Ahead of his Australian tour at the end of this month, yours truly caught up for a pow-wow with the man himself – Kirk Degiorgio.

Hi Kirk, we’re getting excited about your upcoming tour to Australia, with appearances in Melbourne, Brisbane & Sydney, as well as a double appearance at Playground Weekender. Will this be your first trip to Australia?

Yes, my first trip – finally!

You’re no stranger to the northern hemisphere festival circuit, and you’ve been playing and running club gigs for over 2 decades since your first club night ‘Sweat’ in Ipswich in 1986. Do you now have a preference for the outdoor / festival type gigs, or the more intimate and maybe more intense club environment?

I love both – but they need to be approached differently I think. It’s not something I can clearly define, but there is definitely a difference in the sets I play at clubs, to those I play at festivals. There is also a difference in how I approach an intimate club with a large venue too.

How do you approach the different environments muscally?

As I mention above – it’s not something I can easily define. Possibly as a festival I will play more uplifting/euphoric tracks – whereas darker more introspective tracks might work better in an intimate club. I’m not the kind of Dj who will pull out lots of
well-known classics – I just think that’s patronising to the crowd. So no matter what the venue, I’ll always try and challenge them a little – without becoming too indulgent. At the end of the day – I’m a party DJ and that’s what I like to give my audiences – a party!

Early last year, you curated with Ben Sims the Machine parties in London. Do you have any further plans for this or other projects in the club-space in 2012?

Yes, our Machine nights are going from strength to strength. We have them planned for Berghain – Berlin, The Loft – Barcelona, Trouw – Amsterdam, Dublin, etc, etc. We will also host 3 events in London again this year – missing out the summer because of
the impending Olympics chaos.

You were one of, if not the first to pioneer the use of Ableton Live for DJ’ing in the early 2000’s, and you’ve used Live exclusively since 2002. What was the inspiration to make the switch at such an early stage? How has the technology matured since then?

I was a strictly vinyl DJ until Ableton came along. I tried CD’s but never really got comfortable with them. In the early days of CD-J’s, self-burned discs would be unrecognised or they would skip, etc. Of course they are rock-solid now and I sometimes use them for old-school funk/jazz/disco sets. Most of my disco-funk tracks are my own re-edits so they don’t exist on vinyl.

But Ableton enables me to build a set in a vertical as well as horizontal way. It’s like a 3D set.

The fundamental technology hasn’t changed that much – but the wealth of great MIDI controllers and the increased quality in portable audio interfaces has really helped digital sets.

But my technique has changed greatly over the 10 years or so of using Ableton. I think it’s a unique approach and I haven’t seen any other Ableton DJ’s play the same way. It’s taken me 10 years to develop my unique style, but I think its worth it.

You’ve had many aliases over the years, the best known being ‘As One’, as well as, amongst others, ‘Blue Binary’, ‘Offworld’, and ‘The Off World Ensemble’. Do you just like to keep the punters guessing, or is the idea musical and image separation?

Originally this was a legal way of signing non-exclusively to different labels. There was also an intent to have different musical styles – Future/Past was also for harder techno, Blue Binary for ambient tracks, etc. But it was never a strict separation. I tend to use my own name for releases now. I think its less confusing when using internet searches, etc.

You’ve also been involved in several bands, most recently pop project ‘The Beauty Room’ which released a critically acclaimed studio album through Peacefrog in 2006. Do you draw inspiration for these projects from the black soul, funk & disco you listened to as a youngster?

I draw inspiration from black music in all my material. It’s what I love, what I am. The Beauty Room came about from collaborating with a co-writer who had a completely different musical background (Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, gospel). The common ground we had was Steely Dan who we both obsess about.

As mentioned, you were heavily influenced by funk, soul and disco music in your formative years, and this is evident in your music today. Who were your heroes when you were growing up?

Earth, Wind & Fire, Funkadelic, James Brown, Stevie Wonder – and a ton of producers like Patrick Adams, Greg Carmichael, Randy Muller etc. Remixers like Shep Pettibone, Francois K, Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott, Larry Levan, etc.

It seems that these genres are as much a part of your musical persona as electronic music and techno, is this a fair assessment?

Absolutely – and for me, House & Techno were a continuation of this tradition. I had Juan Atkins records in 1983 as a kid collecting electro and many of the early NY and New Jersey Garage producers came out of the disco-boogie scene of the early eighties.

What can we expect to hear when you get behind the decks in Australia?

I’m going to bring my full-on techno sets – with the exception being a soul-funk-disco set for one of my two performances at the Playground Festival. So expect upbeat, intense, cutting edge techno.

Thanks for chatting to us Kirk. We’re looking forwards to hearing you play at Barsoma for Metric’s first show of 2012. Enjoy the tour, and see you at the party!

Many thanks – cyu soon!