Monday, 10 November 2008
Marc Vedo is at the helm of his very own successful club brand, Koolwaters, and touring Canada later this month with Boy George. He's determined, ambitious and in it for the long haul.
You were under an apprenticeship with Northampton Town Football Club, but gave it up to pursue your DJing career. Any regrets?
No because I still play football all the time, all over Bristol and the South West. I play for two teams so I'm still heavily involved in football and sport. I do everything from tennis to long distance running, to going down the gym, sky diving and rock climbing. Anything active, I love it.
You're only 26 years old, but you've been djing since you were 18. Has it been a hard slog to get to where you are today?
Yes, very. As a DJ, I've struggled. I had a big success when I first started with Mixmag doing a review of a club night I was running at the time, and then they did a whole page spread which really launched my career. I was flying all over the country and I did all the Mixmag tours. I thought to myself at that point that life was plain sailing.
Then I did nothing for a couple of years. I didn't actively promote myself or help the people who were trying to push me, and I started to find that I was beginning to lose my bookings as a result. So from a DJ point of view, I got launched into this position and then lost it, then had to work my way back up again. But it's been a good test and definitely made me a more grounded as a DJ.
From a business point of view, I've gone bankrupt twice, I've made a couple of serious mistakes along the way with different companies I've had, but if I hadn't made those mistakes Koolwaters wouldn't be what it is today or doing as well as it is. We've just got so many avenues on the go at the moment, it's fantastic.
Dance music has been a hard industry to be in over the last couple of years.
It has, but I have to say Koolwaters is going really well. I've never been as successful as I am now, in the last year and a half. I've got a great quote which I always say, and I've always believed in. 'The kite rises against the wind,' and that's exactly what has happened. The company is making thousands of pounds and I'm travelling all over the place DJing, so I've no complaints.
I've been DJing eight years now. It's a seriously long time to be committed to one thing, but it's my passion, it's my love and it's what makes me who I am.
Many times I've thought about giving it up and moving on, but at the end of the day I love the fact that in two weeks I have to fly to Canada, and the following week I'm off to America and travelling around there DJing. The buzz of doing that and playing to so many different people is just great. That's why eight years doesn't seem that long. I'm planning on being a DJ until I'm about 45 so I'm in it for the long haul. So whatever happens, I'm definitely going to be around until I'm at least 45.
Tell us more about the setting up of Koolwaters? Why did you start it?
I started Koolwaters after I'd finished another night which was called As Oz. We had been going for two and half years and decided to go our separate ways, so I set up my own company. I started it with no money; I had to blag it the first night! I got it on credit and just opened the doors and hoped people turned up. I made enough money on the first night to pay everyone off and had enough money to spare for the next night, and it just grew from there.
It's been a bit of a rollercoaster with a lot of lessons, but I've been able to make a go of it and now I am in a position where I can comfortably look at the future and go, this is where I'm going and this is how it's going to happen. We've got albums coming out, a world tour, so many things.
What's been the biggest lesson you've learnt?
Complacency, without a shadow of a doubt. As soon as you become complacent you lose that spark. Once you lose that spark, you lose interest.
You've got a big deal going with Wella at the moment. How did it happen?
I'm getting free hair products for the rest of my life! (laughs). It's the first time the company has ever done anything like this. We've decided to have a CD made up to give away all over the country in Wella hairdressers, as a promotional tool to promote a new range of hair products called Head Games. It's a cool clubbable brand within the 18-30's market so they asked Koolwaters to do the album.
Originally we were going to buy in the tracks and I was going to mix them but eventually we decided that I would go into the studio and make them all myself, so that's what we did. I made the tracks, mixed them together and now I've got another two deals with them.
We actually produced 50,000 copies of the album so it's just a massive, massive thing. Most compilations never sell 50,000 so to think that many people have it, people in my core market with wacky hairstyles, is just fantastic.
It's the second biggest hair product company in the world and worth about £3 billion so to be asked by company of that size is very reassuring. It's just amazing and it's the sort of advertising you can't pay for. I'm so chuffed. There's also going to be another two of those CD's, so in another 6 months there will be 150,000 of my CD's out there!
How would you describe DJing style?
Very long mixing, I like to keep the records on for quite a long time and then chop into my mixes to add variety.
You've been compared to Sasha. That's quite an accolade.
Yeah. I really admire Sasha. As far as mixing standards go, if my mixing is anything below 85% I'll have had a crap night. I like to achieve 95-100% mixing ability every time I play.
You've played all over the world. Which continent / country is really happening at the moment?
Canada. It's awesome. Vancouver is a fantastic city; beautiful. The people there are really cool and the clubs are very trendy. And then Toronto has The Guvernment; you can't beat it. It's the biggest club in North America and holds 8000 people. Everyone in there is absolutely having it, it's fantastic, really good.
And Turkey, I have to mention Turkey. It's probably one of my favourite places. I've been playing in Istanbul for six years now so I've got a really big profile there and now when I go, I've usually got a big crowd so from that respect it's very enjoyable. I mainly play at festivals or big events in Istanbul but I'd say the first club to go to is the Repulic and then The Venue, which is a 4000 capacity club which is absolutely fantastic. It's right on the beach and really massive.
How do you escape?
Any of the sports I mentioned earlier, and chess. I love chess, the tactical side of it, breaking through the ranks of someone else's forces. I'm trying to find some more people to play against at the moment actually, 'cos none of my friends want to play with me anymore!
What makes you laugh?
Bottom! I saw it last night; it's hilarious. Total British slapstick. Also Naked Gun. That's just brilliant; so funny.
Name your three biggest influences?
World history, world music and people.
You've been voted one of the worlds top 50 most Eligible Bachelors by Company magazine, were the centrefold in The Sun's Top Ten Most Eligible Men and appeared on Channel 4's Gods Gift. How does that feel?
It was an experience! Definitely an experience, but it was shortly after being in Company magazine and on God's Gift that I got my residency at Slinky, so I was lucky. I got lots of fan mail through Company magazine which was really weird though.
Tell us something we don't know about Marc Vedo.
I was whacking golf balls out of my living room into the playing fields outside in the early hours of the morning a few weeks ago!
Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Work against inertia; inertia is laziness.
Find out where Marc Vedo is playing at http://www.koolwaters.com.
Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004
Published on urbanplanet.co.uk