Alex Burkat is a New York based DJ/producer deeply involved immersed in both music and video. For this Astrocast installment, he brought the idea to us of doing a video accompanying the mix, which we thought was especially fitting in this case. Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, both the mix and the accompanying video by Paris Group International both reflect the spirit of the holiday – L.O.V.E. <3
1. You’ve created a Valentine’s mix for us called Couple’s Skate Mixtape Vol. 1. What was the inspiration behind it? Can we expect a Volume 2?
A couple things. Earlier this year, I gave an assignment to myself to listen to every single song Larry Levan has ever played. I found a list of 1,500+ songs and I’ve only listened to 500 so far. I’m doing this research to better understand, for myself, what made disco the international, timeless phenomenon that it is, aside from all the stories you hear, and to critically listen to the music itself. What I learned from listening to everything Larry Levan has played is that his grooves, melodies and messages are distinctly Larry, and no one else in the world could possibly mix it the same way he did, even if you had the same records. I included “Don’t Make Me Wait” in the mix in honor of him.
What Larry Levan has over me, among a lot of things, is his ability to understand lyrics and drop them in a way like no one else. I think that’s something that has really, really been lost in club music culture in general, and it was really refreshing to hear when I was record digging. So as an exercise, I decided to make a mix based on lyrics I really like and messages I really believe it. All of the songs on this mixtape have some sort of personal meaning and significance to me, even if there are lyrics in it or not. And by the time I actually compiled and completed it, there was only one message left I actually believed in: Love. Sounds mad cheesy, but that really was the case. But it felt great to discover that, so I went all in with the idea and ran with it. Finishing it made me better understand myself, and is why I really don’t care if some Internet troll thinks I’m “dumb” for liking the new Drake song: it’s part of my life story. There are other personal reasons for making this mixtape, but you don’t need to know those to enjoy it.
2. Your music is often paired with visuals and you have described yourself as “synesthesia specialist”. How does the connection between audio and visuals inform your work and specifically, this mix?
If you go to a well curated party, all of your senses are met with quality: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Even if it’s a completely dark room, that *is* an aesthetic if it’s fitting for the music, because it allows you to go into your own world. These are the parties and experiences that mean the most to me when it comes to music, so I like to make an effort to curate the full experience in some way.
3. Is love like music and videos – linear with a beginning and inevitable ending – or is there a possibility for everlasting love?
I really have absolutely no idea haha I’m a moron when it comes to it. The only thing I can say safely say is love is about trust and giving up parts of yourself because of how much you care about someone. I know when I love someone, even *somewhat*, if I find myself going above and beyond for them just to make them happy. And when it comes to having a girlfriend or significant other, it just gets deeper and deeper. But I don’t allow myself to love anyone I don’t trust, so that comes first, and it grows from there.
1. My main man Shiftee. Two time turntable champion of the world, international baller, funny guy, really nice, classy, dresses well, great taste in food and movies and his sock game is always on point.
2. Badman Shark. Coolest and nicest’s tough guy you’ll ever know.
3. Olivetonic. She’s a total sweetheart, great DJ and always fun to be around.
4. Michael Jukeson. Whenever I’m completely depressed and want to shut the blinds on society, I just read one Michael Jukeson tweet and I feel better about the world.