If the name Vikter Duplaix doesnâ€™t ring a bell, youâ€™ve probably still heard his music. The DJ, singer, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist and has worked with Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Faith Evans, Teddy Pendergrass and more.
The Philadelphia native also found time to release his own albums. His third studio LP, Love Machine drops in January but in the meantime, you can catch him on Centricâ€™s DJ competition, Smirnoff Presents: Master of the Mix, where he competes with other professional DJs to showcase his crown pleasing skills through a series of various challenges.
GangStarrGirl.com caught up with him to chat about his new project, doing reality TV and the elements that make a good dj.
More after the jump…
This is a random question but since youâ€™ve worked with Teddy Pendergrass who would you pick to play him in a biopic?
Youâ€™re talking about something that needs to beâ€”vocally like, someone who could theatrically imitate him, his personality and his voiceâ€”I donâ€™t know if that personâ€™s alive [laughs]. But if youâ€™re talking about someone with the ultra over-the-top confidence or persona that he has even in the stage that I was close to him, which was during his injured years, I would think the closest person is Idris Elba in terms of the potential of magnifying his already confident personality times 10.
Elaborate on the concept behind Master of the Mix since everyone doesnâ€™t have Centric?
The premise is itâ€™s a traveling dj reality competition where they fly us around to several different cities and create these intense challenges for us to showcase the various stages of dj culture and nightlife culture as well. The 7 djs are already professionals so theyâ€™re not new and the complicated nature of the challenges is designed for someone whoâ€™s a working professional, with a fan base with a lot of self-confidence in their abilities. Thatâ€™s what makes it different from a lot of these other shows that have new people on them where thereâ€™s a lot of cattyness and itâ€™s very petty. [Master of the Mix] is very focused on everyoneâ€™s ability and how they deal with situations under pressure and it was a really fascinating experience and I recommend any other dj who is in a position to try this to do so.
In your mind, what elements make a good dj?
One thing that came out about this show is that there are so many different styles of djs and so many different ideas of what does and what can define a dj. For me itâ€™s one who is capable of satisfying a group of people, making a group of people feel good about themselves with their musical selection and thinking about the crowd first and not necessarily thinking about what they want to do; or spoon feeding them something brand new or all those different kinds of things that djs have a tendency to doâŽ¯scratching for emphasis on how great they are as a turntablistsâŽ¯thereâ€™s something about that but at the end of the day itâ€™s really about sharing beautiful music and making people feel good and thereâ€™s different degrees of that, especially because people have so many different types and tastes in music across the globe and this show in particular really examines a hip-hop-esque side of that so within the different genres thereâ€™s people who present music in a different way. But over all you still have to always focus on making people feel good so thatâ€™s the bottom line.
The djâ€™s are all accomplished in general so what was the ego like and how was it taking criticism from professionals as a professional?
You really have to watch the show to see how that played out because in certain cases thatâ€™s exactly where the drama came from. There was a respect level of course, but at the same time certain djs were more confident about their perspective than others and sometimes it was about pushing back to the judges, sometimes it was about taking it from the judges and learning. There were a lot of different ways that that played out in the show and I think that was what was terrifying to some of the other djs who turned the show down. They didnâ€™t want to be scrutinized like that in front of the public eye. They didnâ€™t have the confidence to withstand being embarrassed because they made a mistake in their competition and things like that. So, I salute all the djs who did this show and put their careers and their reputations on the line because it was definitely uncomfortable to be scrutinized and to be judged and have your peers look at you and think of you a particular way at a certain time but ultimately end up getting all respect.
As far as your music, what can fans expect from Love Machine?
More beautiful mood making music. Thatâ€™s what I live for and thatâ€™s what I like to present even as a dj, I primarily just like to create a vibe where you can use it in the morning, in the noon, in the night. I like to surprise you with lyrics that inspire and push you to a deeper understanding of love and self and life and romance, and encourage spiritual growth and things like that. Itâ€™s really a journeyâŽ¯another continuation to the journey into my expiration of music, love, spirituality, personal interaction, spiritual interaction with another person. And more specifically, itâ€™s about a man who feels like heâ€™s trying to make the perfect machine for a female and heâ€™s just going with the studies and he creates and going through all these things until he realizes that the man is the perfect love machine for the woman. And thatâ€™s something the creator established already.
You make a lot of beautiful songs, like â€œMorenaâ€ for example, and are especially good when it comes to knowing what to say to women. What is it about women that inspires you?
Ironically, at the time I was writing â€œMorena,â€ on my first album, I was really not happy with the relationship I was in. I was going through a great deal of personal drama, really dark experiences and what I decided to do as I was thinking about it, I realized that I donâ€™t really believe there is someone foreign with that type of angry destructive personality. I think everyone is created to be that way and I think at the end of the day I needed to do something that sort of reversed the anger that a lot of women have toward men and a lot of men have toward women and start to mentor the female and appreciate her in a complete senseâŽ¯mentally, spiritually, physicallyâŽ¯in order to make music that could really feel that love coming from me and feel that passion because maybe they donâ€™t have it from me, maybe the men in their lives are treating them improperly and not giving them respect and not giving them love and not giving them caring, so, ultimately, what they do is turn around and hurt other men and itâ€™s a vicious cycle. So, the inspiration really comes from the desire to always want to continually make people feel better. Not so much, always being about a particular person like, â€œSheâ€™s so beautiful, I have to write this song because sheâ€™s my muse.â€ Itâ€™s more an over-arching theme of just wanting to make people feel better. And I was raised by beautiful women. I have beautiful women in my familyâŽ¯nieces, great friends who always take care of me and look out for me and my career. So my music is pretty much a salute and a tribute to the love theyâ€™ve given me throughout my life.
Catch the last three episodes of Master of the Mix on Centric with weekend encores on BET (check your local listings for details).