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Interview: Cousin Cole

Cousin Cole has been a Lab staple for years. His past collaborations with Pocketknife under the name Tambourine Dream have classic written all over them and his recent solo work can be heard all over the world from BBC Radio to Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space. Cole also was one of our winners in our last Legitmix Remix Contest (sign up for the ongoing contest here) and having DJed with him a few times it is safe to say dude just knows what he is doing. We had Cousin Cole on Turntable Lab Radio last month and now we follow up below.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Tell us a little bit about your background as a DJ / Producer.

I started producing in about 2000, making rap beats. Some of those became the soundtrack to my brother’s movie Just To Get A Rep

I had been DJing since 98, but just house parties until my first bootleg record came out, and I started to take it more seriously. I had to get Serato just so I could play my own shit. I remember one time before that just playing some off a discman hahahaha.

Your remixes have been blowing up the internet lately and you definitely don’t do flavor of the month picks. What is your process and thoughts behind those?

Basically anything that I mess fits two conditions: I like it to begin with and I see something I can do with it. Sometimes it feels like the song is trying to be something else, and I just try and help it get there. On that Rihanna “Nobody’s Business” edit, I just brought out the 90s house vibe I felt was latent in the song. Other stuff I like so much that I just listen for what I could bring to it.

But I do feel like some of the stuff that’s really blown up has been the more flavor of the month stuff, which is kinda unfortunate but what are you gonna do? The way music on the internet works right now, thanks to hype machine, and to a lesser extent soundcloud, the bigger the name the more people will give it that initial listen. And then mashups get exponentially more exposure — DJ Whoever’s Drake vs Lana Del Rey or whatever will come up for everyone searching for Drake plus everyone searching for Lana. And BTW there is nothing easier than putting rap vocals over an instrumental… MAKE A EFFORT!

What does your studio look like these days? Any secret weapons we should know about?

My studio is basically just my computer and a little midi keyboard. I can’t really play but it’s nice to get more of a natural feel versus drawing shit onto the piano roll. And a few months ago my girl gave me the Arturia Microbrute, which is an awesome new analog synth with a lot of flexibility.

We have had this discussion before but let’s expand on it a bit. Your remixes, personal taste, and soundcloud reflect who you are but there isn’t a very linear path in your selections. Do you feel this hurts or helps when someone is checking your music out?

Honestly, I think it probably hurts me in some ways… I know for me, there is so much music out there and so little time to go through it all that I tend to jump to conclusions based on the first thing or two I hear from someone. So I expect everyone else to do the same thing with me. Someone who’s into baltimore club isn’t necessarily going to be a Bruce Springsteen fan, so if they hear that first they might write me off.

It seems like “cool music” is becoming more stratified lately (and ”open format” is almost just a euphemism for Top 40) in contrast to a few years ago when eclecticism was seen as a virtue in itself. There’s nothing wrong with diving super deep into one thing, but I’m curious if we’ll see a return to djing that crosses a bunch of types of music.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

DJing around New York for sometime now, how do you feel things have changed in the recent years?

No one requests freestyle any more.

In your episode of Lab Radio we got a sneak peak at some upcoming releases. Can we expect a new project soon?

Yeah I’m working on it! I’ve got a ton of almost-done tracks I’m trying to finalize, including some of the stuff from the mix. Some of that stuff will probably come out under a new name though!

More immediately, I’ve got a remix for Congo Tardis ft. Sam G coming soon on Gold Whistle, my Manicured Noise remix is finally getting a vinyl release, Nacey & I are finishing up a followup to our Misun Summer Bootlegs series from last year, and Phi Unit and I are working on So Emotional 3.

Top 5 DJ records currently

1) Bok Bok – Da Foxtrot, His new stuff is so dope to me

2) Beek – Like This Like That, And if you’re feeling it y’all should support him here:

3) DJ Youngin – Too Much Remix, One of the MANY lesser known but still super dope Jersey Club producers.

4) Detroit Swindle – 64 Ways Feat. Mayer Hawthorne (Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler Vocal Remix)

5) Popcaan – The System, Produced by Dre Skull. Nothing gets me more hype.

Top 5 listening records currently

1) Sananda Maitreya – Ornella Or Nothing, This is Terrence Trent D’Arby’s new name & man it’s a great song.

2) Alice Smith – Another Love, Because I’m depressed hahaha.

3) Jerome Lol – Always ft. Sara Z, <3 4) Womack & Womack – New York City, Best band of the 80s. Plus… NEW YORK IS STILL NUMBER ONE!

5) K. Michelle – VSOP, I played this at midnight on NYE and no one was feeling it but me hahhahahha.

Top 5 tracks you produced

Really I’m more psyched about all this unreleased stuff I’m finishing but…
1) Blunted Dummies – House For All (Cousin Cole Remix)

2) Amen Amen

3) Manicured Noise – Metronome (Cousin Cole Remix)

4) James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (Cousin Cole Alternate Version)

5) Bam A Lam (Black Betty)
Get more Cousin Cole remixes at Legitmix

Free for all, talk about anything you want. shout outs, all that good stuff.

RIP Matt Stackswell

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Thanks to Cousin Cole for the interview and doing Lab Radio. You can listen to his episode here and keep up with him via Bookface, Soundcloud, and Twitter. Special shout out to Really Nathan for the photos and TTL NY Staff for putting up with my terrible jokes.

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Interview: Ratchett Traxxx

RT

Editor’s Note: In the small sphere of underground dance music, we realize this interview will probably be controversial. Our buyer picked up Rachett Traxx’s record without even knowing his involvement in online message boards + social media. Please keep in mind, that this interview by no means represents the Lab’s view and we will continue to support the labels Rachett mentions. As frequenters of sites that Rachett trolls, our curiosity just got the better of us.

Gotta ask, who are you?

IN 1 WORD: A ENIGGMA. BUT REALLY IM A MUSIC FAN…A CLUB MUSIC FAN FORREAL. I COME FROM A FAMILY OF DJS N PRODUCERS N SO I HAVE MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT DJ RECORDS THAN ANYONE IN THA GAME RIGHT NAH. CAN’T NOBODY FUCC WIT ME N I AM GONE STUNT THAT KNOWLEDGE….BET.

For those unfamiliar, please let us know what you think of the current state of underground dance music, but give us your direct thoughts.

UNDERGROUND DANCE MUSIC? I GIVE NO FUCCS BOUT THAT SHIT. I STRICTLY OPERATE IN CLUB MUSIC. CLUB SHIT MAKE THA WORLD GO ROUND, MY G. N I KNOW THA “UNDERGROUND DANCE MUSIC” BULLSHIT YOU REFFERRIN TO…THAT SHIT AINT NO DANCE MUSIC CAUSE U CANT DANCE 2 THA MOTHERFUCKER. ISS TRASH BASICALLY.

Your hatred towards the indie dance labels you’ve spoken against seems to focus on some of the ‘biggest’ in the scene right now. Why?

LESS NAME N SHAME, B. WHO WE TALKIN BOUT…L.I.E.S. (UNPLAYABLE TRASH)…L.A. CLUB RESOURCE (FAKE WANNABE GHETTO SHIT MADE BY A MULTI MILLIONAIRE’S KID…AKA DELROY BRENDAN PERLMAN)….WHITE MATERIAL (HOT GARBAGE MADE BY A FEW RICH ART SCHOOL NIGGAS THAT AINT NEVER HEARD NO JEFF MILLS OR ROB HOOD RECORDS N THINK THEY REINVENTING THE WHEEL…FOH)….MOST MY HATRED DIRECTED TO SHIT THAT TRY TO TRICK THA FANS…I AINT THAT DUDE. MY SHIT HONEST N DIRECT…N TRUTHFUL…LIKE ALL BRILLIANT ART.

Gotta ask, Is this a racial issue?

NAH. U SOUND LIKE ONE OF EM EUROPIAN DIAMOND MININ, SLAVE TRADIN ASSHOLES THAT BRING RACE IN THA EQUATION WHEN THEY UNCOMFORTABLE WIT A NIGGA’S ART. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE ABOUT BREAKIN DOWN RACIAL BARRIERS NOT BUILDIN EM. N REALLY…SHIT MORE SIMPLE DEN THAT…SHIT ABOUT HONEST VS. DISHONEST…SHIT ABOUT ARE U TRYIN TO MAKE THA BEST POSSIBLE PRODUCT OR U TRYIN TO TRICK YA FANS WIT SOME ARTIFICIAL HYPEBEAST MENTALITY SHIT. IM BOUT HONESTY 100 PERCENT. AINT NO L.I.E.S. HERE BRUH

You seem to spend a lot of time absorbing and analyzing this stuff. Why not just avoid this stuff, what’s your motivation?

MY MOTIVATION SIMPLE: SUCCESS IN THA MUSIC BUSINESS GAME…N USING THAT SHIT TO GIVE THA YUNG GENERATION A SPRING BOARD. SHOWIN YUNG HOW 2 MAKE IT IN CLUB MUSIC FROM GROUND ZERO TO THA TOP. I BEEN AROUND BUT AS RATCHETT TRAXXX I STARTED FROM THA BASEMENT…AND WE GOIN TO THA PENTHOUSE, SIMPLE. SHIT IS GOIN 2 LIBERATE THE YUNG GENERATION FROM THE BULLSHIT THEY BEEN FED…PROVIDE A TRAIL FOR EM TO FOLLOW N SHIT.

You seem to dislike anything analog when it comes to production, does any of that actually matter to you when it comes to your production?

SHIT JUST DONT MATTER MY DUDE. NUN OF IT…WHEN U A PRO LIKE ME…U PUT ME IN FRONT OF A FRUITY LOOPS I MAKE BANGERS…U PUT ME IN FRONT OF A 808 N A 303…I MAKE HITS….U PUT ME IN FRONT OF A MOTIF WORKSTATION…I MAKE SLAPPERS…U PUT ME IN FRONT OF 2 TURNTABLES…I KILL A PARTY N BITCHES WANNA BLOW ME CAUSE THEY AINT STOP DANCIN FOR 3 HOURS….U PUT ME IN FRONT OF ABLETON N I MAKE MIXES DUDES WANNA ANALYZE CAUSE THEY JUSS DONT UNDERSTAND…U FEEL ME? THESE SHITS ALL JUST VEHICLES…SUM OF EM IS MASERATTI QUATROPORTES…SUM OF EM IS TOYOTA TRUCKS…BUT THEY STILL GONE GET U TO A YA GIRLS CRIB WHEN U NEED TO GET THERE TO LAY SOME PIPE…U UNDERSTAND?

The internet has basically ‘made’ most of the labels you dislike. Your use of social media and the internet is mostly a reaction to those labels. It’s safe to say the internet can make your music just as successful. Does that matter to you? What makes your music more authentic than theirs?

LIVE BY THA SWORD N DIE BY THA SWORD, B. SAMURAI SHIT. INTERNET JUST ANOTHER VEHICLE…AN EFFECTIVE WEAPON THAT IM GOOD ENUFF 2 USE 2 MY ADVANTAGE N SPREAD MY GENIUS ART. WHAT MAKE ME MORE AUTHENTIC? A LIFETIME OF CLUB MUSIC…TRADITION…KNOWLEDGE…N INTELLECT…MIXED WIT THA MOST GUTTER MENTALITY N CUTTHROAT TACTICS U EVER SEEN APPLIED 2 THIS SHIT. I AINT GONE LIE 2 U N TELL U IM GANGSTER LIKE THAT BITCH DELROY…I BEEN DOIN MUSIC MY WHOLE LIFE. BUT ILL KILL A MFUCKER IF THEY FUCC WIT MY MONEY OR MY ART…THASS THE MENTALITY WE APPROACHIN THIS SHIT WIT IN 2014.

Your latest RAXXX001 sounds like modern take on older Ghetto House. What are your influences?

CLUB MUSIC. PLAIN N SIMPLE. ALL TYPES: RAP, ELECTRO, TECHNO, HOUSE, MIAMI BASS, BMORE CLUB, GOGO, GHETTO, DRILL, DANCEHALL, JUNGLE SHIT, BOUNCE, FOOTWORK… IF A GOOD CLUB RECORD GOT MADE IN ANY GENRE…I HAVE THAT MOTHERFUCKER N ILL PLAY IT.

Ratchett Traxxx 001 Vinyl 12"
Ratchett Traxxx 001 Vinyl 12″

Skeed

Not On U

Mollypop

Lobsters N Shrump

Where are you from and does that have an influence on the music you make? I’m hoping you’re from Texas since you seemed to like DJ Screw.

SEE NOW U TALKIN LIKE ONE OF EM BROOKLYN HIPSTERS… (ED NOTE: Texas Boy right here) I FUCCS WIT DJ SCREW N WHAT HE DID FOR RAP…BUT ISS BEYOND DJ SCREW N HOUSTON…I REPRESENT THAT FLAG I PUT ON MY RECORDS…ALL OF IT. FAR AS WHERE I HIT THA CLUB IN MY FREE TIME…I GET AROUND…MUSIC GAVE ME THA CHANCE TO SEE ALL THA SPOTS.

Ratchett Traxxx 001 Vinyl 12"

Ok, now for the positive. What are your 5 favorite 12″s?

5 IS A WACC ASS NUMBER…SO IMMA GIVE U A FEW MORE:

JUAN ATKINS – TECHNICOLOR
GET FUNKY CREW – TITTY CITY
JUICY J – BANDS A MAKE HER DANCE REMIX
LL COOL J – JINGLING BABY REMIX
UGK – CHOPPIN BLADES
JOHNNY DANGEROUS – BEAT THAT BITCH WITH A BAT
CHIEF KEEF – I DONT LIKE
EGYPTIAN LOVER – EGYPT EGYPT
SILKK THE SHOCKER – IT AINT MY FAULT
CLIPSE – GRINDIN
UR – TIMELINE
ROB HOOD – THE PACE
ZEBRA KATZ – IMA READ
FACES – DRUMS
YG – MY NIGGA
50 CENT – IN DA CLUB
YUNG THUG – DANNY GLOVER

Who are your favorite DJs to see / hear live?

DJ MICHAEL WATTS
DJ ASSAULT
JEFF MILLS
EGYPTIAN LOVER
FUNKMASTER FLEX
DJ MUSTARD
DJ MEHDI – RIP –
DJ SCREW – RIP –
DAFT PUNK
DJ RUSH
MAGIC MIKE
THE SURGEON (DETROIT)
DJ KHALED
DJ SELF
DJ TECHNICS
BEEN TRILL
DJ CLENT
DJ RASHAD

Word on the street is you like Asian Girls….

I LOVE BIG TITTY, BIG ASS, THICK THIES, N LOOSE MORALS…BEYOND THAT I AINT TOO PICKY OF A NIGGA.

Let’s do some word association

Techno – MILLS
Rap – YOUTH
Gentrification – MORELLI
Caps Lock – FORCEFUL
Kanye – GENIUS

LAST WORDS: LESS KILL THE WACC BULLSHIT N WHILE WE AT IT SEND ALL THE BIG TITTIES TO THE DJ BOOTH FOR THEY ANNUAL RT BREAST EXAM. ONE.

Thanks to everyone involved in making this interview happen. Phillip, Ratchett Traxxx, L.I.E.S., White Material, and anyone else I forgot. You can keep up with all of RT’s ramblings, music, and ratchetness via his rad Tumblr and Twitter. -PK

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Interview: DJ Technics

The Lab was recently graced by OG Baltimore Club royalty DJ Technics for the latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio. His touch left on the sound of Baltimore Club is undeniable and we were excited to host his incredible talent on the show. We wanted to follow up with Tech to see what’s new in his world and learn more about his history.


Tech cropped

Give us a brief background on who Technics is for those just joining the party

I started mixing in 1982, local house parties. First time in front of 500 people was a local Chuck e Cheese teen night 1984. From there I went to A local nightclub called “Chaps” on teen night again. Until 1989 fresh out of school I met Scottie B through dj Vicious V. Got a job in The Sound Of Baltimore working next to Scottie B.

I spent the 90’s doing DMC Battles always placing in the top 10. At the same time I was toying with producing through a childhood friend Tim Moore. My first effort on record was DICKONTROL by Tapp. From there I bounced to Unruly records via Scottie B and Shawn Caesar. Not long after that I created Knucklehead records to put out my own tracks. I met Rod Lee in the late 90’s and we created Club Kingz which was home to the late K-Swift The Club Queen. I was working Music Liberated by the late 90’s and was pushing Bmore club to the masses. The owner of Music Liberated and I created yet another label BALTIMORE BEATZ RECORDS. This label was controlled by Bernie but I was A&R. By 2001 I had opened my own record store Clubtrax located downtown Baltimore.

By 2003 I was producing tracks for the HBO hit series THE WIRE. Working closely with the soundtrack team as a guide. From there it’s been various Underground House projects via Code Red records, putting out global killers such as “Gabryelle” and a few other Deep House tunes. This song was my tribute to my youngest daughter. Since then I have been touring playing for anyone who will listen to good music.

tapp

You have a good 20 + years of DJing on you, what made you get into it and what was going on musically for you then?

Music was super heavy in my house. My uncle blasted music nonstop and so did my mom. The man who I know as my dad was a deejay. I was an army baby so I spent my childhood in Germany. My dad was spinning records at home and I was hooked. I loved the concept of putting records on and watching it spin as it played. The needle controlled all the sound. I was amazed. I took in everything I saw, record labels as well as cover art. It was fascinating. I was in Germany from 1975 til 1978. When I got back to the states I remember bugging my mom to buy the last record I remember hearing in Germany which was Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express. That was the first record I ever owned. As you can imagine that would be one hell of an investment. From there the addiction was on. Anything I heard I purchased. I never ate lunch in school because I wanted to stash money for records.

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Your name is synonymous with Baltimore Club, can you tell us about your involvement in the history of the genre?

I was one of the original members of Unruly records crew. I think there were ten of us or more. we were a family in music. it was the birth of what was to come in the following years in Baltimore club music culture. I was down with Unruly and releasing tracks on other labels also, like Dj Patrick’s Quiet records imprint. I was the first to pioneer drum build ups in tracks, as in “Push It Up To The Ceiling” I think I was the 5th guy to set up a label and press my own records consistently.

I was also first to pioneer jacking Motown/oldie tunes to make tracks as well as flipping r&b songs (check out Technics remix of Sylvia’s Pillow Talk. Other producers were nailing the hardcore tracks so I wanted to do tracks that appealed ladies or that were just taboo. I was also the person who helped Rod Lee get started making tracks. We recorded all his early tracks at my house on Eutaw place. His label then was Phat Kidz Records, before we did Club Kingz. I was a heavy influence on Rod Lee during that time as he was still new to the game. As you can hear it didn’t take Rod Lee long to find his sound and run with it. I feel like I aided in creating that monster. I had the same influence on K-Swift (r.i.p.), she routinely came to my house to brush up on mixing, get advice and to get the latest tracks I had created.

What would you say influenced the Baltimore sound?

No I wouldn’t say I influenced the sound, it was already there. I just created additional lanes to ride in. I was influenced by what I heard other guys producing. Kw Griff and Dj Booman were the true kings of club as far as I am concerned. My desire to do it came from them. Griff and Booman set the standard for Baltimore Club from day one. I was just trying to get in where I could. There were guys like Dukeyman killing it also producing records for other guys and chilling in the background. Dukeyman did almost all the early Diamond K and Kenny B records. Guys like Dukeyman kept me on the grind. Cats like Dj Patrick, Kenny B and Frankski as well as Scottie and Shawn had already laid down a terrific foundation. It was simple back then. I guess I kind complicated things by creating a new lane. Guys back then were all doing tracks the same way trying to follow a certain guide line for style and sound. It forced me to do something different. Plus I wanted people outside of the hood to have an appreciation for club music. I wanted other races to hear it so I touched things that I knew other races would relate to. That was my gift and contribution.

Dj Booman “Stickem”

KW Griff “Ain’t None Of Yall safe”

When was it that you first started to produce?

1993 was when I started messing with the Ensoniq eps sampling keyboard.

What were your first production tools?

Asr-10 sampling workstation
2 Tascam Dat recorders
Alesis monitor 2’s w/ matching amp
DBX Compressor
Alesis 31 band Eq
Mackie 16×4 Mixer with bridge
Yamaha spx 1000
C.a.d Studio Mic

Top 5 producers (any genre)

J-Dilla
Mantronix
Marley Marl
Larry Levan
Quincy Jones

Top 5 producers (Baltimore club / house)

Kw Griff
Karizma
Rod Lee
Dj Spen
Dukeyman

Top 5 Baltimore Club records

It’s Nutty – Kw Griff

2 Da Rhythm – Dj Booman

Feel Me Remix – Rod Lee

Flip It Bounce It dub – Dj Big Red

Kong (Karizma remix) – Sticky People

Your top 5 favorite tracks you produced

Pillow Talk (Technics remix) – Sylvia

See About Me (Technics remix) – Marvelettes

I Get Down – Dj Technics

Party People – Dj Technics

Push It Up – Dj Technics

I know you haven’t been in Baltimore for some time now, but do you have any crazy memories you wanna share with us?

My crazy memory #1 is getting locked up by the cops for selling my mixed cds on a corner during Art scape and getting out in time to deejay on the main stage in Art scape the very next day wearing a “STOP SNITCHING t-shirt……..hilarious !!

Crazy memory #2 was one night while spinning at Club Choices, a very pretty lady climbed through the window of the deejay booth and got completely naked, danced all around the booth for 30 minutes. What a show !!

What’s coming up for you? I know you mentioned getting back into pressing vinyl.

Pressing vinyl is mandatory. I have realized that a niche genre such as Baltimore cant survive on mp3 alone. Records have collectable value and people appreciate owning an actual record. I got caught up in the mp3 trend and it wasn’t a good move. With so many cats giving away free music via mp3 just to be heard. It forced me to re-evaluate my position as an artist and a manufacturer of music. People want something they can brag and show their friends when having company over. Who shows off their mp3 collection ???

How do you feel about the recent rise in popularity for Jersey Club?

This is a very sentimental subject for me. I get emotional about this topic for one reason. Before I explain let me say this, I have done plenty in my life good and bad. I didn’t finish college, and I was in and out of my kids life because I was chasing my dream. Anyway considering I didn’t do what my mom wanted me to do which was anything other than music early on, the statement I will make regarding Jersey Club will be the most interesting and powerful thing I can say.

I love the entire Jersey Club movement, why ???
I was told by the founder of Jersey Club that I was the sole inspiration for him to create what would ultimately become the Jersey Club sound and movement. Dj Tameil is the godfather to Jersey Club. He has repeatedly thanked me and told me that one of my songs is how he came up with his style of making his tracks, which everyone in Jersey emulated and still copy to this day. I don’t know about you but to be told and see that you have inspired an entire culture of music is powerful. I did something that inspired Dj Tameil to do what he does and in turn he inspired the entire north Atlantic.

I feel responsible for that, it’s my grand baby, there is no way I can not love it and I do. Many Jersey producers jacked Tameils sound and style, cloned it and flooded streets with it. When you can inspire thousands of guys to do music exactly the way you do, it’s powerful. It’s so personal to me. I like what Jersey is doing, I just wish it was a way to have these guys work together to bring it to the masses in a real presentation. Many of these guys are making tracks with no intention for them. Otherwise I love it. I inspired the man who gave birth to an entire movement and culture. Now I know how Africa Bammbaata feels. Legendary. Even if I had nothing to do with it I would still love it. It’s creative and it’s fun plus it feels good.

Best wishes,
Supadj Technics


Huge thanks again to DJ Technics for taking the time to do this interview as well as record the latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio while he was in town. Keep up with him via Twitter or Facebook. Download / Stream the latest episode of Lab Radio below and stay tuned for more radness!

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Introducing: DJ Dwells, 13 Year Old DMC Champ

Just a few nights ago New York didn’t know what was coming for them at the annual DMC regionals. With the return of Rholi Rho from famed battle jocks the 5th Platoon, people were kind of betting on a easy triumph, little did they know what 13 year old DJ Dwells had up his sleeve. The Connecticut DJ was a student of long time DJ insitution, Scratch Academy, and word on the street has had some solo sessions with Precision and Shiftee. Having shocked the crowd and giving everyone flashbacks to 1997 when a Canadian young buck named A-Trak took the DMC World Finals, things are looking good for Dwells. We caught up with him for this exclusive interview…

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How long have you been DJing? What made you get involved?

I’ve been DJing for about 2 years now. I started when I was 11 when I got my first turntables. A strong love for music was what really got me involved.

When you started DJing, were your eyes set on being a battle / turntablist or did you have other aspirations?

I didn’t know what turntablism was when I first started. I would just do mixing until I met Rob Swift at the Scratch DJ Academy and he did his “Rob Gets Busy” routine right in front of me. That was really cool to me because I noticed that when he was doing it, people were watching him and paying attention to him, where as in when you DJ at a party or a club or something, nobody is acknowledging what you’re doing. Turntablism is really exactly what I was looking for.

Though I didn’t make it out to the DMC NY, I saw some of your older videos online and can’t help but notice the strong 90s presence in your selections. With your age being a young 13, your formative years are basically about to happen. Yeah long set up for this, but how the hell are you so into the 90s sound?

I like all kinds of music but 90s Hip Hop is just one of those things that works so well in a set. As much as I like Jazz or other types of music, it’s really difficult to incorporate it into a routine while still keeping people awake. Not only that, but I’ve always love 90s Hip Hop and music.

What’s your DJ rig like at home? Favorite equipment? DJ gear?

It’s pretty much your basic setup. 2 turntables and mixer. My favorite piece of equipment is probably my Rane 62 mixer that I won.

Note: this is not the routine that put him in first place.

Also within the DJ battle circuit, maybe right around 2001, things just got TOO technical for some. The funk was lost. Your style seems to balance both old and new. Can you touch on that at all?

I don’t think battling has really lost any type of funk since the 80’s. Sure, a lot of things have changed like the style of routines but that’s just how stuff works. In the 90s, it was all about funky juggles and clean cuts, in the early 2000s, people got more creative with feedback routines and stuff like that. Then in the mid to late 2000s, more people started to use routines that were pre-produced. Although I’m not very fond of pre-produced routines, who am I to judge what you do in your routine? This happens way too often in DJing and you can relate it to nearly every subject, like Basketball. When someone said that a peach basket shouldn’t be used for a hoop, but rather something different, I’m sure people were upset and had their negative opinions because a peach basket had always been used before that, but it improved the game, rather than destroyed it! Kinda like DJing and the direction its heading in.

Leading up to the DMC NY, what was your practice schedule like?

I tried to practice a couple hours each day. How much I practiced really depended on how much homework I had each night.

Favorite DJs and why?

Dexta for his creativity and distinctive music choices. All the X-Ecutioners, Swift Rock and Babu for their head bobbing juggles. A-Trak and Craze for their well rounded turntablism skills. And Noize for his wordplay and disses.

Are there any other DJs coming up in the battle scene right now that might be some competition?

Dopez from Texas. He’s 19 and can scratch like Q-Bert. Not sure if he’ll battle though. I have no idea who is and isn’t battling this year so we’ll just have to see who my competition is at the US finals.

Favorite DMC routines?

DJ Dwells’ 2014 routine was pretty good (this guy) but other than that…

Dexta’s 2000 Routine

Craze’s 1998 Routine

Noize’s ’96 Routine

I-Emerg’s 2004 Routine

With DMC NY already conquered, what’s your plan for Nationals?

I’ll do my best to come up with the best routine imaginable. I’m coming up with all new juggles and routines just for the battle so we’ll see what happens. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more than to win DMC Nationals.


Thanks so much to DJ Dwells for his time and congratulations on the win! We are stoked to see what comes from the young turntablist and wish him the best of luck on all his upcoming battles and projects.

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FairEnds

  • 3
  • 2

I met Ben Ferencz about 15 years ago working in an ad agency in the city. Fast forward to the present, Ben and his business partner have rapidly built FairEnds on the cornerstones of quality, understatedness, and Made In The USA ideals. To introduce his brand to the Lab audience, we fired off some quick Q+A.

what are 3 to-do tips for people who want to build a brand?

bring authenticity, honesty and uniqueness

what are 3 don’t tips for people who want to build a brand?

dont follow trends, don’t believe everything people say, don’t give up

what music have you been listening to recently?

little feat, a tribe called quest, dylan, tallest man on earth, the grateful dead

what’s been your recent inspiration for Fairends, past or present?

we are inspired by friendship first and design second.
nothing makes us happier than working with our pal creating good stuff.
the mountains, the oceans, the trails and the cities will always be where we
are most inspired.

SHOP FAIRENDS CAPS, ACCESSORIES, and MORE at TurntableLab.com

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Aaron Dae + JKriv of Deep&Disco / Razor-n-tape Interview

Turntable Lab Radio has been on fire for 2013. For our latest episode, we closed out the Summer with New York’s Deep&Disco / Razor-n-tape duo Aaron Dae and JKriv. Together they have been releasing some of the hottest Disco Edits and House tracks for the last couple of years. After featuring the boys on Lab Radio we wanted to follow up and see what’s good on their end.

TLradio5

You collectively run Deep & Disco and Razor-n-tape, how did both of those projects come to be?

JK: I started Deep&Disco in 2011 originally as a home for some of my own music, but over the past couple years we’ve branched out into releases by other artists. The release that kicked off the the label and kinda set the aesthetic vibe was “Another Night” by me featuring singer Adeline Michele, and since then we’ve also done releases by a bunch of other artists including Satin Jackets, The Right Now and Monsoon Season. We’ve been lucky to get some great remixers on every release like Greg Wilson, Hot Toddy, Moon Boots, Social Disco Club and many others. Razor-N-Tape was something that Aaron and I started together last year as a vinyl-only edits label, but the scope of that project has actually expanded quite a bit as well.

AD: Yeah, after a while we didn’t really want to be pegged as just an “edits” label. J and I both love so many different types of music and wanted to have the option to release whatever we were feeling. This led to us starting up Razor-N-Tape 45 and Razor-N-Tape Reserve.

Deep&Disco Logo

Why divide the labels into two?

JK: Deep&Disco is and has always been all-original music, so the idea with Razor-N-Tape was to separate the edit or bootleg type tracks from that. But now…I dunno…they don’t necessarily need to be separate. I guess we just LURV the busy work that goes along with running two labels. Ha.

TLradio1

Aaron you used to run Dae Recordings that had releases from some major players. Can you tell us more about that experience and highlight some of your favorite releases from the label?

AD: I started the label in 2004, with my partner Adam, while living and going to school in Philly and moved it along with me to Chicago a couple years later. We pressed up wax for almost all of the releases and it was definitely a different time for the industry even in 2004. You had the majority of all the big aspects of the domestic side of the industry right here on the east coast! We got our mastering done by Carl Rowatti at Trutone in Manhattan, our pressing and metals done by Hub Servall / Tracy Val in Cranbury, NJ, and all our distribution by Syntax, Watts, Nemesis, and Downtown 161 which were all in at least one of the five boroughs. Dae had a 20 release stint and it was primarily all House with the exception of a Schmoov! / Nathan G release towards the end that went into what was later coined “Nu Disco.” I’d have to say that my favorite releases were Truman Industries – Love Plus which had a Derrick Carter remix, Greenskeepers – Winter Boots EP, Tuffy (of Ruffy & Tuffy / Smash Hit Music Co.) – Move Me, and the aforementioned Schmoov! / Nathan G joints.

JKriv you were a founding member of Tortured Soul (one my personal faves) and now are in Lab favorites Escort. How do you feel jumping from live player to DJing / Production? Do you favor one over the other?

JK: Thanks. I guess I consider myself an instrumentalist, a producer and then a DJ – in that order. I’ve been playing/performing for about 25 years now so that is really where I’m most comfortable. I started doing production and DJing about 10 years ago, but I’ve actually only gotten truly serious about the DJing somewhat recently.

TLradio2

Speaking of production, what does both of your studios look like? Favorite pieces of equipment?

AD: J’s the producer in this partnership. I tried my hand at production whilst living in Philly, but just don’t have the patience for it.

JK: I have a dedicated studio space in my apartment in Brooklyn. I work primarily in Logic for production, but I do use Ableton from time to time. I’ve got a bunch of synths and outboard gear and I use a UAD Apollo interface with a Dangerous D-box for summing and monitoring. But how you can ask a guy to pick a favorite child? I guess just going by what gets used the most, I suppose my Dave Smith Instruments Tetra synth has been a real go-to in production for the past couple years for me.

TLradio3

What can we expect from the labels in the near future?

AD: Quite a bit actually! As far a Razor-N-Tape goes, we have 2 forthcoming projects on our “Reserve” sub-label. One is by Dirtytwo, who have had massive releases on Local Talk, with remixes from Grey Area and Caserta. The other is by young Dutch newcomers Grey Area (formerly Lowpazz) whose previous releases on Shur-I-Kan’s Dark Energy and the Netherlands’ Nightbird Music shot straight to the top of the deep house charts! We also have an EP by Sixth Avenue Express coming on Deep&Disco, another JKriv Razor-N-Tape release, and a digital release of the Kan Sano 7” we did for RSD UK which also includes edits/remixes by Late Nite Tuff Guy, Luvless, Grey Area, and Leftside Wobble. [ED NOTE: You can pick up the Kan Sano 7″ exclusively at Turntable Lab East Village. Super limited, act fast]

On your recent Turntable Lab Radio were there any exclusives thrown into the mix?

AD: Pretty sure I included 2 in there. Both are edits by J! One is an edit called “Put Your Money Down (JKriv’s Pleasing Edit)” and is coming out on another Razor-N-Tape 7″ project with “Dee’s Keys (JKriv’s 7” Edit) on the flip. It should be out by the end of the year. The other one was an edit that J did of “I Want You For Myself” by George Duke, who recently passed away. Unfortunately, this one will remain locked away in the vaults.

Top 5 Listening Records

Aaron:
Roy Ayers Ubiquity – He’s Coming
Jill Scott – Who is Jill Scott?
Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key of Life
Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina – Elis & Tom
Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders > Pick it up here

JKriv:
John Coltrane – Ballads
Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey
The Beatles – Abbey Road
Paul Simon – Graceland

Top 5 DJ Records

Aaron:
Black Science Orchestra – NJ Deep
Midnight Star – Midas Touch
Masters At Work ft. India – I Can’t Get No Sleep
Cuba Gooding – Happiness Is Just Around The Bend
Round One – I’m Your Brother (Club Version) > Pick it up here

JKriv:
Moodyman – Shades of Jae > Pick it up here
Earth People – Dance
Metro Area – Caught Up > Pick it up here
DJ Deep & Julien Jabre – Love Your Brother
Marcus Marr – Well Alright

Thanks so much to Aaron Dae and JKriv for the excellent episode of Turntable Lab Radio and interview. You can pick up the digital version of Kan Sano’s excellent remake of “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” here and keep up with the guys via the Deep&Disco Soundcloud + Razor-N-Tape Soundcloud. Shout out to ReallyNathan for photography and be sure to subscribe to Turntable Lab Radio via Lab Soundcloud or go direct via iTunes. Finally, check out our interviews with some of the world’s finest DJ’s, designers, and all around cool dudes.

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Nick Catchdubs, Fool’s Gold Records Interview


Nick Catchdubs, co-head honcho (the other being the mighty A-trak) over at Brooklyn’s Fool’s Gold Records, just dropped his newest single “Bizness” from forthcoming album “Smoke Machine”. Fool’s Gold, being at the forefront of everything radical, is no stranger to the underground world. Dropping some of the most adventurous dance & rap tracks from the last decade, FG welcomes the changing landscape and Ol’ Catchdini leads the way.

Fool's Gold Stuff

So what’s new with Fool’s Gold?

We’re doing the same stuff we’ve always done – music, events, merch – and just trying to go bigger and bigger with it on our own terms. The Clubhouse stages this summer are really fun – our recap video from Electric Forest in Michigan is my favorite one yet – and I’m looking forward to our Day Off parties this fall.

Fool’s Gold has been heavy on the rap scene as of late. With the mass appeal of EDM right now, is this move intentional? It seems the new underground is listening to the raps again.

There was no master plan for releases, A-Trak and I just gravitate to whatever we’re most excited by at any given time. There’s a lot of good rap music right now, so we put it out! We’ve also dropped a ton of cool dance music in the past year. I feel what you’re getting at though – it DOES seem like popular dance music has become this neon kraken marauding through the countryside… we play those kind of festivals too, I’m not anti that type of music. You can be big and still clever. There are levels (and there is “Levels.”)

Ultimately we started as hip hop DJs, and that’s always going to be a huge part of what drives the label. The old Kid Sister singles and super underground Loosies kind of joints are part of the same family tree. I think a lot of that is because we’re based in New York, you see all these artists out at clubs and shows doing their thing, it’s natural for the releases to reflect our environment. If we were a Vegas label there’d probably be more bottle service laser music in the catalog, you know?
Loosies Boxset

Your new single “Bizness” just dropped (pick it up on iTunes). The video is wild. How did the concept come to be and what brought you to Scott Jacobson?

I just knew I wanted to make something unique. Not like, me standing behind turntables mugging for the camera and shit. I’ve known Jensen from the JASH crew for years, and had been following Scott’s stuff for bands – he made this hysterical Dinosaur Jr video about a dude that gets into customizing his minivan with crazy bass speakers and hallucinates Henry Rollins – and liked that he could do stuff that looked super pro visually but conceptually / emotionally be all over the place. Absurd vibes.

bizness600

Originally we were going to star in the video, Beastie Boys style, but it was hard with everyone’s schedule, and getting everyone on board with the treatment (there was a Little Shop Of Horrors version originally, but IAMSU was like, “I was hella scared of that plant as a kid, I can’t really get down with this…” ). So in the end he enlisted a gang of comedians and we just make an appearance in photos on the wall, like how Chemical Brothers used to do.

Smoke Machine is the name of your soon to drop album. What can we expect to hear on the album?

“Bizness” is a good representation. It’s an album by a DJ. Remember when Ronson made his first album with the Ghostface joint? I feel like that was a reflection of what he was up to at that point in time, somewhere in between jiggy Tommy Hilfiger parties and the retro/soul stuff he would make at home. Ultimately I just want my record to be a reflection of ME. It’s raps and not raps. Some chill stuff, some hype stuff… I just want to get it done! I can’t be in studio full time, so it ends up being an album I make on Sundays.

2013 has been an active year for FG. With a major return from Sinden, the epic RL Grime “High Beams” EP, to a new El-P / Killer Mike collaboration and the FG Clubhouse stuff. It seems you have an endless well of awesome sh*t. Any other major plans for the year?

Party Supplies’ debut album Tough Love and Danny Brown’s Old LP are really exciting. (And the Duck Sauce album, which technically isn’t “on” FG but still a big deal for us.) We do cool singles and EPs all the time, but presenting albums is another big step, people perceive it way differently as a body of work.

Who are your favorite producers right now?

Gonna leave out FG folks for the sake of conversation (they are ALL my favorites!)

It’s a great time for hip hop. All the DJ Mustard-y west coast shit bringing 95/100 BPM back, Mike Will, Young Chop, the wild combination of folks that made Yeezus happen… I love that you can listen to any random A$AP tape and get turned on to random new producers. Chinza Fly who made “Work” and now this dude Snugsworth who did “Shabba.” Really anyone who’s dope can find a lane, the line between Soundcloud and the radio gets thinner and thinner.

On the dance side, I love this new Beautiful Swimmers album. Boston Bun on Ed Banger is bubbling under the radar. And for hard stuff DJ Snake and the GTA guys always manage to insert weirdness into big festival music, I’ve been playing a lot of their stuff.

Favorite emcees?

My all time favorite is still Redman.

Does Mr Goldbar have a Misses Goldbar?

He has to right? I’d say her look needs to be closer to the slutty Gremlin than just putting a Ms Pac Man bow on the logo. Go for the gusto… (ED Note: I don’t know, this kind of works)

Fool's Gold

Special thanks to Mr. Catchdubs (@catchdini) for the interview. Keep up with Fool’s Gold via the website, FG Soundcloud, and Twitter. We look forward to all the upcoming FG NY events and I’m putting in a personal request for more A-Trak scratch practice tapes. Until then pick up Catchubs’ new single Bizness on iTunes

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Doc Delay Interview


Having recently dropped his first solo album, Morgan, on California label Piecelock 70, we hosted Doc Delay on our latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio. His knowledge in the world of DJing and record collecting shines through in his production and selecting. From respected DJ to now notable producer, we chatted with the Doc to learn a little more about his world.

Doc Delay by ReallyNathan

You have made excellent psych / funk / rock mixtapes in the past, and have had some production featured on other artist’s projects. Why the long delay (no pun intended) on an all original album?

My odor-eater budget is out of control in the Summer.

Thanks Chris! I think I wasn’t ready to be thought of as an artist until recently. As a DJ, and no offense to DJs out there working hard, I felt more like a conduit than a contact. A messenger and archivist, but not a musician. It took a long time to feel comfortable enough with my work to stamp it as my own. If I had it my way I probably would have taken another year to make this album, but these opportunities come and go really quick.
doc delay collage

Speaking of said mixtapes, your vinyl collection is no joke. What got you into digging and on your travels what cities have been some of you favorites to dig in?

Why are there so many people in the cash lane when EZ passes are so readily available?

I started making beats in high school. I really didn’t know anything about rare records. I was just looking for sounds. Once I began amassing stuff, I learned more, and it became a perpetual thing.

Later on, I wound up paying my way through college selling records on the, then new, eBay. There’s really no better way to excel in a subject than to have it provide a financial incentive. Records=Food. I found some great keepers along the way.

I have been having some great record luck lately in Philadephia.

You dropped your first official LP, “Morgan”, can you walk us through the process for the album? Thoughts behind the project and so on?

I’ve actually heard its better to add detergent after the water has started.

I made a record with my friend Godforbid a couple years ago, and I think the new album was really born in the making of that project. When you produce a vocalist, no matter what you name the group, you are essentially making their record. They are in the forefront and their personality is always what shines through in the recording. Your production basically decorates and accentuates their vocals. It’s fun to team up with other musicians and some amazing things can bloom from collaboration, but I came into music from a one-man-band perspective. That was really the allure of DJing and Electronic production. Having the ability to create a track, uninterrupted, free of compromise. Morgan was basically that. An album as one person’s expression.
Doc Delay Morgan Album Cover

How did you come to Piecelock 70 for the album?

Usually upon reintegration, my dog has to be quarantined for 6 months. I miss him.

Thes approached me years ago about joining the collective. Everyone on the roster is encountering similar hurdles with selling and marketing music. There’s only room for the self reliant nowadays, but there is still strength in numbers.
I was out in Los Angeles recording “Owl Mountain” and played Thes the album. We set the release date right there and pretty much got everything finished at breakneck speed for Summer.

On Morgan what percentage of the album would you say is sample based and original instrumentation?

-Four pounds ground chuck
-half cup Worcester sauce
-half cup EVOO
-three jalapenos finely chopped
-sea salt and ground pepper to liking

Samples?? Whatever made you think I used samples?

Safe to assume you are into vintage / analog gear for production. What is your studio looking like these days? Favorite studio equipment?

What if Joy Division lived in a sub-division called Lovewill Terrace Apartments?

Getting the sound you want out of your space is a never-ending battle. I struggled with a very limited amount of gear to make ‘Morgan’. I also live in a pretty cramped apartment with neighbors above and below.

If you really want to dork out, here you go: I record almost everything through a small tube amp I have nestled in a sound proof box I built. There are two mics mounted inside. A Shure 57 and an AKG 414. I have one going through a UA Solo/610 and and on going through a Bellari RP533. I usually record both and pick the one that works best. There are some old synths, a Fender Rhodes, A few guitars, an mpc2000 and some outboard stuff. Nothing too fancy. I do have a ’67 Gretsch ‘Country Gentleman’ that I got from MGMT.

Can you walk us through your recent mix on Turntable Lab Radio? What was the concept behind the mix? Tracklist?

Miller Highlife.

I didn’t really have a concept, I mean obviously I wanted the mix to peak someone’s interest in the album. I figured the people you have checking your blog aren’t into lesbian folk, so I kept it pretty modern sounding. I mostly used things made by myself and my peers. There is definitely lots of unreleased and exclusive remixes on there.

Asking this because I know you can easily walk the line of either type of DJ / selector, but with the current trend of over the top party rocking DJs where do you feel the “DJ Shadows” or “Kid Koalas” fit in these days?

In the shade and at the zoo, respectively.

Both those guys are great DJs. I saw Shadow shut it down after a Metallica show in Texas. It’s without a doubt the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on turntables. Kid Koala is such a talented dude and humble as hell. I’ve heard some four-track recordings of his old rap group from 91-92 that are amazing. Both those guys have very solid foundations under them. They built their status slowly with care and concern for longevity. If you want to keep making music when you get older that’s really important.

As a DJ you need to make people dance. That’s your job. If people are watching you with folded arms, you should switch it up.

5 Favorite places to eat?

El Camello (Tulum)
Fritzl’s Lunchbox (Brooklyn)
La Cabinita (Glendale, CA)
Chickies (Philly)
Oyamel (DC)

What do you like to do, non-music related?

I’ve been finding a lot of pleasure in fixing things.

What were you like in high school?

On probation

5 Favorite records

Not even answering this.

Doc Delay Morgan (Limited Edition) LP

Thanks so much to Doc Delay for the great interview and incredible performance on our latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio. You can catch up with Doc Delay via his website and we can’t recommend his latest album, Morgan, enough. Special thanks to ReallyNathan for the always untouchable photography and of course everyone for listening and reading our rants. Til next time…

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