Steve Bug on timeless tracks, back2backs and additional sets of ears
Steve Bug was already a legend back in 2007 when he became the cherry on Gravity’s birthday cake. No wonder Jäger Blow-Out have invited him back to Vilnius as the start of the new clubbing season definitely deserves a visit of a true veteran. His stakes are much higher now and he’s still the boss of Poker Flat and Dessous. Still travels a lot and buys vinyl, still helps the talented ones and – last but by no means least – still sports the unique ability of converting the gems of the past to something new yet unique. And he has time to answer my questions! See Steve Bug in Opium on September 18th.
Is buying vinyl just a habit for you now, like going to the gym, or do you ever find an occasion to spin them for other people?
It is another way to find good music. There are so many vinyl-only labels that release great stuff these days, it would be a shame to miss out on those. I usually record them to play them out digitally as I did before digital stores existed, but I also still collect vinyl and sometimes I even play a very rare vinyl only set.
What technical novelties in the DJ world have been the most exciting for you lately?
For me personally? Nothing really, Final Scratch. Nowadays Traktor Scratch has been the most exciting step into the digital world; I still use vinyl to control Traktor. The feeling of playing with turntables really makes a difference for me - I always hated the feeling of the CD players and still do. They simply feel like plastic and run so stable and tight that you don’t have to do anything after you pitched tracks in and started on the right point. Ok, It gives you opportunities to work differently (something that controllers do too) but in general I think playing computer music using a turntable gives it the most possible human feel to it. But again, in the end it doesn’t really matter; it is all about what comes out at the end and if you can take people on a journey.
Are you also a new gadget geek when talking about production? Who masters and polishes your tracks - or maybe you do it yourself?
Anybody who thinks he can master his tracks himself is a fool, unless he is a ‘real’ mastering engineer. I’d been mixing my tracks by myself for 20 years until I figured that it makes sense to have a second pair of ears, extra knowledge and plenty of gear that is built to mix down tracks. So these days I am mixing down my tracks with a mixing engineer and then have it mastered by a proper mastering studio, that’s the best way to make sure to get the best results.
Every party is different, of course, but generally a club is a club no matter where in the world it exists. Do you have enough time to really explore different countries and their culture as you visit so many of them? What spots in the world do you particularly love - not for parties, but for nature, etc.?
When you start to travel around the world you add extra time after the shows to explore the world. Once you do it for plenty of years, you want to go back home after your shows because you want to spend time there. But, when I go on an international 2 weeks tour, there is always some time to explore. I personally really like Japan, Yucatan (Mexico), Croatia and the German coastline.
What makes a dance music track truly timeless? Are there less timeless tracks being produced in recent days than in the past?
Well, the problem is that people always seek for something new. I know deejays that play nothing that’s older than 2 or 3 months. I mean, where’s the point? Ok there is plenty of new music, but is it really better? On the other hand there is so much music out there that tracks barely get noticed by a bigger audience. Unless they have an easy musical access, but these are the kind of tracks that you probably can’t ever hear again after hearing them out for a few month. So here’s the question, what makes a timeless track timeless? Simply the fact that you can still play it out years after its original release. And yes there are plenty of tracks out there; you just have to look for them.
How many seconds does it usually take for you to evaluate whether a track is good or shit? Or do you have someone do the promo scan for you?
It usually takes seconds to find out if a track is good or bad, maybe a few minutes to find out if it is for me, and sometimes it need another DJ to play it out to figure out if you made a mistake by not picking it up.
I don’t have someone to scan my promos, but I hardly listen to promos myself anymore - only from labels I have been following for a long time. There is so much worthless music out there that people bombard you with, so I’d rather dig myself; this way I find music that interests me and I don’t have to go through all that bullshit music. Ok, I might miss out on something, but if it is worth it, I will probably discover it sooner or later.
What are your biggest responsibilities on your labels - is it solely A&R or do you also worry about designs, distribution etc.?
I worry about everything, these are my babies. But of course I have a partner and people working at the office to make sure everything goes smooth. I can’t thank them enough.
How do you cope with music you love and believe in coming and going out of fashion?
Here’s my quote to that, ‘music is about passion, not about fashion’
What is the meaning behind the nickname 'Bug'?
A bug is a bug is a bug.
Have you ever had to convince people to be signed on Poker Flat? Or has the label spoken for itself since day 1?
I don’t convince people to do things they don’t want to do. It’s a free world.
What do you think were the key releases on Poker Flat that helped both the label and the artists to break through?
Don’t know, there have been too many of those.
What has been your most memorable back 2 back DJ set? Are you a fan of b2b?
In general I am not a big fan of b2b sessions, but it is always fun to play b2b with Josh Wink. I also had a great session with Marco Resmann the other night.
What is your relationship with Ibiza based on - do you remember your first time on the island; and what are the most memorable parties experienced there?
In 1990 I went to the island for the first time. I loved it so much, I spent all winter making money to come back in 1991 to spend the whole summer doing nothing but partying and relaxing. There have been many great parties, but I will always remember the mornings on the Space terrace when there was no roof and the airplanes would fly over our heads to land on the airport.
Is the island too commercialized these days?
In a way it was commercialized a long time ago already. But it became more commercial every year since. And unfortunately it has lost a lot of its true spirit. But it is still a nice place to go party or simply hang out.
You’re also a fan of BPM - is it because of Mexico itself or because of all the friends and fans that gather there..?
I simply love Playa, and what’s around it. I’ve played there before BPM even exists. The first time I went there weren’t any corporate stores; it changed so quickly, crazy to see.
One thing that you regret and would change if you could, in your career?
Nothing at all.
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D.D. 2004 - 2016
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