Revolving resident at Mokai, Rokbar, Set, Wall and Louis, you could say that Paris' DJ Sub Zero has all but taken over South Beach. Then again, once you've reigned over one of the hottest cities on the planet, success among any world-class crowd is virtually assured. Niteside got with the fab French party rocker on the eve of another wild night:
Everybody thinks you copped your name from Mortal Kombat. Did you? Well, in a way it is true. I would only play that game with the Sub Zero character. But the real truth is I always wanted to sound fresh, play the new stuff straight from the U.S., because I was living in Paris, and the sub-zero component on a certain American fridge was designed to keep things fresh. Another thing is that all the good DJs had names with two words. In the end, Sub Zero was definitely for me, and it summed up what I wanted to be -- the freshest DJ!
You're primarily a French hip hop DJ. Is there even such a thing as French hip hop? Actually, France is the world's second largest market for hip hop. Some French artists even went platinum over there. I wasn't really spinning French hip hop that much though -- only the big stuff. I was more of a French DJ spinning U.S. hip hop and R&B
In Paris, you were the talk of the town -- spinning the best clubs, hosting your own radio show, etc. What made you decide to leave all that for Miami? Tough choice when everything works for you, right? I even had a weekly nationwide radio mix show with half a million listeners every Thursday. But I figured that I had to make that move to do what no other European urban DJ had ever done and do it while I was young and with no kids etc. And as a basketball fan, I realized all the best foreign players want to make it to the NBA, so this was a chance for me to start fresh and make it to the big league.
Had you been coming in to spin here prior to the move? It was a big move for me to come to Miami, but I had my connections. Roberto Kahn, who was Mynt's previous owner (in 2003-2004), used to fly me in like four times a year, and a few of the biggest spenders at that time were French and they'd pop off hard when I came out there to spin. So here I was. Other than that, you might have noticed that lots of club owners and managers in South Beach are French so when your name is big in Paris, they get the good word. So they all had heard about me prior to my move.
Do you still get back to France to spin? Hell yeah! I'm still the man out there. ... I go there like three to four times a year for Paris Fashion week events, Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, parties in St Tropez and around the French Riviera etc. I often stop by for a gig in Paris or other places in France when I am booked for gigs in Europe. I know everybody that needs to be known out there, got connections to the most influential people and I have all my closest friends there.
In addition to your club work, you've also been in on some mixtape action. Wanna fill us in? I started listening to mix tapes way back when. ... I'm talking about real creative DJ mixes cut and scratched, with exclusive tracks, freestyles etc. And I released a lot of those back in the day before the mp3-era, and I recorded tracks with Chamillionaire, David Banner et al. Nowadays, my mixes are free on my podcast, and I try to get out of that hip hop image that I had in the beginning of my career. I'm a club DJ that likes to spin it all. When it's good, it's good! And I will play it.
Any other production work we need to know about? I'm working on a few official remixes for artists. Deckstar management who takes care of my U.S. bookings is hooking me up with some studio/remix work. By the way, I released a lot of remixes/mash-ups on vinyl from '99 to 2005. I had my own label then, and I was among the first European DJs to get a deal with AV8 records in New York. But nowadays I want to focus on production -- beats, music for films etc. I am pretty busy.
Now that you're a bona fide Miamian, where in town do you most dig hanging out? Where should I start? Hmmm... I'm a meat fan ... so I have my spots like Baire's on Lincoln Road or Houston's in Coral Gables. Some sushi at Planet Sushi on Washington and 8th, pizza at Piola. I also have my little delicious pasta spot at Specchio on Harding, close to Bal Harbor. Of course great Italian food would be at Quattro on Lincoln. What better place to have some good south of France style food than at Piaggia? Or have lunch facing the bay at Standard. ... For drinks ... I would hang out at the Ganesvoort rooftop or chill at Segafredo's.
What's coming up for Sub Zero? I really want to try to focus on production and on releasing an album sometime in 2011 with guests and lots of club tracks. Watch out for DJ Sub Zero on top of Billboard charts!
DJ Sub Zero Spins Louis on Tuesday 8/24 and Rokbar on Wednesday 8/25.