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Dave Clarke: “Legacy is for others to judge on and not pre-empt yourself”

Dave Clarke is a record producer and remixer with over 30 years of experience. He has remixed artists as diverse as Placebo, Depeche Mode, Soft Moon, APTBS, and Agoria, among many others.

Photo credit: Bastiaan Woudt

He has DJ’d in clubs and events for 35 years, hosting stages at festivals and having his own night at ADE for over 15 years. He also hosts two radio shows, ‘White Noise,’ which has been running non-stop for almost 16 years, broadcasts weekly on many FM stations from Europe to Australia, featuring post-techno and electro, often from unsigned artists. For over a year, he has also hosted a show called ‘Saga Series,’ which showcases his love of alternative, post punk, and new wave. This airs every fortnight on RTE 2fm.

Dave has also been involved in various neo-classical projects, performing Gustav Holst alongside Mathilde Marsal for ‘Variations’ at Charles De Gaulle airport and for ‘Le Grand Échiquier’ on French National TV in 2020.

In this interview, EG had the chance to sit with Dave Clarke to learn more about his recent releases, his creative process, and his future endeavors. We discussed the 30th anniversary of his seminal ‘Red’ series and ‘Archive One’ album, his thoughts on the evolution of electronic dance music, and his views on the impact of AI in the music industry. He also shares insights into his upcoming projects, including a photography exhibition in Amsterdam and new DJ sets.

EG: Hi, Dave! Welcome back to EG. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here with us again. Where are you at right now? How have you been?

Dave Clarke: Thanks for the invite. It is now Amsterdam Art Week, so going around galleries and getting some inspiration. It feels good to be back after some travels recently.

EG: Congratulations on what is the 30th anniversary of your seminal ‘Red’ series & ‘Archive One’ album! What were some of your initial thoughts when you realised 30 years had gone by? Was this landmark something that you had present in your mind?

Dave Clarke: It is hard to relate to in some ways, and in fact, it looked unlikely to happen until I got my rights back, so my team did a lot of good work to enable that to happen, it actually was hoped to be released on the 25th anniversary but politics put paid to that idea, yet strangely it seems more apt now as “techno” has changed a lot and 30 years seems the perfect place to put a bookmark down.

EG: Looking back, how has this aged? Is it better than you expected? Does it feel dated?

Dave Clarke: That is not for me to judge, but Matt did a fantastic job of remastering it and it sounds very punchy on club systems now.

“Legacy is for others to judge on and not pre-empt yourself”

EG: While talking with us back in 2017, you said that, in a way, ‘The Desecration of Desire’ felt like your first album, despite the fact that ‘Archive One’ is your first LP ever…Did you view ‘Archive One’ as part of your learning curve back then? Has this notion changed over this revision?

Dave Clarke: Good to be reminded of that, I can still feel the same way as ‘DoD’ was made entirely with the album format in mind, whereas ‘Archive One’ was approached more as a collection of singles.

EG: Now you’re celebrating the landmark with remastered original versions and bonus remixes released in a limited edition, one-time pressing, exclusive 6 vinyl set slipcase box with a signed photo and a 16-page booklet written by you. Did you understand the impact that the ‘Red’ series and ‘Archive One’ at the time and what it could come to mean in the future?

Dave Clarke: Honestly no idea, but those things are what makes life great surely, the little surprises.

EG: Do you consider yourself to be a nostalgic person? How do you feel about the legacy you have built so far? How would you like to be remembered regarding your contributions to electronic dance music decades from now?

Dave Clarke: In many ways, those that really focus on legacy are quite narcissistic surely? Legacy is for others to judge on and not pre-empt yourself, however it not being available wasn’t a right situation either.

EG: Now, stepping outside of the studio for a bit…You’ve been around for a long while now, so what do you think the future of electronic dance music looks like? Are all these innovations and big-screen festival performances bringing us closer or farther away from the music? Have we lost something along the way?

Dave Clarke: From my generational and musical purist perspective this is all wrong, having “DJs” playing pre-recorded sets, having no abilities aside from dancing and cheerleading, and needing the oxygen of attention through social media is about as far removed from enjoying music as I can imagine, we have entered a situation where Cultural Colonialism is creating a boring depth free monoculture that benefits venture capitalist vulture corporations, greedy managers and empty “personalities” that represent nothing yet pretend to be rebellious.

“Cultural Colonialism is creating a boring depth free monoculture that benefits venture capitalist vulture corporations, greedy managers and empty “personalities” that represent nothing yet pretend to be rebellious”

EG: It being such a hot topic, how do you feel about the recent implementation of AI in the creative side of music? Have you explored any form of AI recently? What’s your relationship with that like?

Dave Clarke: All tools have a good side and a bad side, historically profit favors the bad side.

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for Dave Clarke? What can we expect from you in the coming months? Where can your fans catch you next?

Dave Clarke: A photography exhibition in Amsterdam, cool music, and DJ’ing without faking it.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Dave! See you on the dancefloor!

Dave Clarke’s ‘Red Rare’ EP is now available on Skint Records. Stream and download here.

Follow Dave Clarke: Spotify | Website | Instagram | Facebook

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