If you had to sum up Vikter Duplaix in just one word, “presence” would probably be most fitting. His presence as a producer is equally matched by his DJ presence, which in turn is just as strong as his presence as a vocalist and even his physical presence when he enters a room. (He didn´t win in last year´s Philadelphia City Paper Music Awards “Most Stylish” category for nothing.)
You can´t pin him down into one musical genre, but you can pick out his sonic touch, whether it´s on an R&B song he produced or a jazzy dance track laced with his vocals.
If you talk of the New Philly Soul Movement, with names such as The Roots, Ursula Rucker, Jill Scott or Bilal, Vikter Duplaix is not far. Although only 29 years old, he is considered a veteran in Philadelphia.
Vikter has worked, in some form or another, on more than 100 different recordings. Whether it´s filtered through deep house or neo-soul, his sound is simultaneously widely versatile and distinctly his own. His producer, songwriter, remixer and vocalist credits appear in the liner notes of albums by Erykah Badu, Jazzanova, King Britt´s Sylk 130, Jamiroquai, Me´Shell Ndegeocello, Incognito, Esthero, Cherokee, Jaguar, Eric Benet and UK two-step MC Dynamite, to name a few. Along with the aforementioned Britt, he is one half of SCUBA, a self-described “aqua-house” endeavor. And his first 12-inch as a soloist (“Messages”) was released by no less than New Yorks house gods Masters at Work and was included on The INCredible Sound of Gilles Peterson compilation.
While Vikter has been DJing and producing music on his own since he was a teenager, it was his experience working first with DJ Jazzy Jeff and then Kenny Gambleóhalf of Philadelphia Internationalís legendary Gamble & Huffóthat developed his songwriting and production skills. That is also what led him to co-found with renowned Soulquarian producer James Poyser Axis Music Group, which has worked extensively with such artists as the Roots, D´Angelo, Lauryn Hill and Common and is what led to Vikter´s production work for Erykah Badu, Eric Benet and Musiq Soulchild.
As a classically trained producer, Vikter is able to work within any given musical genre, but his particular sound is a futuristic one. With a foundation in percussion, his writing and production styles are all about the rhythm. Rather than relying on the old standbys, though, Vikter prefers to push the envelope sonically. The result is a deep
soundscape that reaches the listener on both a mental and an emotional level.
As far as DJing goes, Vikter says, “I get bored if I have to play the same type of music for a four-hour set. I like to mix it up, not play the same tempo all night.” His approach to spinning live is the same one he took in making DJ Kicks – “The Universal Sound of Vikter Duplaix”, an hour-long journey through the senses and sensibilities of its unique mastermind. Vikter covers the gamut from 4Hero to De La Soul to the sultry first single, “Sensuality,”on which he sings lead vocals (also stay on the lookout for the accompanying video). Going above and beyond the basic requirements for making a mix CD, Vikter (as Critical Point) also specially created the almost-eerie album opener “The Beginning” and the powerful “Transition” featuring spoken-word artist Wadud.
The basic structural concept of his DJ Kicks mix, he says, is modeled after the hip-hop mixtapes of the early ´90s, which featured big-name rappers talking in between tracks. “Except instead of having everyone giving shout-outs to their grandma, I made computerized voices that come in and out between songs, as a way to appeal to modern, high-tech society.” The cyber-voices are yet another reminder of Vikter´s futuristic m.o. And throughout the process he was careful to choose fresh sounds, knowing that in this fast-paced world a DJ has to be careful that “the mix isn´t going to sound stale in six months when the album comes out.”
But it probably doesnt take much effort for Vikter to stay on the cutting edge. A natural-born tastemaker, he´s not afraid to test boundaries, take risks, up the musical ante. And with the release of DJ Kicks “The Universal Sound of Vikter Duplaix”- as well as several other exciting new projects – his presence in the music world will become even stronger.
1. Critical Point – The Beginning
2. Taurus – Together (Cry Tuff Original)
3. 4Hero – Hold it down
4. Pa´taah – The Crossing (Opaque remix)
5. Waiwan feat. L. Heywood – Feelin me feelin you
6. Herbert – You saw it all
7. Osunlade – Tree of life
8. Vikter Duplaix – Sensuality
9. Neppa Allstars – The Way
10. Shawn Lee – Happiness (A. Beedle Mix)
11. Mandrake – Berimbau
12. Mr. Hermano – Free as the morning sun
13. Hopper – Welcome to the world
14. Critical Point feat. Wadud – Transition
15. Spacek – How do i move
16. De La Soul – Copa (cabanga)
17. Bahamadia – Philadelphia
18. Erykah Badu – Bag Lady
19. Phiip Charles – Holy Sound
20. New Sector Movement – The Sun