From an early age when he was immersing himself in his father’s record collection, to his time spent with legendary Greek collective NON, through to the formation of the And:ID and Band collective, And:ID is a man who has refused to be tied down and pigeonholed. We recently caught up with him to chat about all of this and a whole lot more.
What are you earliest memories of music?
I remember being very young and going to free jazz concerts with my father.
Why do you think it captivated you so much?
I was captivated by the way the musicians used to perform; being able to talk to each other and expressing themselves through their instruments.
You’ve said that you were completely absorbed in your father’s record collection when you were younger. What were you listening to back then?
I was listening to Vangelis, Demis Roussos, Jean Michele Jarre, Billy Cobahm, Santana, bands like Boston and Simply Red. Of course all of these were my father’s selections. When I was finally able to find the way to the record store on the next corner I was able to select my own favourite records; records like Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was the first one that caught my attention.
How did you get into Djing?
I started to play some favourites in house parties that we did as young kids. A friend of mine was organising underground parties which I used to attend. He asked me to play at one of his parties and I started to be a regular in the city. Then I got my first residency in the infamous Isalos bar (my track Isalos is a tribute to that place) in my hometown, which was the place to be back in the day. I used to play every Saturday night for a minimum of 6-7 hours. That was a great experience, as I learned how to play longer sets and mix different styles of house music.
What type of music did you used to mix with back then? Does any of it still creep into your sets these days?
I used to mix freestyle and later I moved to house. Labels like Svek, early Classic records and Planet E, and artists like Innerzone Orchestra and Masters at Work were always in my record bag.
What do you look for on the dance floor to know you’ve made that connection with the crowd?
Good vibes, smiles and dancing.
What tracks are rocking your sets of late?
As I play more live shows at the moment there are few of my own tracks that work pretty good on the dancefloor: ‘My People’ on Taverna Tracks; ‘Erotica’ on Mobilee.
As well as DJing, you produce your own music. How did you get into that?
In my case production came first. I used to attend house and techno parties and electronic music concerts; Thessaloniki in the 90’s use to have a big underground scene. I was more interested in producing the music rather than play the records. My first gigs were live gigs. I remember carrying my desktop pc and a bunch of gear around, setting up and improvising. Even if I wasn’t DJing at that time, I used to collect records and album cd’s from my favourite artists.
Who are the major influences on both you as a DJ and a producer?
DJ Harvey, as he has the unique ability to work a dance floor for more than 8-9 hours non-stop, playing all kinds of music and creating different kinds of emotions. Also, Theo Parrish, for his unique mixing and production skills. Motor City Drum Ensemble, Floating Points and Vakula are some of my favourite new age producers at the moment.
You were involved with the Greek artist collective NON. What sort of things were you doing back then? How have those days influenced you as an artist? Would you like to go back and do it again?
I was more or less promoting parties and helping the production of Reworks Festival. Being able to see how things were from the inside made me appreciate and understand the job and the pressure that a promoter has in order to organise a gig or a bigger event. I know exactly what is happening behind the scenes in festivals and clubs around the world in order for an artist to perform. I was familiar with technical problems, travel issues and all kinds of problems that can occur before even I started traveling by myself to play.
In 2010, you recorded a compilation for Mobilee’s ‘Back to Back’ compilation series, including a second disc for which you formed the And.ID and B.A.N.D. collective to record live jazz interpretations of mobile classics. Can you tell us more about this ambitious project? How did it come about? Was it something you’d always wanted to do? How difficult was it? Would there be anything you’d change about it when you look back now?
That was something that I have had in mind for a long time. With the ‘Back to Back’ compilation I got the opportunity to form and materialise my idea. It was a brand new territory for me, working with professional musicians and using professional recording equipment for the first time. It wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined it could be. I worked a lot of hours going back and forth to Berlin and Thessaloniki to finalise this project. I am very happy with the result and wouldn’t change anything. There are few things from the band that are in progress and, when the right time comes, I am going to release the next record.
You’ve just released ‘My People’ on Taverna Tracks. Can you tell us some more about that?
Taverna Tracks is a new label from Berlin. It’s the brain child of Stassy, a good friend of mine and the mastermind behind the infamous Techno Taverna nights in Berlin. We are often touring together and he listened to this track while I was performing live and he asked me to release it. Adding two excellent remixes from New York based Alix Alvarez, we pressed the record which came out couple weeks ago.
What else is upcoming on your horizons for the rest of 2014?
For the next few months I am touring live in Europe playing some Mobilee showcases and festivals. Production wise, I am currently finishing a remix for Detlef on Viva Music and for Echonomist on Rotary Cocktail, which will both come out later this year.
You get to tour the world playing your music to a whole range of people. Where have you most enjoyed playing and why?
Being able to tour all around the world and play in front of different audiences is a unique experience itself. I really enjoy when I get to play in my hometown in Thessaloniki. I’ve held a residency there for many years and I know the crowd. Usually I am playing longer sets and that’s something I enjoy doing from time to time.