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Web links
- DigitalDriver.net
- interview in Spanish










Full real name: Rafal Pleszka
Artist/DJ name(s): Digital Driver (formerly Chi*Starr)
Born (date & location): 11-28-1975 Tarnobrzeg, Poland
Years in music: almost 12 years underground

So much is in a name. Rafal Pleszka was a youth struggling to get out of Poland, he became Chi*Starr in Chicago at age 19 when he was finally able to purchase the needed equipment to record his first mix tape, and introduce the world to his DJ and MC persona. As Power Plant he would produce 10 full-length mix CDs, sold out of the back of his car and at local Chicago stores. His talent would open the doors to traveling hte world, spinning music he describes as "Hard Progressive, Unified Trance, with some Underground-Synth, and hard NRG vibes."

Now Rafal is Digital Driver, chasing his dreams with his mantra of "Love Peace&1200’s" and we chased him down for this email interview to find out about his past, current and future promises.

Jennifer: Did you have any formal musical training?

Digital Driver: Took a few lessons at 15; other than that I just feel the sound, as they say "practice makes perfect."

Where and what was your 1st gig as a DJ and how did that happen?

My first gig took place at a club on the South side of Chicago, at the Hamlin Club (57th St & Hamlin) right by my grammar school, how ironic.

How did you did you get your start producing music?

My friend KBelements started his journey www.kbelements.com. He & I would get together and let it rip. These days I still like analog, the twist & turn of knobs & sliders, he prefers software base. Maybe our ways are different but the sound is still unique, besides he has a lot more music knowledge, I have a better ear though.

Where are some of your favorite places that you've DJed - what made them so special for you?

Love Parade in Berlin in 99 coming in from Amsterdam and Amsterdam was great as well. Poland has some of world elite nightclubs for a DJ to get his kicks off. So far so good, I hope to travel the world over & then some. Berlin was special for that there were a million people in the streets embracing us. Amsterdam was special for it's culture in the nightclubs, the "dark visions" I called them. Poland was just bad ass!

How old were you when you moved to Chicago from Poland and how long ago was that?

I was 13 going on 14 in 1988.

What made you decide to move?

Well I come from this one bedroom, one kitchen shack in a village called Jaslany. The standard of living was poor no running water, out house, lived next to a stable, imagine the "Ted Nugent Experience" but without the cash. My Mother took flight in '82 & she strived to get me into USA since then.

How would you describe the scene you frequent in Chicago? (i.e. big clubs, underground bars, kind of music, vibe, people)

I'll rate it, on a scale of one to ten: A 4-four. It's the prices, the law, the lack of friendship in the community that scores so low. I won't elaborate on this, but from all the clubs we have here in Chicago only a few are willing to embrace a change, or a newcomer. The rest of 'em are going with the flow... ahh yes the all ever fact that night life being monopolized by the franchise, is what pulls in the crowd but they don't see the locals only those who come from a state or country where our cultural values are appreciated.

We heard your website www.DigitalDriver.net is going to launch next year - what are you planning on having on it?

It will launch in Feb. 2004. MUSIC. This site will be a portal for those who don't know me just to log on & get to know me through my music, my ambition, what motivates me, my collaborators & basically who, where, how & when in the music market - get stuff done. For ex. CD press, vinyl banner design/print, graphics (postcard/poster) print offers, music downloads.

Is http://www.nlpro.net/chistar/ an active site anymore?

Yes however I'd like to have it taken down for personal reasons.

How has your creativity and style changed over the years?

"Practice makes perfect." Well I perfected my style, I don't use computers, still record everything live to this day. So just one thing is left now get a sound, tweek it make it unique & input every note into a groove box than make a sound track that will make yar' heads plug into my vision....

What are a few of your current and all-time favorite records and artists?

Kai Tracid, ATB, Mr. Sam, Dj Dean, Voodo & Serano, Scot Project, RMB, Tala 2LXC, Tiesto, DJ Quicksilver. Local: DJ Caffeine, M-project, KBE, Mixin' Marc. Labels: Suntec, Overdose, Pulse, Blutonium, Uberndruck, Tunnel, Mohawk, E-cutz, Dropout, Substance, Ministry of Sound, Tracid Traxxx, Underdog Rec, Sirup, Platipus, Magik Muzik, Kontor, Fog Area, React, Anjunabeats, DTF Rec., X-IT Rec.

What kind of music do you listen to when you're not working?

Well I boycotted the radio since we lost Energy station here in Chicago, but it's coming back up again, thus Energy - Always!

What else do you like to do that's not related to music?

Basketball, Driving - fast, playing with my dog, playing the stock market, I love women, I meant women are so unique in how they can listen & understand what you are trying to interpret through sound, thx Amber. Men are more oblivious but still witty & I think that is due to shorter attention span so. so.. so... lil' time to listen so much time to jab jab jab us men- I must say I like psychology to some level as well. I enjoy to fiddle with PC hardware & the usual > a good movie, intelligent social conversations & I love to travel...

If you were going to play one of your ten full-length CDs for someone right now, which one would you choose and why?

Always the new one no? #10. A sales mans pitch. but listen to 'em all why not - they're all great!

Your CDs have been release in Chicago, but not on a record label. How do you release them and where can people buy them?

I sell them out of the trunk of my car, online & all around Chicago & now few more places Florida, Ohio, Idaho, Wisconson. In Chicago at europemusic.com, anotherlevel.com and iguanabodyjewelry.com.

Are you planning (or hoping) for to have commercially released records
people can look for in the future?

Yes. "The Pink Panther Remix." Soon!

What made you decide to change your artist name from Chi*Starr to Rafal 'Digital Driver' Pleszka?

People mispronouncing the name Chi as Chitown not Cheese-starr LOL
I wanted and image change that would blend me in with the rest, not just representing Chicago but the world.

How did you come up with the "Digital Driver" part of your name?

I'm the driving force behind my digital sound not the mouse, it's the slider connected to my hand, not the PC screen burning my sight away. The screen gives you the array of colors it won't give you the same sound quality - NEVER.

You've played all over the world: how would you compare the differences between the places you've performed abroad to the US?

The freedom of us nocturnal creatures is more respected in Europe.

Have you seen the events you play in the US be at all effected by the police crackdown and the RAVE act?

Yes!!! Unless you believe that these empty factories have a voice of their own asking "please fill us back up - bring us back to life, just for a night - this one last time. Don't shut us down and tear us into the ground." Raves for some are the future of American entrepreneurship business, marketing, and social events organization. Don't let this manufacturing phase fade; you young enthusiasts reading this make a decision to follow your dream. Ahh, we all know that Uncle Sam doesn‚t profit, so it's an issue of $bank$ bottom line. It's never too late to take your Raves back, if you need to give - give them a night to remember they will always comeback to support LP&1200'S Dec. Sep. late May or just any other ordinary Saturday.

What would you be doing right now if you never bought that 1st record and became a DJ?

Well, I got a radio degree so FM. Or anything that has to do with entertainment probably.

What's the best and worst part about being interviewed by email?

No difference except no human emotion or a physical ear on the opposite.

Is there anything else you'd like the Raves.com audience to know about you?

JUST LOVE PEACE & 1200 Technics. In school you might not learn... Jack, but you get this certificate saying you accomplished so much... when you really enslaved yourself, and now you'll be paying for it for, next ten years if not more - yup..! or you credit goes to $hi@, with regret you'll force a study to get your doctorate, while you could have been doing what really moves you in this life. Without this piece of paper that states; you are who you are, not who you wanted to be."
If you're in school now, don't quit. School is a great place for all minds to gather & exchange a good vibe and a fresh piece of mind. See I believe a safe rave, or a football game is just entertainment, it does the same for the human psyche on a tension level: relieve.

Thanks Digital Driver! Check out his post to all the Raves.com readers on our Message Board too at http://www.raves.com/bulletinBoards/

-- interview by Jennifer Warner



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