We continue our journey to discover the secrets of the great tangodj.
Today is on the stage one of the greatest talents in Europe, required by the coolest events. A great passion combined with a deep knowledge of music to offer different emotions every time ... always in the name of the tango.
Ladies and Gentlemen ...Hiba Faisal
From the beginning : I suppose that your first approach with tango, like for other dj, was with the dance. What inspired you to get into console and play music? A conscious decision or was the result of chance?
After many frequent and long discussions about the music whilst dancing with a DJ friend in London, he often insisted that I should DJ too. I never understood why he thought I would do a good job just based on our conversation. Some time later, perhaps a year had passed, and I was organising with a group of friends, a new outdoor milonga in London. It was a free event and so we didn't have a budget to pay a DJ and it was decided I would take care of the music, since the other organisers also seemed to agree with my DJ friend! The night was a success, feedback about the music was great and very soon the first invitation came to DJ at one of London's well established milongas and it all developed from there.
What were your early taste of tango? There are significant differences with the current scene?
Like many dancers, my first contact with tango music was during the lessons. It was a different time, both for musical choices as well as the dance itself. My introduction to both was very classic or 'traditional' ... a LOT of Di Sarli. However at that time electro-tango was really big and I later experienced that too along with the younger dancers that elctro music attracted.
Do you remember your first night on the console?
Of course! It was the opening night of Tango@Spitalfields, a summertime outdoor milonga in London and I was so nervous. Nervous that no one would come, nervous that it might rain but mostly nervous that people might not like the music. Luckily the night was a success on all fronts!
The difficulty of the search for songs on cd often burned, the explosion of the Web and the consequent relatively easy to find in the music. Do you think this paradigm shift has changed the way of working of the DJ?
Of course! But this change is not unique to tango, the entire music industry in all genres has changed so much over the last 10 years. It is much easier to build a collection now and to have ALL of it with you all the time in one computer or hard drive. But having a large collection and being a good DJ are not the same thing. Just like having lots of ingredients does not automatically make a good cook. It's what you do with the ingredients that matters - and that has not changed and never will.
When you build your performance? Long ago, during the journey to the milonga, or sudden moment by moment?
Like most DJs I spend many many many hours listening to music, researching new tracks and rediscovering ones I've had for years. If I am traveling to DJ, I usually spend sometime on the plane/train/hotel connecting with the music and thinking about some ideas and tangos I would like to play. But when the time comes, I DJ on the spot, based on what feels right at that moment. Sometimes I line up the next tanda only to change my mind as the cortina is playing. It's a little stressful when that happens but these are the moments that create the magic. When you respond to a feeling that just hits you.
Have you ever played in a boring night? Have you you understand too late that perhaps the milonga could not give you the right motivation and you could not wait to finish? Do you accept whatever you offer or try to make a selection preferring location and fascinating evening with friends?
Bored no, frustrated yes... The most rewarding experience is to DJ to an audience which responds and interacts with you, even in little ways such as a nod, a smile or eye contact, even to show disapproval. The reverse can be very frustrating - when a crowd is very detached, even if the dance-floor is full and logically the night is going well.
How would you define your style? It has evolved over time? And in which direction? What can influence you in an evening, the audience, the dancers, the acoustics of the location, the duration of your performance ...
My mission is to get people on the dancefloor and to keep them there - and when the night ends for them to leave smiling and content. To achieve that, I have to take into consideration all the points you mentioned.
Do you prefer playing alone or sharing the night with a / colleague. Generally prefer to work alone, or with friends who you feeling? Or, you love the thrill of experimenting with a colleague ever heard until then?
When you work alone you have blank canvas to work with which is easier of course. Working with the energy that another DJ is creating can be very interesting as it challenges you to work in a different way, sometimes to make selections that you might not have otherwise.
If someone asks you the name of a track you say it to him, perhaps suggesting where the CD is included, or invite him to venture into the trouble of searching?
Like anything in life, it depends how someone asks! A straight polite question will get a straight polite answer. Ambiguous hidden questions will get cryptic answers. The worst are people who come snooping around looking at the computer screen when you are away from it.
the public bother you with absurd requests: what do you do? Are you a jukebox?
I say "I'll see what I can do". If the request is reasonable, knowledgeable and naturally 'fits in' to the night, I will accommodate it. And if not, well, I didn't promise anything! Unfortunately, and as most DJs have experienced, most of these 'requests' are often absurd as you say.
Do you like to dance and listen to your colleagues enjoy the selections and styles of others from your performances?
Of course! It's always pleasure to dance to the music of a good DJ. One with a different style can be very energising as they surprise you with their selection.
Do you believe that the art of "musicalizador" is different for geographic areas? Argentina, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean ... or is it similar in every countries?
I believe that what makes a good DJ is the same not only in every country but across any musical genre from 'Tango' to 'House' to 'R&B'. Musical 'taste', on the other hand, differs slightly from one location to another and a good DJs will adapt to local taste without loosing their own identity.
Would you like to have a milonga just for you, furnish it with the appropriate facility to your desires, try to create a wave that satisfies you over to play when you want and create a calendar of events to measure your tastes?
Aside from the 'early days' when we didn't have budget, if I am organising, I prefer not to DJ as one activity will surely distract from the other.
The classic point-blank questions you have to answer, you cannot refuse:
Three orchestras that can not miss in one evening.
Di Sarli, D'Arienzo, Canaro
Your three favourite orchestras, which may also be different from the previous ones.
This changes often but always includes Di Sarli, very frequently Canaro and at this moment I'm a little obsessed with Laurenz.
Suggest a tanda of tango instrumental, a tanda of tango singer, one of vals and milonga.
Now we are talking about recipes and not ingredients!
What are the three bands or singers you can not stand?
I am reluctant to answer this question because tastes change over time, including mine. That's why I don't think I can ever get a tattoo! :)
What I like/dislike has changed so much over the past years and will probably continue to change. Having said that, I can tell you that I have never played Tuba Tango or Hugo Diaz for example.
What is the band most underrated by the general public and which is the most overrated?
I think Calo is often underrated but these things come and go in trends and fashions. Overrated.. I really don't know but there are times when certain orquestas, or worse, certain 'tandas' are over played. For example, there is huuuuuge library of D'Agostino tangos but very often the same 4-8 tangos only are heard at milongas.
Your top three nights (in your opinion of course ...)
I like to believe that I have not played my best night yet! I really enjoy DJing in Italy and some of my warmest memories took place in your country!
We are less serious: Last night a dj saved my life. The DJ role is sexy? have you ever had a relationship with some fans and some flirt with your colleagues?
You know what else is sexy? Answering 'no comment' ;)