If you’re a music aficionado, you’ll certainly know who DJ A-Trak is. In a nutshell, DJ A-Trak was a Montreal-born DJ prodigy who won all the major DJing championships in his teenage years. Years later, he became Kanye West’s touring DJ, started a record label called Fool’s Gold with Nick Catchdubs, and became well-known for his live shows, remixing, and producing. He is also a prolific blogger, regularly documenting his travails and travels, and posting up the odd hotel review. A-Trak has spent plenty of his almost 15-year career on the road.
A recent addition to A-Trak’s shows is his trusty steed, Mustard Macklovitch. Mustard Macklovitch first appeared in summer 2009, when he accompanied A-Trak on his 10,000 lb Hamburger Tour across North America. They toured and trotted together for a month, explored the whole continent, and of course, made new friends together.
However, don’t be fooled by the cuddly exterior. Mustard, with some guidance from A-Trak, is a touring warrior.
“Sometimes when I meet people they ask me for some travel tips. They say they want to hear it from the horse’s mouth… I guess that’s me,” he neighs.
On break from touring and at home at the Fool’s Gold stables, Mustard Macklovitch provides some advice and his five takeaways of touring below.
1. See as much of you can of each city.
“It’s so easy to just stay in your barn and sleep until showtime, but every time you make the effort to go out and explore it’s instantly gratifying,” he explains.
“If you’re a clotheshorse like me, you can often find some unique pieces on the road. It’s good to get to know the history of the places you visit too, it gives you a better understanding of local customs. I love discovering new cuisines. Sometimes when we’d pass a fast food chain, some of the other guys on the bus would settle for that yucky food, saying things like ‘I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.’ First of all that’s a terrible thing to say. And second, once you make the effort to find the good local spots, you build up these great memories of the cities you visit,” he whinnies.
2. Take care of your body: eat well, sleep well, exercise.
“Touring is exhausting. Your days fly by so fast, you can literally forget to eat sometimes. You can go out after the gigs, get carried away with some horseplay and end up sleeping 3 or 4 hours every night. That’s not good! You have to take care of yourself, and it’s not that hard. All you need to do is prioritize these basic things that you body needs. As long as you sleep decent hours, eat your apples and whatnot, you’ll be fine. I’m lucky, I actually like to exercise. I’m trying to get A-Trak to run laps with me but he’s always playing with his Blackberry. Next time he does that I’m going to eat it,” he neighs.
3. Be nice to the people you meet.
“They’re so appreciative when you’re kind, and it’s simply the right thing to do. I’m not asking you to put on a whole dog and pony show. Just be courteous, get off your high horse and you’ll quickly realize that the people you meet aren’t that different from you and your friends. There’s nothing I enjoy more than making friends,” he explains.
4. Pack light.
“The rookie mistake is to show up with 2 massive suitcases packed with every saddle you think you might need for different weather conditions. Then you just end up wearing the same 3 outfits on the whole tour and you find yourself lugging these big heavy bags for no reason. When you’re getting your bags ready before leaving home, resist the temptation to bring useless stuff. If you get that urge, hold your horses. Bring your essentials and leave a bit of room for things you might buy too!” he nickers.
“I’m a modern horse. I embrace Web 2.0. I take a lot of pictures with my new friends and love sharing my experiences with the world. There are lots of people out there who might know one or two things about you, but when you really start writing about experiences, the bonds that you build are so much stronger. Now I really feel like I know a lot of you even though we may have only met for a few hours. What’s more, all my memories are crystal clear since I wrote about them!” he whinnies.
Mustard Macklovitch adds some closing thoughts.
“I just wanted to mention that this is my first interview and I’m so excited about it! I hope to continue making new friends, you’ve all been so nice to me. As long as I continue to travel, gallop on new trails, meet nice folks and eat local delicacies, I’ll be happy. So long!”