Interview by Jenkin Au and Ryan Goldade
Words by Ryan Goldade and Cornelius Suen
Photography by Jenkin Au
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Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Basically, I started DJ’ing in ’98. I got introduced to it by my older brothers. My oldest brother came back from LA with all these mixtapes and recordings of mix shows. People that were on there were Qbert, Beat Junkies and a few other locals. My only DJ reference at the time was Funk Master Flex’s 60 Minute of Funk. I thought that was the shit when I heard him cut up LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells. Then I Qbert cut it up with just one turntable. At that time too, I saw A-Trak on TV. To see a 15 year old kid kill shit was incredible. It was unbelievable. In the end I just wanted to learn how to do that.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
I had a bunch of different names but I stuck with that one because I just liked scratching and cutting and I wanted a kind of super hero name. It was break time in high school and I decided to grab a WunderBar from the machine and thought “I should combine that with cut” and I just rolled with it ever since.
Speaking of high school, your high school crew was Munkee Massv. Tell us about that.
Yeah, I’ve had a few different ones. I met Paul [Pluskratch] from my brother because they both used to freestyle on 102.7. I remember going to Paul’s house in grade nine. He had two decks setup. He had two 1200s and Gemini mixer. I was never used to seeing anything of that calibre. I just had my dad’s wobbly belt-driven turntable at home. I was pretty shy to ask him if I could play with his equipment because that shit’s expensive. If you fuck up needles… you know? I wasn’t working at the time, so how could I pay for an $80 stylus? We’re extended family and I saw him at a family party and I asked him if he was still DJ’ing and I told him I’d been practicing and I wanted to see how they got down. That’s how Paul started his infamous garage sessions. Every Saturday or Sunday night, he’d pick me up, I’d bring my mixer and we’d just chop it up.
Did you end up skipping a class or two?
I’m not even going to lie. I’d skip a class or two and hang out with DJ Marvel because he lived close to my high school. He was another one of my older brother’s friends. I’d cut school at lunch and cut it up.
What made you want to transition it from just a hobby to competing on the DMC level?
I used to roll with a crew called Floor Storm and Surrey Savages, and that’s like, on the hardcore b-boy tip. After seeing their drive and dedication, it made me want to apply that to DJ’ing and battling. I just really want to serve cats. I remember seeing guys from Seattle come up to Vancouver and just tear us apart. I’d be in the crowd and be like, “Fuck! These guys are killing us” every time. I really wanted to do the same to them. I really wanted to go to Seattle or Portland and rep hard, put B.C., Vancouver or Surrey on the map. I did that a few times. I went down to a battle called Hip-Hop Tonight in Portland and came third. There was the Bumpershoot battle which was in 2003 and came first in that. I made some good connections with people out in Seattle. I think a couple of them are going to come out to Skratcher. I have yet to check out their open turntable nights out in Seattle.
Can you tell us about your first gig with Munkee Massv at Wet Bar?
Oh shit, that’s going back. I remember going to this gig with DJ Hi-Fi. He smokes a lot of weed. We were on our way to the gig and we hit heavy traffic so he’s “we’ll be here a while” and pulls his bong out. We just started taking heavy hits from bong and I just remember coughing so hard. After my third I felt like Robery Downey Jr.in Due Date. I was getting really paranoid and everything.
What we did was a team set with myself, Hi-Fi and Qbase. We did the scratch band kind of thing with three turntables and three mixers. Pluskratch was performing as well. He was doing a solo set.
It was a dope experience. I was underage at the time. I was 17 up in there and killin’ shit. It definitely laid a good foundation on how keep cool in situations and handle myself in front of big crowds.
What’s the difference between doing that and competing in the DMC’s for Victoria, Vancouver and Canada?
The biggest difference was seeing how people react in different areas. I did a couple shows in Vancouver and saw how they were reacting. I thought people in Victoria would react the same way. I went out there when I was in high school. I felt like I did a really sloppy routine but the DJs there told me they were feeling it. The crowd was really receptive too but I didn’t place. That was in 2000.
Knowing how I performed, it gave me a lot of drive to practice more and coming up with different styled sets. I remember that fall, there was a battle over at Lotus Lounge. It was a hip-hop night called Context and it was happening every Monday. U-tern was there. Hi-Fi rolled out to that battle too. I think Able was there as well. U-tern and I were in the finals and he killed me. Anytime you lose, you get a lot more amped so you come back next time prepared and stronger.
What was the thought process that went behind the set creations?
I was watching a lot of videos and listening to a lot of mixtapes and I’d learn the set and then apply my own personality to it. Just use it as inspiration. I would incorporate more musicality. A lot of people would be just straight cutting samples. In the middle and towards the end of my career I would try cutting up guitars or synth lines.
How did it feel to represent Canada on the world stage?
It was a big shock. I remember the night I won the Canadians, I had a pillow over my head and I was like “holy shit. I fuckin’ did this!” I remember texting all my buddies back west saying “yo man, we fuckin’ did this!” I was just hoping to place again cause I placed before in Hamilton.
Tell us about Corn Beep and Ahh
That was my first official promo mixtape. DJ Marvel helped me put it together. We recorded everything at his house on Adobe Audition. That was my first experience learning how to multi-track. I just chose a lot of songs I was feeling. It’s an ode to corn beef. The beep and ahh like the scratching samples. I also got my buddy Rhek involved (who owns Sharks and Hammers) with all the art work.
Tell us about the track Inkwater.
That was in ‘04-’05. I think that track was recorded at Marvel’s house too. A lot of the surrey dudes.. A lot of Ephin dudes would hang out at Marvel’s house. He was the only one with recording equipment and software at the time. Aalo Guha was working with Chadio, Kaboom, Azreal, and Aspire. They wanted wanted cuts on this track so Marvel called me asked me if I could come up with anything. Basically he just put the beat on loop and I started scratching over it. We just kept that session on record and after one or two takes it was done. We sent it back to Aalo Guha and the dudes and they liked it a lot and ended up rapping over top of it.
How about your contribution on the No Luck Club’s Prosperity CD
The Chan bothers, Paul and Mike opened up the opportunity for me. We were at the Chan brothers’ studio and we were just jamming and they asked if I wanted to be on the track. We were just having a jam session and that’s how it came about.
What are your future endeavours?
I’d like to get back into spinning in clubs. Not on a consistent basis but little one offs or DJ’ing art shows or fundraisers. Just exposing the music that I appreciate. So yah, DJ gigs and mixes.. A lot of mixes for all the styles that I enjoy listening to. A lot of production for rap style beats and dance/house style beats. For hip-hop, there’s this crew I’m working with called 25 Cent Peep Show and its just on dirty hip-hop beats. There’s that project and I’m also working on a jamming project with a few artists named Dodge and East Vangaurd Movement. EVM is on bass, dawj on drums and myself turntables. It just free-form jamming. As well as another collective named Space Camp look out for that as well.
How come you don’t play out anymore?
A lot of people have been asking “where the hell have you been?” I’ve just been trying to be really dedicated to working on different projects and making sure I’m content and happy. Right after world DMC’s I had a full-time gig and I was making really good money so I decided to leave DJ’ing just as a hobby.
What do you consider as some of the pros and cons of Serato
Well, It’s easy for DJs to play the same music. It opens up the palette. You have a way bigger palette to expose people to music.
What is HYPE?
For an individual, HYPE is being yourself.