Talking about his early days "playing dirty Sneak records, Armand Van Helden-style," as he slouches back on an outdoor sofa with a mojito, this schooling in straight-up groove carried him beyond the crash of minimal. "My bio used to say '123bpm chunky terrace music'," he says, making it clear he was distancing from the term even at the time. Anyway, 'minimal' originally meant to him the reduced sound palette of records like Plastikman's 'Disconnect', a discombobulated K-hole of a track which he'd drop to send DC10 wild, rather than the plinky-plonky, codified 'minimal house' sound it became.
When we speak to Hawtin in the restaurant, he sums up Dice's sound. It's "that hip hop style and attitude, playing house records, dropping a crazy techno record or a vocal thing looping over the top. He's always been very open-minded and diverse." These qualities made him the ideal partner for the duo's 2012 CNTRL tour, an attempt to educate America in electronic music beyond EDM.
Loco Dice on the DC10 years: “I was exhausted. I was doing all kinds of crazy stuff”Tweet this quote
Not that Dice sees himself as poster-boy for the 'underground' any more. When we come to the suggestive title of his album, he's vociferous in his dismissal of the word and its over-use. "We never reached the status of Afrojack or all these guys, but we still rock 20,000 people," he says. Some people might still want him to be the guy who wrote the Minus anthem 'Seeing Through Shadows', but what's defined Dice is a willingness to experiment: "If I decide tomorrow to do something with Bunny Wailer, it doesn't mean I'm going to put dreads on and be a Rastafarian." Snoop Lion would have done well to take note.
His last Ibiza run was in 2013, when his Used + Abused daytime party at Ushuaïa featured the likes of Timo Maas, the German DJ who hooked him up with longstanding co-producer and writing partner Martin Buttrich. "He ruined my T-shirt last week with Jägermeister, just to let you know how deep we are. Motherfucker!" laughs Dice when we ask if he and Maas are still tight.