Anyone who ventures into the vast world of SoundCloud mixes will have come across the mysterious DJ Bigos. He’s earned a reputation for being the quickest tracklist poster in the western hemisphere and might just be one of the most notorious ID bandits in the world, liberating deep cuts from the clutches of begrudging professional DJs.
Who is this guy? Where did he find his passion for writing out tracklists? Does he even have a job? Who does he speak for? And why is he named after a type of Polish stew? These are only a few of the questions I have concerning DJ Bigos, as I have slowly spiralled into an obscure conspiracy in which it’s becoming more and more plausible that DJ Bigos is the mob boss of the relentless underground track ID circuit.
In the past month, he’s supplied track lists for over 60 mixes. Some are stronger than others – his recent contribution to Beta Librae’s Dekmantel podcast was one track title and a lot of question marks. In the comments section of one of his Rinse FM shows, Ben UFO told Bigos that he’d seen better: “you’re losing your grip Bigos, lots of mistakes and gaps here!”
It’s without question that DJ Bigos is an enigma, but is he starting to lose it? Will his endless pursuit of track IDs lead to his eventual demise? I am dedicated to finding out.
From various social media platforms, I can confirm two things: DJ Bigos, real name Mike Roter, is German, and he likes collecting records. Neither of these things come as a surprise, but it left me with more questions than answers. He has become an urban myth in the dance music scene, where some people have begun to doubt whether he’s even a real person and not some kind of omniscient spirit whose sole aim is uncovering those obscure track IDs. Midland even dedicated a Boiler Room to him.
Eventually, after a long search, I tracked down Bigos. My heart fluttered as I realised that I was about to uncover something so mysterious, so mythical, that I may even get a Pulitzer Prize for all of this hard work.
Hi, Bigos. Where did your DJ name come from?
My parents moved from Poland to Germany in the 80s. My mum Ewa, who is the best, made Bigos in the past. It’s some sort of hunter's stew, a Polish dish. Not only do I like this dish very much, it shows my Polish roots. Nothing special. A lot of old skate friends used to call me “Bigos”. I’ve heard there is another DJ Bigos in Poland, who works in a Radio Station in Warsaw or something.
When did you start commenting track lists on SoundCloud, and what made you start doing it?
I started in 2015 with collecting IDs from some SoundCloud mixes, searching for a long time and by 2016 I began commenting and uploading the IDs. Mainly because I didn’t like that DJs wouldn’t share their tracklist. Especially when you need a track in a mix so badly. That’s the only reason I started this.
What’s your process for finding tracks?
There are many ways to find tracks. There are some websites like MixesDB and music groups on Facebook such as The Identification Of Music Group, which sometimes helps and sometimes not. Everybody has a smartphone nowadays, so I’m tracking IDs with the help of Shazam and SoundHound. If that does not work I try to contact the artists via SoundCloud and ask them, at least if it´s possible.
Why do you do it?
As I’ve mentioned before, I do not like when there is no tracklist on mixes or sets. It has become part of my daily routine. I am a music lover and with this little hobby I sometimes find good music, which I can buy on Discogs or in record stores. Of course, I want to help the community who struggle finding a track ID.
What do you do in your day-to-day life?
I work as a medical-technical radiology assistant in a hospital in Essen. After the work is done, I take care of my girlfriend and of course our cat.
People have said that they think you might have superpowers and that they would know they had made it if they got “DJ Bigos’d” on a mix. Midland even dedicated a boiler room to you. Are you aware of your iconic status in dance music?
I’ve never seen myself as iconic. I am just a guy who loves music, like a lot of other people in the world. Plus I post some tracklists on the internet, that’s it! It’s a very big surprise for me that so many people react to my tracklisting on the internet. Especially Midland - his sets are always a blast. There are still some tracks I need from his Boiler Room set. Thanks Midland, sending you a kiss back.
How did you feel when Ben UFO replied to you, saying that you had made a lot of mistakes and were losing your grip?
As he’s one of my favourite DJs along with the Hessle Audio crew, I was actually a bit happy about his response. Obviously, he was right about that tracklist in particular and his comment made me chuckle.
How do you fit in IDing so many tracks in your day?
What can I say? I truly am a music lover. If it fits in my day, I spend a lot of time identifying tracks. Others hit the gym, I listen to music.
Isobel Moloney is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter