Behind the Decks with Parag of New York's FIGO
Our exclusive interview with the multi-genre DJ.

Article by Lilly Kofler:

Joonbug: Your sound fuses intense rock energy with pounding electro-beats, what inspired you to marry the two?

Parag: Well, we all have pretty diverse musical backgrounds and tastes. We are all rockers at heart, but electronic music has always been an influence as well. When we first started out, it was just a three piece punk act. But eventually we began working in samples, electronics, etc., and it sort of became the backbone for how we continued to write. We would work out riffs and parts in the studio with the band, and then put electronics to it, or sometimes vice versa. Eventually it developed into a sound that is unique to FIGO and something we just kept going with.

JB: Have your found your sound resonates more with the electronic fans or the rock fans, or both?

P: Both. It’s been pretty interesting. We definitely have toured a lot with our DJ act, and it’s gotten our name out there, but we’ve always made sure that our live band and rock shows keep up, and both definitely help each other. It keeps us unique when we are on DJ tours (i.e. Identity Festival or Ladytron/Faint in 2009) but at the same time has helped us separate ourselves from other punk and rock acts that we tour with too.

JB: Producing crossover music means you run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle between rock and electro. How have you created such a staple, standout sound and made FIGO a mainstay act?

P: Staying busy. That’s really all it is. Because a lot of acts marry rock and electro, but I think we’ve done it in a way that is unique, but at the same time we stay busy. We know there is a risk of touring as a DJ act and touring as a full on band, and then having our fans expect one thing or the other, but the more we stay out there the more people see both sides and hopefully dig it either way. And both shows are similar in the sense that what you are getting is a unique blend of electro and rock whether its live or its DJ/studio tracks that we play out.

JB: You’ve produced a lot of remixes. When reworking another artist’s track, how much of the original piece do you try to retain?

P: It always depends. 'With A Place To Bury Strangers' or 'Ladytron', we just kept the vocal and re-wrote the music behind it. With VHS or Beta and/or K’Naan, we used a bit more of the original melodies but re-did them on new synths or what not. It always just depends on the track and the mood we are in when in the studio.

JB: You guys have worked as a DJ duo instead of your usual 5-piece band for the Identity Festival tour. How does it compare to performing with the full crew?  

P: Nothing beats the full live show, but DJ’ing at Identity these past two years has been absolutely incredible. DJ’ing for these type of shows always gets me pumped to get back into the studio with the boys and make some noise.

JB: You’ve traveled the country with Identity Festival and performed in front of every type of audience imaginable. Have any cities surprised you as rowdier than expected?

P: San Francisco and New York. Two best cities. San Francisco last year was absolutely mental. Looking forward to seeing how the After Dark party is for that market, it should be pretty crazy!

JB: How do playing the Identity dates compare to playing the in New York clubs where you got your start?

P: The catering is way better at Identity! Oh, and playing in front of thousands always helps too.

JB: What’s your favorite part of being the resident DJ for Identity After Dark?

Being out there with my old and new friends. Dylan (Le Castle Vania) and Jamie (The Eye), who I met on the tour last year, has come out to each After Dark party to show support and hang out. Also I’m having a great time with new friends Stephan Jacobs and Audrey Napoleon. It’s been a great run so far, and I’m really stoked to get out to the west coast for the final leg.  

JB: What’s next for you?

Well, right now it’s all about getting my new remix for K’Naan some exposure, it’s coming out on Octone/Universal Records this summer. I’m also working on a remix for NERVO’s “You Will Love Again” for Astralwerks, and just got the stems from my buddies in DVBBS to work on too. PS met those guys this year on Identity and their show is fucking brilliant! After Identity I head to Israel and Europe for some dates, then more US club dates in the Fall including Lipgloss in Denver and Control in LA. I’ll get some sleep in November...I think.