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Marc Vedo- The Secrets Of Superstar DJ Success ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on February 19, 2007

According to his latest online biography ‘Marc Vedo has the complete package of the makings of a superstar DJ’, and asking the Koolwaters, Slinky, Escape impresario/ DJ what he thinks the key ingredients are, he’s immediately forthcoming and direct.

“Talent, mainly, it’s all about talent,” says Marc. “Though talent without vision is useless and vision without drive is useless. You have to have all three qualities.”

That he’s driven, focused and talented is immediately apparent from the large number of roles he sustains including managing English superclub Slinky’s record releases, running his own international events company Koolwaters and brand management for Wales’ biggest club Escape. Plus music production and DJing, which continues to occupy the rest of his remaining free time.

“It was always about the DJing, the only reason I decided to start my own promotion company when I was 17 was because I wanted to DJ,” he explains.

“What I’m trying to do is create a legacy, as sad as that might sound. I’ve always felt from a young age that I always wanted to leave a legacy in the industry and that’s what I’m striving to do. You can only leave a legacy with decades behind you,” he adds.

Spinning house and trance worldwide for over six years now, he’s clearly a man with a ‘bigger picture mission’ though he’s also acutely aware of the smaller details successful DJs require.

“You need to have top level technical abilities and a clear understanding of the music and what people like,” he continues, “You need to have an understanding of the era you’re in and what’s been before and understanding of the timing of the night, who’s played before you and all these things, which boil down to talent, perception and skill.

All top DJs have these qualities and also a certain drive as otherwise they’ll be happy with their lot and they’ll be talented local DJs playing in local clubs,” he adds.

Still just 25, he’s come a long way since moving to England ten years ago he was still less than fluent in English.

“I grew up in Portugal, in the Algarve up until I was 14 when I was sent to school in England. Which was a culture shock, to be honest, I didn’t know how to speak English properly, initially,” he says.

“When I was 17 I decided I wasn’t going to go to University and was instead going to throw myself into my first business which was promoting. I had my first company when I was 18 and decided to start straight away and learn from my mistakes.”

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Where are you at right now in terms of splitting your time between DJing and all the business?

Marc Vedo: “It’s been an interesting start to the year, I’ve been looking after Slinky interests for a month now which involves running the label, for which we’re just finishing off a compilation which is due to come out at the end of March. As well as marketing it, I’m also mixing it myself and that will be my actual debut compilation.  Alongside that we’re launching the Slinky record label which I’m fronting and looking after then on top of that we’ve got all the Slinky international events plus lots of tours up and down the country (UK). That’s one project, then I’ve also got Koolwaters, which is my own baby, which has also been taking off. We’ve had so many different events popping up in the last few days from Shrewbury to Haverford West, in Wales. Nottingham, London. We’re also currently putting together a massive tour for Boy George in Canada. I’ve just taken on a full-time guy for Koolwaters to handle a lot of that stuff. My other project is the Escape Club in Swansea which is the biggest club in Wales- I’ve just been made brand manager for there for the next two years, so  I’m now having to develop that brand and take it forward.”

Skrufff: And you’re DJing all the time as well . .

Marc Vedo: “All the time, I’ve just been looking at my diary and I’ve got all kinds of random gigs from Beijing to Singapore to Manila then back to London and on to Edmonton in Canada, then LA. In between I’ve got to keep all these projects juggling but I’ve looked at it and thought all these opportunities have suddenly come up but I’ve worked all my life to be here. I prefer to have them, hang on and work as hard as I can to keep it all going, rather than struggling to find opportunities. I’ve got so many goals I want to achieve and I feel I’m part of this industry now, it’s in my blood. I don’t plan on going anywhere, I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere until I’m at least in my 50s so I’ve got at least another 25 years ahead. I’m enjoying it. Because now I’m where I want to be.”

Skrufff: I’d imagine it will prove difficult for you to sustain all these commitments indefinitely, do you see a conflict of interests emerging further down the line?

Marc Vedo: “There is a conflict but instead of me seeing it as a problem I’ve come up with lots of solutions which involves different people taking on different tasks. The most interesting thing that’s emerged for me as I’ve taken on all this work is that as I’m passing the projects over to other people, I’m noticing that them juggling that one ball is a full time job for them. I also forgot to mention I’m also in the studio now more than ever and I’ve got so many different releases about to come out. Where I want to be is to have all the businesses running smoothly with people in place that I absolutely trust and will be there for me. My team now is really strong. I’ve made so many mistakes in my career before that I can now hopefully spot possible problems up ahead.  Over the last 2 years, touch wood, things have been developing really quickly with no major problems popping up. Hopefully I’m getting the hang of it.”

Skrufff: What have been some of the bigger mistakes you’ve made?

Marc Vedo: “Putting events together that with hindsight I’d have finished them much quicker and done things differently promotion-wise, or I wouldn’t have worked with people because they didn’t deliver, Or putting on events in the wrong clubs, those type of things. With experience you find out who the blaggers (fake people) are, and who’s good to work with and how to fast-track lots of problems, to go straight to the top to resolve issues. To make the deal rather than waste time,”

Skrufff: Where did the DJing come in?’

Marc Vedo: “It was always about the DJing, the only reason I decided to start my own club promotion company when I was 17 was because I wanted to DJ. I spent so long preparing my mixtapes and sending them out to people and there was this one particular club in Taunton I kept sending tapes to and they kept saying ‘yeah, come down, you’re booked’ then I’d turn up on the night and every time I turned up they cancelled me on the night. I was like ‘God, I just want to DJ’ and I started to think about how I could get to play in the club without them cancelling me. I came up with the idea of hiring the club, thinking ‘at least they won’t cancel me, and I’ll get to play’ and that’s where the idea of promoting came from. Then I thought, if I can do it once, why don’t I do it a couple more times. Then I started thinking ‘why don’t I do this in other cities? Then different counties- and different countries and different continents. It’s all grown from there.”

Skrufff: You cheerfully use the word ‘trance’ throughout your biog, Gareth Emery told us recently he considers 95% to be ‘cheesy bollocks’ how do you view the term?

Marc Vedo: “It’s a dirty word in certain circles and in others it’s everything. I think it’s a genre of music with a lot more to it than people who don’t like it, understand. It’s like with house, you have minimal house, funky house, dirty house, whatever, with trance you’ve got hard trance, tech-trance, uplifting trance, driving bouncy trance. It can be soft and mellow, euphoric and fast, dark and deep. It depends in what context you mean trance. Some of the stuff out there though, cheesy, crappy poppy trance, is certainly awful. That’s probably the stuff Gareth was referring to because he’s a trance DJ too.”

Skrufff: So you’re a trance AND house DJ?

Marc Vedo: “I’m definitely down the middle, people have always asked me and I can never decide. I’ve played so much house in my life yet I’ve also played trance. I can’t choose.”

Skrufff: A few years back you were one of Britain’s 50 most eligible bachelors, are you still single now?

Marc Vedo: “No, now I’m engaged, we’re getting married in about 18 months time.”

Skrufff: Does your fiance work in the music business too?

Marc Vedo: “No, she’s a psychologist, she’s changed me for sure and, er added a lot to my character.”

Skrufff: What’s she added particularly?

Marc Vedo: “Common sense- and more direction actually.”

Skrufff: When were you were nominated as one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors did that bring you loads of gorgeous admirers?

Marc Vedo: “Unwanted attention? Yes, a little bit. Some weird people came along because of that to be honest. They had letters sent to Company magazine from random girls wanting to meet up. Some of them were very strange. I got approached at gigs a few times too because at the same time that came out in Company magazine they did a filming of the Bachelors Ball on ITV then the Sun did a centre page spread of the top 10 bachelors that Kelly Brock had picked out of the top 50, I was in her top 10 so that added an extra spin. For a while it raised people’s awareness of what I was doing. Which was great as I could expose my music to even more people.”

Skrufff is the fame thing in any way seductive?

Marc Vedo: “It has to be there, if you didn’t have that fame element you wouldn’t be able to play at gigs where 2,000 people turn up. I’m not in it to be adored or anything like that it’s all about the music and playing to big crowds of people, you need exposure and exposure comes with fame and you have to be able to take what comes with the job, It’s quite difficult to be in this job if you’re a shy person.”

Skrufff: Have you had any periods in your career when you’ve had crises of confidence or gigs have dried up?

Marc Vedo: “Oh yes, but you end up coming out with more drive at the end of it.”

Skrufff: What kind of situations knocked your confidence?

Marc Vedo: “The whole Boy George bust incident in New York last year was a massive blow to be honest. We were touring the world, life was great, we’d just done three years of travelling with fantastic gigs then George went and got himself caught by the police in New York, as you obviously know. He cancelled three months worth of gigs following that, which was about 20 gigs which totally destroyed my plans for that three months. It also dented my confidence a lot, from a DJ point of view. Not because of the money but because you’re at home at the weekend thinking ‘shit, I should be out playing, it’s Friday, it’s Saturday’. I wasn’t so I started doubting my ability thinking ‘why aren’t I out? Is it because people don’t want me to play?’. All of those doubts crept in but the reality was that I was put in a situation through someone else’s actions. That sounds like I’m shifting the blame but if George hadn’t pulled out of all those gigs I would have still been DJing. So some insecurity crept in during that period.

Afterwards though I became even more determined and independent to make sure that I’m never going to be reliant on someone else like that again. I supported him for years and he exposed my name all over the world for years, which was hugely positive but I needed to learn a lesson which was I needed to stand on my own two feet which is what I’m doing now.”

Skrufff: Are you still friends with George now?

Marc Vedo: “I am, and we’re going on tour again in April.”

Jonty Skrufff (