first time with a younger act; Today is premiere, in the primetime.» – «And on the radio the piece is being played too?» – «In Switzerland It’s that they [music bosses] don’t say: ‹Oh, wow, DJ Antoine, we have already been waiting for it …› The Germans, the real big radios, say: ‹Finally he comes with the new single, we want to play it.›»

«DJ Antoine» Konrad, 38, is house disc jockey, music producer and label boss. He had his international breakthrough in 2011 with the single “Welcome to St. Tropez” (Wikipedia). His national breakthrough or – please excuse the formulation – diarrhea he had a few years earlier. What I want to say: With us, especially among opinion leaders and other people who understand themselves as connoisseurs of pop culture (including your columnist), finding him bad it is good taste. Namely both his music (because too commercial) as well as his appearance (because too bling). Personally, I like him – he is diligent, friendly, smart, and you can rely on him. Simply a professional. He lives with his girlfriend, a Dutch model, near Basel; he has a son from a previous relationship.

Unsexiest place in Switzerland

«You were in the studio today, in Olten, and after the conversation you fly to Düsseldorf – not really the axis of the cool.» – “I have to disagree: Düsseldorf is, regarding fashion and clubs, at a very high level. To our last party at the ‹Nachtresidenz› six weeks ago, even if that’s not your genre, came Paris Hilton. NRW [Nordrhein-Westfalen] is, regarding the purchasing power the most powerful catchment area throughout Germany.» – «And tonight you’re going to be performing in Düsseldorf again?» – «Even worse, in Bochum. There is a club, ‹Prater›, which has a capacity of 5000 people, a super-club. And Olten – unsexiest place in Switzerland, but gastronomically top, for example the ‹Traube› in Trimbach. And in the studio, in the house of my partner, ‹Welcome to St. Tropez› was created and ‹Ma Chérie› and ‹Bella Vita›, in the terrible Olten.» – «DJ Bobo said, shortened, he is artistically mediocrity, but as a manager and implementer of shows outstanding. How do you describe yourself?» – «I am the one with the commercial ear for the right hit, who knows how you have to market yourself and – do you still need something negative?» – «Needn’t be the case.» – «And endless will to arrive at the top. Bobo’s statement is self-critical, but it sounds as if he had already arrived.»

«Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh»: Konrad; disc jockey, music producer, label boss; 38. Image: Vera Hartmann

The moment for an upgrading of your music?

«At the moment, for example Pharrell Williams or Daft Punk are bringing out dance music world hits that critics and the audience love – – wouldn’t that be the moment for an upgrading of your music?» – «If you’re commercially successful, but you don’t have this certain coolness that Daft Punk or Pharrell Williams have, you’re also never gonna get it. You won’t succeed in changing that, you can never please everybody. Daft Punk, Pharrell or Yello have simply caught this track from the beginning, admirable. I wouldn’t be able to get that. And I don’t even want it. I can’t say: ‹Let’s stop – and become electronic, intellectual.›»

«There are also Swiss DJs who are found for good by critics – and earn very high gages, Luciano for example.» (Lucien «Luciano» Nicolet from Geneva, supposedly 30 000 to 70 000 Euro per performance.) «This is a phenomenon – if you ask in the street, no man knows him. And what he does musically, I find specially, actually the house from twenty years ago. But what I enjoy is: when the crowd sings along with my songs. That was my goal.» – «From the beginning you have performed as if you already were the pop or rap star. Did that hurt your career?» – «There are moments, when I look back, in which I find that it was perhaps a bit too much. But that’s my way, I couldn’t act more humbly. Because that’s fun for me. “

His favourite restaurant: «‹Wine Loft› and ‹Da Angela›.» «Caduff’s Wine Loft», Kanzleistrasse 126, Zurich, tel. 044 240 22 55. «Da Angela», Hohlstrasse 449, Zurich, tel. 044 492 29 31.