He’s called the French Ambassador to lounges by some, but most would know him by a 2000 collection of songs he selected and mixed.
That collection -“ Night At The Playboy Mansion -“ made him a name among people who would never otherwise have heard music like it. Even now, he says, he gets more requests for the PlayboyÂ songs than anything else.
It gives me a mixed feeling, he says.
I can’t blame them for asking. They got in, they paid at the door and they want to hear their favourite songs. I say, -˜Guys, you’ve got the CD at home,’ but I don’t have the heart to say no. I mean, I’ve chosen those records, I think they’re good records -“ it’s just they’ve been played out a bit.
So what does the DJ who shuns festivals, the mix-master who has never set foot inside a rave party, have to say about the state of dance music? Quite a lot, actually.
For some reason house music turned into pop music and it
lost a bit of its original vibe. House music has always been like a homemade thing, and then it became this pop thing and it kind of got out of hand. Record companies bled it dry, a lot of people got on the bandwagon for the wrong reasons -“ just to try and make money, he says.
The quality of things was totally wearing thin. It’s now going back to what it was supposed to be and I think it’s great. I was there before it became pop and I want to be there after, and I want to keep on doing what I’ve liked doing since I was a kid.
What he’s liked doing since he was a kid is remixing, performing for smaller, mad-for-it crowds and making music. He has an album of original tracks out in Japan (which is to be released in Australia later this year) and a soon-to-be-released collection Dimitri From Paris In The House.
I was thinking of doing a new compilation and pretty much at the same time Defected rang me up and asked me to do something for their label. I’ve respected the label for a while, it’s always been consistently high quality, and it’s an independent label. It’s also a very small operation; all of them are really young kids except for the boss, who’s been DJing for about 20 years. It’s all music people doing what they like, so for me it was really the right people to do it with, he says.
The major record companies right now are dumping anything that’s kind of dance music or electronic music oriented. They kind of used it for a while and, now they think they can’t make big bucks from it, they’ve moved onto something else. So it’s good to work with people who are really into that kind of music rather than people who are just in it for the gold.
I wanted to make a selection of the songs that are my personal classics, songs that I’ve been playing for the past two or three years that have got a good reaction from people. Also songs that I wasn’t hearing everywhere, that I was one of a few people, if not the only person, playing them. I wanted to showcase these songs to people who wouldn’t necessarily know them. So I put together a collection of things that start from the mid-70s and go up to today with producers that I like, like DJ Gregory, or Shakedown, or Louie Vega. It’s really like a concentration of what I could do in a seven- or eight-hour set.
I want it to be interesting. I want it to be attentive, not just putting it on and forgetting about it.
As far as favourite music goes, Dimitri says he has trouble finding new stuff he likes as much as old stuff -“ in fact, he really only likes about two records a year, he says. He strives to strike a balance between the music he loves, and the music he knows the world will love.
You have to find a middle ground, to please them and please yourself. You have to find a balance -“ a lot of times I feel like I have to play the things that people expect from me but you do have to push things forward a bit.
When I get the room jumping, that’s what makes me happy. Whatever I play, I feel the most important thing is that people globally have a good time.
At the moment Dimitri is listening to some of the music coming out of France (not just the filtered Daft Punk sound), and loving the club scene in Japan.
It’s really good, very comfortable. Everyone’s well behaved. They don’t fight and they don’t puke on you, they just get high on their own and have this permanent smile on their face, which makes you feel good.
Dimitri From Paris In The House will be released by Shock Records this month. Cruising Attitude, an album of original music, will be released later this year.