Few tales from the Playboy Mansion make mention of the light switches. Yet, when Dimitri from Paris played in the Gothic-Tudor LA estate, he paid more attention to the fixtures than he did to the Playmates. “The whole decor of the place, the furniture, the light switches,” recalls the Gallic disco selector, “it was like something out of a James Bond movie.” Dimitri visited the world famous LA pad in 2000, for the launch of his album, A Night At The Playboy Mansion. Though Playmates were in attendance, he was more attracted to the décor: “Being in the Mansion was like being in those magazines.” You see, Dimitri’s penchant for design classics began almost as early as his love of music.
Born in Istanbul in the 60’s, yet raised in the French capital, he developed his sense of style during those initial years in his adoptive city. “My mother used to take me to the movies from when I was eight until I was 12,” he says, adding that he soon acquired a liking for Rat Pack movies. “Men were extremely elegant,” he remembers, “they were wearing everyday suits, but these suits were great.”
His love of vintage tailoring and classic dance sounds dates from that time, and while rivals have altered their style, Dimitri prefers to stay true to his chic, discofied roots. “My sound is basically the same as it was twenty years ago,” he believes, “yet I’m getting booked more than ever before.” For further evidence, peruse the track listing for this latest men’s entertainment magazine endorsed release: Dimitri From Paris Return To The Playboy Mansion. “With this compilation, I have to get a vibe going,” he explains, “mix tunes that people aren’t used to hearing with ones they’re more familiar with. I consider it as a single chunk of music,” he continues, “I want people to be able to listen to the whole thing. It should have peaks, lows, some sort of a story.” The first disc pairs break-in-case-of-emergency floor fillers like Jamiroquai ‘Cosmic Girl’ alongside obscure tunes like Musique’s ‘Love Massage’ and recent jazz-pop oddities like Mario Biondi’s ‘This Is What You Are’.
“Some music lovers might deem the Jamiroquai record too obvious, but capturing people’s attention was what it was all about” he explains. “’Love Massage’ is from late seventies, just something I dug out of my collection,” Dimitri adds. “I’ve been a very avid disc collector, and depending on the subject matter, I dig deeper to pull out something suitable.” The Mario Biondi release dates from 2006, yet is no more familiar to many listeners than the vintage dance 12”s. “It charted in Italy, where he’s from, but it deserved a bit more success,” he says, “its one of my favourites from recent years.”
The second disc, meanwhile, features Dimitri’s selection designed for more intimate moments. “Many people came up to after my sets and said that they made out to my CDs,” he explains, “I wanted to give them something to make more of that.” It features sophisticated bedroom tunes like Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’ and William DeVaughn’s ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’. “It was fun to get the chance to do a downtempo mix,” he reveals, “its not something I’m usually asked to do.”
Modern and classic, Dimitri still enjoys evoking the sophisticated, nice-light-switches-and-sharp-suits, Playboy life. “We have this saying in France,” he explains, “‘in the old pots you make the better soup’. I have been playing now for over 25 years. I do an old fashioned heart warming soup, it goes down well, I like it l and I want other people to taste it.” Stick on the CD and you’ll soon gather that Dimitri’s hopes are well founded.
North American Tour Dates
Fri March 21 Chicago Crobar
Sat Mar 22 NYC Pachita
Thu Mar 27 Miami Prive
Sat Mar 29 Boston Underbar
Thu April 17 Mexico City Hyde
Fri April 25 Toronto This Is London
Sat April 26 Denver
Sun April 27 Coachella
Sun April 27 Las Vegas Playboy Club (Palms Hotel)