Performing internationally, criss-crossing the art and club worlds with live cinema projects and audiovisual club sets, Addictive TV have headlined in settings as diverse as the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Shanghai and the National Theatre in London to Tokyo superclub Womb, Razzmatazz in Barcelona and multi-media club Mighty in San Francisco. From Las Vegas to Dubai, they’ve played in countless cities in over 40 countries, including the USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, China, Thailand, Russia, all across Europe and have even toured the Gulf States, including in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Their work has been praised by creative innovators like Grandmaster Flash, Jeff Mills, Peter Greenaway and the former Kraftwerk frontman Karl Bartos.

DVJ Vision: First off, congratulations on coming in at #3 at the Annual DJ Mag poll.
GRAHAM: Thanks. Yes, we’ve been lucky enough to be number one twice now, and second twice too, so always being in the top 3 since the start of the poll has been just fantastic.

DVJ Vision: Who is Addictive TV?
GRAHAM: Addictive TV is myself and Tolly, with producers Fran’oise Lamy and Nick Clarke. We’ve all been working together for many years now, myself and Tolly performing live, and the group of us producing virals, commercial remixes, installations, events and so on.

DVJ Vision: For how long have you been djing/vjing and how did you get started?
GRAHAM: For well over decade now. I was a television producer, with Nick Clarke, in the mid 90’s and in my spare time VJing at events in London and working with the Reality Check VJs, who were residents at Turnmills nightclub, and one of them was resident at the Ministry of Sound at the time. It gave me and Nick the idea to create the television series Transambient for Channel 4 over here in the UK, back in 1997, a late night series of audiovisual mixes which is how I met Tolly who created music for the show and we just began working more and more together – arriving at where we are now’

DVJ Vision: How would you describe your style?
GRAHAM: Well, to us, AV is something pretty specific, in the sense that we like to create music from sounds with associated images. After all, that’s what we all experience everyday – you see something and you hear it too; so why not take that experience or natural synergy further? In these early days I think AV means a lot of different things to different artists, but where we’re coming from is that we just like to take the audience somewhere that music simply can’t on it’s own, or even films can’t on their own with their current narrative constraints. To us, AV isn’t about music with added pictures or even music with film clips mixed in – it’s much more than that.

DVJ Vision: Where do you get your visual content for your live sets?
GRAHAM: Here, there and everywhere, we create it all ourselves when we’re producing whole AV tracks or remixes. We’re not really into the whole ‘music video’ thing, so any that we would include in a set, or say live concert footage of an act, we’ll completely remix both it’s audio and video.

DVJ Vision: What kind of gear do you typically perform with?
GRAHAM: A laptop running VjammPro, three DVJ-1000’s, a DJM-800 or 1000 audio mixer and our customised Edirol V4 that’s been modified to take audio. We have used the SVM-1000 a few times, but we mostly gig abroad, so it’s a bit to big to carry around or often promoters and venues can’t find them to hire – a bit like how it used to be with the DVJs.

DVJ Vision: What did you perform with before the DVJ-X1 was released?
GRAHAM: Laptops, VHS decks, DV tape decks – hard to believe but remember DVDs hadn’t been around that long then. We first released a DVD in 2000, work from the Transambient project, the TV series we’d produced, and many people – especially journalists ‘ simply didn’t know what a DVD was, they all thought it was a CD-Rom and wondered why it wouldn’t play!! We first had a DVJ-X1 way back in 2003 – that’s coming up to six years ago now! We were working with Pioneer and were the first in Europe to have one, the hand-built prototype, when there were only three of them in the world at that point!

DVJ Vision: 2008 has been a great year for AV performers with Serato releasing Video-SL, Edirol releasing the V8 and Pioneer releasing the SVM-1000. What do you make of these products?
GRAHAM: The V8 is a great improvement on the V4, especially for VJs, I’ve only used one once but bear in mind it’s video only which is a shame, but I guess that’s where the SVM-1000 comes in! The SVM is good, and a huge step forward I think for a manufacturer who primarily makes audio kit. It was central to our set up a few months back when we did the live Olympics remix for TV, we plugged all the live feeds from Beijing, both the audio and video, direct into an SVM-1000 (like most DJ mixers, inputs are switchable allowing channels to take more than one feed), allowing us to effect the live streams and capture live loops of audio and video and mix them into the ‘set’ – if ‘set’ is the right word! Probably not the most conventional use of an SVM-1000, but it was brilliant in that situation, we were also using a DJM-1000 six channel audio mixer with it’s EFX-1000 effects unit, two audio-modified V4’s, a laptop and four DVJs! We’ve not used Serato at all yet, but again it’s brilliant that Rane have seen the need and the market for it.

DVJ Vision: Do you think any of these products have the power to transform the industry?
GRAHAM: Probably not on their own. And only when people begin to produce ‘AV’ style remixed content that others can distribute, buy and play, will the industry be ‘transformed’. If audio/video DJ kit in general only leads to just the playing of music videos, then that’s not really ‘transformation’ at all. These new tools are all brilliant, but what people play on them is a whole other question, and it’s that, that will probably transform the industry in the long run!

DVJ Vision: How do you think the rising popularity of AV-performers will affect technology? What kind of gear do you see yourselves using in 5 years time?
GRAHAM: We’re currently working on a direct neural interface with some guys at MIT, it just needs a little work to get the jack sockets behind the ears a little less prone to moisture ingression’ er, only kidding, but more seriously I can see video becoming more integrated into music making software, more straight forward video editing interfaces and so on – I think in 5 years, things won’t be much different to now but in 10 years, or more likely 15 years time, they certainly will ‘ all very easy to use touch screen table top audiovisual online music making applications, something akin to what the Reactable guys built, who we brought over to the UK in 2007 to do a show, after we’d seen them at SIGGRAPH the year before. But yes, something with a Minority Report style interface and be the size of a Nintendo DS ‘ that’s what we hope to see, so we don’t always get grief at airports about the size of our hand luggage.

DVJ Vision: I know you guys have helped develop the SVM-1000. Now that you’ve had some time with it, are there any improvements you would like to see?
GRAHAM: It needs to be smaller, have more flexible video loop throughs and output options, ideally better video effects, and a little less latency on the cross fade. The small touch screen surface can also lead to accidental errors like turning on cheesy text greetings when you don’t want it! But overall it’s great Pioneer made it and they were the first to produce such a creature, so credit where credit’s due. The real smart thing though for any of these hardware manufacturers would be to support the actual scene itself, as some of them used to do with the dance music scene, owning independent labels, sponsoring courses etc helping to create a market for their products

DVJ Vision: What term do you think best describes what you do? DVJ? Video-DJ? DVDJ?
GRAHAM: We prefer audiovisual artist generally, since we do both the music and the video together. Some people call themselves DVJs but for me that’s like calling yourself a CDJ or saying ‘Hi, I’m a vinyl deck’ – Video DJ, that’s kind of ok, but seems to suggest you DJ with videos only and DVDJ – say that when you’re stoned! – sounds a bit like a DJ who works with DV video tape or something. There’s no easy answer.

DVJ VISION: Movies have always been a big part of your live shows. In fact you’ve even done some official remixes of Hollywood movies like Iron Man and Max Payne. How did that come about?
GRAHAM: We just were contacted one day by a very cool marketing guy at New Line Cinema, who had seen some of our work, and said ‘can you do that for us?’ It was for the Antonio Banderas film ‘Take the Lead’, and they gave us all the rushes from the film and total creative freedom. And then they came back for more, like Snakes on a Plane and Shoot ‘Em Up, and then other studios started to follow suit. It seems to be a very cost effective way to market a film and you can’t ignore the web these days, and film companies can’t always rely on traditional content.

DVJ VISION: Do you see this becoming a big part of your business?
GRAHAM: It already is. We get approached quite often now by film companies who’ve seen our work. Since Max Payne, we’ve already remixed Easy Virtue for Ealing Studios and are working on two other films right now; Slumdog Millionaire which is Trainspotting director Danny Boyle’s next film and we’re remixing a forthcoming US indie movie called Nobel Son, which stars Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito and Bill Pullman.

DVJ VISION: What kind of software and hardware do you use for your studio work?
GRAHAM: A mixture really. Adobe PremierePro and After Effects for video, Ableton Live, Cubase and Reason on audio, plus various other applications and plug-ins from ReWire to Sound Forge. All pretty standard stuff really. Hardware is purpose built high-end laptops and desktops, DVJs for any scratching, Digibeta and DVcam decks, audio mixers, keyboards etc, but again all normal stuff.

DVJ VISION: What do you consider the highlight of your career?
GRAHAM: Mmm, good question, there’s been lots of highs’ Playing at Skolbeats in front of 40,000 people was pretty amazing! Supporting Moby at the opening of SXSW this year in Texas, was also fantastic, but as was getting rung up by Paramount to remix Iron Man. So hard to say what I’d consider ‘the’ highlight. When you get to play on the same bill as someone like Moby or Grandmaster Flash, and they make really nice comments about your work to you, then you know you’ve come a long way and all the hard work has been worth it.

DVJ VISION: DVJ Vision does workshops on creating visual content for DJ’s and AV remixing, and there are a lot of DJ’s out there who are fascinated with what you do, but have no idea how to get started. Do you have any advice for the up-and coming AV-performer?
GRAHAM: Yes, prepare yourself mentally because it’s really hard work and not an easy transition from DJing or VJing to full-on AV, however you actually do it – whether with DVJ decks or a Serato style or VJammPro application. Content is key, and I think that with AV, just like any band or act, ultimately you really need to make your own material, even if it’s sample based – no different to Lemon Jelly or even Fatboy Slim for that matter. With DJing there’s always plenty of material to work with, and coming from a VJ background, I know making visuals is far easier than making AV. I guess though, someone wanting to get into it should probably start by exploring the whole thing with mixing music videos, then progress on to producing their own material.

DVJ VISION: What’s next for you?
GRAHAM: A well earned holiday’! Project-wise there’s some film remixes looming for early next year, and next week we’re off to Brazil to play at a film festival. And then more of the same, but peppered with a mix of interesting side-projects and collaborations. We try and do a variety of work of different kinds, the live remixing of the Olympics was a good example of that, a really odd thing to do, but once we’d got our heads around working with six live feeds at any one time, plus archive footage and of course the music, it was great fun and we learned a lot about what you could and couldn’t achieve with existing kit, and what kind of kit you really wanted!

For more info go to http://www.addictive.tv

This interview was conducted in November 2008

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