Vato Gonzalez Interview

House | Wednesday 7th December 2011 | Osh


Eccentric and electrifying UK Chart artist tells us about his inspirations, music videos and tips on how to get with ladies

Hi Vato! What’s up?

I’m quite high. About 9000 ft. at the moment, to be precise. I'm near the end of my European Summer Tour and currently flying to The Netherlands once again, after performing at a big outdoor festival in Crete [Greece] yesterday. Going back to that place that I haven't seen in a long time a.k.a. home...

Big question for you: do you wear your ouchanka (fur hat) in summertime? It must be hot in clubs...

Actually, the big rhetorical question is: what do you think yourself? What happens when you wear a snow hat made for -20 degrees Celsius on a hot summer’s day? But yes, I do wear the snow hat, even though it's hotter than a BBQ in hell! Not at every gig, I like to keep it a surprise if I'm wearing it or not.

Dirty House Bastards entered the official UK Top 40 at number seven with the smash hit single ‘Badman Riddim’. What was your first reaction? (I mean after calling your mum.)

Well, to be honest, I gave up 'hope' and 'expectations' a long time ago, regarding the music business. It's a political war zone and thus, such emotions are a dangerous endeavour. I once said to my label: "As soon as I can say I’ve had a chart hit a year ago, I'll start to believe it myself." It's not that I don't care or am not really freaking happy, because I am, but for me it was more like recognition for 15 years of producing. I had to take a lot of crap from the industry because I tend to want the things the way I want them, not the way some big hot shot multi-billion dollar company wants it. So finally being in the charts led to me having a little 'naa-na-na-naa-naa' moment. That is, after calling mum, obviously.


Your video is crazy. You seem to not take yourself seriously... Am I right?

How dare you, to insult all 12 of my personalities like that! We take each other very serious! I feel sorry for the artists who take their egos just a bit too serious and have to act sort of forced semi-cool all day. I'm about as gangster as a teddy bear and I’d rather have a lot of fun than try to be something I'm not. When it comes to the business-end of the music I'm relentless and stone cold, but as a person/artist I'd rather be my idiotic self all day!

A lot of people consider you as one of the originators of the dirty house sound, what do you think about this?

I started 'DIRTY HOUSE' as a record label, club event and series of bootlegs and mixtapes about five years ago. It's not a music style; it's about the energy in the music. Whether it's tech house, Dutch bleep, UK funky, electro or Baltimore club, as long as the beats are banging and have a high level of energy I consider it 'Dirty House'. I'm quite happy that something I came up with five years ago has now grown into a worldwide movement that has been embraced by so many people! The idea is like 'open source'; I can only claim to have initiated it.

Where does this dirty sound come from? How do you draw your inspiration?

I was inspired to create the 'DIRTY HOUSE' movement because back in the day the focus was too much on the credibility of the music. It was more about who produced it, and if that was a 'cool' name in the industry, than whether the crowd actually enjoyed the music. I noticed people really went bonkers to the unofficial bootlegs and other ghetto-produced music by seeming 'nobodies'. The other influence was the early mixing of urban and house (eclectic) in the Netherlands, a few years ahead of the rest of the world. I noticed the ladies still loved the Latin/urban/vocal sounds, but the guys liked the raw beats and basslines. So I focused on the lady-friendly, raw, energetic and ghetto records and blended them into a mix that was so fast, even a three-year-old with ADHD didn't had the time to hit the 'skip' button!


Have you got a motto in life? The Guestlist Network always say, “Do it big or stay in bed”...

"Rocking your socks off!". It's all about the energy. People go clubbing to forget about the week and release themselves in the positive energy of music. So let's give them that energy. I see every gig as a little 'war' with my records as weapons, a complete frenzy of bouncing people is my target and ‘the way to’ is to smack them in the face with the loudest beats they can handle until their socks are rocked!

What is the best club to play in the world? You’re not allowed to say Ministry Of Sound: we know that you have business interest with them!

For the record, I've never played at Ministry of Sound. I'm still waiting to be invited. Hint. Hint. Hint. The best club to play in the world must have been Pacha in La Pineda (Spain). The combination of an insane sound system, people with proper love for (a little deeper) house music and flawless artist handling makes it a joy to perform there. But all the clubs in the world are blown away by the incredible energy we got at the festivals in The Netherlands and Belgium in 2011. Serious stage diving madness was the motto! With that said, there are so many clubs I haven’t played at yet, so ask me again in a year and I’ll probably have a different answer.

Have you had a mad summer so far? What have been some of your highlights?

Summerfestival in Antwerp, Belgium. On a scale from one to ten, it would be about a twenty. I played the dirtiest music imaginable and the crowd at one point forgot they were at a dance festival. It seemed I was performing for a crowd that came to a show by The Prodigy, who are one of my biggest inspirations by the way. These people were way beyond dancing. They were bouncing around like the floor was on fire! The other highlight has been the series of DIRTY HOUSE events we did in Spain; week after week sold out and people had so much energy!


Will you be playing in London soon? Can we come and film?

I hope so! Until the end of August I'm on tour across Europe, after that a mini-tour to the West Indies and then we'll start looking at dates in the UK. If you want to come and film you're very welcome! The question is more: can you handle two Dutch geezers at their worst behaviour? Yes, two! I'm always accompanied by my regular hypeman, MC Tjen.

What is your playlist for the shower?

Depends on whether I'll be alone or not. When showering solo I'll skip on the smooth LL Cool J tracks and go straight for the opera and other dramatic big room singalong things, so I can feel like a real Pavarotti while smelling like coconuts! Yes, it's true. I'm addicted to coconut shower gel. I guess I feel greatly related to these nuts. First of all, because they are nuts. Secondly, just like me, they are a bit hairy and quite white underneath!

Can you give us an exclusive!



What is your secret to getting girls?

Onions, garlic, no deodorant and having a chart hit [laughs]. Just kidding! I’ve noticed after you've got a little success, and have been on stage for two hours, it doesn't really matter what you say or how bad you smell/look. I'm not the type of guy to go all out on groupies; they all come for the product I represent, not for me. I love to be around my fans and give them all the time and attention they need, but you don't eat where you crap, metaphorically speaking. I'd rather go for the relaxed after party with my bro MC Tjen and chill out for a bit and have a laugh. Perhaps that's my secret, the sort of anti-hero statement I make or… I'm just talking a whole lot of smack at the moment and got no clue what it is.


If you could fill a pool with anything, what would it be?

I'd fill it to the brim with panda bears. Hundreds of them! Then take a short run and a big leap and crowd surf the shit out of these bamboo-chewing fatsos!


Thanks for your time Vato.