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, hes immediately forthcoming and direct.
Talent, mainly, its 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 hes driven, focused and talented is immediately apparent from the large number of roles he sustains including managing English superclub Slinkys 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 Im trying to do is create a legacy, as sad as that might sound. Ive always felt from a young age that I always wanted to leave a legacy in the industry and thats what Im 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, hes clearly a man with a bigger picture mission though hes 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 youre in and whats been before and understanding of the timing of the night, whos 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 theyll be happy with their lot and theyll be talented local DJs playing in local clubs, he adds.
Still just 25, hes 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 didnt know how to speak English properly, initially, he says.
When I was 17 I decided I wasnt 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: Its been an interesting start to the year, Ive been looking after Slinky interests for a month now which involves running the label, for which were just finishing off a compilation which is due to come out at the end of March. As well as marketing it, Im also mixing it myself and that will be my actual debut compilation. Alongside that were launching the Slinky record label which Im fronting and looking after then on top of that weve got all the Slinky international events plus lots of tours up and down the country (UK). Thats one project, then Ive also got Koolwaters, which is my own baby, which has also been taking off. Weve had so many different events popping up in the last few days from Shrewbury to Haverford West, in Wales. Nottingham, London. Were also currently putting together a massive tour for Boy George in Canada. Ive 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- Ive just been made brand manager for there for the next two years, so Im now having to develop that brand and take it forward.
Skrufff: And youre DJing all the time as well . .
Marc Vedo: All the time, Ive just been looking at my diary and Ive 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 Ive got to keep all these projects juggling but Ive looked at it and thought all these opportunities have suddenly come up but Ive 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. Ive got so many goals I want to achieve and I feel Im part of this industry now, its in my blood. I dont plan on going anywhere, Im in it for the long haul. Im not going anywhere until Im at least in my 50s so Ive got at least another 25 years ahead. Im enjoying it. Because now Im where I want to be.
Skrufff: Id 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 Ive come up with lots of solutions which involves different people taking on different tasks. The most interesting thing thats emerged for me as Ive taken on all this work is that as Im passing the projects over to other people, Im noticing that them juggling that one ball is a full time job for them. I also forgot to mention Im also in the studio now more than ever and Ive 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. Ive 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 Im getting the hang of it.
Skrufff: What have been some of the bigger mistakes youve made?
Marc Vedo: Putting events together that with hindsight Id have finished them much quicker and done things differently promotion-wise, or I wouldnt have worked with people because they didnt 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 whos 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, youre booked then Id 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 wont cancel me, and Ill get to play and thats where the idea of promoting came from. Then I thought, if I can do it once, why dont I do it a couple more times. Then I started thinking why dont I do this in other cities? Then different counties- and different countries and different continents. Its 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: Its a dirty word in certain circles and in others its everything. I think its a genre of music with a lot more to it than people who dont like it, understand. Its like with house, you have minimal house, funky house, dirty house, whatever, with trance youve 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. Thats probably the stuff Gareth was referring to because hes a trance DJ too.
Skrufff: So youre a trance AND house DJ?
Marc Vedo: Im definitely down the middle, people have always asked me and I can never decide. Ive played so much house in my life yet Ive also played trance. I cant choose.
Skrufff: A few years back you were one of Britains 50 most eligible bachelors, are you still single now?
Marc Vedo: No, now Im engaged, were getting married in about 18 months time.
Skrufff: Does your fiance work in the music business too?
Marc Vedo: No, shes a psychologist, shes changed me for sure and, er added a lot to my character.
Skrufff: Whats she added particularly?
Marc Vedo: Common sense- and more direction actually.
Skrufff: When were you were nominated as one of Britains 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 peoples 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 didnt have that fame element you wouldnt be able to play at gigs where 2,000 people turn up. Im not in it to be adored or anything like that its 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, Its quite difficult to be in this job if youre a shy person.
Skrufff: Have you had any periods in your career when youve 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, wed 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 youre at home at the weekend thinking shit, I should be out playing, its Friday, its Saturday. I wasnt so I started doubting my ability thinking why arent I out? Is it because people dont want me to play?. All of those doubts crept in but the reality was that I was put in a situation through someone elses actions. That sounds like Im shifting the blame but if George hadnt 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 Im 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 Im doing now.
Skrufff: Are you still friends with George now?
Marc Vedo: I am, and were going on tour again in April.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)