New York City is ground zero for many of Americas 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.
THIS IS PETER RAUHOFER
Tracking down the elusive Grammy award winner has never been easy, but considering
his unbelievably hectic schedule, its 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 albums
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 Peters idea), PSB will grace Peters 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 groups 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.
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 Madonnas "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, Peters 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 CDs 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. "Its a Best of Star 69 CD,"
he explains. "Its the best way to introduce my
label. I think this is a good opportunity to have the whole
package and say, Here we are."
Its difficult to narrow the CDs 13 tracks
down to a few select highlights, but Celedas "The
Underground," Magic Cucumbers "Stand Up,"
That Kid Chris "Satisfied," The Collaborations
"Do It Properly," and Dynamix feat. Tina Anns
"Dont Want Another Man" cant 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 hell find the time is anyones guess,
but Peter will also be blending the next "Essential Mix"
compilation for London-Sire. "Im 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 hes 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 hed 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 dont need each other we just do it for fun,
and people cant imagine that. We did it because our
sound is similar, we respect each other, and we like each
others 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 "Dont Want Another Man," and
an ill-fated gig in Philadelphia this past winter. Without
going into too many gory details, lets just say that
Peter will never work with Kult Records again nor will he
be spinning at Phillys 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
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 didnt
do a dance mix, though, because for the last single, Dont 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 Im really excited about."
Destinys 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 groups new album. In addition
to his work with the ravishing trio, Victor is currently retooling
and updating Information Societys late 80s hit, "Running,"
as part of a special 20th Anniversary CD for Tommy Boy. The
opportunity to remix Mandalays "Beautiful"
was also a truly unique honor for Victor as the song was one
of his and wife Athenas favorites when they first discovered
the group at Madonnas recommendation a few years ago.
The song also appears on his new Tommy Boy compilation, E=VC2,
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. Hes particularly excited to have
included his mix of Mary Marys "Shackles (Praise
You)" and The Collaborations mix of Madonnas
"Skin," two versions that were peculiarly not previously
E=VC2 Volume 2
The campy bitch-track (remember those?) "The Door"
by Alan T leads off the effort, while Satoshi Tomiies
"Sneaky One," Massivs "Who Am I,"
and Xziques "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 Victors 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
dont 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 dont 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 couldnt 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. "Shes 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 Madonnas
singles, Victor has been yearning to explore a more ambient
style of music. This project, which he will produce, offers
the perfect opportunity. "Its going to be a totally
different direction for me, something that Ive been
wanting to do for a long time," he explains. "Its
not dance music, so there are so many different options available
to me. I dont have to sit there and say, Oh, Ive
done this before, so its totally open to new and different
ideas. Were just going to experiment and have fun."
An Orgy of Light, Sound & Skin
Victors residency at New Yorks famed Roxy
has left him feeling a bit frustrated and worried lately that
his creativity and performances are being stifled by the owners
reluctance to update equipment or invest any money in the
overall club. These feelings were likely exacerbated during
Victors recent trip to Tel Aviv where he spun at the
opening of Israels first major dance club. "It
was amazing," he recalls. "It was such a beautiful
club. Its amazing how much they put into the event
just into one night. They almost make us look like amateurs
over here." Hes 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 Yorks 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.
"Its a way that I can give back to the gay
community for all theyve done for me," Victor says.
"Theyve 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 youve
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 Brainbugs "Nightmare"
live for what is sure to be an out of control crowd. Definitely
an event not to be missed.
You Aint 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