Confessions on Confessions on a Dancefloor:
NY Press Nightclubbing Column #6: Peter Rauhofer
by Tony Phillips
There’s so much afoot in Madonnaland — the release of the limited edition DJ vinyl of her Confessions On A Dancefloor smash, her April 30 DJ gig at the West Coast alt rock nirvana Coachella, even her horsey-faced Out Magazine cover — that even though we’d initially dismissed her latest record as more “Grandma’s got up into the eggnog again” shenanigans designed to sell Motorola cell phones, we thought it might be worth a second listen.
Of her upcoming DJ gig, Madonna says, “I've never performed at a festival and I'm especially excited about playing at Coachella before I start my own tour.” That’s funny; I seem to recall her at both Live Aids, but whatever. We decided to check in with our own local legend, DJ Peter Rauhofer, fresh off opening last month’s Black Party, to get the skinny on what it’s like to work with a legend.
Rauhofer, who cultivates a reputation as a bit of a diva himself, immediately sets the record straight. “I never work off instructions,” the Grammy-winning mixologist says of his coveted tracks, “sometimes people call me and say, ‘Wow you remixed Madonna, can you remix my track to sound like what you did with Madonna?’ I only remix stuff I really like and I have an idea for, but I don’t want to copy something for somebody. They don’t need me for that. They can hire someone else that is copying me.”
The Austrian native who now resides in SoHo also wants to clear up another misconception about DJs who drop more names than tracks. “Believe me, anyone that tells you that the artist calls them, it’s not true at all,” Rauhofer begins. “The artists are not at all involved in that, they have other things to care about. And these days, five different DJs are remixing a cut. Do you think the artist calls up everybody? No way. Really, it’s not a fact. People who say that only say it because they want to feel important.”
Surely those rules don’t apply to La Rauhofer, I mean, look at that picture! “You maybe meet Madonna or Cher at a concert or a party,” Rauhofer admits, “you get introduced to them by the record label people, but otherwise the artist never calls you.” Someone called Rauhofer on the eve of Dancefloor’s release as Madonna made an appearance at Rauhofer’s now-defunct Roxy Saturday night performing her first single “Hung Up,” but their relationship goes back much further than this current release.
“The first thing I did for her was ‘Nothing Really Matters,’” Rauhofer explains of the pair’s first remix collaboration, “The funny thing is I did five different mixes because it was my first Madonna mix. I thought I don’t want to give her one remix. What if she doesn’t like it? Then I’m not getting any remix on the package. So I did five different remixes and said she should choose what she likes. I confused them so much that they released all five remixes because they didn’t know which one was the best. Some mixes were similar, but they were not meant to be. They were supposed to choose, but they just went ahead and released everything, which was funny because on one record I had five different remixes.”
Given both artists’ reputations for ‘temperament’, what happens when Madonna wants a track remixed that Rauhofer isn’t crazy about? “When you get Madonna, you have to live with it,” Rauhofer confesses. “You can’t say, ‘I don’t like this.’ They’ll think you’re crazy. They believe in it, they release it as the first single and then the stupid remixer comes along and says, ‘I don’t like it, give me another one.’ You can’t do this, you know, it’s Madonna! But the album is great. A lot of people bitch about the new album, but I think it’s excellent. It’s a long lasting album. All the tracks are very radio friendly. I think the more you listen to it, the more you discover it and the more you like it.”