He's a star among today's music producers and remixers,
creating an incredible number of club hits and remixes for
loads of major artists. MadonnaTribe chats
with the one and only Victor Calderone
about his work, his music and working with the one and only
Queen of Pop.
are one of the most famous Dj and remixer in the world,
how did it begin for you? Is this the work you always
wanted to do?
Victor Calderone: I never dreamed it was going
to be like this. It started when I was 16 just deejaying
and my older brother was a DeeJay and that's how I got
MTribe: So it's a family of dj's?
VC: Yeah (laughing) exactly. There was always music
playing in my house, always records everywhere, so yes,
I grew up in a home always with music on so that's how
I got into it, it was through my older brother.
M-Tribe: How do you usually transform a song you
have to remix. Do you take ideas from the original track?
VC: Well, I try not to take too much
from the original. Usually the only thing I use are the
vocals from the original song but I always keep in mind
that I want to keep the integrity of the original, of
course it's gonna be a new production and remix but I
want it to be identifiable and that people can tell it's
a remix of that specific song.
I try to get inspired from the vocals and the melody,
usually that's where I take my inspiration from. It's
no magic formula or anything, it's just something that
happens. I sit in the studio, I listen to the vocals and
I just keep layering sounds and beats and drums and let
M-Tribe: Do you test your remixes in clubs before
sending them back to the labels to feel the crowd's reaction
and maybe adjust few things?
VC: Whenever I have time, whenever the deadline
is not "right away" if I have the time to test
it and maybe go back into the studio and make adjustments
I usually try to make as many adjustments as possible
before I send it back to the label so yes I have the opportunity
to play it out, of course I definately try cause it has
always helped, cause whenever I played out I would always
hear something and I go back to the studio.
But most of the time you never get a chance to test it,
usually they always want it right away and... especially
with Madonna. Most of the mixes I did for her... usually
they give me three/four days...
M-Tribe: Oh Really?
VC: Yeah... I never had a lot of time
to work on her mixes.
M-Tribe: Frozen was you first Madonna remix, the
first of a long time collaboration, did Madonna contacted
VC: It was actually through
a mutual friend, Ingrid Casares. I was
working with Ingrid in Miami. At the time Ingrid had a night
club and we were working together and Ingrid loved what
I was doing and she said "I'm gonna let Madonna hear
what you're doing. Madonna is working on her new album right
now' at the time. 'I'm gonna introduce you guys".
But at the time I didn't think anything was going to happen.
I thought she was just talking basically.
And one day Ingrid called me when I was in Miami and she
said come and meet me at China Groove a restaurant in Miami
and she didn't tell me why, I went there and when I got
there Madonna was sitting there with her.
And that's it, that's how it happened. We met each other
that night and she asked me if I was going to remix her
first single. And the first single then was Frozen...
M-Tribe: And it became a classic somehow, Madonna
fans and fans of remixes in general love it. What was your
approach to the song and was it difficult to turn a slow
song into a club anthem?
VC: Well it doesn't always work. Sometimes
the tempos really don't lend themselves to be remixed.
If you speed it up sometimes the vocals don't sound great
so sometimes it works, sometime it doesn't, sometimes the
record labels don't listen, sometimes when I tell them it's
not a good idea to remix the song they still want to do
it, they still insist.
I've been lucky with Madonna.
A lot of her stuff works very well on the dance floor and
it lends itself to be remixed. I guess it's always because
of her connection to dance, to the dance music world and
that's why it always works.
That's what she
likes and she respects that.
For me What it feels like for a girl... that's one of my
favourite mixes that I done for her. It's not dance music
and among the mixes I've done I love this one the most because
I tried something really different. And I think it was her
favourite as well.
Well she used that version on her 2001 Drowned World Tour
live and she sang the spanish lyrics on it.
M-Tribe: Have you been involved into
creating that live version or it came up as a surprise
VC: I was really surprised actually.
For me it was the biggest complement. It just showed she
really loved what I did and loved it enough to use it
in her show. For me it was very exciting and rewarding.
It really paid off to try something different.
M-Tribe: Does a Spanish version of the
remix using the Spanish vocals exist?
VC: No, it doesnt.
I just did the one with the original vocals. She did the
Spanish version later on.
M-Tribe: The story that is being told in many publications
is that after you did Frozen for Madonna, she was so impressed
that she recommended you to Sting to create a new version
of for his "Desert Rose".
How did that happen and how was working with Sting, who
is someone who is even more far from dance music ?
VC: For me it was really exciting because
Sting like you said is someone who really didn't have any
connection with the dance music industry and so I received
a phone call from him and I couln't believe that he was
interested in a dance remix off one of his records and the
whole connection came from Madonna.
She recommended me to him and when he called he was like:
"Madonna recommended you so are you doing my first
single?" It was an exciting time for me.
M-Tribe: In the past months, speaking
about your work with Madonna, you said "I need to
take a break from the Madonna stuff, I don't want it to
seem as if I'm just riding her success".
Do you think that something new, and completely different,
can be thrilling enough to have both Victor and Madonna's
fans enjoying again a new collaboration?
VC: Oh I don't know. I don't want to
say no or never, you never know what happens. I think
if we would go into the studio it would be a great collaboration.
I just think I needed to take a break from remixing and
give some other talented people around the chance to remix
some of her songs as well and also like you said I didn't
want to seem like I was always just riding on her success.
I was always
recognized for Madonna and I worked with a lot of other
great artists such as Destiny's child, Garbage, Sting and
a some really good artists but people from magazines always
wanted to talk about Madonna, which is great but I just
wanted to take a break.
I think it was important for me to take a break from that.
M-Tribe: Speaking about the whole range of your
remixes is there one you're particulary proud of?
VC: Like I said my favourite Madonna
remix is What It Feels Like For A Girl and I also have
to say Desert Rose, the one I did for Sting.
It's something I really enjoyed doing. I love the original
song, I love the original vocal and it was a really big
success for me.
You know I have a lot of remixes that I really like but
those are the ones I'm really proud of.
M-Tribe: Which are your future projects,
are you working on something special at the moment?
VC: I'm working on mostly original new
material. Not taking too many remixes. I'm just trying
to focus on my own original work at the moment.
M-Tribe: Can't wait to hear that. Vic,
thank you very much for sharing some of your time with
VC: It was a pleasure.
M-Tribe: Thank you.
MadonnaTribe would like to thank Victor Calderone
for sharing a bunch of his time with us and for
the gift of his music in so many unforgettable tunes.
Special thanks to David Lopez for his help and assistance.
To know more about the art and talent of Victor Calderone
and be up-to-date with the latest news be sure to visit
his official website at VictorCalderone.com
Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe