Q&A With John Digweed, Playing Charity Event For the Homeless Tonight at the Vagabond

John Digweed is not only one of the biggest superstar DJs ever, but he's got a heart just as extra-large. The man has spun to thousands at the biggest venues and festivals in the world, but tonight he touches down at the Vagabond for a more intimate, down-to-earth event. He and Vagabond co-owner Carmel Ophir put together tonight's party -- for which entry costs just $10, cheapos -- to benefit the local charity Community Partnership for Homeless. (Click here to read more about Digweed and the event.)

New Times caught up with him to ask about his ties to Miami and the Vagabond, how he got involved with this event, and his current projects. After the jump, check out what he had to say.

New Times: What are your ties to Miami, and to Carmel Ophir specifically, and to the Vagabond? How long have you known him and what's your involvement with the club?

John Digweed: I have been coming to Miami since the mid-'90s, and I have known Carmel for longer than I can remember. I first got into business [with him] with the [now-defunct] Lola club on the Beach. When he showed me the Vagabond space I loved it and wanted to get involved.

How did this charity event come to pass? How did you and Carmel choose to address this particular issue to raise money for? 

I was coming out [to the United States] to play at Red Rocks in Denver and really wanted to fit a show in at Vagabond mid-week. After speaking with carmel we both thought it would be a great idea to raise money for the local homeless charity. The response has been great. There is a big homeless problem in Miami, so any help we can do to raise awareness, the better.

How do you feel about your DJ gigs in Miami that are not during Winter Music Conference? Do you notice a difference in reaction when you're playing to a crowd of mostly locals?

Miami is a great party town even outside of WMC, so it's great to a locals-only gig this time round as they really know how to party.

How do you feel about the term "progressive house?" Did you ever feel it applied to your sound? How would you describe your sound now?

Musically I just try and play great music. As soon as you say you play one style, you get tied to that sound.

Do you change your style when you're playing a more intimate room, like the Vagabond, as opposed to a megaclub?

A smaller room is always great to play to, as you are much closer to the crowd. It's more intense and you get away with more.

What are some of your current favorite labels and producers to play out - besides yourself, of course?

Radioslave, Len Faki, Guy J, and Guy Gerber, just to name a few.

Carmel once mentioned you collect rare groove records. Is this true? Do you still actively collect?

I still buy records every week -- there are still loads of amazing tracks that don't come out on digital. As for rare groove, not so much these days.

What current projects are you most excited about?

I am just about to release Tangent by myself and Nick Muir on August 3, and then Bedrock 11 will be mixed by me and released in September.

Thursday, July 16. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance from Ages 21+ with ID. 305-379-0508;

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo