Never let it be said that the music and culture magazine, the Fader doesn't have their marketing game on lock.
This summer, Fader has been throwing secretish concerts around the country called Uncapped (to reflect VitaminWater's sponsorship).
Think of them as randomly appearing South by Southwest day parties — star or rising star artists in a small venue, exclusive access, a lot of marketing. The concerts have been hyped on social media platforms and can be accessed by RSVP on the Fader site. Stops have included Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles with a variety of artists showing up, including Zola Jesus, Rick Ross, Omarion, Santigold, Wale, Passion Pit and 2chainz.
Tonight's show takes place at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (The RSVP list is closed and the show is effectively sold out.) Two of the three participating artists have been revealed: Swedish electronic act Little Dragon and turntablist A-Trak, the Montreal DJ who moved from artsy instrumental hip-hop to becoming Kanye West's DJ and a successful electronic dance music (EDM) producer in his own right — few artists have bridged the hip-hop and EDM divide so cleanly.
A-Trak will also appear at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.
Born Alain Macklovitch in Montreal in 1982, Macklovitch won the prestigious DMC World DJ Championship in 1997 at the age of 15, both the youngest winner ever and the first Canadian.
"I played the piano before I started scratching, and I remember getting frustrated by the routine aspect of it," the 30-year-old DJ said by email over the weekend. "You learn a song, you do it at your music school's recital, you learn another song. I eventually gave up. When I started experimenting with scratching, it was exhilarating because I could do whatever I wanted with any record of my choice and it was up to me to figure out these cryptic techniques."
His first record was the brilliantly titled seven-inch single "Enter Ralph Wiggum" ("I was a huge ‘Simpsons' fan growing up," Macklovitch said), a slice of instrumental hip-hop that owed a fair amount to DJ Shadow's early sampledelic work. He also ran the record label Audio Research with his brother, David Macklovitch, of the band Chromeo.
Macklovitch's big break came in 2004, when Kanye West tapped Macklovitch to be his tour DJ. Macklovitch became a crucial part of the West live show and contributed scratches to West's "Late Registration" and "Graduation" albums.
"I realized Kanye was going to be a major artist when I started hearing his solo records, stuff like ‘Through The Wire' and ‘2 Words,' " Macklovitch said. "But I didn't know I would work with him until I met him. It all clicked at that moment, and it was pretty unexpected. I knew I wanted to DJ for a big artist, but it would only be someone that I was really a fan of."
Though Macklovitch says his relationship with hip-hop hasn't changed ("I'm still as much of a fan as when I was 13; the only difference is now I get to champion some rappers and give them a platform"), he's also expanded into dance music and rave culture, joining forces in 2009 with house producer Armand Van Helden for Duck Sauce, an extremely successful disco/house production outfit. "I never would have thought that I'd make a techno track," Macklovitch said. Yet, here we are.
As for tonight's gig in the River City, Macklovitch says something perhaps nobody has ever said: "I love Austin; it's a wonderful city. Reminds me of my hometown of Montreal."
A-Trak, you can leave your coat at home.
Contact Joe Gross at 912-5926.