Vainzine: mix and interview

April 9th, 2009 | blogs, mixtape

When it comes to discovering quality music, Vainzine stands tall has one of the most trusted blogs out there. Founder Blair aka CTZN V41N prepared a superb mix, call it a precious Easter present, Fairtilizer style.

Oh and yes there is an interview to go with it!

When did you start Vainzine and why?

I started Vainzine in June 2007. I had previously been writing for some magazines in the UK but I didn’t feel that I was getting enough column inches to really do justice to the music. I would get about 5 reviews at about 200 words per review and at the time I was receiving at least ten times that amount of albums alone, not to mention singles and vinyl so I decided that the only way to get more exposure and be able to write more about the great music I was listening to was to start my own blog.

How do you pick things you post on your blog?

Lot’s of different ways. I get sent a lot of music from PR’s companies across the world. I have a dropbox on the site where people can send me music to listen to. I love to listen to unsigned act’s as well as those who have already been signed. I think it’s important to help emerging talents develop. It is hard to find stuff worth writing about that has not been signed unless you do a lot of research but I have had some really good unsigned acts contact me and we have featured them on Vainzine. Sometimes an artist with a deal or their own label will contact me personally and if their sound fits we will feature them in some way.

I’m a positive person so I try to pick things I like, I hate to give out negative reviews (unless it’s unavoidable). I also think about what the reader wants to see featured. No one really want to know about bad music, so the ethos is to keep the content quality as high as possible, whether that be reviews, features or downloads.

How do you interact with artists and record labels?

Mostly through the emails. I don’t have a lot of time to go and meet artists face to face so our contributors do most of the leg work in terms of interviews and direct contact with artists. I do get to meet artists at live events but normally on a more social basis. It’s the same with the labels. Most labels don’t deal with PR themselves so it’s normally PR companies you deal with except a few of the major’s and large independents who have their own in-house PR.

What other blogs do you visit regularly? Do you have contacts with them?

There are way too many to mention.

What do you listen to these days?

Anything and everything!

How do you see the blog game evolve? Are music bloggers the new A&R’s? Tastemakers?

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Vainzine has evolved a lot but so too has the whole music blogosphere. I think Vainzine will have to change drastically in the next couple of years if it is to survive, but then that goes for all of us! Yes I think we are the new A&R’s – at least some of us are. The bloggers who are out there trawling gigs and venues and helping to break new ‘internet only’ acts can lay claim to that. Tastemakers is probably a more general term. I think the bloggers who are breaking stuff way before release are the real tastemakers. There are a lot of blogs out there that don’t write about music or give exposure to anything before release. The ones that simply churn out downloadable content that is already available and do nothing else can’t really lay claim to be tastemakers.

What initiative, in terms of music & internet, has drawn your attention lately?

This week, the news that there will be MP3 HD is really interesting. I also like the app for Twitter that allows you to post music on there directly.

What’s your Fairtilizer’s mix about?

It’s signals my return to DJing. For the past few years I have concentrated on other things like Vainzine and had to put DJing at the bottom of my list of priorities. This is the first of many mixes you can expect to hear over the next few weeks and months. I have just started a new blog to publicise my DJ persona CTZN V41N. You can check it out here

Hopefully I will be able to get some gigs in the UK, Paris and beyond. This mix concentrates on my favourite electro, house and techno tracks. Some of them have been out since I started Vainzine and some of them have still not been released yet. I wanted to show my love of electronic dance music in this mix and I think it works well.

I recorded the mix using MP3′s, Serato Scratch live and my rickety old Pioneer DJM500 Mixer. I have had it since I started DJing and it’s due a service – at least! There are a few crackles here and there as a result but it works.

My next mixes will be Indie, Chill and Hip Hops breaks mixes. I really love so many different styles of music it would have been impossible to fit everything into just one tape and it would have sounded terrible!

You were UK based and now you are living in Paris: pros and cons?

The food is way better in Paris than in the UK. I lived in London for 5 years and it’s great and all my friends are there so I miss them but it’s only 2 hours on the Eurostar so it’s not too bad. Paris is such a beautiful city and the general vibe is more chilled than in London which is really good. I guess the major con is not being able to speak French right now but I’m working on that!

Your all-time Top 10?

I don’t really have an all time top ten. It would take me a month to come up with the list! I’m in a constant state of musical flux; there’s always something new to be discovered! I did a top ten for Pixzine last week but it was really what I was feeling that day not an all time top ten:

1. Hot Panda – Whale Headed Girl (Mint Records)
2. Rex The Dog – Bubblicious (Felix Da Housecat’s London Remix) (Hundehaus)
3. Reigns – Crex, Crex, Crex (Monotreme Records)
4. Miss Kittin & The Hacker – Inutile Éternité (Nobody’s Bizzness)
5. Hell – U Can Dance (International Deejay Gigolo Records)
6. Example – Girl Can’t Dance (Don Diablo Remix) (Unknown)
7. The Anomalies ‘Vibrations (Beyond Music)
8. Line – Para.lel Lines (Unchartered Audio)
9. Ladyhawke – Paris Is Burning (Alex Metric Remix) (Modular)
10. St. Vincent – Actor Out Of Work (4AD)

Mix tracklist

1) Röyksopp ‘Happy Up Here (Marching Band Version)’ Unknown
2) Friendly Fires ‘Paris (Aeroplane Remix)
3) In Flagranti ‘She bend each leg alternatly’ Codek
4) Serge Santiago ‘It’s A War (Instrumental Re-Edit) Santiago
5) Alexander Robotnick ‘Obsession For The Disco Freaks (HeavyFeet Remix) This Is Music
6) Solid Groove ‘This Is Sick’ Front Room
7) Ursula 1000 ‘Zombies (HiJack Remix) Unknown 8) Test Icicles ‘What’s Your Damage (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)’ Domino
9) Rex The Dog ‘Bubblicious (Felix Da Housecat’s London Mix)’ Hundehaus
10) Ladyhawke ‘Back of the van (fred falke remix)’ Modular
11) Lykke Li ‘Little Bit (Villains Remix)’ Unknown
12) Saint Etienne ‘Method Of Modern Love (Cola Boy Mix)’ Heavenly
13) Michael Woods feat. Inaya Day ‘Natural High (Dino Lenny Classic Rave Mix) Nervous
14) Mason ‘The Ridge (Oliver Koletzki Remix)’ Great Stuff
15) Evil Nine ‘Icicles (Unkle Remix)’ Marine Parade
16) Miss Kittin & The Hacker ‘Suspicious Minds’ Nobody’s Bizzness
17) Freeland ‘Under Control (Alex Metric Mix) Marine Parade
18) Gossip ‘Standing In The Way Of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)’ Back Yard
19) Example ‘Girl Can’t Dance (Don Diablo Remix) Unknown
20) MSTRKRFT ‘Fist Of God’ Dim Mak
21) The Virgins ‘Teen Lover (The Shoes Remix) Unknown
22) Klaxons ‘As Above, So Below (Justice Remix)’ Because
23) Mustard Pimp ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air ( Mustard Pimp Remix)’ Unknown
24) The Kills ‘Cheap and Cheerful (SebastiAn Remix)’ Domino