While James Brown may be known as the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” Peter Rauhofer may in fact have a more legitimate claim to the title.
An examination of Rauhofer’s schedule, which includes running his Star 69 record label, producing hit records – both full length compilation and 12 inch dance singles, remixing tracks for the biggest musical acts of our time, and DJing at the most famous clubs and parties in the world, would leave many to wonder just how one man can do it all. And do it all so damn well!
Based currently out of New York City, Rauhofer hails from Vienna, Austria, a place not necessarily known for its influence on the dance music world.
After years of success within Europe’s dance music scene with his DJing, remixing, and producing, Rauhofer set up base camp in NYC in the mid-1990s.
Since then he has gained worldwide acclaim with his Club 69/Star 69 related musical output being a staple in just about every club DJs record bag.
Over the years he has remixed the works of Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, Britney, and Madonna and garnered the 1999 Grammy Award for Remixer of the Year, thus establishing him as a global force in the music industry.
And in Gotham (that’s NYC), Rauhofer reigns supreme as the Saturday night resident DJ at the mega-nightclub Roxy, the venue that has inspired his highly successful Live @ Roxy mixed compilation CD series.
While Rauhofer has indeed traveled the world over, his presence in Chicago has been limited at best with his last appearance here back in 1999.
However, Chicagoan’s long wait will soon end with his Halloween weekend appearance at Sound-Bar for the Pumpkinhead party.
In anticipation of his Windy City visit, Rauhofer graciously took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions in this exclusive ChicagoPride.com interview.
CP: When, where, and under what circumstances was your first DJing gig?
PR: In 1983, I was working at a record store in Vienna, Austria where all the DJ's shopped and my boss was a famous DJ at the big club in Vienna called "U4". He got sick one night and couldn't spin so he sent me to fill-in for him.
After my set the owner of the club was very impressed and offered me a full time slot.
CP: Which category of dance music was the biggest influence on your early development and style?
PR: I was influenced by the music of the 70's and 80's which wasn't considered Dance music at that time. I liked Disco in the 70's and I also liked rock bands like Supertramp and ELO.
CP: You were traveling extensively throughout Europe and DJing at various clubs and parties and having quite a bit of success in the early 1990s.
Then you came over to America and settled in NYC.
What surprised you most about the nightclubbing/party scene in the States as compared to Europe?
PR: I was surprised how much drugs dominated the club scene here as compared to Europe at that time.
CP: While many who have attained success in the dance music industry are known for both their abilities as a DJ and as a remixer/producer, they are typically known for one skill more so than the other.
However, your reputation currently seems to be based on equal brilliance in the DJ booth and the recording studio.
How do you view yourself?
PR: I became a remixer almost at the same time I started DJing so the two have always gone hand in hand. I don't really like to label myself but at this point in my career I'd call myself a Remixer and Producer. That's really a tough question because I love DJing too!
CP: Early on in your career you used the moniker “Club 69” for your production and remix credits and then named your record label “Star 69.”
What’s the story behind your use of these names?
Is “69” your favorite sexual activity?
PR: That's funny! I've been asked that before but I won't get into that now! Actually, the name came about when I was doing "Let Me Be Your Underwear". We needed a name for the artist of the track and Club 69 had that underlying sexual innuendo that we were going for so it clicked. When I started the label I wanted to incorporate the "69" because that's what I became known for. I always thought "Star 69" had a nice ring to it, pardon the pun. Once the logo was designed it became official.
CP: Do you get any sleep?
You keep up with an incredible schedule with your duties at Star 69, studio work, and DJ gigs.
What is a typical week like for you?
PR: It really depends on what I've got going on at the time. My weeks are rarely typical! If I'm working on a remix I could be up all night then get to the office late the next day.
If the label has a lot of releases coming out I may be into the office earlier in the day all week, so it really depends.
The staff at the label really helps me stay on top of everything. If I'm in Vienna working on remixes, which I prefer because the studio that I have there is my favorite, then I'm in constant contact with the office. I can be a work-a-holic sometimes and I have to remind myself that I have to rest otherwise I get irritable.
But yes I do sleep. I don't do drugs so eventually the adrenaline runs out!
CP: What technical aspects do you typically request, prefer and/or require during your DJ performances?
Are you mostly a vinyl DJ or have you migrated over to CDs. Are you using an other electronic gadgets in the DJ booth - a sampler, keyboards/synth, a laptop?
PR: My sets are balanced between vinyl and CD evenly so I need Technics 1200 turntables and Pioneer CDJ 1000 CD players. I prefer the Urei or the Rane knob mixer but it's not a deal breaker. I never use a laptop.
CP: During your live DJ sets, do you find yourself going more new school, a la James Zabiela and some of the progressive DJs - using lots of the current technology with CD players, mixers, and samplers to “spice things up” with added effects and looping?
Or do you still do it more old-school, creating and varying the mood and energy through song and track selection?
PR: I'm pretty old-school. For me it's all about the track selection. I will have my re-edits here and there of tracks to make them fit into my set better but most of the time I mix on the fly. The night for me is a journey. At Roxy I know exactly what works so I don't really have to plan it too much which is great because it just happens naturally. I stay pretty true to my sound wherever I spin but if I know the crowd I'm spinning for likes something different I like to let them have it.
CP: Which 2 tracks are with you the majority, or all, of the time when you go to a gig?
PR: My remixes of Depeche Mode "It's No Good" and Madonna "Impressive Instant"
CP: What has been the highlight DJing moment of your career?
PR: One highlight for me every year has been the Victory Party, which is the closing party for Gay Pride in Toronto.
CP: From a remixer/producer point of view what has been the career highlight moment?
PR: Every experience is unique in itself. There have been many highlights.
CP: What’s the one club and/or party that you’ve never spun at, but is #1 on your wish list?
PR: Studio 54 circa 1978!
CP: We’re coming up to the end of 2004.
Other than a Peter Rauhofer or Star 69 related creation, what has been the song of the year in your opinion?
PR: David Morales "How Would U Feel?"
CP: There is always fresh new product coming from Star 69.
In addition to Live @ Roxy 4, which is coming out later this year, what’s really special that your fans here in Chicago should be looking out for in the near future?
PR: The long awaited and much anticipated full length release from Chicago's own Suzanne Palmer!
Note: Peter Rauhofer will be DJing the Pumpkinhead Party at Sound-Bar on Sunday, October 31, 2004.