August 24, 2017


A-Trak Talks Future Music, Favorite New Artists & Respectful Brands at Lollapalooza 2017

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Pepsi Zero Sugar
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Pepsi Zero Sugar

A-Trak brought one of the most visually stunning performances to Lollapalooza 2017, but the DJ/producer/label executive also had one of festival's best surprises. 

While attendees went through the fun house–like journey of foam ball pits, photo booths and walls boasting surprises inside at the Pepsi Zero Chill space, the "Believe" star was also on hand to shock a slew of lucky attendees inside the multi-sensory experience.

Before the fun began, Fuse talked with A-Trak to about what he had to say about teaming up with Pepsi, his favorite soda commercial memories, the new artists he's digging and more.

FUSE: Welcome back to Lollapalooza, A-Trak! Tell us what you're up to here.
I'm really excited to be at the festival. Pepsi has a Chill House, promoting no sugar [Laughs] You gotta cut that sugar out of your life! I'm hanging out here a bit. I've worked with Pepsi and Mountain Dew and it's always been good. There are brands of respectful of the artists, and there are brands that are intrusive, but with these guys, it's always been good.

Pepsi's had a lot of iconic moments in music, do you have a favorite?
I'm not much of a TV guy, still all I can think of is the Michael Jackson commercial!

"Believe" with Quavo and Lil Yachty just came out and I see it getting a great response. Is this leading into a larger project?
I'm not working on an album. I'm going to follow up with more singles, maybe some EPs here and there. I think that's the way the market is going now, the way that people like to consume music, and that works out well for me. I work really slow when it comes to recording an album, who knows how long it will take, so I'm perfectly happy making singles and EP. And as a DJ who plays a wide variety of music, a lot of the music that I want to make is pretty varied, and I think that suits itself to dripping out singles and EPs. But I'm psyched about "Believe," the response has been good.

What are you working on right now? Do you have any artists that are still on your collaboration bucket list?
I really like to think of each project as its own entity and I try to tailor my ideas to specifically a song. It's not about working with only the greatest legends, I could make a song with someone that's not that well-known, but if they kill it, they kill it; I'm always excited to get ideas out. After so many years of DJing, there's always a backlog of types of tracks I want to make in my head and I just try to catch up in studio time in between travels. Every time I knock out a song, I'm like, "Great! Something's finished! Let's put it out!'"

I have a lot of stuff that's half-cooked that I'm working on, but more rap stuff and house stuff. I'm excited about where music's at right now. Hip-hop's bigger than ever and having a great year, and that's my comfort zone, my origin in being a hip-hop DJ. With all the change that electronic music is going through, I think house is always going to be there and is definitely having a good year too. It just so happens that those are the two lanes I like to dabble in.

Your first-annual Goldie Awards are coming up next month, how's the response been?
We're just about to close submissions. It's been so much fun to get these videos in from all around the world: Every corner of Europe, obviously North America, South America, Asia, Australia. When I had the idea, it felt like the kind of idea we could just tap into an existing demand and expose it to the world—the demand being on the DJ side. I don't think turntablism or technical DJing went away, I just think the spotlight went elsewhere, but those DJs are there. I'm just excited to handpick a few of them and put a spotlight on it.

While the Goldie Awards are about shining talent on new DJs, as someone who loves electronic and hip-hop music, who are new talents you're excited about these days?
On the electronic side, I love Mura Masa, I think his album's really cool and I like who he chose to work with. He did a song with Jamie Lidell, who I worked with also, and I love the fact that he worked with A. K. Paul, big fan of his. On the rap side, there's so many good rappers. I really like that kid J.I.D, he's signed with J. Cole and he's really cool. I love Cardi B. The thing that's cool about rap now is that, whatever style you want, it's out there because there's just so much money.

Get your #TBT on with A-Trak in another classic festival interview where we talked to the DJ about his past album projects: