DJ Wag aka Yakooza Interview
Responsible for some of the biggest German Hard Trance Classics, such as 'Cocaine', 'French Kiss' , 'Life On Mars', 'Man On The Moon', spanning Alias's Pro-Tech, Pro-Active, Yakooza and more.
We caught up with Uwe for a quick update on things, his current single 'Red Planet' that is out now on HTE, and his imminent and debut appearance at the Hard Trance Europe Weekender on June 10th in Torquay.
How are you? What are you up to this week?
Thank you very much for inviting me for a chat. I am very well thanks and great to see my Red Planet release is out now on HTE via Black Hole Distribution. I am excited about the reaction from my fans, the crowd and of course the big list of DJs that are supporting this classic rework already. I am also working in my studio on some new stuff this week, but more about that later!
You started your career in 1989 in Darmstadt, Germany. What tunes were you featuring in your sets around this time?
Haha yes, this is a long time ago now but around this time tracks like 'Quadrophonia - Quadrophonia', ‘T99 – Anastasia’, ‘Ramirez- La Musika Tremenda’, ‘Thyrell Corp - Running’ or ‘The Prodigy - Out Of Space’ were big club hits. You can google these tracks and you will see they are very relative to my sound today.
What are the fundamental differences between DJ Wag and Yakooza, your other Hard Trance alias?
My idea at the beginning was to be DJ Wag as an artist. Yakooza, Pro-Tech and Pro Active were planned just as a standalone projects, and the Wag stuff should’ve been a little bit harder, and the projects more commercial. However, sometimes things end up differently, and as Yakooza gained huge success in countries like Australia, I got a lot of requests from clubs and promotors asking to use this on flyers, and/or bill me as DJ Wag aka Yakooza.
You will be returning to the UK to play for legendary South West event Atmosphere, as they return (after 8 years) to host the Friday night of the Hard Trance Europe Weekender on the 10th June in Torquay. Can you remember the last time you played in the South West?
Oh, I cant wait to return to the South West! The last Time I played in the UK was at Illusive Festival and it was incredible, before the Covid shit started. I cant remember when I played last down there, but I am sure its more than 10 years ago. I've seen the Foundry nightclub online, and it looks class. I'm sure Hard Trance Europe, Atmosphere and The Foundry will be a match made in heaven.
Any particular memories from previous UK visits you’d like to share?
Yes ! In England you always have amazing audiences! The people there really know how to party, and it's always great to come to the UK and play a gig.
How do you view the current Global Hard Trance Scene? Is there room for any improvement?
For a long time the Hard Trance had almost disappeared and recently I have noticed that more and more young people have re-discovered this style of music. I would definitely say the classic Hard Trance sound is on the upswing. There is actually nothing to improve on because art is art, but I do think it would be great if more club owners and promotors took a risk and dared to run Hard Trance events again.
Responsible for huge classics such as ‘Cocaine’, ‘Wanna Feel’ and ‘Man On The Moon’, it must’ve been exciting and fresh-times when you were carving out those tunes in the studio?
Haha no actually! Because when you produce a new track you really don't know if it's going to be a big thing or not. So many factors play a role in making a hit! I'm 25 years older today and when I play my older hits to new audiences that are sometimes 25 years younger than me, and they go off, it's a great feeling to have produced such tracks and see them still cutting it out there.
Did you ever think you’d still be here in 15 years time, facing remix requests for those tracks, and still being requested for gigs off their popularity?
If you’d asked me 15 years ago if I would still be performing publicly I would have answered no, but when you see bands like The Rolling Stones still going great guns (despite their age) and are well received by young and old fans, it gives us all hope right?
What does your current studio set-up and kit list consist of?
Have a look to the picture of my studio below :-)
You were heavily affiliated with Scot Project’s ‘Overdose’ Records, how did all that come about at the time? I bet they were exciting times!
Oh yes definitely, the times I had with the label Overdose were great and we were like one big family! We met several times a week in the offices and studios of Overdose and exchanged experiences and adventures from club gigs at the weekends. I definitely miss those times very much.
Any plans to bring back your own label Traffic records?
I currently have no plans to reactivate my own record label and prefer to concentrate on what I can do well, and that is making music!
Having toured in all corners of the globe, please give us one crazy story from your adventures in clubland?
The craziest thing I ever experienced was on a flight from Sydney to Canberra when we got into a thunderstorm and I thought we were going to crash. The piloted too turn back to Sydney, It was that bad. After safe emergency landing and an hour later, we took the same plane back to Canberra but this time without a thunderstorm. The plane was only half full in the end but I had no choice but to board as I had to go to the gig. It was really a total nightmare!
Any final words?
Since these last few weeks have really shown us that that peace and freedom should never be taken for granted, I’d like to wish that we can all lead a healthy life, in freedom and without wars on this planet.
Catch DJ Wag aka Yakooza at the Hard Trance Europe Weekender 2022, Torquay.
Weekend tickets available now from Skiddle - Selling fast!
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