Interview: Celebrating 15 years as a professional entertainer and about to embark on a farewell tour of Luxembourg, magician David Goldrake is looking forward to his next challenge--breaking into the circuit in his new hometown of Las Vegas.
David Goldrake had huge dreams when he first started out on his career as a professional magician. He still has those dreams, though he realises they were maybe a little over ambitious 15 years ago.
“As I lived here and worked here, a lot of them did not come true. I am not where I wanted to be when I thought about it 15 years ago. But I am further than I would have imagined if I had been realistic at the time.” Indeed, Goldrake says that back then he was constantly torn between trying to realise his dreams and the inner voices that were telling him he wouldn’t make it--voices fuelled by many of those around him who fed him negative vibes.
He thought he would have already been established in the United States by 2015.
But that dream is about to come true, as Goldrake is going to move to Las Vegas next spring. “I am very excited. It’s a very different market. What happens in Luxembourg, stays in Luxembourg, and slowly dies in Luxembourg,” he says paraphrasing the cliché about his new hometown, but loading it with negative connotation.
He cites the spectacular show he did for National Day Eve in 2010--suspended in a box over the Petrusse valley, he escaped before it blew open and appeared seconds later in a window of a building some 100 metres away. “There were 30,000 spectators, who were obviously not there just for that, but nevertheless witnessed it. RTL showed a couple of seconds. David Blaine did a similar stunt in London, and the world talked about it.”
He says that in his business he needs a global network. “Here you need to make 20 more moves than in the United States,” says Goldrake. None of the crew on the current tour comes from Luxembourg, which makes the logistics all the more expensive. “We don’t really have the facilities here for an artist. I think if you want to survive, you have to make your choice and take responsibility for your own career and life, which is what I finally decided to do. In the US if you want to be an actor, you go to New York or LA. In magic it’s the same. It’s a logical extension to go to Vegas and give it a shot there.”
Best European Illusionist 2014
In November Goldrake will pick up an award as Best European Illusionist 2014. “It’s a great hook with which to move to the US,” he says with some pride.
So will he be changing his style to suit US audiences? “That’s a good question. There are differences in culture and in energy. I always compare energy to the heartbeat--you adapt to the audience and slowly both hearts beat together. I have a lot of things that are very continental and European, and amazingly enough they like it--but I don’t know if that will work in the long run.”
One great asset Goldrake does have is his linguistic ability. He speaks seven languages fluently, which allows him to connect immediately with audiences and will help when dealing with tourists in Vegas and could also help break into the lucrative conventions market.
His farewell tour in Luxembourg, which will include some proceeds going to local charity Le chemin de l’école, is one of his most ambitious yet. It explores the darker side of human nature--fear, desire, greed... It will include some spectacular tricks and stunts, including making a member of the audience disappear, stealing one million euros and 3D projection mapping. It also features Goldrake’s own version of Harry Houdini’s water torture cell--he is fascinated with the history and craft of magic and has a library containing several thousand books on the subject.
So as he bids Luxembourg goodbye, how optimistic is Goldrake about the future? “I am enthusiastic. I don’t know whether it is optimism. I am aware that it is not going to be easy. But the soil is more fertile than it is here.”