Interview: Chad Vicious

Chad Vicious might be the coolest DJ you are not listening to. As the main purveyor of a genre coined “Heavy Metal Disco”, Vicious creates hard hitting beats that appeal to fans of techno, industrial, rock, and everything in between. I got a chance to talk to Chad about his humble beginnings in Alaska and his current life in Las Vegas. In return, Vicious made Surviving the Golden Age an exclusive DJ mix!

MP3: Chad Vicious “Surviving the Golden Age exclusive mix”

Track listing
McDastardly VS. Figure “The Phantom”
F.O.O.L. “Reborn (Tom Deluxx Remix)”
Drivepilot “Fuck Yeah (Boomzers Remix)”
Circe “Here Come The Punks (Haezer Remix)”
Valerna “Wrath Of God”
Chad Vicious “Gonna Raise Hell”
Prodigy “Warrior (Far Too Loud Remix)”
Produkkt “Clampino Airforce (Cyberpunkers Remix)”
Tommie Sunshine / Sharam Jey “The Things You Say (Cyberpunkers Remix)”

You grew up in Alaska. What was the music scene like up there growing up?
Alaska is pretty diverse, but there’s not a lot of people to support a scene of diversity. There are folk & acoustic coffee shops, and a very small scene of hard rock original bands; my friend’s 36 Crazyfists being probably the biggest export from that scene. Then there are a few obligatory top 40 clubs, bands and DJ’s – not a huge electronic music scene during that time.
What were some of your earliest musical influences?
I’ve been listening to music before I could even speak, and my musical influences are pretty diverse. At first, they were more “guitar driven” straight rock… such as KISS, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Helmet, L.A. Guns, etc. But they also drifted into more of the electronic side like NIN, The Crystal Method, The Prodigy, Luke Vibert, Chemical Brothers, Filter, and most artists from the Tidy Traxx label. I would have to say the album that changed it most for me was, The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. I had been a fan since “Broken”. But the songs off The Downward Spiral, bridged the gap between Rock and Dance music – especially “March of the Pigs” and “Ruiner.”
How did you first get into DJing?
I was mixing audio for bands at this club in AK, and they had supplied mixed CD’s for the audio engineers play for when the bands would go on break. I got sick of hearing the same mixes over and over, so instead of playing them, I just started DJ’ing music that I thought was cool. That eventually led to me DJ’ing in the other main room at that club when they had a opening. So my first main DJ gig, was a residency at the biggest club in Alaska.
Why did you decide to relocate to Las Vegas?
I felt I had done everything I could in Alaska. Plus there wasn’t an electronic scene at that time and I was just ready for a change. Vegas seemed like the logical choice because of the 24hr nightlife. There were places like Seamless After hours, Empire Ballroom and ICE that catered to local electronic DJ’s and Producers. Within a few months of moving here, I ended up having a two night a week residency at Seamless, which was awesome.
You describe your music as “Heavy Metal Disco”. What does this label mean to you?
“Heavy Metal Disco” is a term I came up with when I was trying to describe the music I produce and DJ to someone in layman’s terms. It was something like a,”techno beat with the aggressiveness and distortion of rock music” – so it just stuck. It seems to paint a better picture than telling someone “Fidget” or “Banging”…especially if they have little knowledge about house / electronic music.
In addition to creating your own music, you also spin DJ sets. What are some of your favorite records to spin?
I am geared more towards artists and producers than specific tracks. The ones that come to mind right now are: Cyberpunkers, Mustard Pimp, Skrillex, Haezer, F.O.O.L., and Valerna.
You created an exclusive mix for StGA, can you describe a little bit about the concept behind it and some of the song selections?
The concept behind the song selection is to give StGA an intimate experience of what it would be like if you were to catch me DJ’ing at a venue. To put in as much expression of my sound in the mix, so that readers feel me without actually being there. Hopefully that translates to fans of Surviving the Golden Age.
Finally, what is next for Chad Vicious?
The last few months had me focused on producing and remixing tracks a lot, but now I’m ready to start touring again. I just played in Denver and that reminded me how much I miss playing…

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