Pierre Ravan, the force behind Spiritual House, has been playing in clubs around the world for more than a decade, in some of the most renowned clubs, alongside greats like Erick Morillo, Junior Sanchez, Deep Dish, Paul Van Dyke and many others.
As a respected producer and Deejay, Pierre has just released his Spiritual House single and remix Persepolis 2001, which drew praises from both DJ's and the media community covering this years' WMC. His very unique style of Deep House has found him sought out by some of the biggest promoters of the globe.
Spinning his music, and the crowds as well, at fashion shows for Paco Rabanne, Dolce & Gabbana, Galliano and Elle Magazine has made Pierre one of the world's leading fashion DJ's. In short, where there's Pierre, there's a party. Specialising in his own unique style, spinning all the way across the house spectrum, you'll find variety and immense talent.
His sets share equal quotations of uplifting 'bouncy' grooves and heaven sent vocals, mixed together in a smoother than silk brand of quality House Music. The choice of rhythms blend fabulously, making Persepolis 2000 & 2001 essential listening for any clubber. You can find more by checking out www.pierreravan.com, and listening to his latest works.
Music, the fluid life force that binds us all together in vibratory harmony can also induce violent reactions when forced upon us in aggressive ways. Witness a punk concert or a Nazi rally and you will know the dark side, while sweet melodies and a delicious groove inspires us to be more than our individual selves.
One priest of the spiritual side of the music is Pierre, whose music ministrations bare witness to the uplifting power of music. Iranian of descent, global by nature, Pierre has roots in every town where the vibe is right. "Whatever music is a link to spirituality, it can be techno, it can be house, it can be garage. Music is not the end, it is the means," he shared with me while lunching at Radost FX cafe "The music, for me, when I say spirituality, is when you feel it in your spirit, it's a contact with the greater spirituality. And that's what I call music."
Before we go much further, dear reader, you should know that I too have come to perceive the universe, and man's purpose in it, to be discovered through music. Music is my church, and it has become a ritual for me to perform everytime I can. I hold it as something sacred to my perpetuality.
We at a house party are the congregation, and it is up to us to help each other, with the DJ guiding the way.
I often wonder what would happen if the whole world, except for one tiny night-club, were destroyed. Some tiny warehouse blasting through space, performing very difficult manoeuvres, with us inside, DJs being our pilots. What I want to find, when I walk into that door at 11pm to the time I walk out at 8am, is a unity with this congregation, of fellow passengers on this spaceship earth.
I wish I could help people reach their Heaven, whether they are in altered states or not. But unfortunately, after a lot of the parties here in Prague I've gone to, I walk out without having seen my soul or its place in eternity. And every single weekend I wish to see it again, the global connection, of open minds and destroyed borders, and quite often, when it's there, I'm screaming after every rave, even though I usually can't hear myself. It's really awesome, a totally undescribable happening.
Pierre's music is something like that, when he's taking in the positive vibes of the crowd, reflecting it back, it's somehow magnified. So I just had to find out more...
THINK: What made you want to be a DJ, the fast life and the pretty girls, or what?
PIERRE: "No, no, to DJ, to tell you something, is much more deep than you might think. When I was 12 years old, because I come from the country where all the dervishes are from, Persia, my father took me to a village where they where gathered, and as you know, Dervish, in Persia is a 6,000 year old tradition, and at that time, the meaning of trance music, was music for meditation, coming from the past, and they used an instrument called the daf.
Well, about 50 people were there and they would sit around and play together. When you hear only the sound coming out of the daf, I mean, I was like drunk in love with music. That was the time that the music lifted my spirit, and I said to myself when I was twelve that one day in the very near future, I will produce a music that will be with daf.
Then, when I started to play house music when I was 18, I said I'd have to do that... because, it was funny, I saw this place, and the people were playing the daf, and I was so lucky... I wanted to cry, I didn't know what to do, is exactly what I felt, and my spirit was in contact. Then when I started Deejaying, all the time I kept telling myself that I'd have to use that, and so, a couple years ago, before Miami, I created a style of music that I called Spiritual House.
I took these guys that they never saw, except in their village and took them to France, to this studio, I told them, "Look, you play in the studio, and don't worry, play whatever you like," what I did was record that, and I took of each part that I liked and used it for my loops, and I used it in my music, and mixed it into house music with the voices, then I called it Spiritual House.
It was awesome, because, before I released that, I played in an after hours club, and in the countries where the people are more culturally educated, the reaction was awesome, in the places where people are not deep into it, they were not moved. I played in Germany, the people didn't like that kinda thing.
I played in the States, they loved that, in Paris they really loooooved it. In Dubai, they get totally amazed from it, they keep on asking me what's that sound? The daf is kind of a percussion, but it's not a percussion instrument, it's a special sound, it's a sound from the spirits."
THINK: There's spirituality in all music, but on the flip-side there's just bubble gum, soulless music. Most Deejays don't seem to get this aspect.
PIERRE: "That's what I mean, even now, whenever I choose the music I play for example, like here at Radost, I will play hard music, like deep trance. Still, if you come and listen to it, you will find something inside of it, it's not like 'boom. Boom, boom, f*ck-me, f*ck-me' it's more deep, more tribal, that's what I want to do with my music, take people on a journey."
THINK: Well, what about those people who just want to bop out and find sex, doesn't the spirituality play against that? Or does it help? What do you feel about those whom the message is lost on?
PIERRE: "It's not jealousy, I mean, often the locals get way mad when I play, they say, "Why doesn't this Czech DJ play, why doesn't this one play, why so and so doesn't play, why blah blah... basically, why is Pierre playing?" And if he is playing its not because he's a good DJ but just because he was somehow organising this party!!!
And the answer is lost to them, and it's that they don't really have a lot of experience to be in contact with different mentalities and DJs, and they don't even like to be open with them especially if the DJ is not somehow on something (you know what I mean), I mean very few of them ever play abroad, only at home and high on too much stuff.
And the thing for me, I'm in production, I play abroad, all over the world, the places whereI'm appreciated and I try and bring it here when I get a good gig in the Czech Republic. I'm coming here to play for the music, positive vibe and the real music lovers, but I'm getting sick of it man, this small thinking.
Now imagine, with Tony Trax, we will finish 2 tracks we will do for Miami (hopefully), that will consist of a lot oriental influences, but I really don't know if people here will like it! Just because it's not on some big commercial label!
THINK: Well, you want to sell records, right?
PIERRE: "Yeah, of course, but I want to present to people my style of music... you've heard my music, it's Spiritual House. In San Francisco, the people love it, because spirituality in the States is a passion right now, everyone, like Madonna, Latyrx, is into it, and there the music's great, very moving, but here you can't, because here if your music will not have any 'bang-bang-bang, wham-wham-wham' then you are in trouble."
THINK: Yeah, I know what you're talking about. I'm from San Francisco, and I caught that groove with DJs like Mark Farina, and Carlos, and groups like DubTribe. Music that really moves you man... I'll listen to grooveradio.com on the net, and I get all pump up and wanna go out, only to find some weak eurodisco track playing...
PIERRE: "Yeah, big music, DJs that know what it's about are fantastic, like DJ Rocket, I played with this guy. He's good. You know where I played last year? There was organized last year a party with DJ Rasoul, do you know DJ Rasoul? He's number one, he's with god.
He organized with his American friends in San Francisco, and his music's awesome, he's working with the label Large, one of the best out of San Francisco... Naked Music, Large, Ohm, they all know what the music's about.
They organized a gig at 1015 Folsom, I played there with the guy, and they had a fantastic crowd, it was so moving, like so much in San Francisco.
The owner of Spundae is an Iranian, my friend Guiv, and when I played there, it was fun because of the people and the sound and everything, at just such a higher level. You know the End-Up, so you understand that.
Starting with DV8, a friend owns DV8, now it's Mercury, I mean, San Francisco people is just so great, the people just love and live the music, they knew what I was trying to do. I went to Sausalito, and I just love it when people love the music, that's what I'm talking about.
In LA, I hate it, because I went there, it's commercial, just rubbish. And for me, it's about the feeling, like I can play for like just ten people and it will be rubbish, I can tell you, it's happened, I played rubbish, because there was no energy. But I can be at Ministry of Sound, in front of like 4,000, and the people give me energy and my music is really for the people. I'm not a robot playing records, you understand what I mean?
THINK: Exactly. I don't know if you remember House Nation or the Full Moon parties, but that energy was there, it was kickin'. I wish it was here.
PIERRE: "You know that a lot of people don't understand that. But David Bourne, and Release in San Francisco, they're my buddies, Release in San Francisco, there are only two really strong forces in San Francisco, Release and Spundae, but Release is the best, because of Martell, you know Martell, this guy's doing the best. Deep Dish, who were playing in Prague, I know these guys 'coz they're Iranian like me, and I know them through Martell, and they're really in with Release.
THINK: What I miss about the early days of the world house scene was that it was like a community, people coming together just to be together and to enjoy the music. But here in Prague, it seems like a lot of people are just into it as a fashion accessory, and they're not very open to strangers.
PIERRE: "Yeah, it is like a fashion accessory. But you know what else bothers me? So many people here just hate each other, they cut each other down and they have no respect for one another. And I'm so tired of listening to that sh*t. For example, all these people just don't understand the vibe.
One very good Czech DJ, when he started to play like three years ago, I brought him some records and gave them to him, and the guy says, "What the f*ck..., what do you want for them?" I said "Nothing."
He goes, "...you're just gonna give me 15 records like that?" and I said "Yeah, 'coz you're good, you've got talent, I can see that." He couldn't believe it.
A lot of these guys have talent, but no money, no contacts. I play abroad, I don't mind bringing deejays records from other places, because people give me records too, and why not? You have to learn to GIVE!! 'Coz deejaying is about love, and you have to give your message to the people.
And I see that he's a good deejay, great, I'm happy that I can pass it along. Have a look; I'm living in Dubai, I'm playing once per month, recently played on the beach for almost 6,000 people, beautiful, the sun, the girls, everything.
I'm coming here because I have a lot of friends here, especially Richard and Bethea from Radost, who are really the only people and owners of a club in the CZ who understand the real meaning of Love, Music and Spirituality, and that's why I choose Radost as my resident place, because their vibe is positive and clean.
You know I can't stand the wrong attitudes and judgement of some people!!
THINK: Well, man, Prague has hope, you know, there's hope...
PIERRE: "Of course, I love Prague! I think Prague has an enormous potential to became the real underground place as we use to have. I'm just talking about the situation now, what's going on. I watch these people, they're basically good, but they need to be more open to the international scene.
These guys at the Trip Magazine, they know I'm playing at this party, and they put all the names of the deejays except mine, coz they know I'm not Czech. Ah, I'm so happy about that, right."
Well, as it grows, there won't be much room for small minds on the dance floor, I thought as the food arrived, and the conversation moved on to other less-esoteric subjects and his words of wisdom sank in slowly. I hope I'm right.