When Fool's Gold Day Off starts this Saturday at the Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds in LA, you might not know every artist who takes the stage. Hell, some of the ones you do know might not have even been on the bill, and that's just the way A-Trak, world-famous DJ and the founder of Fool's Gold Records, wants it.
"Aside from Fool's Gold Day Off being a good time, it's a place where you can always see up-and-coming artists before they become household names," A-Trak says. "Of course, there'll also be the bigger names, and it's a tradition now of surprises. There are always a few surprise guests who come out for a few songs."
A-Trak and, fellow DJ/other founder of Fool's Gold Records, Nick Catchdubs started Fool's Gold Day Off five years ago, and have since watched the festival expand from a small party in a parking lot to a five-city tour featuring headliners like Action Bronson (for the LA stop), Earl Sweatshirt, and Meek Mill. Although the lineup is primarily comprised of hip-hop and electronic artists (the two genres A-Trak is known for combining), there's no set genre for Fool's Gold Day Off, it's pretty much whatever the two founders feel like.
"Fool's Gold Day Off is centered on what the cool kids are listening to, but it's really open and welcoming to everyone," A-Trak says. "I think it's also at that perfect size where it's not small, but you're not in a sea of 20,000 or 50,000 people."
Much like how the festival, which is only one of A-Trak's many current music and culture-related projects, is growing up right in front of people's eyes, its founder did the same. Ever since a 15-year-old Alain Macklovitch won the DMC World DJ Championship in 1997, the Canadian turntablist has been in the spotlight. Although it wasn't always the easiest, the now-33-year-old realizes everything could've turned out a lot worse, particularly considering that he'd never even DJ'd a party until after he started touring as a 16-year-old.
"When I won DMC at 15, my voice hadn't even changed yet," A-Trak says. "I was the young one of the pack, and I grew up in front of a lot of people. I could've come out real weird having a coming of age while in a career like that. I'm not flawless by any means, but I'm glad I didn't have like a Macaulay Culkin experience."
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Almost two decades later, the DJ/producer/record label owner has worked on countless hits, toured with Kanye West for several years, and left a noteworthy mark on the streetwear fashion scene outside of his musical career. This Saturday though, his entire focus will be on Fool's Gold Day Off in LA.
"Fool's Gold Day Off is a unique event in the sense that it's not a genre-specific festival, but a generational event," A-Trak says. "It's the music that a whole generation is listening to, from hip-hop to electronic music, and there are always some acts from other genres. It's a really good time for everyone."