Peter Rauhofer & Victor Calderone
by Matt Kalkhoff

New York City is ground zero for many of America’s most talented and successful DJs, producers, and remixers, but two in particular dominate the spotlight by consistently impressing and electrifying hordes of dance music enthusiasts around the world. Victor Calderone and Peter Rauhofer, both individually and as a team, have remixed and created some of the most popular and critically acclaimed dance records of the past several years. We caught up with both of them recently to discuss their new continuous mix CDs, their past accomplishments, and their current and future projects.


Tracking down the elusive Grammy award winner has never been easy, but considering his unbelievably hectic schedule, it’s really not surprising. After a three-week vacation in Australia over the holidays, Peter returned to his hometown of Vienna, Austria in January to work on some high-profile productions. Madonna recruited him to remix "Impressive Instant," scheduled for release in June following "What It Feels Like For A Girl," and Jennifer Lopez will get the Rauhofer treatment on her next single, "Play." Depeche Mode has also asked Peter for his help on their new album’s second single, "I Feel Loved," scheduled for release in May.

Further cultivating his symbiotic relationship with the Pet Shop Boys, Peter will be releasing their new single, "Break For Love," on his Star 69 label. The song was originally planned for a "Best Of" album, but due to their work on a musical and its accompanying soundtrack (and since the song was Peter’s idea), PSB will grace Peter’s new label with their collaborative effort. On the heels of a successful revival of another 80s pop group, Book of Love, Peter has also signed Frankie Goes To Hollywood. He will release his new mixes of "Relax," as well as the group’s other hit songs, on the American version of their "Best Of" album. Celeda, Suzanne Palmer (Club 69), and Lula will also be recording full-length albums for Star 69 later this spring.

Dynamic Duos

Many DJs and producers in the dance music industry have found inspiration and new outlets for creativity by teaming up with other like-minded artists. Following in the grand tradition of Deep Dish, Thunderpuss, and Sasha & Digweed, Peter joined forces with Victor Calderone last year to create The Collaboration. Their first project, a remake of the Clivilles & Cole classic "Do It Properly" featuring Deborah Cooper, had a massive impact on dance floors worldwide. They followed up with a breathtaking remix of Madonna’s "Skin." Peter will take the concept to the next level by producing an album of collaborative tracks that will pair him with sundry other artists and producers, including the above-mentioned "Break For Love" with PSB.

In the meantime, Peter’s fans can experience the essence of his label through his new beatmix CD, "This is Star Sixty Nine." He was initially worried that people might not appreciate the CD’s concept, but happily reports that it has been very well received thus far. Although the songs are continuously mixed by Peter, he insists it is not a mix CD in the traditional sense, nor is it meant to showcase him as an artist. "It’s a Best of Star 69 CD," he explains. "It’s the best way to introduce my label. I think this is a good opportunity to have the whole package and say, Here we are."

It’s difficult to narrow the CD’s 13 tracks down to a few select highlights, but Celeda’s "The Underground," Magic Cucumber’s "Stand Up," That Kid Chris’ "Satisfied," The Collaboration’s "Do It Properly," and Dynamix feat. Tina Ann’s "Don’t Want Another Man" can’t help but stand out. Not one to let any grass grow under his feet, Peter is already planning to release Volume 2 in the very near future.

How he’ll find the time is anyone’s guess, but Peter will also be blending the next "Essential Mix" compilation for London-Sire. "I’m really excited about that because this is really my very first CD where I choose what I want to put on it," he proudly reports. "This will represent my own personal taste, how I see the whole thing at the moment."

When he’s not in the studio or anchored to his desk, Peter regularly puts his talents on display for live audiences at some of the hottest venues in the country and around the world. Once-a-month residencies at Roxy, Limelight and Spa keep him in touch with the New York crowd, while Gay Pride events in San Diego, Los Angeles and Toronto will round out his early summer schedule.

Diva 2 Diva

Peter anticipates working on a follow-up venture with Victor Calderone sometime this summer. He already has the perfect song in mind, one that he’d like to see recorded as a duet between Deborah Cooper and Loleatta Holloway. Despite his good working relationship with Victor, Peter is always amazed that so many people in New York expect drama and competition to erupt between them. "People always see us as enemies," he says. "People cannot imagine that we are friends. We don’t need each other – we just do it for fun, and people can’t imagine that. We did it because our sound is similar, we respect each other, and we like each other’s work – that is why we decided to work together."

But drama is nothing new to Peter, and he has plenty of anecdotes to prove it. Perhaps the most colorful, if not unfortunate, are the stories behind the licensing fiasco for the ubiquitous "Don’t Want Another Man," and an ill-fated gig in Philadelphia this past winter. Without going into too many gory details, let’s just say that Peter will never work with Kult Records again nor will he be spinning at Philly’s Transit, Gasoline, or Club 2-4 anytime soon. These are prudent business decisions he made to both protect his reputation and preserve his dignity as an artist.


No stranger to drama himself, Victor Calderone continues to rise above the fray to enjoy a spectacular year that has already included many notable professional accomplishments. His disappointment in being overlooked for a Grammy nomination in the Remixer of the Year category aside, Victor takes comfort in the remarkable relationship he shares with Madonna. Basking in the afterglow of the wildly successful remixes he did for the first two singles from her latest album, "Music," Victor reports that he "just finished ‘What It Feels Like For A Girl.’ I didn’t do a dance mix, though, because for the last single, ‘Don’t Tell Me,’ I went into the studio and did kind of an experimental down-tempo vibey mix, and she really liked it. She wanted me to do that again, so I did this cool electronic down-tempo mix that I’m really excited about."

Destiny’s Child, whose colossal hit "Independent Women (Part I)" topped the Billboard charts for several months, has once again enlisted Victor to remix "Survivor," the first single from the group’s new album. In addition to his work with the ravishing trio, Victor is currently retooling and updating Information Society’s late 80s hit, "Running," as part of a special 20th Anniversary CD for Tommy Boy. The opportunity to remix Mandalay’s "Beautiful" was also a truly unique honor for Victor as the song was one of his and wife Athena’s favorites when they first discovered the group at Madonna’s recommendation a few years ago. The song also appears on his new Tommy Boy compilation, E=VC2, Volume 2.

As is often the case in the world of dance music, licensing difficulties and other set-backs delayed the release of this follow-up compilation for many months. Diligent efforts paid off in some instances, though, leaving Victor genuinely pleased with the end result. He’s particularly excited to have included his mix of Mary Mary’s "Shackles (Praise You)" and The Collaboration’s mix of Madonna’s "Skin," two versions that were peculiarly not previously released.

E=VC2 Volume 2

The campy bitch-track (remember those?) "The Door" by Alan T leads off the effort, while Satoshi Tomiie’s "Sneaky One," Massiv’s "Who Am I," and Xzique’s "Outside Looking In" assure that the CD, released on March 20th, is diverse in its offerings. While this second volume has a much more progressive edge than its predecessor, and is distinctly less commercial in its appeal, one song in particular is destined to dominate dance floors and music charts for many months to come. Some serious studio sessions with vocalist Deborah Cooper eventually spawned Victor’s first original track in several years. The end result, "Are You Satisfied," is utterly sublime in both its extraordinary composition and its flawless execution. This is diva house at its best, and Victor has once again proven that he is a master of this classic genre.

There are many limitations arbitrarily imposed when compiling a beatmix CD, so Victor offers the following caveat to listeners. "The thing about compilations is that I don’t look at it as representing me or my DJing," he says. "I think it represents the moment in time of that period of music that was out. I don’t ever want one compilation of 74 minutes to represent me or my DJing." In addition to licensing, Victor found it rather challenging to edit certain selections for brevity. "You can only fit so much [on a CD]," he says. "‘Skin’ was [originally] a 13-minute mix. I couldn’t edit out any of the vocals because it really would have changed the song." This is one example of the many obstacles DJs encounter when trying to offer a wide variety of music while maintaining each individual songs’ integrity and substance.

A Kinder, Gentler Victor

After the Winter Music Conference in Miami, Victor will return to the studio to work with Sally Ellison, an aspiring singer he recently discovered. "She’s in a band called Hem," he explains. "I heard them by chance and I fell in love with her silky voice and her style of vocals. I approached her and asked if she would be interested in doing some studio work, and she was totally looking for that, so it wound up being the right situation at the right time."

As evidenced by his recent interpretations of Madonna’s singles, Victor has been yearning to explore a more ambient style of music. This project, which he will produce, offers the perfect opportunity. "It’s going to be a totally different direction for me, something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time," he explains. "It’s not dance music, so there are so many different options available to me. I don’t have to sit there and say, Oh, I’ve done this before, so it’s totally open to new and different ideas. We’re just going to experiment and have fun."

An Orgy of Light, Sound & Skin

Victor’s residency at New York’s famed Roxy has left him feeling a bit frustrated and worried lately that his creativity and performances are being stifled by the owner’s reluctance to update equipment or invest any money in the overall club. These feelings were likely exacerbated during Victor’s recent trip to Tel Aviv where he spun at the opening of Israel’s first major dance club. "It was amazing," he recalls. "It was such a beautiful club. It’s amazing how much they put into the event – just into one night. They almost make us look like amateurs over here." He’s hoping recent meetings with the owner of Roxy will yield some major changes, but the situation has prompted him to explore alternative options. Although he does hope to continue his residency at Roxy, Victor will try his hand at producing his first large-scale event during New York’s Gay Pride Weekend in late June. The party, seductively billed as "Caligula 2001: A Roman Orgy," will take place at the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom, and is expected to host more than 4,000 nocturnal revelers.

"It’s a way that I can give back to the gay community for all they’ve done for me," Victor says. "They’ve let me entertain them for a long time and given me the opportunity to play a lot of these events, and I feel like I want to give something back." James Andersen will open the night at 10:00 p.m. with Victor eventually taking over to play until 8:00 a.m. Kevin Aviance will host the evening that currently includes scheduled performances by the Men of Strength contortionists, and Deborah Cooper who will no doubt be belting out "Pride (A Deeper Love)" and "Are You Satisfied." Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, a special performance is planned for the evening that will surely impress even the most jaded nightclub connoisseurs. Victor has hired a 50-piece orchestra to perform the defining club staples "Relentless" and Brainbug’s "Nightmare" live for what is sure to be an out of control crowd. Definitely an event not to be missed.

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Peter Rauhofer and Victor Calderone exemplify the true value of determination, dedication, and persistence in the music industry. Each has paid his requisite dues, and is now reaping the rewards of countless years of hard work. Their legions of professional accomplishments notwithstanding, it is clearly evident that we have only witnessed the beginning of two fiercely influential and profoundly prolific musical careers.

© 2001 Matt Kalkhoff
This article was featured at on March 26, 2001.