|Full real name:
||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
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
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
My friend KBelements started his journey
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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,
Are you planning (or hoping) for
to have commercially released records
people can look for in the future?
Yes. "The Pink Panther Remix."
What made you decide to change your
artist name from Chi*Starr to Rafal 'Digital
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
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.
Subject closed. Do the RAVE! IOW: GET
YOUR EDUCATION ANY WAY YOU CAN.
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