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TAKE TEN: A-TRAK

A-Trak talks about the tracks that helped define his sound

From winning the DMC World DJ Championships aged just 15, to rocking club and festival dancefloors worldwide, both solo and as part of Duck Sauce with Armand Van Helden, Alain Macklovitch, aka A-Trak, is more than a little handy when it comes to turntable titillation. The Fool's Gold boss glitters whenever he takes to the stage, combining his hip-hop honed skills with an ear for priceless club bangers. But then musicality runs deep in his veins, with brother Dave 1 also making up half of Jewish/Palestinian funk duo, Chromeo.

Out now, Duck Sauce's debut album Quack is sure to win the duo yet more fans, adding to an already famous following - Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, ?uestlove and DJ Premier were just some of those to cameo in the video to the inanely/insanely catchy single “Barbara Streisand,” included on their long-players along with the filter funk of debut single, “aNYway.”

While the pair's shared influence of Chicago and French house is openly celebrated on Quack, alongside their love of a good hip-hop skit, we asked A-Trak to reveal some of the tracks that personally inspired him to ride the rails of success...

1. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Suck My Kiss”
Before I got into hip-hop, which was way before I got into dance music, I was an RHCP fanatic. I was nine when Blood Sugar Sex Magik came out and that album was everything to me. 'Suck My Kiss' was my personal favorite - in their early phase this band was funky as hell. Let's not forget that George Clinton produced some of their early work, before this. I'm not really familiar with Chili Peppers 2.0, their material from the last 10-15 years.”

 

2. Beastie Boys
So What Cha Want”
The song that got me into hip-hop. Everything about this was oozing in cool. The distorted vocals, the way they dressed, the scratches (on Biz Markie, no less!). I wanted to be all of it. They changed my life.”

3. Mr Oizo
Last Night A DJ Killed My Dog”
This isn't Oizo's most known song but it played a big role in the Macklovitch household. Before my brother and I got into electronic music, there were a handful of songs that caught our ear over the years. Dave used to work at a record shop and he brought home this vinyl one day. It had a hip-hop feel to it, the way it chopped up samples.”

4. Feist
My Moon My Man (Boys Noize Remix)”
My favorite remix of all time. I like remixes that you can listen to as songs, outside the club or festival setting. This one is just beautiful. It gives me goosebumps. The talkbox saying "my moon, my man" sounds extra-terrestrial.”

5. Three 6 Mafia ft. UGK
Sippin On Da Syrup”
Southern hip-hop has been important to me for a long time, and although I liked some OutKast and Goodie Mob songs before this, ‘Sizzurp’ was a key song that really made me dive in. I can still recite the lyrics.”

6. Klaxons
Gravity's Rainbow (Soulwax Dub Mix)”
Another favorite remix. I remember when Justice, Erol and Boys Noize were the only ones to have this. I heard Xavier play it at a Coachella side-party and thought, "what IS this?" It strikes a perfect balance between simple and complex.”

7. Armand Van Helden
Necessary Evil”
I think Armand always had a punk-rock approach to his music, like 'I can make a track out of a saw sample, fuck it,' and it turns into these moments of brilliance. The king of simplicity. It's so badass.”

8. Slum Village
“Raise It Up”

Dilla developed so many sounds and styles over the years, and each one influenced me. He was always futuristic, and it's as if he reinvented his futurism constantly. This was one of the first songs that I heard that made hip-hop sound electronic - obviously with the help of a Bangalter sample.”

9. G-Dep
Special Delivery”
This might actually be my favorite rap song ever. If you didn't live in New York when it came out, it might have fallen below the radar. The beat is insane yet simple, and what I like best is his flows, his lazy timing. I like to think that the 'delivery' is a double entendre, although I never verified this. Spice it up with an exaggerated quantity of Puff Daddy ad libs and we have perfection.”

10. Steve Angello, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso & Laidback Luke
Get Dumb”
The song that opened my ears to the modern 'big room' sound. It's incredibly funky. The hi-hats and cowbells! It's proto-Dutch with the synth lead. Mehdi used to play this a lot. I had no idea who the Swedes were before this.”

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