John Acquaviva The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Feb 01, 2000DJ and professional tourist John Acquaviva is currently promoting his mix CD Connected (Yul Records) with a May 27 appearance at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival and in Toronto on July 7 at the Warehouse.
I pretty much live and breathe music, always record shopping and playing clubs. I sneak in a few biographies while on long haul flights and always make sure I go to great restaurants.
Mind-altering work of art:
Percussionist Airto Morreira. He is the underground version of Sergio Mendes. He is also a witch doctor, I believe.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
My most recent hardcore tour of seven gigs in nine days on three continents provided a few great moments. All the parties were quite amazing, from having about 20,000 people in my room in Amsterdam to what turned out to be an all-nighter at the Casino Club in Berlin. I was supposed to play only for two hours. After one hour it got quite good. Then after two hours it was really good. I was asked to play another hour and it got really amazing, the people wouldn't let me leave and the whole room of over 1500 people would not let me go and stayed until 7:00 am. After I stopped playing and was carrying my records through the empty room, I noticed that there was water all over the place, two to three inches deep and the floor was a giant mess. It turned out that the club's heater broke and water flooded the whole dance floor. The people stayed all night and partied soaking wet all night long. And I thought they were just sweating.
What has been your career high and low?
I have had a lot of highs. The tour I just mentioned was incredible. I was in Columbia for the first time.
One low was being invited to play a festival in Oslo Norway. I was not met or picked up at the airport, which is not all that unusual. I finally got sorted out by some related promoters and got dropped off at the hotel. I was told to just relax and someone would call me to sort out the gig and night. No one ever called me! The contact phone numbers I had were not correct and no one got me to the party. I flew all the way to Oslo to sleep in a hotel for the night. I did get paid in full luckily, in advance.
What should everyone shut up about?
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Peace. There are a number of regions (Israel and the former Yugoslavia for sure) I play that have a lot of grief. I try to support good causes, especially peace, when and where I can.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
With me it's all or nothing, no middle. Very obsessive compulsive. And it is both my like and dislike I guess.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
On a music band level, never, because DJs tend to be lone characters so that issue gets avoided. Private life... well, that's private.
When I think of Canada I think:
Trees, snow, cold, bullshit stereotypes that a lot of the world has of us. Actually I really like Canada. I think of it as the middle ground between Europe and the USA. Not as socialistic and overtaxed as Europe but not as irritatingly capitalistic and dense as our cousins to the South.
What is your vital daily ritual?
Two cups of coffee, black with one equal with a spoon in the cup. Then I am good for that next 20 hours.
How do you spoil yourself?
I eat and drink very well. Actually it is usually others that spoil me even better I guess.
What was your most memorable day job?
My first one perhaps, when I was 16. I was a porter at the Ramada Inn. I used to make a dollar per bag for every piece of luggage I carried. I thought it was the best and easiest money ever.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
A banker. I studied to be an actuary.
What is your greatest fear?
Having my record box completely lost or stolen while travelling. Luckily it has never happened.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Finding new records. I am married and have kids, but music is my mistress and it still gets me off.
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Very similar. Music and clubbing is and can be very sexual. The way I play it is all about build up and climax, with a lot of teasing, and not just once.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
Before our music and scene became so famous, I was part of the first "rave" tour in America in 92 (if I recall correctly) with the Prodigy and Moby. I was Moby's roommate. Keywords: strangest brush.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Wittgenstein. I don't know really, but I thought I would drop a trendy name.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
A banker. My parents used to tell all their friends that my education would lead to something.