A-Trak Wants to Expand Fool's Gold Day Off Into a City-to-City Festival

A-Trak Wants to Expand Fool's Gold Day Off Into a City-to-City Festival

The Fool's Gold founder talks Day Off this weekend and what you can expect.

Published September 1, 2015

Fool’s Gold Records, an indie record label based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has evolved into a lifestyle brand known for their collaborations with apparel and live events, which include the Labor Day party Fool’s Gold Day Off. Since the first one in 2010 in a Soho parking lot, there have been plenty of moments that attendees love reminiscing about. Remember when French Montana didn’t get a chance to perform in the city a few years ago because the cops shut it down due to overwhelming crowds? Or last year’s Day Off at The Inlet in Brooklyn, when A-Trak brought out a slew of guests — Cam’ron, Remy Ma, iLoveMakonnen and Bobby Shmurda? Each year, Day Off has become a proper way to wrap up the summer and welcome autumn leaves. Plus, if you’re all about NYC’s party scene, you need to be at Day Off.

Fool’s Gold, co-founded by Nick Catchdubs and DJ/producer Alain “A-Trak” Macklovitch, has gained a respectable following for curating a mix of artists ranging across EDM, hip hop and more for their live shows. Day Off has expanded to other cities outside of Brooklyn. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and Austin were all announced for 2015. For this weekend’s stop in BK, A-Trak promises a good time. When the lineup includes Meek Mill, Skepta, Post Malone, Fame School, D.R.A.M. and more, you really can’t go wrong on a day with no obligations.

BET.com caught up with A-Trak to talk about how Day Off came together, Meek Mill headlining and special guests that we can look forward to. We also asked about his long-awaited EP with Killa Cam, Federal Reserve, and if that project will ever see the light of day.

BET.com: Fool’s Gold Day Off has expanded every year. Does it surprise you when you see how big it’s grown?

A-Trak: It’s where we wanted to go in terms of growth. I always thought Day Off could turn into a bona fide festival and that’s what we are in the process of doing. I’m excited that people keep coming every year.

Last year was kind of a leap for us because we started charging for tickets. But we always drew as many people, if not more, depending on the city compared to having three years of free events prior to that. That’s a bit of a risk and I’m glad people stayed with us. It was so much more professional in the way the event ran itself last year because everything that comes with making it official was the right thing to do.

Why did you want to create Fools Gold Day Off in the first place?

It started with the Labor Day Party in 2010. You know, Fools Gold, we do events in general. We are a record label, but we do clothing. We do other things. Events are a big part of what we do. That year, in 2010, there was something about that fall. We wanted to do a New York party and Labor Day made sense and we just called it Day Off because it was specifically on Labor Day. It was just a time of the year where it was an opening for us to do a party. We do stuff earlier in the year too. We do SXSW. We do Coachella. A couple of months go by: "Let’s do something in the fall.  Back to school." The impetus came from wanting to do an outdoor daytime party. Labor Day made sense. We called it Day Off.

I wanted to know about the history because now you have your own radio show on Beats 1. Are you planning on expanding it elsewhere?

Now it’s becoming a festival in many cities. The Beats 1 Radio show is called Day Off as well. It’s probably gonna expand to some compilations as well. We’ll see from there. It’s a pretty strong branch of the Fool’s Gold umbrella and physical tree. Part of what’s exciting about Day Off for us is just, culturally, what it represents. You know, piecing together these lineups that are pretty mixed musically. Seeing the demographic that comes out for that. We book a lot of rap acts on Day Off, but there’s still a lot of electronic DJs. There are always a couple of curve balls in the lineup. You know, we mix the old with the new. Last year, we had The Lox in New York and we had Kurupt in LA. It’s an opportunity for us to pay homage to a lot of people we idolized and we grew up listening to. We put them side by side to a Travi$ Scott. It’s a diverse audience, but it gels together for sure. It’s just a generational thing.

That’s kind of my goal in the bigger picture for Day Off too. You know, just bringing together the zeitgeist of the generation in a sense. Serving on a platter this mixed collection of music for a crowd that’s actually pretty cohesive. Ever since this sort of playlist generation that we are in, we are kind of in this post-iPod playlist generation. People listen to everything and we are curators. And we just try to make the best playlist, except that our playlist is an event and lineup.

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Is there an artist in particular that you want people to check out this year?

There’s a lot of recent Fools Gold signings that we get to showcase at Day Off. Leaf from New York. She’s awesome and we signed her at the beginning of the year. She came out and performed at our SXSW event. She’s performing in a bunch of the cities. Rome Fortune, he’s new to the label and he’s performing in a bunch of the cities. Bosco. Fame School. DJ Hoodboi. And we put them side by side with other buzzing artists who maybe aren’t directly signed to the label but are part of the family in a sense. Post Malone is playing four out of the five cities. He’s the homie. Skepta is playing in New York, that’s gonna be amazing. I’ve known Skepta for years just by playing the festival circuit in the UK.

I remember meeting Skepta at festival trailers years ago and just sort of keeping in touch. Now, to be able to reach out and have him play our event when America is really discovering his music finally. He’s been an OG in the UK for like 10 years.

You got Meek Mill headlining and he’s been getting booed on The Pinkprint Tour stops and clubs after his feud with Drake. Are you worried that fans at Day Off are gonna boo him?

I don’t think he’s gonna get booed. People need to remember that two months ago, they were all jocking his album when it came out. Meek Mill is dope and I stand by booking him for New York. Maybe there is a bit of a climate right when that stuff was going on with Drake. I wasn’t there when records got booed, but maybe something happened in a club or two. It’s so easy to enhance those stories in the press after. People sort of blow that out of proportion. I’m excited to see what’s gonna happen in his set cause I’m a fan of hip hop and I know he is dope. I think this is a good show for him to come in to form for a good audience. I think it is exciting that he’s gonna do the show.

I think the beef has passed us now, and he’s gonna smash the stage and people will go crazy.

I think hip hop has short-term memory. Remember when 50 Cent threw that first pitch at a baseball game? And he threw it 100 feet to the left? I thought that was gonna kill 50 Cent’s career. That baseball pitch was something that was gonna body 50, but a week later everyone forgot about it. It’s about music first.

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Last year, you brought out Cam’ron to perform “Dips**ts.” Is Federal Reserve ever gonna come out?

There’s a reason why Cam’ron and the Dipset is the stuff of legend. Cam’s a magician. He’s at another level of artistry and sometimes stuff gets done when it gets done. It’s not a normal timeline. I’m not even blaming him. Half the time, I’m on tour. When you combine my tour schedule with his [it's hard] trying to lock down a time [to get into the studio and record]. And the most important thing being we both know that this project should only come out when it is right, when it is excellent. Then I can’t even predict when it can come out, honestly.

I’m thankful that I got to work with him so far. “Dips**ts” felt right when we did it so we put it out. We made the video and it showed the people what the vision is. Our schedules kind of got sidetracked. I know I’m gonna work with him again. We talk on the regular. He’s an awesome dude and I’m happy I know the guy and happy to work with him so far and I’m sure we will do more. So hopefully, we can finish it up and put it out. It’s a special project.

So it’s not quite done yet?

No, it’s not done. We got some really good songs, but as an EP it’s not done.

What do you think people should look forward to Day Off this weekend?

You should look forward to a good time. That’s the thing about Day Off, it’s like — knock on wood, but there’s never been fights at our events. We throw a bunch of T-shirts in the audience. There’s good food. There are hosts keeping people in good moods. We try to make sure to have a good time and hear great music. There gonna see some artists that they don’t know yet and in a year [they will be saying], ‘Yo, the first time I saw Leaf was at Fools Gold, now look at where she is.’ There’s a lot of that too.

Any hints on special guests?

To be honest, I don’t fully know who my guests are until the day before. [Laughs.] Especially [with] the New York one being on Labor Day, it’s so hard to pin down who is gonna be where and who will be in town. I put out a bunch of calls like two weeks prior. I try to narrow it down. Last year, we didn’t even know Shmurda was gonna come out until the day of the show. These things just happen. I was trying to get Shmurda for two weeks before last year’s show and I kept getting told he was gonna be out of town. I spoke to the manager. I spoke to Sha Money. I spoke to all these people. And then the morning of the event, I get a text saying that Shmurda is coming. I’m like, "What?" So you never know.

Purchase tickets for Day Off (9/7) here.

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(Photo: Tim Saccenti)

Written by Eric Diep

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