Tracking Down A-Trak

Published: October 6th 2010
in Culture » Music

DJ A-Trak
Pic: BIZ 3 Publicity

Tracking down A-Trak isn’t an easy task. The Montreal native has become one of the most sought after DJs and constantly tours North America and Europe.


It all started when A-Trak (born Alain Macklovitch) was a kid. He decided to get himself some turntables and a mixer with his Bar Mitzvah money and after rigorously practicing, he won the coveted DMC World Championships at the age of 15 -- the first of many awards to come.


In 2004, A-Trak was selected by Kanye West himself to be his Tour DJ. He’s since released a number of acclaimed DJ mixes, including FabricLive 45.   


He’s also founded a label called Fool’s Gold, which has launched the careers of artists like Kid Cudi. A-Trak took some time to talk to Shalom Life about his upcoming projects.




Most teens spend their Bar Mitzvah money on video games but you bought yourself some turntables. What drew you to become a DJ?


Well it's not as if I got some money for my Bar Mitzvah and thought, "What should I spend this on? Hey, I could become a DJ!" No, I was developing this passion for DJing, specifically for scratching, and decided to start taking it more seriously. At first I was just messing around with my dad's record player but I decided to get a real turntable. I was 13 at the time, and whatever money was in my bank account came from my Bar Mitzvah. And to dispel another myth, I didn't have one of those lavish Bar Mitzvahs where kids rake in thousands of dollars. I probably had a couple hundred in the bank. 




Because you started out so young, did you have trouble getting people to take you seriously at first?


The only people who were hesitant to take me seriously at first were my peers, the other DJs who had been doing this for years and saw me get a lot of attention fast. I was entering these DJ competitions and I think some of these guys were pissed off to see me win. But I kept at it. I won my first world championship after just 2 years of practice. When I got some backlash I remember thinking "I'll just win another title, and then another one, and then no one will be able to say anything." (Laughs) A little overconfident but hey, it worked! 




Both you and your brother (Chromeo's Dave 1) are involved with music. Do you come from a musical family?


The musical family is just my brother and me. Our parents definitely encouraged the arts though, in general. But no one else in the family plays music. Really it was just me following my big brother, he started playing the guitar around age nine and played in bands all throughout elementary school and high school. I took up the piano but eventually got bored. Then when I started DJing I finally felt like I found my own voice, something that none of my other friends could do. My brother used to show me off to his friends after school. "Look at what Alain can do!"




You toured with Kanye West. Any chance you’ll team up with him again in an upcoming tour?


I don't know. I still have a great relationship with Kanye, but touring is such a big undertaking with him. It's a huge commitment and I did it for 4 years. I still get the itch once in a while though. We'd have to come up with a great concept, something new. I doubt it would be anytime soon, both he and I have some projects to carry out. 




What’s the best place or event you’ve ever performed at?


Impossible to answer. I've done way too many shows, I probably have 10 favorites at least. 




Who would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t worked with?


Related articles: (DJ, A-Trak, Atrak, music, Kanye West)
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