Vikter Duplaix is a jack of all trades in the music business. He’s a Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, multi-intsrumentalist, and DJ. After coming in second place on the first season of Master of the Mix, he made a return appearance as judge alongside Kid Capri and Amber Rose. I caught up with him down in Atlanta where we discussed his forthcoming EP and album, why he was the hardest on the Master of the Mix contestants, and a not so nice review I wrote about one of his DJing sets.
TUD: First, I remember you were talking about an album you had coming out. I think it was called Electric Love.
VD: “Electric Love” was a single.
Okay, that was a single. I thought that was the name of the album too. When is the album coming out?
I’m still finishing it. I’m going to put out an EP called Arrival and then the album will come out later.
Do you have a specific time when the album will come out?
Nope. I have to to finish it. You can’t rush finishing perfection. I want this album to be perfect.
You were on Master of the Mix both seasons. Last season, you were a contestant and this season you were a judge. How did it feel to go from one side of the judging table to the other?
You know, it’s a lot more work as a contestant. It’s non-stop, 24 hours a day. The show doesn’t allow the contestants to get comfortable. The longer you have in the competition, the more time you have to relax, but in the beginning, the show always has you going from place to place. For me, as a judge, it was a lot less pressure.
Would you say you were more sympathetic to the contestants considering you went through the same experiences last season?
No. I think I was more critical of them because I didn’t buy into a lot of the excuses they would come up with. I think the challenges they had to do this year were more difficult than the ones I had to do when I was competing only because there were more people competing this time around. They really had no time to think. It was like, “Show us who you are. Okay, now do this crazy challenge.” Plus, the fact we kicked off two people at a time really shocked everybody. That made all the contestants very uncomfortable because they didn’t know what was coming next.
There was a conversation about whether or not vinyl was better than Serato. What are your thoughts on that?
The MP3 programs are definitely a great tool. As a traveling DJ, if you’re not using cds or hard drives, you’re spending a lot of money. It’s expensive to carry a lot of records, to stay up with the new joints, and to prepare a set for all different types of people. I think, at the end of the day, vinyl argument is more of a nostalgia thing.
It’s like when jazz purists got mad at Herbie Hancock for using synthesisers. He might inspire someone to learn the synthesiser, but if they learn on the synthesiser, they don’t necessarily know the feel of the piano keys and when the instrument needs to be tuned or something like that. The evolution of DJing is kind of similar to the evolution of jazz music. But I think you should embrace the technology too.
But to some degree, when vinyl purists get mad over the Serato usage, does it feel a little like old people are trying to hold on to the cred they once had?
Yeah, a little bit. Of course. There is that idea, but it’s very different. Let’s say you have a crate of records. I didn’t necessarily learn what all the covers looked like. I knew what the record sounded like and where I put them in my crate. Now you really need to know the name of the artist and the song title to put into your computer. There’s some fun in grabbing a record and popping it on.
I have a question I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while. I saw you DJ at Summerstage for a Raphael Saadiq concert. I wrote a review about it and was basically saying I wasn’t feeling your set. When I tweeted the article, you retweeted it. I always wondered why you showed that article some love when I wasn’t showing you too much love in the piece.
That show was a long time ago so I don’t remember it too well. It wasn’t all the way negative, was it? What didn’t you like about the set?
The transitions bothered me. You put on Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and you cut it in the middle of the verse, but you didn’t slide right into the next record. It was a little dead space before the next song kicked in. Everybody else thought it was cool, but I just didn’t think so.
The thing about it is a lot of times you have performances where you’re good and some when you’re bad. It’s all about maintaining the movement of the crowd. I would feel bad if you said that you were in the crowd and everybody was saying, “Get this dude off!” Then, I would feel terrible, but if there were moments that you liked and didn’t like, I mean I’m human. [laughs]