A genuine craftsman from the days when DJs played actual records and an encouraging reminder that some in fact still do, Derek Plaslaiko is truly a DJ's DJ. The Michigan native was a fixture on the Detroit rave scene from the mid-'90s until 2004, when he relocated to New York City, where he maintains a longstanding relationship with the well-known Brooklyn techno party the Bunker.
In 2010, Plaslaiko moved again, this time to Berlin, where you can sometimes catch him deejaying at strange hours at that city's infamous Panorama Bar. Since arriving in Germany, Plaslaiko has become a more active producer, releasing original tracks and remixes on labels such as Perc Trax and Interdimensional Transmissions. We caught up with Plaslaiko yesterday, the first day of Boulder's Communikey Festival.
Westword: It seems like you're in Boulder every year for the festival, whether you're playing or not. What's your relationship with Communikey?
Derek Plaslaiko: I played four Communikeys ago. I'd been to Denver, but I'd never been to Boulder before, and it was just a really, really nice community. I just thought the whole festival was really put on well and really interesting, just from all different sides of the spectrum, you know? And the reason I've come back every year is because of my girlfriend, Heidi [Higginbottom] -- it's kind of our anniversary, and she used to be part of Communikey as well, so she wants to come every year, and I do, too. So we just come every year.
What kind of music are you going to play at the park party?
I never really plan too much, but Kate [Lesta] wanted me to do something that kind of tied in with my Snowprayers podcast. The first hour or two will be more listening music, acoustic indie-rock stuff. It'll be a little different, just kind of sittin' in the sun weather, just kind of chillin' out. Once there's enough people in the park and it seems like it's time to start steppin' it up, I'll start playing dance stuff. I can't see myself playing much techno, probably more along the house lines. Probably not super-slow, as I don't really do that. I'm playing for four hours.
Can you tell us more about the podcast?
The podcast was something I dreamed up probably thirteen years ago. I just ran a station on Winamp, a Shoutcast or whatever, that just kind of played. I did it a couple years in a row, where I started it around October to welcome in winter. When I moved to Berlin, I saw it as a way to kind of have my own little radio show, letters back home to people, songs that reminded me of other people and let them know that I'm thinking of them. It's supposed to be more music to end the weekend with, something somber and melancholy, because I initially wanted it to come out Sunday nights.
You haven't released many of your own tracks or remixes. Are you currently producing music?
My first real release was in 2010. I've been working a little since 2001, but never consistently. Even since 2010, it hasn't been really that consistent, because I didn't have a very good computer, and I had no gear, really, but I just got a brand new computer two months ago, and I've been working like crazy. I just did a couple remixes, and I have an EP for Interdimensional Transmissions, and hopefully another EP or two for Perc Trax.
Where are you headed after the festival?
I just found out I'm playing Shaun Reeves's birthday party at Pacha in Ibiza in July for Guy Gerber's night, which will be really weird. I never really saw myself as the Ibiza-playin' type. I'd like to play such a big room, and a big club in the main room is gonna be funny, but it'll be great playing with Shaun. He's like my little brother. It's nice to see how far he and the Visionquest boys have all gone. It's like they're family with me. I just love them to death.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Just that I'm really pumped for it. I love everyone involved with the festival. I'm honored that they gave me so much time. I always felt like the park was their sacred event, it was like, they've got one more to go later on that night, but they've all got the daytime to enjoy what they put together. That's always been the mood I've always seen from everybody there, and I'm honored that they would let me take the helm and for that amount of time. For them to ask me to do it really meant a lot.
Derek Plaslaiko, CMKY with Spoolius Melange, 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28, Central Park, Broadway and Canyon Boulevard, Boulder, free, cmky.org.