https://www.hiphopat50.co.uk/

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This week we sit with 1989 World DMC champion, life long turntablist and DMC ambassador Cutmaster Swift.

The conversation covers the early exposure to music, DJing, and hip hop, the evolution of turntablism, and the development of the hip hop scene in London. It also delves into the funding and organization of hip hop events, the business side of the industry, and the growth of the scene in other areas like Leeds. Cutmaster Swift shares his journey as a DJ, from battling and competing to evolving the craft of turntablism. He discusses the competitive nature of DJing, the influence of American DJs, and the evolution of techniques and routines. He emphasizes the importance of individuality and creativity in DJ performances.

Keywords

hip hop, DJing, turntablism, music exposure, London scene, hip hop events, business side, Leeds scene, DJing, turntablism, competition, battling, routines, techniques, evolution, individuality, creativity

Takeaways

  • Early exposure to music and DJing in the context of family influence and childhood exploration.
  • The evolution of turntablism and the impact of influential DJs and events on the hip hop scene.
  • The development of the hip hop scene in London, including the funding and organization of events, the business side of the industry, and the growth of the scene in other areas like Leeds. The competitive nature of DJing and the influence of American DJs.
  • The evolution of DJ techniques and routines, emphasizing individuality and creativity.
  • The importance of confidence and comfort in one's own style and the ability to introduce new music to the audience.
Transcript

00:00:00.000 I'm Adam Gow, the DJ formerly and sometimes currently known as Wax On.

00:00:07.000 Welcome to the once a DJ podcast.

00:00:10.000 DJing and DJ culture have been a huge part of my life for better or worse.

00:00:14.000 They've given me a massive buzz at times and loads of stress at others

00:00:17.000 and taught me loads of valuable lessons along the way.

00:00:20.000 On this podcast I speak to DJs from around the world who've made the names

00:00:24.000 when it was just about skills and selection, not social media followers.

00:00:28.000 We'll discuss their journey through a sentencing and what part it plays in their life now.

00:00:31.800 Whether they're still on the scene, say goodbye to the decks forever or still get a sneaky

00:00:35.820 mixing when life gives them the chance.

00:00:38.080 Whatever road they've travelled, they were always once a DJ.

00:00:41.720 Cutmaster Swift, welcome on to once a DJ, how are you doing today?

00:00:52.160 I'm feeling great and excited to be part of your plan, Adam.

00:00:56.920 Amazing. We've had quite a few turntable lists and London is on, but I think what would be different

00:01:03.960 about getting into your story is you were there at the start of it all. Thank you for reminding me

00:01:08.600 how old I am. There's no kind of nice way of saying it, is there? I understand the feeling old now,

00:01:16.440 time's catching up with maybe and stuck at a desk all the time. So yeah, let's just get into it then

00:01:21.320 really I'm really interested in learning about how you were kind of exposed to

00:01:26.540 to music to DJing and to hip-hop because you were at that time where hip-hop and

00:01:32.360 or you came about at that time I should say when hip-hop and DJing and

00:01:37.760 turntableism were all properly kind of one where is there a little quite a bit

00:01:43.580 more disparate now so yeah if you could give us a bit of your background

00:01:48.860 Well coming from a Jamaican family father was a carpenter. Mom was a nurse

00:01:53.960 You know the typical household they say back in the day

00:01:57.100 I'm a 60s kid end of 60s going into the 70s. So you're talking about I don't know

00:02:03.760 I'm first generation UK because my parents are from Jamaica like I just said so pretty much it was always a

00:02:13.340 a remind of home from the food and the music.

00:02:17.500 And basically my dad pretty much, you're talking about no clubs,

00:02:24.380 no provision of music for you at that time. So obviously he had a record

00:02:30.140 collection and basically I wanted to interfere with that

00:02:35.340 music collection that he had. So he put me on my path really

00:02:39.500 from around the age of five and six. We had a gramophone. That's your multimedia today people.

00:02:45.180 And it was one of those stack system seven inches and they all fall down. My dad, I suppose,

00:02:51.420 gave me some old seven inches for me to explore and destroy. But what do you do when you're a kid?

00:02:58.460 You get your own things. You don't want to touch that stuff. You want to touch what the

00:03:01.180 alerts are touching. You want to mess around with their stuff. So I always got myself into trouble

00:03:07.660 playing around with my parents' high-five. So yeah, that's how much I pretty much got into music.

00:03:13.260 The initial stages of hip-hop, it kind of crept in really because there wasn't a distinctive

00:03:19.980 hip-hop sound, if that makes sense. It was a collection of everything and that's what people

00:03:26.620 tend to forget. So today when people talk about open format, DJ's been able to play everything,

00:03:32.620 hip hop was initiated from that. That's its blueprint, you know, and obviously the important

00:03:38.860 part is finding that instrumental section on whatever that music genre was. Again, growing up,

00:03:46.060 I was pretty much coming from the UK into a lot of pop culture and obviously being schooled on reggae

00:03:53.820 from parents, but to fit in at school, you find out about pop culture. So, you know, growing up at

00:04:00.780 that time you was exposed to everything and we're talking about black and white TV and

00:04:05.360 three channels so we was exposed to everything old school and you was the remote control

00:04:10.780 changed the TV channels and so forth but getting older you try and identify get your own identity

00:04:17.980 you know so you you try and discover other things that most times your parents do not

00:04:23.860 police, so you keep it on the hush back in the day. So my really first earliest

00:04:31.540 remembrance of being exposed to hip hop was probably rappers delight just through

00:04:37.060 the top of the pop type thing. And it's funny because the whole poetry rhyming

00:04:44.820 style, I kind of knew that as a twang or a slang that they used to talk in America

00:04:51.620 anyway. And coming from Jamaica, they've got their own slang as well. So you try and learn

00:04:57.940 and adapt the words as quick as possible. So when I heard rappers delight, I recognized the rhythm,

00:05:03.860 but I really instantly knew that's not the original vocals to that track because I had,

00:05:08.820 my parents had sheet good times. So, you know, that's what I identified that rhythm from.

00:05:14.420 But my really identification of it all being part of the hip hop and culture of hip hop

00:05:20.660 would have been Malcolm McLaren's Buffalo Girls because that got media attention very

00:05:26.260 quickly. Malcolm McLaren was a punk rocker pop guy and he was always on the cuff of something

00:05:33.380 new and adventurous. So when he exposed the beboying and the rapping and stuff from the Bronx,

00:05:42.340 New York, it was something that got instant media attention.

00:05:47.340 So when I saw the acrobatic dancing and the turntable being manipulated in certain ways,

00:05:55.500 I wanted to know more.

00:05:56.700 I wanted more of that.

00:05:58.300 And you've got to remember, back in those days, you're on your own.

00:06:01.780 You did your own.

00:06:02.780 There was no Google, no YouTube.

00:06:06.620 You'd even be lucky if you found other people that were similar to that.

00:06:10.580 Obviously somebody says it at school and everybody's in on whatever the latest thing is so

00:06:15.600 Seeing that and being exposed to it. I was very excited but

00:06:19.820 Again, I was in my own bubble didn't go anywhere didn't know where to go didn't know where to see it

00:06:24.780 You know not everyone didn't just all of a sudden go and buy a windbreaker

00:06:28.060 Buy some line I would start break dancing on the street. You know that way, you know, it was you was very

00:06:33.880 isolated

00:06:35.700 It's funny enough, I would say people who know me knows that I was like one of the first

00:06:40.700 D-boys at school.

00:06:42.700 I wasn't just the first DJ in generation terms of the UK.

00:06:48.180 There was DJs before us, but there were more sound system based, like your mastermind and

00:06:52.420 rap attack and then obviously the reggae sound systems like Saxon and Coxon.

00:06:57.500 These were the people that did the part jams that used to be privileged to go to and see

00:07:01.580 and hear tapes.

00:07:03.540 So when it came to our calling with hip hop, you kind of just had to investigate things

00:07:09.980 and find out more.

00:07:11.580 Like I said, people usually just identify, you do that rolling around on the floor thing.

00:07:17.900 If anything, who got me into Beboy and was my brother, he picked up on it really quick

00:07:22.540 and was doing all the moves and stuff.

00:07:24.340 I wasn't really a dancer.

00:07:26.420 I was never a dancer.

00:07:27.420 Ironically, I know for dancing, but it wasn't my real forte.

00:07:33.220 And basically, yeah, we formed a B-Boy group at school.

00:07:38.540 And then you started hearing things like, obviously, Blondie's rapping on Rapture and

00:07:44.740 all the other pop styles of rap.

00:07:47.660 But we're talking about still no UK, sorry, no UK, low-numb American rap records.

00:07:55.300 That all came much, much later.

00:07:57.540 It just started trickling through.

00:07:59.740 I went to, I was in my teams and literally I went to a community centre and I saw for

00:08:05.900 the first time somebody DJing in a hip hop American fashion.

00:08:11.700 That guy was by the name of Cosmic Jam and I met him and a guy called Rodney P.

00:08:17.700 Obviously, no, he wasn't called Rodney P at the time.

00:08:20.760 They told me about this place called Covent Garden and that's where you needed to go to

00:08:25.460 see other people like yourself into this whole new craze.

00:08:30.840 Because that's what it was.

00:08:31.840 It was called a craze.

00:08:32.840 No one actually thought he had any longevity.

00:08:35.600 They just thought it was just the newest thing for the kids to get involved in.

00:08:39.840 The whole advertising was that it kept us out of trouble.

00:08:43.380 We were no longer fighting and doing all sorts of mischievous things.

00:08:47.940 we were now dancing and you know,

00:08:50.860 that's the way it was portrayed.

00:08:52.540 So yeah, I pretty much got down to Covent Garden

00:08:56.100 in my teens without my parents' permission

00:08:59.300 and knowledge of did Bunkoff School a couple of times as well.

00:09:03.780 - So was it the Covent Garden stuff that was,

00:09:06.620 was it Jazzy B that was DJing or organizing it?

00:09:09.780 - Right, so Jazzy B came to my line of vision way later.

00:09:14.460 You know, obviously there was a place called the African Center

00:09:16.540 that was based around Covent Garden, that is much later.

00:09:19.860 We're talking very early 80s, so we're talking 82.83.

00:09:24.340 - Oh, okay.

00:09:25.240 - Most people said, some people said they weren't coming

00:09:27.500 from 82, I'll be honest and I wasn't,

00:09:29.660 I was definitely there from about 83,

00:09:31.700 that's when I initially went there.

00:09:33.500 And Covent Garden, if you know it,

00:09:35.260 is a spot where performers and people busk,

00:09:38.820 that's what it was.

00:09:40.020 And somehow it got raided by hip-hoppers going there,

00:09:44.540 And it was the Mecca for London, I would say.

00:09:48.700 And it didn't matter if you was from the southwest,

00:09:51.620 north or east, we all went there

00:09:54.260 and we exposed ourselves to each other

00:09:57.660 and we got to know each other at that place.

00:10:00.700 So that's why I saw beatboxes, that's why I met MCs,

00:10:03.900 that's why I met, I love a lot of dancers

00:10:06.460 and where I kind of got my initiation

00:10:09.260 and got recognized around that time,

00:10:12.220 I was, I had adopted the name Swift

00:10:16.020 from the legendary Prince Genswift,

00:10:18.420 or the Rock Steady Crew,

00:10:19.740 'cause they came over in '82 to perform,

00:10:23.300 at Ells Court in part of the Panasonic

00:10:26.660 some thing they were doing at the time.

00:10:29.100 And the Rock Steady Crew were like,

00:10:31.540 were the crew in Buffalo Girls,

00:10:32.860 so it made sense to get there and go there.

00:10:35.540 I don't know how, I think I had a paper round,

00:10:37.100 I must have saved some money

00:10:37.980 and just went and saw them and I saw them three times.

00:10:41.260 Funny enough, they had a DJ by the name of Africa Islam.

00:10:45.660 He called himself the son of Bambata at the time and he did a mixtape called the Zulu

00:10:50.660 Beach Show.

00:10:52.300 And we got privy to these little tapes coming out of New York, being dubbed about a billion

00:10:59.100 times.

00:11:00.100 So when you actually had your copy, I don't know what generation copies I had, but they

00:11:04.820 were my blueprint Bible to what was going on.

00:11:08.500 And that's when we heard about people like Jazzy J, obviously,

00:11:11.860 African Bambata, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, you know,

00:11:16.140 cool DJ Red Alert, all these people on these tapes.

00:11:19.940 And some of them that were really good quality, obviously,

00:11:24.740 Grandmaster Flash and then Grand Wizard Theodore.

00:11:27.380 When you heard the actual live ones like Live at the T connection

00:11:32.180 and other ones like the death mix, then you had your kind of like,

00:11:37.500 What is that record?

00:11:38.540 Because you just, remember, you're just hearing portions

00:11:41.740 of a record, parts of a record.

00:11:44.420 We didn't know what these records were.

00:11:46.220 So we then self-entitled them ourselves.

00:11:48.320 So if we heard, for example,

00:11:50.740 of a very popular classic Be Boys break

00:11:54.980 called assembly line by the Commodore's.

00:11:57.020 Yes, the Commodore's had funky records too.

00:11:59.660 Not the easy and light Sunday morning and hello

00:12:03.420 and all that stuff, that line of Richie done.

00:12:05.540 You know, I'm talking about raw funk soul records.

00:12:09.220 Most of these artists, Earth, Wind, and Fire,

00:12:11.860 cool in the gang.

00:12:12.900 They all came from that raw pot of funk and boogie.

00:12:17.900 These were the music that we grew up on.

00:12:21.660 So, we had those, our parents had those records

00:12:24.540 and we recognized them,

00:12:25.860 or when we went back from the commercial success

00:12:29.940 of these bands, we realized, wait a minute,

00:12:32.340 this is the same music that these guys have,

00:12:34.060 Oh, that's where that came from. Oh my God.

00:12:35.900 Yeah.

00:12:36.900 And early Earth Winding in fact, it's pretty hard as well, isn't it?

00:12:40.340 Oh, it is very hard to find stuff.

00:12:42.780 Nobody had any hard sound in it.

00:12:44.220 It's really soft, tough funk.

00:12:45.900 Most definitely.

00:12:47.100 This is the thing about it.

00:12:48.220 Fact-back band, the whole lot of them.

00:12:50.740 Very funky, very, and they've all got an individual sound

00:12:53.980 because again, they're not all from one place.

00:12:56.700 They're not from New York, they're from wherever.

00:13:00.740 Philadelphia had a sound.

00:13:02.660 Everyone, you know, labels had a sound back in the day, you know, whether you was on stacks

00:13:07.860 or you was on Motown, they all had an individual sound. And hip hop, if you remember, especially

00:13:13.220 in the early days of the record recording stuff, the labels again had their own original sound

00:13:19.060 to them. So, the early records that I bought is hip hop, then when it started to creep through,

00:13:27.380 was definitely the electro phase. So we're talking about 83 onwards. And literally, I'm

00:13:36.940 talking about having records that were like, that will fill a milk crate. This is the original

00:13:42.420 storage of your records, not record boxes, milk rates. And it was hard just to feel that.

00:13:48.740 And then you found out more as books appeared, say David Troup, I believe did one, and it

00:13:55.700 had like a breakbeat list of Grandmaster Flashy's favorite records and you bought that book

00:14:01.260 and sold those records and literally also went back in back cut a log of music. So like

00:14:09.140 I said I came out as a DJ buying the Electro stuff, the imports and they were very cheap

00:14:14.420 at the time although they were probably expensive in reality terms. Yeah I went back and I bought

00:14:20.260 the Enjoy Records, which was, I believe, run by Bobby Robinson.

00:14:25.260 And obviously, Sugihull was the label that Rapper's Delight was on,

00:14:29.620 and they had a catalog of records.

00:14:31.260 And then you had Paul Winley.

00:14:33.740 He had early records as well.

00:14:35.300 So these were the records that you went back on after being initiated from,

00:14:41.100 you know, the, the, the, the electro stuff to, to find out more about these groups

00:14:45.780 and what they were wrapping on.

00:14:46.860 And, you know,

00:14:48.020 Where were you learning about what to go back to then at that point? Because when I got into

00:14:56.660 DJ and I was quite late getting into DJing so I was just able to sit and like I was looking

00:15:02.260 I had a job where I could just sit and not do a lot and I would just read about music all

00:15:06.580 day. Downloading albums all day, sort of rare, funk and jazz and stuff like that. But for you

00:15:13.860 to even just find out, okay, go get this label.

00:15:16.980 'Cause I'm guessing magazines wouldn't have been,

00:15:20.220 like in the 90s, you know, you had like waxed-

00:15:22.020 - Yeah, they were.

00:15:22.860 - Or was it things?

00:15:23.700 - Yeah, literally, what actually really happened,

00:15:26.980 we're talking about the whole thing moving

00:15:29.500 very, very quickly, you know?

00:15:32.620 So, all of a sudden, like I said,

00:15:36.900 I went to a Covent Garden, then I discovered

00:15:38.860 a whole universe of hip-hoppers, you know?

00:15:43.060 which were all later became known as B boys and B girls.

00:15:46.460 And again, people took positions.

00:15:48.660 So some people became DJs,

00:15:50.300 some people became graph writers, some were dancers.

00:15:53.500 And really, it was the radio DJs,

00:15:58.340 the pirate radio DJs, most importantly, that led the way.

00:16:02.740 They found those records and interviewed the people

00:16:06.100 that we saw star information from.

00:16:09.100 So, you're talking about radio in Victor,

00:16:13.500 you're talking about LWR,

00:16:15.820 which Westwood was on originally,

00:16:17.820 you're talking about Jaz FM.

00:16:19.980 All these stations had specialist shows,

00:16:23.640 and you would then find that DJ,

00:16:26.860 and that was your source for the rest of your entire,

00:16:30.820 that was the most important thing to you in your life,

00:16:34.660 You play that, you literally followed that DJ religiously.

00:16:39.220 And then these DJs will tell you where things were happening.

00:16:42.460 They will tell you the next hip hop gig,

00:16:45.060 which they started doing, which was daytime as well,

00:16:47.120 'cause remember, we're in our teens.

00:16:49.260 So we started going to a club called Spats, for example,

00:16:52.580 which was in the West End on the off-ox road,

00:16:54.900 off the street, sorry.

00:16:56.020 And a hip hop group called The Family Quest

00:16:58.420 started running that later on, Westwood took it over,

00:17:00.940 and then I believe they took it back.

00:17:02.700 But yeah, it was daytime stuff,

00:17:04.580 and then we used to go from Offord Street down to Covent Garden and then we'll go from Covent

00:17:08.300 Garden and go record hunting. It was literally a day out of just mayhem and madness. And

00:17:15.900 that's how the scene grew and became familiar. People would introduce themselves by their

00:17:20.500 skill. You know, what are you? I'm a B-boy. I really? Let's see what you've got. Okay,

00:17:24.260 yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You're cool. And you see the same people at the same places. You

00:17:28.380 go to the record store. There they were. The same people. You go to the hip-hop jam.

00:17:33.620 You didn't miss anything because like I said, no one knew how long this was going to last.

00:17:39.340 It was in exciting and forever evolving thing.

00:17:44.380 So you just listened to everything and didn't miss anything.

00:17:47.420 You just couldn't afford to miss anything.

00:17:49.500 I suppose at that point, because now kind of fashion takes from here, there and everywhere,

00:17:54.500 but back then I guess you would have been able to spot your tribe pretty quickly.

00:17:57.900 Oh, there's someone over there in a night windbreaker.

00:18:00.340 Yes.

00:18:01.340 and whatever you know with parapumas.

00:18:03.740 It's pretty safe to something that there there be by be girl right.

00:18:08.240 Without a doubt I mean everybody try to be as fly as possible and if you watch a lot of if you ever watch anything from the eighties and they show you some gangs people have these caps on they had puffer jackets they had for fox for hanging off them somewhere or some kind of bandana.

00:18:28.540 That was the look.

00:18:29.900 It was quite funny because it was kind of an East Coast,

00:18:32.980 a West Coast mix that we got from the UK.

00:18:36.740 You know, I was definitely heavily influenced

00:18:40.300 by the East Coast, but the G-funk stuff,

00:18:43.700 you know, people call it gangster funk,

00:18:46.980 but you know, it was just funky, you know.

00:18:50.140 The whole history of the West Coast,

00:18:51.860 from a Hawaii players, all that stuff

00:18:54.500 has got that funk to it.

00:18:56.420 And this is what the West Coast googitated on

00:18:59.220 and brought through their samples.

00:19:01.700 But on the East then you had, you know,

00:19:03.460 obviously like I said, the fact that band

00:19:06.540 and or wherever Kana bands with that more lipstick funk

00:19:10.300 and obviously James Brown was like the blueprint for it all.

00:19:13.180 He was the thing that everybody liked, you know,

00:19:16.100 whether he was West or East.

00:19:17.780 So yeah, you identify people by their looks

00:19:21.780 and the ones that were really showing off,

00:19:24.380 had some relation in the America coming back

00:19:26.380 with a name belt, the Adidas shell top trainers

00:19:30.980 that we remember, we was very limited.

00:19:33.460 I mean, when I started out getting decent trainers,

00:19:36.460 I had a pair of trainers called Gola.

00:19:39.200 (laughs)

00:19:40.500 You know, it wasn't Adidas and it wasn't night.

00:19:42.860 Night actually was just coming on the scene

00:19:45.020 when I was at school, you know what I mean?

00:19:47.540 And it was the night Wimbledon's that people remember

00:19:50.260 and Adidas Sambers and Adidas Gazels were the trainers

00:19:55.100 that people kind of always had

00:19:56.780 were the real fashionable expensive trainers.

00:19:59.740 So yeah, identifying Beboy Look was pretty much

00:20:03.500 a goose jacket, which is a big puffy jacket

00:20:06.540 with fur around it, Gazelle glasses, the kangal cap.

00:20:11.180 You know, and that look was definitely

00:20:13.980 the East Coast, New York look.

00:20:15.940 So anybody who had that style back in the 80s,

00:20:20.180 you knew they've been to New York,

00:20:22.060 they are serious Beboys.

00:20:24.100 You know, rest of us had these windbreakers,

00:20:26.060 added these windbreakers, obviously,

00:20:28.240 and what other brands, Puma and Adidas

00:20:31.000 were really the two focal ones at the time.

00:20:33.340 Some people are slazinger.

00:20:34.880 There was all sorts of brands, but yeah,

00:20:36.940 Adidas and Puma were the brands to have at the day,

00:20:40.680 in those days.

00:20:42.080 - And you've kind of mentioned the swift part of your name.

00:20:45.760 And something I've thought about before this conversation

00:20:48.080 is just how good, like, I always think I'm gonna talk

00:20:52.160 people more about the DJ names than I do.

00:20:54.640 - Yeah.

00:20:55.480 - But, Cutmaster Swift, you kind of struck Lucky there

00:20:58.040 'cause sometimes people will have a DJ name

00:21:00.440 that as time goes on, they're like,

00:21:02.960 oh, I wish I'd gone for something else,

00:21:04.760 but Cutmaster Swift's just like,

00:21:07.680 it's about as good as it gets.

00:21:09.840 You know what I mean?

00:21:11.800 You kind of fell Lucky there, I guess.

00:21:14.400 - Some people say, you know what, funny enough,

00:21:16.840 originally when I told people my name was Cutmaster Swift,

00:21:19.520 They went, I've never seen you DJ.

00:21:22.400 That thing's too long.

00:21:23.520 So they just call me Swiftie or Swift, you know,

00:21:25.960 and it was quite hard and difficult

00:21:29.280 to be taken seriously as a DJ by other dancers

00:21:33.680 because they saw me beaboying,

00:21:34.960 and I was quite popular at a move called Windmill.

00:21:37.680 I had pretty much mastered back in the day,

00:21:39.920 and I won't tell everybody how many carpet burns

00:21:42.760 I got to do it to learn it.

00:21:44.360 That's why it was that good, because, you know,

00:21:46.920 if you get carpet burns when you're learning,

00:21:49.160 you know about pain, you know, and warm marks.

00:21:53.160 So yeah, the name Swift really stuck with most people

00:21:56.360 because they didn't identify me as cutmaster Swift.

00:21:58.880 It was literally after becoming more seriously taken,

00:22:03.880 not even when I was in a group called the Imperial Mixers.

00:22:08.240 So I initially, I never had any gear of my own,

00:22:12.440 professional gear, that means, knowing that,

00:22:14.920 for example, the pinnacle part of equipment

00:22:17.320 could have back in those days was a pair of SL-1200s and nobody had them you know we just saw them

00:22:25.160 on the TV and that and the very first person I met who had one was a guy called Robert

00:22:31.160 Forger a drummer for a Courtney Pines drum for Courtney Pines professional drummer and he had one

00:22:38.440 an attendee mixer and then we met another guy called the Imperial mixer and he had two and a

00:22:45.240 Phonic mixer. I had a battery built Phonic mixer and I had Jarrar belt driven decks. So

00:22:51.320 equipment wasn't was definitely the last thing on my radar to acquire. So I got good

00:22:58.600 by going to other people's houses. Realistically, my strength became knowing music and that's how

00:23:04.920 I got down with a lot of DJs like Cosmic Jam and all these other DJs because I knew music. That's

00:23:11.640 That's the one thing no one could deny me of.

00:23:14.640 And I was that guy that you'd say, what's that tune?

00:23:18.680 And a week later or two weeks later, I'd have it.

00:23:21.520 Somehow I had it.

00:23:22.960 And I was even telling people, oh, you should probably buy that record, you know?

00:23:25.880 Because that record looks really good.

00:23:27.560 And people said, well, thanks for that.

00:23:29.360 And I'm like, really?

00:23:30.360 And I went back, damn, oh, that's what that is.

00:23:32.760 Because I just, I was quite, I don't know, I just somehow found breaks.

00:23:37.560 And by looking at record grooves, notice that they're darker, that's where the instrument

00:23:42.240 or breakout part will be.

00:23:44.000 And just going by record labels, you know, and I never did it, but the obvious thing

00:23:50.680 is to read the credits of records.

00:23:52.480 You read the credits of records and study the musicians in those records, nine times

00:23:57.720 that attend, they would lead you to the next decent record because they would feature on

00:24:04.320 the same stuff.

00:24:05.320 For example a drummer like Bernard Purdy if you look at the things he's featured on

00:24:11.320 Knives out at 10 he'll have a solo. He'll have his little part

00:24:15.220 You know James Brown's drummer and so forth. So if you if you saw a record by James Brown

00:24:20.960 You knew that sound you knew you saw a record produced by James Brown

00:24:24.720 It was the same sound

00:24:27.600 You know I mean the same band the same members and so forth

00:24:31.440 So that's how we used to dig and find out the records that we never had on the list after a while.

00:24:37.440 But yeah, going back to the original question about the name Swift, no, that wasn't a name that was accepted very quickly.

00:24:45.640 And I suppose really the name showed my age and my lineage in hip-hop because at that time there was grandmasters,

00:24:54.140 grand mixers, random wizards and so forth and cool and this and that but not that many

00:25:02.060 cut masters. So when I came across the name I thought, Ah, cut master, okay, cut master,

00:25:09.260 swift. Yeah, yeah, it works and I'm quite a hard head. You know, someone say they don't

00:25:16.180 like something about what I do or what I've got and I'll make, I'll work hard to make

00:25:21.020 you like it. Accept it. You know, people know me know that I'm a very determined guy. I always,

00:25:27.820 you know, where there's a will, there's a way. That's my philosophy and you work hard, you deliver harder.

00:25:33.340 So how are you first exposed to turntableism then beyond the kind of mixtapes that you mentioned,

00:25:41.020 like, how did that come about sort of in person for you? Was it through the B by DJs or was it

00:25:47.900 it elsewhere. Well, the very first scratch mix I heard was Grandmaster Flashes of

00:25:53.040 The Wheels are Still and I instantly got it. I got, you know, I'm like, okay, that makes

00:25:59.020 sense. That, you know, I can understand what he's doing, you know, it's rhythm the

00:26:03.580 call and stuff and I reckon identify the music. But because of no equipment, I

00:26:09.300 started doing something called pause button mixing and that taught me about

00:26:12.900 patience because you've got to have patience to do pause button mixing and

00:26:16.900 try and get a seamless loop. But I think I mentioned earlier, the very first DJ I actually

00:26:21.900 saw was Cosmic Jam and that was at a community center in Patmore. And that was the first

00:26:26.820 person I actually saw with a pair of turntables and the mixer physically in front of my face.

00:26:32.980 Again, you know, there wasn't that much exposure to it. Otherwise, then going to hear a mastermind

00:26:40.300 play in events like the Notting Carnival because Mastermind was a sound system,

00:26:45.700 Mastermind fantastic blends and mixes with a bit of scratch and so forth and

00:26:50.540 then they started really dwelling deeper into the hip-hop stuff because

00:26:56.580 that's you know they just used to break music as well and they started

00:27:01.340 bringing over a guy by the name of Whiskid and Whiskid is the DJ from a

00:27:06.940 track called Play That Beat, if you think.

00:27:08.900 I could say it's the most successful record people

00:27:10.980 could probably identify this guy.

00:27:12.740 Now Wizkid, if I was to really try and describe him,

00:27:17.340 he was like the Cuba that everybody probably,

00:27:20.740 if you know about Scratchy, or this guy looks really good,

00:27:23.580 he's enjoying it, it makes it look so simple.

00:27:26.260 He's got so many techniques, he looks really,

00:27:28.820 he's a gruh rally, he's a master.

00:27:31.940 That was Wizkid.

00:27:32.900 Whiskey is the guy who evolved the whole pattern structure

00:27:37.780 of scratching to my knowledge.

00:27:39.620 Graham was a Theodore invented scratching,

00:27:41.700 obviously by a cueing and then becoming

00:27:44.300 rhythmical with it.

00:27:45.660 But Whiskey, I always saw him as somebody

00:27:48.860 who played the turntable like an instrument.

00:27:51.980 So when people talking about the turntable

00:27:53.700 being an instrument, I was like,

00:27:55.540 really?

00:27:56.380 I thought about that a long time ago, you know?

00:27:58.620 But that's how my mind works.

00:28:00.580 It's always that imaginative way.

00:28:02.180 I always would say these are really outstanding things.

00:28:06.380 And people like, no, that doesn't make no sense.

00:28:08.900 As that going to be that.

00:28:10.220 And like it is, trust me, it'll be that way.

00:28:12.660 That's the way I always visualize things.

00:28:15.220 So when I saw Wizkid now,

00:28:18.820 the first American DJ who just put this stuff together

00:28:22.940 like art, breakbeat, sees to pull them out,

00:28:26.300 all sorts of music.

00:28:27.140 He was the one who introduced me to Dave Matthews's Star Wars.

00:28:30.220 you know, Africa Islam introduced me to the pleasure boys

00:28:33.140 by Visage.

00:28:34.900 All these DJs introduced me to different types of records.

00:28:37.860 I think Grandmaster Flash obviously must introduce me

00:28:39.860 to Apache because he cuts it in the wings of the wheels

00:28:43.100 of steel.

00:28:43.940 But yeah, so these all the records I kind of identified

00:28:46.780 from these DJs.

00:28:48.860 And then literally, I think I used to stalk the guy personally

00:28:53.860 'cause I used to be at all the kids

00:28:54.980 and always try and talk to him and I was a b-boy

00:28:56.580 and I actually said to him, one time I said to him,

00:29:00.100 You gotta watch out one day for the name cut master Swift

00:29:02.780 because he's gonna be this DJing.

00:29:06.020 Come on, eh?

00:29:07.020 And you know what?

00:29:07.940 He said really, he goes to me,

00:29:11.260 well, I look forward to it.

00:29:12.300 I would love to, you know, he gave me encouragement, you know?

00:29:15.940 - Yeah, that's amazing.

00:29:16.780 - And unfortunately, he passed by the time I finally made

00:29:20.780 my marks in the UK ranks of DJing

00:29:24.180 because there was people before me like,

00:29:25.780 I said cosmic jam, there was a quick cut,

00:29:28.100 Jay, who was a breakbeats master,

00:29:29.920 Streets Ahead was a breakbeats master,

00:29:31.880 Cosmic Jam was an all-rounder.

00:29:34.320 He was a very determined battle DJ.

00:29:39.320 He was quite aggressive with anyone.

00:29:42.480 He's the one who kind of gave me my stripes to say,

00:29:47.160 You don't bow down to anybody.

00:29:49.080 Doesn't matter if they're American,

00:29:51.160 'cause a lot of UK people bow down to the Americans.

00:29:54.080 They were the architects, they were the masters of it.

00:29:57.120 it came from them so they, you know, you gave them that respect of level. But this guy,

00:30:02.180 he was like, I don't care if you're my mum, my cousin or blah, blah, blah, you all get

00:30:07.920 treated the same, you know what I mean? And one time, some Americans came over, Jazzy

00:30:14.040 J, Jazzy Joyce, Africa, Bambata, Red Alert, they did a workshop in Houston, London. And

00:30:21.520 And yeah, Mastermind, Max and Dave, probably aware of those names, were part of Mastermind.

00:30:29.480 And they basically brought Streets ahead in and they did a showcase there.

00:30:35.680 And Cosmic Jam, Sam Al talked himself into the jam, performing and out doing, he was

00:30:44.240 intimidating Jazzy Joyce.

00:30:45.640 He was DJing and doing body tricks and he was laughing at it.

00:30:49.840 know. So this is the type of mentality of the DJs that I was taught from, you know, and

00:30:55.940 gave me my energy and how to adopt things as well as being a bebo. You hip hop is very

00:31:03.740 cock and I say it was, it was quite aggressive. And it was quite, and if you had skills,

00:31:14.660 you live to fight another day. That's basic now it was everybody showed their skills and

00:31:19.000 and we're trying to outwit each other.

00:31:20.560 So, you know, some B-boy battles are still going on today

00:31:24.160 that started in the '80s.

00:31:25.520 (laughs)

00:31:26.600 That's how aggressive it can be.

00:31:29.720 But yeah, just one thing.

00:31:32.280 - Sure.

00:31:33.120 - So it can't be cheap at that time getting

00:31:35.800 Jazzy J, Bandbart and Jazzy Joyce over.

00:31:38.560 If that was something that had happened in the early 2000s,

00:31:42.320 I'd assume it was some sort of arts council funding.

00:31:46.440 So who would have been arranging and booking something like that?

00:31:49.860 Because that must have been a big deal.

00:31:51.300 Yeah, you know what?

00:31:52.500 I don't know if you remember, there was an event that happened back in the early 80s.

00:31:58.140 And what basically happened when we started going to Covent Garden, we started

00:32:02.620 going to this place called the center, which was a place for down and outs to, to, you know,

00:32:08.260 get a meal, have a shower and stuff and be sent on their way.

00:32:11.260 Well, we started congregating there.

00:32:13.460 And literally it became our haven to be boy because the police were moving us on from

00:32:20.000 common guard and people going down to Charing Cross breaking down on the tiles and stuff.

00:32:26.580 And we wasn't wanted anywhere, you know, you know, he's youths and so forth.

00:32:30.860 So what actually happened?

00:32:31.860 The center they saw it for what it is.

00:32:35.780 It's an art.

00:32:36.780 It's these kids are so talented and they gave us the opportunity.

00:32:40.540 They said, what do you guys want to do with this?

00:32:42.700 where's it going? And we talked to them and we said, you know, yeah, we, you know, we

00:32:47.820 get these tapes from America and so forth. And they, and they, I think they put a petition in on

00:32:54.060 our behalf to get a grant through the Arts Council, the GLC back in the Daily Great

00:33:00.220 Aloud Under Council back then. Ken Livingston was the mayor, I think. And they got us funding

00:33:06.620 to put up an event in Covent Garden and it was called Freestyle 85 and that event to me was a true

00:33:19.020 hip-hop event because it was actually people in hip-hop actually creating an event with the aid of

00:33:27.180 people who had connections and saw it as talented it was and then around then as well

00:33:34.140 movie started creeping out like wild style and beat streak and it and if you look at if you ever watched wild style

00:33:40.580 It is the blueprint of how we kind of did what we did with freestyle 85

00:33:45.780 You know somebody saw the talent gave us the opportunity to

00:33:50.500 To do this event so yeah, we put on be boys and so forth

00:33:55.680 And then later on again the same DJs that were now putting on hip-hop events

00:34:02.860 There was obviously a guy called Ricky Reynolds as well called that formed up union called the hip-hop alliance

00:34:09.060 again to help

00:34:11.460 Kids with talent go in the studio if they've got talents to go in the studio if they got design talents can design me

00:34:19.180 Stuff and so forth graffiti artists all these things so there was people

00:34:23.700 That have knowledge of the business side of it because you get you got to remember we were kind of kids

00:34:29.220 We just, you know, someone told you you can be on stage dancing.

00:34:34.220 You didn't ask them how much.

00:34:35.860 You asked them, you know, is it at the very most we've got rewarded

00:34:42.300 with a little bit of a prize money.

00:34:43.620 Now, I remember winning a B-boy competition at Spats for £50

00:34:48.020 and I bought drinks for me mates, you know, and bought some

00:34:52.100 records afterwards.

00:34:53.020 That's how it was, you know.

00:34:54.380 So there was no real business structure as such.

00:34:58.980 I would say that all came a bit later as we grew older and then we all started developing

00:35:05.940 other traits. So obviously I moved into DJing, some people moved into MCing, like MC Mello was a

00:35:12.500 B-boy, he was a very brilliant Popper, you know, and Mello then moved into MCing. So MC Duke,

00:35:22.500 Rest in peace was a b-boy. That's how I knew him originally and he then became an MC. So literally people started

00:35:31.320 carving

00:35:33.720 Trades for themselves. So someone, you know, you always had somebody who used to talk a lot

00:35:38.580 So you used to make him be a manager and talk all the talk

00:35:41.760 You know and take his little chair and yeah, we used to travel a lot. So um

00:35:48.020 Things were coming around.

00:35:50.420 They just came around because I suppose that the idea was

00:35:54.100 you sell it on the back of,

00:35:56.220 we're keeping these kids out of trouble.

00:35:58.220 There's talented kids everywhere.

00:36:00.460 You had a windshield and you're walking down the road.

00:36:03.660 Excuse me, mate, can you dance?

00:36:04.940 Yeah, all right, we're sticking this personal habit.

00:36:07.780 Things like that, it just happened.

00:36:10.900 So the scene blossomed.

00:36:14.820 I'm obviously always talking from a London perspective,

00:36:17.940 But I'm, I know, because of the, this tour I did,

00:36:22.940 I went to Leeds, and I met this guy called King Monk,

00:36:26.620 and he had a museum up there,

00:36:29.860 and he showed me the whole history of Leeds

00:36:32.140 and where certain people came from

00:36:33.820 that came down south to London to develop their career,

00:36:37.260 and they originally came from Leeds.

00:36:39.060 And the detail in this museum he gave was fantastic,

00:36:45.980 it just schooled me on other areas.

00:36:50.980 Because I mean, we used to go to other areas,

00:36:54.100 but we used to go there to have battles and dance-offs.

00:36:56.580 So, you know, we used to go down to Nottingham

00:36:59.860 and meet up with the rocks, city breakers,

00:37:03.260 respect to resting peace, to sly

00:37:06.020 and the guys that are around still, you know,

00:37:07.900 these are the guys that we used to see

00:37:09.420 and they used to come down to London as well.

00:37:12.420 So we used to go to Nottingham

00:37:14.100 And then obviously through being a DJ and digging,

00:37:19.100 we'd go out of London and go find all the record shops

00:37:23.300 that nobody had went to.

00:37:25.660 - Yeah.

00:37:26.500 - And go and raid all those areas for music.

00:37:28.580 So DJ Pogo, aspiring partner of mine,

00:37:32.540 and then Phoelsius member,

00:37:34.420 used to go up to Manchester and buy a whole heap of breaks

00:37:37.300 and raid there, you know, and leave the reminances

00:37:41.780 of whatever he didn't want.

00:37:43.340 and then let some locals know that he knew at the time,

00:37:46.820 Yeah, there's a couple records there you could go there.

00:37:48.900 They used to hate us, or we used to come and tell them

00:37:50.540 people's downs, 'cause we used to really go for records.

00:37:54.060 You know, some people go for the women,

00:37:56.420 or the men, whatever, that's what's your boat,

00:37:59.340 but we took the records.

00:38:01.300 DJ's for life, yeah.

00:38:04.220 So, when did you start battling then?

00:38:08.140 Okay, so being in the Imperial Mixers,

00:38:10.700 it was, like I said, it was very competitive,

00:38:12.820 especially with music and knowledge of music was your greatest asset really.

00:38:18.180 You know equipment you could get by really. So the main focus was having 1200s and then everybody

00:38:25.060 started acquiring them when they had knowledge that these are the turn-tobes that. When I started

00:38:29.380 battling it you know what funny enough the only real battle I had back in the early days was well

00:38:35.860 I had one battle and everything else was a competition. So the battle I had was with DJ

00:38:41.300 undercover and DJ Supreme from hijack and that came about from DJ Pogo having the battle

00:38:48.020 with undercover is house and Pogo apparently destroyed undercover in his house and then

00:38:58.340 it got sidelined into the event that happened at Battersea Park and I'm from Battersea at

00:39:05.580 at the time and you can't have anyone coming into your territory.

00:39:09.540 It's just the hip hop rule.

00:39:11.100 You don't have outsiders coming into your territory and running a ruckus.

00:39:16.020 You know, so I got wrote into that battle there.

00:39:19.500 And, um, yeah.

00:39:20.900 So we, we, and it's funny because we had our records.

00:39:24.460 We didn't focus so much on the equipment as such with meaning that, you know,

00:39:29.100 as long as there were 12 hundreds,

00:39:30.660 you was confident to just do what you could do.

00:39:33.220 So the mixer at the time was the GLI mixer and this is a big beast of a mixer.

00:39:37.660 The fader could be certainly once weren't slick, you know, they're not the fader faders

00:39:43.140 you got nowadays.

00:39:44.700 These faders moved with, you know, you probably need two hands and a lot of biceps to push

00:39:48.980 the fader across, you know.

00:39:50.540 But it's what was known as the professional mixer and that's the mixer that was used on

00:39:55.540 the world for famous Supreme Team Buffalo Girls video.

00:39:58.220 You could see it on their 12 inch cover as well.

00:40:01.100 And again, we're talking about a console that was 45 degrees angle probably, you know,

00:40:10.060 with Vasting felt and the techniques decks were about two miles apart from each other.

00:40:16.100 So this is what you had to deal with back in the day.

00:40:18.820 So the only thing you had was your records, your needles, your headphones and some decent

00:40:23.300 slip mats that you made and cut in plastic and whatever else to craft your art.

00:40:28.060 So that was the very first battle.

00:40:30.980 I, and the only battle I had, every other battle,

00:40:35.500 confrontation I had was really a competition battle.

00:40:38.860 - Yeah.

00:40:39.700 - So I entered one with a DJ Ron,

00:40:43.740 who was a drummer who's now a famous drummer,

00:40:47.380 bass DJ, but back in the day he was again,

00:40:50.180 like people call it open format,

00:40:51.780 people played everything and mixed everything.

00:40:53.660 So he had some DJ skills and that was run by

00:40:57.940 Rebel MC, Mike West, run that competition.

00:41:01.020 And I went there and entered that and won that.

00:41:04.020 You go to people's houses and have freestyles,

00:41:08.760 but they were battles, you know, they weren't recorded.

00:41:11.220 They were never documented.

00:41:12.980 So I used to go to, obviously, Cosmic Jam's house.

00:41:15.580 I went to streets at his house.

00:41:17.620 A few people came to mind, you know,

00:41:21.060 making a lot of noise until our parents said,

00:41:22.940 Turn it down, and they need to go home.

00:41:25.860 But yeah, that was my earliest battles really.

00:41:29.580 And pretty much as soon as I went Covent from 83,

00:41:34.580 there was always a battle where he was B-boying

00:41:38.220 some kind of competition.

00:41:39.660 So you didn't really document it.

00:41:42.060 You didn't really think anything of it, but yeah,

00:41:44.980 you know, the undercover battle was recorded.

00:41:48.460 Westwood played it on the radio at one point as well.

00:41:51.860 - You can't imagine them playing a DJ battle

00:41:53.740 on the radio these days.

00:41:55.060 Oh, it was hip hop.

00:41:56.860 It was just, you know, anything that could be,

00:42:00.540 I don't know, if it made news, it was exposed,

00:42:03.860 I suppose, you know?

00:42:05.260 Yeah, and Pogo always used to walk around with a recorder.

00:42:08.220 So he had recordings of live events,

00:42:12.100 whether it was a American's visiting

00:42:13.980 or whatever altercations or whatever goes down.

00:42:17.260 He used to always record stuff.

00:42:18.900 He was a very good documenter, Pogo.

00:42:22.140 He's got a bunch of flyers that he pulls out and I'm like,

00:42:25.700 Oh my God, I can't believe you kept that.

00:42:28.460 You brought that back, you know?

00:42:30.380 I'm envious of him because if I had that vision,

00:42:34.580 I wouldn't have a better collection

00:42:35.820 than what I've got now, if that makes sense.

00:42:38.460 - Did you guys meet through the

00:42:40.820 Sock Offent Garden and the Beaboy in then?

00:42:42.860 - That's right.

00:42:43.860 I met Pogo through Cosmic Jam.

00:42:45.900 Cosmic Jam was the type of person

00:42:47.820 that everybody was aware of.

00:42:50.580 He was that scented, you know, the world evolved around him and he was always into something.

00:42:57.380 So, he used to buy breaks and sell breaks onto people.

00:43:01.180 So, I met Pogo through him and Supreme apparently knew him very well as well.

00:43:06.980 He was South London based up in Clapham somewhere.

00:43:10.260 I was more down in Batsy near the park.

00:43:13.380 And yeah, being from South London, there was a lot of people around.

00:43:18.660 the cookie crew were from South London Junction area.

00:43:21.640 Moany Love was in the next block from me.

00:43:23.820 So he, you know, but it's not like you could hear

00:43:27.080 everybody rapping and someone's going,

00:43:28.620 Let me go down there and there.

00:43:29.980 You just, you just later on found out this stuff

00:43:32.420 when we all met at Coven, you know,

00:43:33.900 where do you live then?

00:43:34.740 Oh, we're getting this bus, yeah, I'm getting that bus.

00:43:36.580 Where you getting off?

00:43:37.580 Oh, really?

00:43:38.420 I'm only down here, I'm only down here.

00:43:39.740 You live up there and so forth.

00:43:41.380 And then, yeah, I used to go to Junction

00:43:45.340 And, but Buggy Bunch was up there and Cookie Crew,

00:43:48.660 when I met the Cookie Crew originally,

00:43:50.340 there was 10 female outfit gang of girls,

00:43:54.940 and they were called the Warmilk and Cookie Crew.

00:43:56.740 And then, yeah, Debbie, Susie Q, and Remedy

00:44:01.740 became the MCs and they were quite shy,

00:44:03.820 and it was Robbie, who was a member of the Imperial Mixers,

00:44:06.340 that introduced me to them, and yeah,

00:44:08.460 we kind of said, Yeah, you girls are quite good,

00:44:10.340 you know, you should take it up seriously.

00:44:12.220 And then Nixon, you know, they entered some competition at the WAG Club, which Westwood

00:44:16.620 was hosting, and they put us in the rhyme and everyone recognized our needs and they

00:44:21.140 were going mad.

00:44:22.300 And hence the cookie crew blossomed and went, did their own thing and yeah, got, became

00:44:28.140 real calling artists.

00:44:29.140 So it was, yeah, it was a fun time.

00:44:31.780 And again, I saw the initiation of the original London Posse DJ Billy Business, ZPo, Rest in

00:44:38.540 Peace, a beatboxer, Jeff, Bionic, that is.

00:44:42.180 And Rodney originally was known as Roddy Rock.

00:44:45.100 Hope he forgives me some mention in that.

00:44:47.340 And had an American accent when I originally met him

00:44:49.580 as a MC and then he, you know,

00:44:52.500 they developed their own personalities

00:44:54.300 and the rest is history as such.

00:44:56.860 So yeah, it was an interesting time.

00:45:00.140 A lot of us originally all mimicked the American thing.

00:45:04.820 And the way I explain it is 'cause people say,

00:45:07.900 oh, you're not trying to sound American.

00:45:10.540 No, we just try to sound authentic.

00:45:12.660 That's the way I saw it, you know?

00:45:15.120 You don't, for example, when being British

00:45:19.760 and people developing their Caribbean cultures,

00:45:23.940 they're not from the Caribbean,

00:45:25.780 but they ate the rice and peas, they took the slang,

00:45:28.900 they took the accent, they adopted the culture

00:45:31.300 they were comfortable with, trying to be authentic.

00:45:33.980 And that's the way I saw it, you know?

00:45:36.460 I'm glad we've evolved to a stage now

00:45:39.500 we've got our own identity, the maximum respect to drum and bass, jungle, grime, the whole

00:45:46.380 lot that these guys have come off from our initial stages, you know, of rhyming and doing

00:45:54.980 their thing, developing and pioneering their own art form and culture. Great, that's what

00:46:01.460 it's, that's what you do. But when you initially get into everything, you, you know, you study

00:46:08.340 the craft of the music you are trying to emulate to master it, then you're ready to

00:46:15.860 move it on. And that's how I believe it was for me for DJing and why I still feel I'm

00:46:21.660 still relevant to the scene. Because, you know, I learned the craft from the DJs I've

00:46:28.720 mentioned and then I then put my twist on it, my story onto it. I didn't just copy them,

00:46:36.620 a carbon copy of them and then think that I'm very fortunate. It was crafted, it was

00:46:45.980 thought through and a lot of blood's went into it tears, as they say.

00:46:51.500 So when you met Pogo then, did you guys just instantly hit it off and just start practicing

00:46:56.260 together a lot? Because the two of you fondly enforcers, right?

00:47:00.540 That's right. Pogo initially put the name to all of us because we've been around each

00:47:05.780 over for quite a long time.

00:47:07.220 Covenant was our common ground of meeting each other,

00:47:09.620 but no, all the way up to the UK final in '88,

00:47:13.580 we was pretty much just adversaries to each other.

00:47:16.820 So don't get me wrong, we respected each other's grounds

00:47:20.220 and we met at the same places and we, you know,

00:47:22.460 for example, if Pogo found a certain break,

00:47:25.020 I'd have to find another break.

00:47:26.260 So it was always competitive between us, you know?

00:47:29.180 And literally, it was around, yeah,

00:47:32.660 around the UK 88 when Pogo decided to enter the DMC because I initially never had an

00:47:39.660 interest in it at all.

00:47:41.580 Right.

00:47:42.580 Imperial mixer originally entered it earlier than that, I think it was 86 or 87.

00:47:49.940 And literally it was a lot of club DJs that was in the DMC mixing competition because

00:47:55.220 that's what it was, it was a mixing competition.

00:47:57.700 So they weren't ready for hip hop as such.

00:48:00.500 So when Pogo entered it, he literally flipped it on its side.

00:48:04.980 And then I was like, in two worlds about now,

00:48:07.380 I'm not really gonna enter.

00:48:08.220 I'll see how Pogo does.

00:48:09.260 And everyone was like, well, what if he doesn't win?

00:48:11.140 You should enter as well.

00:48:12.260 So then I saw Pogo after he won the London Heat

00:48:17.260 in Eileen Broadway that Carl Cox and a guy called D entered.

00:48:22.540 Very popular, German based DJ.

00:48:25.340 I thought, quote his name, Mark, I'll be it later.

00:48:27.500 But Carl Cox was in it, like I just said.

00:48:29.740 - DJ hype. - DJ hype, that's it, yes.

00:48:32.380 That's right.

00:48:33.820 He was called up to something at that time.

00:48:36.020 He wasn't called hype though.

00:48:37.300 But basically that was 88.

00:48:38.860 And when I saw Poga with this jacket, regional jacket,

00:48:42.540 saying the Technics, DMC, regional champion,

00:48:45.660 I said, you know what, I think I'll enter

00:48:47.420 just to win one of those.

00:48:49.180 So I, because I'm Mr. London, I had to go to Birmingham.

00:48:52.900 And that's why I entered and I met the scratch professor

00:48:55.380 for the first time.

00:48:56.820 A young, very young DJ.

00:48:58.220 Again, people are getting all hyperbout,

00:49:00.060 these kids scratching and that.

00:49:01.380 It was happening back in the day.

00:49:03.140 (laughing)

00:49:03.980 It was not in you.

00:49:04.820 Scratch professor was a beast.

00:49:06.740 He's Omar's younger brother.

00:49:09.420 And a very talented DJ.

00:49:12.060 Yes, you know.

00:49:13.540 Again, every time I saw him,

00:49:15.700 he was just hot on it.

00:49:17.740 So that was my drive, really.

00:49:20.460 People like Scratch Professor and Pogo,

00:49:22.420 because anything I knew that I saw,

00:49:26.540 I learned it and mastered it.

00:49:28.060 and it was the same for all of them.

00:49:29.700 So you had to keep evolving, keep inventing,

00:49:33.300 keep being, you know, but yeah,

00:49:35.260 me and Pogo was very good friends,

00:49:37.860 just respect out of it all.

00:49:39.580 And then literally we did actually practice,

00:49:42.860 did practice together at some points

00:49:44.500 where we used to go around this guy,

00:49:47.100 'cause our lives were very similar.

00:49:48.740 We never had turntables.

00:49:50.100 He never had turntables, I never had turntables.

00:49:52.300 So we used to go around everybody else who had turntables,

00:49:55.460 and that's how we used to practice and so forth.

00:49:57.780 And we met, he had a partner caught by the name of DJ Delight.

00:50:01.700 And he was somewhere out in Croydon.

00:50:03.860 And we used to go, he had his own house, his own flat.

00:50:07.300 So we used to go there and he worked obviously.

00:50:11.700 And we used to go there and he had 1200s and records.

00:50:14.380 And we used to go there.

00:50:15.380 He used to be sleeping.

00:50:16.260 The me and Pogo would be like,

00:50:17.180 all night scratching.

00:50:18.700 I just go for it.

00:50:19.700 Because we never knew it was going to be like this again.

00:50:21.900 So that's how we really bonded.

00:50:24.780 And then yeah, pretty much it was around 97, 98 that Poga put a title to us,

00:50:34.900 really me, him and DJ business.

00:50:36.660 And we called ourselves the Involcers, 87, 97, 97.

00:50:41.860 Yes.

00:50:42.500 Yeah.

00:50:42.980 Although we was always together, we wasn't actually a crew.

00:50:46.780 You know, there was only one crew I was originally in, and that was the Imperial

00:50:50.180 mixes and then we was just solo adverts series but we did actually unite together through

00:50:56.460 MC Melo's debt incorporated, determination endeavour equals total triumph and that was

00:51:01.660 our unit so that supposedly had myself and my group no parking, Pogo was just bad with

00:51:08.340 Melo, Mone love, so forth, Rodney P was in London posse and yeah, Melo collectively called

00:51:14.740 us debt ink. We all kind of all did shows together and went to the same places and so

00:51:21.380 forth. So we all, you know, I'm was from South London and so forth, but El Poga was

00:51:25.340 East London originally. When we got on trains and venture to other places outside of London,

00:51:31.660 we was all one unit there definitely because they're strafing numbers, yeah.

00:51:36.660 Did you win that Birmingham heat then? Oh yes, I did indeed. Ricky Reynolds took me up to

00:51:41.220 Birmingham and DMC heard about myself because Pogo said, Yeah, he's one of a

00:51:47.220 little, you know, he's one of my DJ friends, he's very good, he's very popular.

00:51:51.320 I had initially made the name for myself mixing for Westwood on Capital Radio.

00:51:57.220 Yeah, I was going to ask about that. Was it both of you that used to do that?

00:52:01.620 Yeah, so where should we start features? Because we were coming up and

00:52:06.060 definitely making a way for ourselves. Westwood used to give us opportunities

00:52:10.500 to do mixes on on each station as well as other DJs. Obviously I started bonding

00:52:16.060 with Tim a lot more because I actually knew him prior through the Imperial

00:52:20.460 Mixers. The Imperial was doing mixes for him before and we used to advise him

00:52:25.100 about DJing and stuff so because of that he gave me the opportunity to feature

00:52:30.180 regularly on on capital radio do mixes and he used to challenge me. He used to

00:52:35.100 say Swifty I'll give you a pair of these records see what you can do with them and

00:52:38.660 And that's what really allowed me to evolve my style because with a record, there's only so much you can do with it.

00:52:46.340 And then you've got to think creatively out the box.

00:52:48.740 And then you've got the challenges of radio where people can't see what you're doing.

00:52:52.420 So then you have to be musically on point in your mixes and your creatives.

00:52:57.460 So yeah, it pushed me to blend a lot more better and be more creative with the music and definitely drop some pioneer feats that people didn't understand at that time.

00:53:07.940 which now is normal turntableism.

00:53:10.980 For example, my copycat technique, people use it

00:53:14.300 and it's a fundamental part of beat juggling

00:53:17.220 that people call all sorts of other names.

00:53:20.380 But I've got the video evidence,

00:53:22.820 I've got the, definitely the tapes to show the lineage

00:53:27.540 of when I brought it to the even New York in '88

00:53:30.260 and did it in the new music seminar battles

00:53:32.100 which is a total different battle type from DMC's

00:53:35.740 so it's showcase type battles.

00:53:37.420 So just staying on the DMC of, this was 88 wasn't it?

00:53:41.980 - Yes.

00:53:42.820 - And 87, that was Roger Johnson when 87.

00:53:46.700 - Roger Johnson won in 85.

00:53:49.540 - 85.

00:53:50.380 - So that was the initial DMC live mixing event

00:53:54.900 because DJs were mixing obviously through editing

00:53:59.900 of real to real and so forth.

00:54:02.420 There was only a small portion that you could do live really

00:54:05.380 which was like all the blending type stuff.

00:54:08.780 And obviously with the initial,

00:54:10.940 the creeping enough scratching,

00:54:13.480 people like Roger were the first to be on the airways

00:54:17.280 doing it and doing it in clubs.

00:54:19.620 And breaking those barriers,

00:54:20.880 'cause they're older than me,

00:54:22.040 so they were going into clubs

00:54:23.600 and bringing it into that environment,

00:54:25.600 which they were not always appreciated on.

00:54:29.640 But they opened those doors for us,

00:54:31.820 and that's why we felt very compelled,

00:54:33.700 Roger, I rest in peace to do a big tribute to him while he was still here with us.

00:54:38.260 Yeah, because he passed recently, didn't he?

00:54:40.820 He recently passed this, right? Yeah.

00:54:42.540 Him and Duke.

00:54:43.540 Yeah, so was it cheese in '86 and did Chad win?

00:54:47.660 That's right. Yeah. So cheese was '86. When Roger done it, it was not really a world

00:54:55.380 championships to the meaning that only Europeans and UK cats were in it. Yeah.

00:55:02.180 Originally. And then DMC obviously must have felt this has got some legs because of that

00:55:07.620 competition. And then they invited cheese because cheese was the new music seminar champion.

00:55:14.020 And Tony Prince used to go over to the new music seminar to again talk and meet up with

00:55:22.020 with record heads and so forth.

00:55:23.860 And DMC used to play a pivotal role at the seminar.

00:55:27.420 So he met Cheese and invited him into his championship

00:55:31.780 like he did be cash money.

00:55:33.500 When Cheese brought a full entourage

00:55:36.540 of scratching into the competition, more than mixing,

00:55:40.140 then people started to question what is going on with DMC

00:55:45.140 because we thought it was a mixing competition.

00:55:47.020 - Yeah.

00:55:47.860 - A lot of the Europeans were mixing

00:55:49.180 and doing a little bit scratching.

00:55:50.660 like that, you know, but cheese came on with no mixing, total scratching, then the whole

00:55:57.660 turntable drumming, scratches, spins, body tricks, all that stuff. And yeah, cheese was

00:56:05.260 a very competent DJ. He was, yeah, he evolved the art to a certain form because before then

00:56:14.420 It was a lot of the old school DJs and I think Wiscid,

00:56:18.860 Africa, Islam won it.

00:56:20.100 I think Wiscid won it the most times.

00:56:23.580 But yeah, when Cheese then came on,

00:56:26.420 he was like a new generation of scratch mix DJs.

00:56:30.900 And then after Cheese in new music seminar terms

00:56:34.500 came Jazzy Jeff who again flipped it again on it said,

00:56:37.900 but in the DMC lane, it was Roger, Cheese, Chad,

00:56:42.900 Chad and then Cash and then me.

00:56:47.240 So yeah, I'm an 80s DVC World Champion,

00:56:51.060 which sounds so archaic now.

00:56:53.980 - Yeah, so yeah, 'cause I was just trying to get in my head

00:56:58.780 how long it had been more of kind of a quote unquote hip hop

00:57:02.420 mixing competition rather than a, say open format

00:57:06.500 blend sort of thing.

00:57:08.140 - Well, definitely cheese brought in the hip hop elements,

00:57:13.140 but again, it was very hard to get into DMC

00:57:18.040 because you really had to be a member.

00:57:20.940 That was the initial way it was called,

00:57:22.580 and it was called the Disco Meets Club.

00:57:24.260 That's what the AC stands for, disco Meets Club.

00:57:26.700 And it was still known as that when I entered it.

00:57:29.820 So because of credibility, I was able to get over

00:57:36.620 those boundaries of not actually being a DJ. And when myself and Pogo as street DJs had

00:57:47.540 entered the following year, the door was kicked open. It was just everybody was now a street

00:57:54.740 DJ going into it. You know, we will if you saw us in 88, we were the only two street DJs

00:58:01.940 amongst clubbers. That's why when I mentioned Carl Cox, he was a proper club DJ to my figure

00:58:11.700 and Dr. No, may have been or DJ hype may have been a bedroom DJ. I can't really say I knew

00:58:18.340 about his history prior to then, but we were. So that was the thing about me winning it.

00:58:25.700 When I won it, I changed the dynamics of it

00:58:28.820 'cause I was a street DJ.

00:58:31.820 You know, it wasn't some guy that just,

00:58:34.260 no one could recognize or identify with.

00:58:37.380 You know, not that I'm taking anything away from

00:58:39.900 any of the others prior,

00:58:41.860 because you know, they were older than me,

00:58:43.940 so I wasn't going to the same clubs as them anyway.

00:58:47.500 - When you were entering then,

00:58:48.820 something that came into my head a few minutes ago is,

00:58:52.420 when you were saying about the kind of,

00:58:54.180 Everything was a battle, be it the b-boying, be it the d-jane.

00:58:58.660 By the time you came to doing things like DMC,

00:59:02.060 did you get any nerves or was it kind of second nature

00:59:05.260 to you being in that kind of environment?

00:59:08.780 - Oh, without a doubt, always nervous.

00:59:10.860 You've got to feel the moment.

00:59:14.140 The thing about performing is that you always wanna be

00:59:17.180 at your best and not at your weakest.

00:59:20.020 So I put on these personas and these attitudes,

00:59:25.020 you know, 'cause anyone that knows me knows I'm a nice guy.

00:59:28.060 (laughs)

00:59:29.060 When it's only when I'm around a fair turntable,

00:59:31.060 I turn into a different type of creature.

00:59:33.420 But yeah, you adapt an attitude.

00:59:37.620 And in all honesty, because of the way the DMC was,

00:59:42.620 and I always felt I was bringing something new,

00:59:45.260 I could adopt a cocky, confident attitude,

00:59:50.000 And that's really where the entertainment stuff shone.

00:59:54.120 'Cause that was just to show how unnervous I really was.

00:59:58.720 It makes sense, you know?

01:00:00.200 So, you know, at the most outrageous things I did,

01:00:04.680 I was probably my most nervous.

01:00:07.240 But that, if people could open up to that type of stuff,

01:00:11.240 then I knew everything else would be a breeze,

01:00:15.040 just performing what I've crafted

01:00:18.580 and should know by heart.

01:00:20.940 There is a different dynamics when you perform live

01:00:23.780 and DJs today just don't know how to like it.

01:00:27.140 They've got it now because whether they can

01:00:29.260 turn a recorder, don't get me wrong.

01:00:31.260 You're always nervous when you're going for the real thing.

01:00:34.940 Even if you're recording it, you know,

01:00:37.180 when I record a tape, if the record skips,

01:00:40.220 I'm upset, I'm gonna start the whole mix again.

01:00:43.500 Even today's technology where I know I could just

01:00:45.700 pause the damn thing and just re-record

01:00:48.060 and then edited it later, you know, it gets up my goat when I make mistakes.

01:00:53.820 But funny enough, ironically, I learned the most from my mistakes.

01:00:58.140 So I used to always record myself doing something and then go back over it to, because I've

01:01:04.780 got a poor memory for you.

01:01:06.540 Honestly, I have.

01:01:07.540 And I'm going, oh, how did that come about?

01:01:10.940 Okay.

01:01:11.940 Yeah.

01:01:12.940 Right.

01:01:13.940 Okay.

01:01:14.940 Right.

01:01:15.940 And by the time I showed it to people like Pogo, I've already evolved it five times over to make sure that they didn't get work out how I got it in the first place anyway.

01:01:24.940 But yeah, the DMC is...

01:01:27.940 You was nervous entering it. You was nervous performing because again, I was putting in environments that I was never familiar with.

01:01:34.940 You know, the raw and how about Hall? Come on now, I'm a street kid. When did I ever think I was going to be in there?

01:01:39.940 You know, I used to pass that place and think, nah, snobs, yeah.

01:01:43.940 I'm never going to be in there that type of place.

01:01:46.540 And then all of a sudden, I'm representing the country.

01:01:49.620 I'm in the rural rabbit hole.

01:01:51.620 So you know what?

01:01:54.020 The lesson there is just, live the moment.

01:01:57.420 Live the moment. Enjoy it all.

01:01:59.140 Because everything is historical. Everything we do.

01:02:02.820 You were UK champing 88 weren't you? Is that right?

01:02:06.180 Originally. Yeah. That's the first time I won it.

01:02:08.180 So then, were you runner up in the world?

01:02:11.780 in 88 I came fifth I didn't place in the world and it's funny because I enter the world

01:02:20.020 championships and I the clear vision of wanting to win the UK when I you know

01:02:26.860 obviously qualify for the final and all of a sudden I found out this DJ cash

01:02:32.840 money is gonna be in it and I'm like oh my god cash money it and now cash money

01:02:37.300 was one of the DJs that I initially heard of when I was in the Imperial

01:02:43.400 Mixers. We met this guy from Philadelphia called Lightning Lee and he

01:02:48.320 schooled us on the Philly Starler DJing which was definitely the blueprints of

01:02:54.960 turntableism. The mount turntable manipulation this guy did at the speed

01:02:59.800 anacritcy was ridiculous and he was the first person I saw turn the turntable

01:03:04.880 into what we call Battlestar. The turntable, if you noticed me in the original videos

01:03:09.600 of DMC were always in the traditional way it's built to me. With the turntable I'm on the right.

01:03:16.720 That's the way it's supposed to be. So he turned the turntable around in Imperials.

01:03:23.200 Imperials, Sonic Mixer didn't even have a crossfader and the things this guy did

01:03:27.600 were incredible and he left us a tape and he pre-warned us of two DJs we need to look out for in the

01:03:34.560 in the future. Jazzy Jeff and DJ Cash Money. And then all of a sudden this record came

01:03:41.160 out with DJ Cash Money scratching on it called scratching to the funk. And he obliterates

01:03:49.060 every scratch I thought I knew because I was aware of Chirpim because of Lightning Lee.

01:03:57.280 He dropped it for us. So I had Chirpim very early on and I showed it to Pogo and I gave

01:04:02.520 poker the table lighteningly. And from then on, I like I said, I just pretty much had

01:04:09.240 to make up my own stuff to keep myself advanced and keep myself interesting. And when I heard

01:04:17.000 scratching to the funk, it was just music. I forgot about the guy scratching. It was just

01:04:24.440 flow in it was poetry it was yeah patterns and patterns that most people couldn't identify

01:04:32.000 with the whole drags was the first time I heard that and when he was doing the drags

01:04:36.120 and the fluidness and the smoothness of it I was like blown away and then obviously later

01:04:41.760 on we heard jazz Jeff come out with girls ain't nothing but trouble but jazzy kind of played

01:04:46.280 it safe there was nothing groundbreaking on it wasn't until the magnificent jazzy jeff

01:04:52.800 Yeah.

01:04:53.800 That I really witnessed the awesome of him as a recording artist, DJ, per se.

01:04:59.680 But in fairness, he did this tape.

01:05:03.080 Live tape came out of him live at Union Square with fresh prints and he drops dance to the

01:05:09.480 drummer's beat.

01:05:10.480 He's cutting Apache.

01:05:11.480 He's cutting Cheryl Lynn's to be real and transforming it.

01:05:15.840 but the transformer he was dropping on that record

01:05:19.580 with the dance of the drummers beat,

01:05:22.760 everybody couldn't believe it.

01:05:24.160 And Will Smith is the perfect orator,

01:05:28.160 MC for Jazzy Jeff, they are the dynamic duo.

01:05:32.200 You know, Will Smith understood his DJ

01:05:35.640 and was able to communicate that to the audience.

01:05:38.760 So if they didn't understand what the DJ was doing,

01:05:41.040 he could get it out of the DJ.

01:05:42.440 Oh, no, Jazzy, bring that down, bring that down.

01:05:45.800 do it like a bird, do it like a bird, do that, you know, and he knew his DJ's capabilities

01:05:52.680 that well and that's what was so dynamic about them, you know, Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith,

01:05:58.680 or the Fresh Prince as I originally know him as, but cash money, again, dynamic DJ, fantastic

01:06:08.120 DJ, he was more daring than Jazzy to me. Cash money just pulled things out of the ether

01:06:16.600 for me, you know, where Jazzy's was to me very well, we heard, very polished. He knew what he could

01:06:22.840 do and delivered it. Cash money will pull something out and you're like, what? That doesn't even make

01:06:29.720 sense where that came from. And that's what inspired me to be like, that person that can pull things

01:06:36.680 out, you know, whether it's accident or on purpose and always be teaching myself as I

01:06:42.400 go along. That's how I pride myself on. DJing today is very, very set in its way. So someone

01:06:52.960 would develop a routine and they will deliver that routine that way. 100% out of 10 times,

01:07:01.200 10 times they'd probably do it a hundred to

01:07:03.580 Percent today all the time deliver that way perfect

01:07:07.220 however because of my

01:07:10.320 Time the whole craft was evolving as I was going along

01:07:13.920 So the whole labor in labeling records that people didn't don't have to do now

01:07:18.980 The whole making markers on the record so you can queue without headphones. These are the things that I was part of the holy vault

01:07:25.840 evolution of so

01:07:28.280 We were learning and constantly

01:07:30.280 pushing limits and breaking barriers, what to do, what not to do. You know, needle

01:07:36.520 dropping. I, um, grandma's a Theodore Pioneer needle dropping as well, but I try

01:07:41.960 to push it a step further, which I call vinyl surfing. So with needle dropping,

01:07:47.040 you lift the needle up, you drop it in on cue. I worked out it, depending on the,

01:07:53.320 how the record is cut, you could actually skate across the record and still hit

01:07:58.640 the same cue points and it will sound rapid like, No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,

01:08:02.340 like a stutter. So these are things that, you know, I pushed it, the limits I pushed

01:08:07.820 it to out of the original art forms that I interpreted and tried to evolve.

01:08:14.720 So after that '88, and coming fifth and seeing cash money, did you come away from that like,

01:08:23.600 Right, I've got some work to do. I've had a taste of this now when I want to come back

01:08:28.400 for more and I want to get the crown next year. Do you have that sort of mentality?

01:08:32.960 Yeah, I originally came back to say I want to prove that I am better than what I was actually

01:08:38.640 rated to be. And funny enough, I met up with Cash Money again the same year in Amsterdam,

01:08:45.280 and he was obviously the champion. And it's documented in the DMC mix mag at the time

01:08:52.560 that what i did people who could believe what i was doing it was literally the early days of

01:08:58.960 unexpected turntableism so i was doing all sorts of things need all dropping like i mentioned

01:09:06.720 the copycat chasing all that type of stuff and people just didn't believe what was going on

01:09:14.000 and you know i i i think i but honestly know i outshone cash money at that performance and people

01:09:21.360 people said to me, wow, you're definitely going to be the next world champion.

01:09:25.600 So for that rest of the time, I just had to craft a routine that I felt comfortable with

01:09:31.160 having to defend a UK title as well as go for the world final.

01:09:36.760 And I knew the hardest bit would be that UK title because I'm going against people that

01:09:40.680 know me very well.

01:09:42.480 that time, was it easier to have one routine that was for both? So by that I mean say if

01:09:51.640 you did the nationals nowadays when everyone gets to see everything so quickly or you did

01:09:56.760 the online, once you've done your sort of national thing or whatever or your heat, it

01:10:01.520 might be that people can see your set. Yeah. So that it's you've kind of maybe got to have

01:10:06.160 the mindset now of I need to keep something back so that what I'm doing in the final is

01:10:11.360 fresh like did you have that challenge then or were you able to just be like right this

01:10:16.160 is my six minutes. Well yeah people we definitely all still got tapes of people and you know

01:10:24.120 everyone was kind of aware what used to happen funny enough in the DMC is that when you won

01:10:29.440 a championship you got to tour the back of winning that championship so you literally

01:10:34.720 go to the countries that were definitely high into it and they will be DMC branches and

01:10:41.200 and they'll fly you over to then see what you've got

01:10:45.160 in the flesh and not on an audio tape or video.

01:10:48.240 So they can study you then and there.

01:10:50.760 So that's how it used to work.

01:10:52.240 The champion used to torn the back or winning.

01:10:54.680 Now, for me personally, I always knew that,

01:10:58.760 you know, you've only got a certain amount of techniques.

01:11:02.960 So it's what records that technique really shines

01:11:07.260 its full strength in.

01:11:09.080 So because of the amount of records I had

01:11:12.840 and the amount of practicing I did,

01:11:15.440 I actually, I've got routines that are 30 years old

01:11:19.600 that I could play today,

01:11:20.920 and people will never believe they were 30 years old.

01:11:23.200 They just wouldn't, you know what I mean?

01:11:24.960 And some of them I just don't do them

01:11:27.560 'cause I can't remember them.

01:11:28.920 I just gotta find the tapes to remember them,

01:11:31.040 but not blow my own trumpet,

01:11:33.240 but that's how prolific I practiced.

01:11:36.440 So I would always have a,

01:11:39.460 if you watch my routines,

01:11:42.640 there was, the format is a big massive beginning

01:11:47.440 that people that would open everybody up,

01:11:50.400 get them on your side, that's the audience.

01:11:54.560 And hopefully wreck the nerves of the DJs

01:11:57.320 that aren't ready anyway.

01:11:58.720 So they're really like, oh my God,

01:12:00.760 how are you gonna compete with that?

01:12:02.160 You've already beat them even before they've even turned

01:12:03.920 and touched the equipment.

01:12:06.000 So that was that really.

01:12:07.680 And then it's the techniques that people can look at.

01:12:12.680 And again, DJs are always in fear of what they don't know

01:12:18.240 or can't do, you know what I mean?

01:12:20.760 So again, you've got to be comfortable

01:12:22.760 with your style and your environment.

01:12:25.320 I mean, back in them days, everyone was like,

01:12:28.160 Oh, you got to watch the Americans.

01:12:29.560 You got to watch the Americans

01:12:30.560 'cause they are the architects of it.

01:12:33.240 But I didn't, I didn't really care

01:12:36.600 because I had a bit of cosmic jamming me.

01:12:39.760 And he had that from way back if you remember me saying,

01:12:42.920 you know, just be confident in what you are.

01:12:45.480 You can only do you, you know.

01:12:47.480 Some DJs, nowadays I tend to find DJs are confident

01:12:53.400 with their styles and techniques

01:12:56.480 that they will do them five times anyway.

01:12:58.760 And the DJs that compete sometimes just know

01:13:02.400 they're not gonna beat that unless they have a fault.

01:13:05.560 You know, so that's how it kind of works nowadays.

01:13:08.120 But for me, no, I had my routine from the UK Finals

01:13:12.760 totally different from my well final.

01:13:14.680 In fact, people said my UK final routine

01:13:16.760 was better than my well final.

01:13:18.120 Why didn't you do the same routine?

01:13:19.640 But why would I do the same routine

01:13:21.320 when I've got so much stuff to give?

01:13:23.240 You know, it's not a PA, I'm not performing a song.

01:13:27.200 I'm showing my mixing skills and my capability

01:13:31.560 as a DJ to introduce music.

01:13:35.480 You know, you don't just play the same music all the time.

01:13:37.720 You break music, you manipulate the ones

01:13:41.840 that everyone knows better

01:13:44.240 so they can appreciate your skill hopefully.

01:13:46.920 And you introduce something to them.

01:13:48.400 You break new music.

01:13:50.480 Everybody should get something out of that DJ performance

01:13:54.280 and that's how I saw it.

01:13:55.880 - So something I was thinking it'd be really good to do

01:13:58.040 is to do like a watch along of your 1989 set.

01:14:03.040 So I can just ask a few questions.

01:14:07.480 So yeah, so you've got your decks in kind of normal.

01:14:11.240 - Normal mode, that's right.

01:14:12.360 Yeah.

01:14:13.520 And the, what is that mixer?

01:14:18.320 It's the Gemini MX-2200.

01:14:22.200 - Yeah.

01:14:23.120 Something I noticed really quickly is like

01:14:25.320 just how animated you are.

01:14:27.200 'cause I was nervous as hell.

01:14:28.640 - Right, 'cause yeah,

01:14:29.480 'cause you're like really getting into the dancing

01:14:31.080 and I thought that's an element people

01:14:33.840 wouldn't think to do now.

01:14:35.800 Like they'll gesture a little bit,

01:14:37.400 but was it a thing of like,

01:14:39.760 I mean, this big venue, I need to hype the crowd up.

01:14:42.720 - Right, it was premeditated and it happened in my house.

01:14:47.360 I got a group called No Parking MCs.

01:14:50.520 And how do you engage with your audience?

01:14:54.480 - Yeah, so a comedian normally picks on somebody

01:14:59.080 in the crowds or picks out a moment.

01:15:02.040 And I'm in this big place and the focus has to be on me.

01:15:07.400 How do I do it?

01:15:08.920 Now, this is the thing about makes me laugh about

01:15:12.160 the actual what I was actually dancing to.

01:15:15.020 It's pre-hip hop with R&B and I totally flip it

01:15:21.600 on a very big hard core break,

01:15:24.920 King of the Beats by Mantronix.

01:15:26.840 Mantronix was the producer back in them days.

01:15:29.880 And the mix is near enough perfect to dance to.

01:15:33.800 So I just flipped out and they said,

01:15:37.200 keep that in the routine.

01:15:39.120 'Cause I actually did it in the UK final in '89 as well.

01:15:44.120 My defending title and I did it with a house shoot,

01:15:47.440 ATCU.

01:15:48.280 I'm manipulating the acid making it go up and down in scales, but not everybody gets the technical stuff

01:15:54.240 I was juggling there by the way, but people don't understand how I flipped

01:15:58.400 That intro of a scratch into a whole rhythmic routine

01:16:03.480 And I'm doing it with body tricks because again like I said, I like to over-compocate

01:16:07.920 Yeah, cuz the complicated things. What was the level of body tricks elsewhere at this time because you're you're fast and kind of

01:16:16.160 agile and flexible aren't you the way you kind of getting through those body tricks.

01:16:21.120 Ironically, beat juggling is not back-cuing where people back you really quick.

01:16:29.920 But that's how I developed the copycat.

01:16:33.560 I developed the copycat which is what you're hearing now.

01:16:36.280 - Yeah, me bad, bad, bad, bad. - Right.

01:16:38.080 - Nobody goes at that speed.

01:16:39.680 And I was determined in traditional moment movements

01:16:44.780 of left to right decks of getting to that speed.

01:16:48.000 It's not possible, nobody does it.

01:16:51.660 Although some people have got very close to it

01:16:53.340 in bits of their back queuing. - Yeah.

01:16:55.680 - So then I worked out, if I, to get quicker,

01:17:00.680 I had to make the movement smaller.

01:17:03.200 And I just worked out, what if I just stopped the record?

01:17:06.100 and let it follow itself.

01:17:07.700 Then I'm moving, obviously smaller, smaller movements.

01:17:12.700 And that's how I came out with a copycat.

01:17:14.780 And then the reason why it's called the copycat

01:17:17.940 is because there was an instrument

01:17:19.820 called the Watkins copycat.

01:17:21.220 And it was a unit that had three heads

01:17:24.900 and one head played back and two heads recorded.

01:17:27.980 And this would emulate echoes.

01:17:30.540 And depending on the speed of the recordings,

01:17:35.240 you'd either get quicker reverbs or slower reverb echoes.

01:17:38.680 - Yeah.

01:17:39.520 - And that's why it's called the Copicat.

01:17:40.880 It just made sense to name it after an instrument.

01:17:43.640 'Cause back then, we actually emulated technology.

01:17:46.680 Technology didn't emulate us to what we could do.

01:17:50.720 So, and then that rhythmically just changed

01:17:53.960 the timings between behind it.

01:17:55.360 And that's why I did it on here Rob, Rob Bass,

01:17:59.760 and you can hear me now do it with my mouth.

01:18:02.200 Again, I showed that I could do with any way I could do it.

01:18:06.200 - Yeah. - I could do it as a trick.

01:18:07.720 I could do it normal.

01:18:09.800 I could do it with my eyes closed.

01:18:11.120 I could do it looking up in the air.

01:18:13.000 I could do it in my hands, me, I'm back.

01:18:14.640 - How many times would you have practiced this routine?

01:18:17.400 - I practiced it enough times

01:18:18.760 that when my mother told me that was enough.

01:18:21.760 (laughing)

01:18:23.320 I didn't need to, I didn't practice it anymore.

01:18:26.160 But the mix was all built in sections.

01:18:30.640 you build your routines in sections.

01:18:32.960 So you just keep going over something of that section

01:18:36.240 until you got it to aware you was happy with.

01:18:38.800 And again, every part of the copycat

01:18:41.200 I'm demonstrating here,

01:18:42.200 even when I'm demonstrating it here,

01:18:44.000 people was like, what are you trying to do with the chair?

01:18:48.040 The chair wasn't the relevant thing.

01:18:51.560 The relevant thing is the rhythm

01:18:53.120 I'm trying to do in public enemy.

01:18:55.200 And people, if you listen to it,

01:18:57.080 you hear me trying to make the dun dun duns,

01:18:59.400 hits make a rhythm, but I couldn't do it with a chair.

01:19:02.880 So then I gave it up and I said, let me do it with a mixer on the side,

01:19:07.000 which I made that on the fly on the swap.

01:19:09.920 Again, people thought it was a routine.

01:19:11.400 No, I just did it that way because I couldn't do it with a chair,

01:19:15.000 which was something the chair statement was really to show that cash money did

01:19:20.040 something with a chair, but he didn't do this with a chair.

01:19:23.120 And that's what that was.

01:19:25.080 I mean, but people that people just saw the mistake.

01:19:28.400 and they focused on the chair.

01:19:30.240 They weren't focused on the rhythm

01:19:31.780 that I was doing copycat with my cheat

01:19:34.680 and the mixer on the side.

01:19:35.880 - I guess that's the challenge in that era

01:19:37.800 because I think in particular you say

01:19:39.400 with like cheese and chad before you,

01:19:41.280 there'd been things that were used,

01:19:43.160 weren't there like, was it like American footballs

01:19:45.840 and snooker cues and little BMX bike wheels and stuff?

01:19:50.040 Another question that I'd ask you about that is like,

01:19:53.800 how knackered do you feel after that?

01:19:56.120 You feel relieved that it's over,

01:19:58.920 but if you actually watch the ending of it,

01:20:00.960 I start hitting the mixer and I wasn't applauding it.

01:20:04.240 I was upset because the mistakes were mistakes

01:20:08.600 that I, that ever came into play

01:20:12.360 when I was practicing at home.

01:20:13.920 But then again, I didn't have that console.

01:20:16.440 I didn't have those monitors.

01:20:18.080 I didn't have the chair,

01:20:20.800 I didn't even actually do that at home.

01:20:24.040 It was just something I improvised on.

01:20:26.680 Like I said, catch my name is judging,

01:20:29.400 to show him look, you did use the chair,

01:20:31.260 but look, you didn't do this with it with the chair.

01:20:34.280 And yeah, it was those things.

01:20:36.160 So like I said, I am a dynamic DJ.

01:20:40.600 I learn on the fly because I've always had to

01:20:43.120 take up advantage of what's in front of me then and there.

01:20:48.240 And yeah, I'm just that crazy enough

01:20:50.920 to take those type of risks.

01:20:52.800 No routine. If I play that record again, and even when I do play again, it's never the same.

01:21:01.040 Just before we go on, I spoke to Woody the other week, and he gave me a few points of things that

01:21:06.160 he'd really want to know because it's kind of like your DJ's, DJ's sort of stuff. And the one thing

01:21:11.840 really that we've not really covered is the new music seminar. So he asked if we could find out a

01:21:16.880 bit more about your first new music seminar with Pogo and what that was like. Wow.

01:21:22.720 to go to New York and finally be somewhere that you've listened to on tapes and you're in the

01:21:30.240 belly of a whole heap of talent. Was this before or after the DMC 89?

01:21:37.920 This was definitely after the DMC DMC fat sponsored us to go to the new music seminar.

01:21:42.640 Oh wow. So DMC, like I said, had involvement in the new music seminar and we said to them,

01:21:48.400 Yeah, we wanna go in there and we wanna do what we do

01:21:51.460 in the music seminar.

01:21:52.480 Actually, we went there to win it.

01:21:54.600 We didn't go there to just take part.

01:21:56.200 We went there to do damage, you know?

01:21:58.520 And we was that confident.

01:22:00.040 And when we got there, it's a very American thing, you know?

01:22:05.040 It's like, you know, they have a Super Bowl

01:22:08.980 and they call it World.

01:22:10.360 Nobody else is around that.

01:22:11.920 And to see artists that you've got recordings of,

01:22:17.080 just right beside you in the venue, just chilling,

01:22:21.440 you know, and they are people, they are normal.

01:22:25.640 Yeah, we made a good impression for ourselves.

01:22:28.520 So I dropped Needle dropping in the new music seminar

01:22:33.040 because basically I had a hard time.

01:22:36.720 I went up against this West Coast DJ by the name of Battlecat

01:22:39.720 and I tried to do the copycat thing

01:22:43.200 and something I was doing then it wasn't working out

01:22:45.640 because they actually had a rain mixer,

01:22:48.200 which is not the rain mixers we were blessed with today.

01:22:50.600 It was a big old thing.

01:22:52.000 It had the crossfader was between the knobs

01:22:56.800 that were so you can change the crossfader operator,

01:23:00.200 then we couldn't do our thing.

01:23:02.600 And everybody had this disabled thing with it.

01:23:05.280 Luckily, DJ Scratch was able to persevere,

01:23:07.760 and that's why he won.

01:23:09.000 So I dropped Needle dropping against Battlecat.

01:23:11.920 And literally they said,

01:23:14.000 Oh, I said look, I've got a problem with the turntables

01:23:16.400 and I was getting booed.

01:23:17.540 I was the outside the town guy.

01:23:19.300 I wasn't from New York and they announced me

01:23:21.440 England's Champion, cut master swift.

01:23:24.240 And the crowd is hardcore, hardcore, booing.

01:23:29.240 So I didn't decide to do needle dropping

01:23:33.040 of L.O. Cool J's aren't bad.

01:23:34.540 And while I'm doing it, I'm doing it with two turntables.

01:23:38.240 Both turntables are needle dropping.

01:23:39.600 So I'm emulating four decks back queuing on the beat.

01:23:44.240 And I'm making it go, ah, ah, ah, no one could do this yet.

01:23:47.400 I mean, my mother, that could do this yet,

01:23:49.480 that could do this yet.

01:23:50.680 But what you don't see and you hear is the actions.

01:23:55.680 I'm looking at battlecat and I'm laughing at him

01:23:58.560 while I'm doing this.

01:23:59.320 'Cause I said, I don't know when they could do this yet.

01:24:01.480 And I'm looking at him and I'm going,

01:24:02.840 you know, I'm just laughing to go, yeah.

01:24:05.640 And that just tore the whole seminar apart.

01:24:09.440 I'll send you a link of it. It's recorded.

01:24:12.000 My Callum was the host there.

01:24:13.480 And once they heard that,

01:24:16.120 Red Alert came to me and personally said,

01:24:18.720 if you do that for the rest of the competition, you'll win.

01:24:22.560 And I was like, don't worry about that.

01:24:25.120 I've got this new avenue thing.

01:24:26.320 This is much better.

01:24:27.160 I've got this much better thing.

01:24:28.560 And I got taken out by DJ,

01:24:31.920 by the name of all DJ Allstar from Amsterdam.

01:24:35.040 And he mixed Plug Tuning by Dilla Soul,

01:24:37.240 which was a big tune then.

01:24:38.640 And if you got the right tunes to play

01:24:41.760 to a crowd that loves certain tunes,

01:24:44.600 you pretty much got it in the bag.

01:24:45.960 So I'm dropping public enemy doing the copycat.

01:24:50.120 (humming)

01:24:52.460 Yes, yeah, yes, yo.

01:24:54.840 (humming)

01:24:55.800 And nobody is making any noise.

01:24:58.280 They don't even understand what the hell I'm doing.

01:25:00.560 I'm making it look easy.

01:25:01.680 I'm not struggling with it.

01:25:02.960 I'm getting a speed on this big equipment

01:25:05.280 that don't make no relevant sense.

01:25:07.760 And yet they went for plug tuning of a guy just back

01:25:12.120 to him by tuning and doing some spins.

01:25:14.640 Just going back to your timeline then,

01:25:16.940 after that world championship, just bearing in mind

01:25:19.440 that it's like 1999, 1989, hip-hop's been like global

01:25:24.440 for what about a rap's been global really for about three

01:25:31.040 years, four years, sort of Rundi MC, public enemy,

01:25:35.600 so on and so forth, Dela so were you kind of swept up in that and did you have a load of

01:25:41.680 opportunities created on the back of being the DMC champion? Definitely. When we went back in

01:25:48.000 18-9 we was just in the 4A and I met a DJ by an MC by the name of King Sun and King Sun was

01:25:55.600 signed to Po for our records. He was the next big thing to roll out you know he would have been like

01:26:03.120 the special ed, NARS type, prolific MC, you know, because before then it was all your

01:26:11.960 eyes up.

01:26:12.960 I was in the cold chilling camp with Big Daddy Kane and all that Master Ace and all

01:26:16.720 those great guys.

01:26:17.720 All you was on the BDP Bronx side, so you was on the KRS1.

01:26:23.680 I think Chuck D gets a raw deal.

01:26:27.040 He doesn't really get acknowledged as a great MC.

01:26:29.720 I love Chuck D's stuff.

01:26:31.720 It's inspiring and that's where we were going with it at one point.

01:26:35.720 Cool G-Wrap, another fantastic MC that I don't think gets enough props.

01:26:40.720 And they're definitely a guy by the name of Chill Rob G.

01:26:44.720 It was in the flavour campsite.

01:26:46.720 Fantastic MC, Queen Latifah, Chill Rob G, Larkim Shabazz.

01:26:50.720 They're all part of the 45 King branch rest in peace DJ Mark, 45 King.

01:26:55.720 And yeah, but fortunate for me, I love music, so I love it all.

01:27:03.560 You know, there is no step children in my way I look at hip hop.

01:27:10.480 So, you know, one minute, Rarkin will be my favourite.

01:27:14.440 Next minute, it'll be a large professor, you know, or Pete Rock, my favourite producer,

01:27:20.960 or DJ Premier, or even Dre.

01:27:24.000 That's how I am. I've got all those records. So why am I gonna single anything down if it's in my collection?

01:27:30.220 I love it, you know, and I and if I play it obviously I do really love it, but um

01:27:35.420 King Sun basically said to me you're and I've got it on video on my YouTube channel. He goes you're a dope DJ

01:27:43.400 If you ever want to come to the US I

01:27:47.580 I want you to be my DJ blah blah blah and yeah some US people blow fundamental you to to big you up as such but I genuinely but that guy was genuine to me and I genuinely believed it but.

01:28:01.060 I have my own MC's and I wanted to try and do it from the UK I wanted to stay here and and make a difference from here you know I'm only love have that opportunity as well and she decided to do it her way and go to the states and blew up over there and.

01:28:17.380 you know, that's great, great for her. But yeah, I suppose I was a bit more scared. I wasn't as

01:28:23.620 brave as her to to make that final decision. But yeah, we got treated with big respect out there

01:28:30.980 when we was out there by Ultra Magnetic. They looked out for us. Mr. C definitely looked out for us,

01:28:36.740 rest in peace, Mr. C, and he used to hang out with us in the Marriott. And yeah, we had a bull,

01:28:44.180 We had a ball, you know, people, you know, when you're, when you're the, the, the kid in the, in the bigger town, you know,

01:28:50.220 you get your little stripes and, oh, speakingly, speakingly, say something funny. Can you guys swear?

01:28:56.380 All that type of stuff. So, yeah, we were the Brits in New York.

01:28:59.940 At what point did you start working with DMC? Was that quite soon? Or was it quite a bit later?

01:29:05.020 I joined DMC in

01:29:07.700 97 after regaining the UK title for the third time because I came back.

01:29:13.460 I simply came back because I was a bit, I was quite disappointed with the level of the UK DJs.

01:29:20.180 I just felt they were very complacent. So this is pre-Scratch Bervets, you know, the only other DJ

01:29:26.460 that seemed to be making a bill of noise was a guy by the name of first rate who was a Scratch Bervet as well.

01:29:31.660 But yeah, it was before a lot of DJs and the whole, you know, with definitely the evolution of flaring and stuff

01:29:39.540 that revitalized it and a lot of people came in and the new group of school people came up and Woody and so forth.

01:29:46.160 Great. But prior to that, you know, I was quite disappointed with the level of the UK's thingy.

01:29:54.160 And I felt I should come back and make a difference.

01:29:59.540 And yeah, again, I came back and I won the UK. It wasn't easy, but I won it.

01:30:05.240 And some of those that weren't happy with me winning it,

01:30:08.040 I put a mix out for them to settle their beef,

01:30:14.240 because they always, like I said, people take it out on the DJ and not the judges.

01:30:18.240 And once I put this mix out, a lot of people just shut up,

01:30:21.240 they didn't want to have anything else to say,

01:30:23.240 because the mix was from the heart and they knew it, you know.

01:30:27.640 And it's funny, because the mix was put out quite quick from me winning.

01:30:31.840 If I put that mix out in the first place,

01:30:34.440 There would have been no question about me winning because nobody confronted what I put out as a dista

01:30:40.280 Anybody who felt I didn't wasn't worthy of winning, but um

01:30:45.200 I joined DMC in 97 because I actually said to Tony Prince look yeah, I can tour and I can um

01:30:52.760 You know do

01:30:56.000 exhibitions and stuff, but I

01:30:57.840 Actually want a job at DMC

01:31:00.080 You know, I think I can make a difference here and I was that bold to say that to him and he was like, okay

01:31:04.920 Swiftie, what are we gonna you doing? I said, well, I always consult with you guys anyway, but there's loads of things we can do, you know, and

01:31:11.280 We did that, you know, we they gave me challenges one thing about Tony Prince. He's a visionary

01:31:17.380 He's always thinking about new things so that we we started doing a I started doing a battle break series

01:31:25.200 Was that through DMC then that's right the initial cutmaster with battle breaks was through DMC

01:31:30.560 But really what was gonna happen was I was gonna

01:31:33.360 Do the original first volume and then a and R for other world champions to do their volumes as well

01:31:40.680 For whatever reasons that didn't really happen, but yeah, I ended up doing five volumes and then

01:31:47.240 Literally also what Tony Prince used to make me do is go and approve the video. So I'd go to

01:31:54.960 is it Tone Bridge, I think, something like that.

01:31:57.600 And watch these videos while they were editing them

01:32:01.100 and come back with a master for Tony Prince

01:32:04.320 to look over and approve.

01:32:07.800 So yeah, I gave, because it was filmed in certain segments

01:32:11.760 and different camera angles, obviously, yeah,

01:32:13.560 you wanna see that bit more, you know, and so forth.

01:32:16.160 And that's how I started learning video editing

01:32:18.760 and stuff like that.

01:32:20.740 And yeah, pretty much again,

01:32:23.780 whether it was Slitmatts,

01:32:25.860 I came out with a name calling it the SpeedMat.

01:32:28.420 Wanted to call it the SwiftMat,

01:32:30.420 but that would have been too monopolizing.

01:32:32.220 So I call it the SpeedMat.

01:32:33.820 And yeah, things like that.

01:32:36.420 So yeah, DMC definitely allowed me to develop

01:32:41.420 and were patient with me and gave me challenges.

01:32:45.780 There was lots of challenges.

01:32:46.820 And the funny thing about DMC,

01:32:48.380 everybody has this vision of it being this enormous company because they did very big

01:32:56.020 things and did them very well. But it was a very true team to it. Everybody did it because

01:33:03.940 they were passionate about it and they believed in the cause. I saw Sally come along, which

01:33:11.700 was that Tony Prince's niece and she furthered it on and took it into another light under

01:33:19.020 her vision and got involved with a lot of other promoters and so forth and it kept changing.

01:33:27.240 A lot of people always felt that DMC, you know, how has it managed and stuff and DMC

01:33:34.140 in fairness to them allowed the DJs to manage it and that meant that if the DJs wanted to

01:33:40.740 use technology, they would allow the DJ to use the technology.

01:33:44.660 As the art form evolved, technology was evolving too, and they acknowledged that, you know, and, you know, they, they was always trying to make it sure that it was the right time to bring that stuff in fairly, meaning that obviously the US and the UK and probably high tech countries could have the advantage of all sorts of things first.

01:34:09.220 But because of the franchise and it allowed all any country that had a true DJ following

01:34:18.940 and wanted to join the DMC franchise and family, because that's what it was, we all respected

01:34:27.780 each other's boundaries.

01:34:29.140 DMC wanted to make sure that any country coming in were allowed and gave given the equal privilege

01:34:35.860 of not feeling weaker.

01:34:40.260 What DJs have you seen over the years

01:34:43.660 sort of from the judging side

01:34:44.860 where you've just gone, Jesus Christ.

01:34:49.700 You know, where they've kind of,

01:34:50.860 they've done something so mind blowing

01:34:52.500 the different like say, I don't know,

01:34:55.100 seeing Cuba for the first time

01:34:57.020 was that like mind blowing.

01:34:59.680 Right, so the very first time I saw Cuba

01:35:03.900 at the 1990 DMC Championships.

01:35:08.540 No, 91 actually.

01:35:09.980 Not nice.

01:35:10.800 - Is that when he was runner-up today?

01:35:12.800 - Yes, that's right.

01:35:15.440 Yeah.

01:35:16.720 He was very energetic, very energetic, you know,

01:35:20.800 and the whole scratching, it was literally controlling noise.

01:35:25.800 That's how I perceived him.

01:35:28.640 He was being able to control noise, you know,

01:35:32.280 and some bits were erratic and energetic,

01:35:34.720 and some bits were subtle, you know,

01:35:37.360 but his personality was entwined with it.

01:35:41.040 So, you know, you can watch Cuba

01:35:43.920 and you just enjoy it for what it is.

01:35:46.680 And for me personally, a lot of DJs followed my route

01:35:51.680 with a copycat and then Cash Money.

01:35:54.960 So DJ David was a mix of that.

01:35:57.360 He used the same kind of records

01:36:00.600 and then went bionic with it basically.

01:36:03.120 So he pushed it to the speed, to the levels of too fast.

01:36:08.120 It's funny because when I tried to defend

01:36:13.760 and I was still gonna be the first world champion

01:36:15.600 to defend and I was more focused on doing beats,

01:36:18.680 if you watch my 1990 set, because of DJ David

01:36:23.480 pushing records at 45 and going super bionic with it,

01:36:26.560 I thought, Shh, craps with you,

01:36:28.320 you're gonna have to speed your whole thing up.

01:36:30.680 So I flipped my cold sweat juggle on 45

01:36:35.680 and I actually did pre-drum and bass.

01:36:41.360 If you listen to the rhythm, it's drum and bass

01:36:43.880 because I've gotta rhythmically make it flow

01:36:48.240 and it was, and you hear it.

01:36:50.600 It was very short, but if you looped it,

01:36:53.320 you'd hear drum and bass.

01:36:55.360 Only certain people picked up on it

01:36:57.480 before it was known as drumming bass.

01:36:59.880 But that's how, like I said, I think on the fly.

01:37:02.440 Going back to your question about DJs, without a doubt,

01:37:07.800 craze was the pinnacle of it all.

01:37:12.440 He, again, took it to another level

01:37:16.960 where he took elements of sounds

01:37:20.920 and made them into masterpieces in front of your face.

01:37:24.360 So you hear (imitates drumming)

01:37:27.320 and then he make (imitates babbling)

01:37:30.280 and he rhythmically integrated with that

01:37:33.080 and the personality and stuff.

01:37:34.760 And if you watch, if you're able to get the reaction

01:37:39.760 from a judge to go, which I've been a judge and go,

01:37:42.640 Shit, I love that.

01:37:46.240 You know, I didn't expect that, I loved that.

01:37:48.320 And you see us jamming with you, we're with you.

01:37:51.600 We're following you, you know.

01:37:53.680 We're not sitting there marking and being

01:37:56.400 You know, that's painful judging.

01:38:01.120 I want to see, I want to be inspired.

01:38:03.440 I want to be reminded that was me 30 years ago and stuff like that.

01:38:08.960 That's what I look for.

01:38:10.760 That's the energy I look for in DJs, you know?

01:38:14.600 And if I'm given that from any DJ, regardless if they win or not, I mark them down as future

01:38:23.840 potential.

01:38:25.300 know, they're different. And that's what I like. I like DJs to be different. If everybody's

01:38:30.940 going to sing it from the same hingshi, I get bored. You know, I'm looking for individuals,

01:38:36.780 people that... It's funny because DMC is a showcase and I think, yes, it's about finding

01:38:43.940 the winner, but they should be in the ward and the acknowledgement for those that push

01:38:47.860 it technically further as well.

01:38:49.740 It would be really good to just talk a bit about the hip-hop's 50-taw that you've done

01:38:53.860 recently with a whole host of important people from the community within the UK. How did

01:38:59.980 that come about?

01:39:01.620 So this was a brain child of DJ279, a very long time friend and believer in just the culture

01:39:10.420 of hip hop, you know. He's very observant to it and yeah, hip hop had reached its age

01:39:17.780 of 50 and recognised worldwide but what seemed to be happening when you watched footage of hip-hop

01:39:24.420 celebrating its 50 if it was just rolling out performances you know so a performance of Grand

01:39:31.460 Master Flash great he's the pioneer a performance of LL Cool J and a host of all sorts of MCs that were

01:39:40.180 That's contributed to hip-hop. Great. But one of the missing things we always felt was the actual knowledge of it.

01:39:51.180 And 279 wanted to tell the story of the people that are actually involved in hip-hop that we never give credit to.

01:40:01.180 Like, okay, we give credit to a radio presenter like Tim Westwood, but we don't give credit

01:40:07.320 to the programmer or the person that discovered him on the radio, that gave him his break.

01:40:12.260 You know, we don't give credit to the record shops that we always to buy all the records

01:40:15.860 from.

01:40:16.860 We accept that they've gone.

01:40:18.140 We accept that it was a great era that will never capture again.

01:40:21.980 Obviously, there is a little bit of a resurgence in vinyl, but it's not what it used to be.

01:40:27.740 you know, I used to go out to a record shop

01:40:31.820 and I might have in mind of a record I would buy,

01:40:34.660 but it was the records I didn't expect

01:40:36.580 I was prepared to buy, you know what I mean?

01:40:38.740 And probably walk home because it's worth spending

01:40:41.740 my travel money to walk home

01:40:43.740 'cause I've got a record I didn't expect to buy.

01:40:45.940 And if you caught the import van as it came,

01:40:48.500 you didn't know, you was gonna get something really special

01:40:51.020 because again, you had a relationship with record shops

01:40:55.860 and they would put records aside for you

01:40:57.540 because they have an idea what you'd want to buy.

01:40:59.740 Or, you know, I wasn't one of those DJs

01:41:01.780 that went in the record shop said,

01:41:03.020 Have you got, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do,

01:41:04.500 Westwood played it.

01:41:05.660 Or Max Dave played it, or 2.79,

01:41:09.500 or Shorty Blitz and MK, whoever was on the radio.

01:41:12.300 So, we've kind of now alienated again,

01:41:15.980 elements of different types of DJ, like the radio DJ now.

01:41:19.420 Does he have a valid purpose today

01:41:23.420 that he would have had back in my day

01:41:25.740 he used to break the tunes, break, play promos of records that were even demos that never

01:41:33.660 came out and put on nights, you know, where now you've got Spotify, if I want to chew,

01:41:39.820 I can just go on Spotify, find a thousand tunes that nobody's playing and probably

01:41:45.020 might, regardless of it's old or new, there's no chart anymore to follow and keep in touch

01:41:50.740 with. You know what I mean? So we're kind of at these situations now where we need to

01:41:57.680 give people their flowers while they are alive and not because they've passed. You know,

01:42:05.080 that's a tradition. But the history of hip hop, we're fortunate to still have key players

01:42:12.680 still around to tell those their stories. And yet we're getting stories of stories from

01:42:19.600 other people that weren't there, you know. So that's what the hip hop 50 concept was with

01:42:26.720 279. He wanted to go to certain places around those countries and as well as having myself

01:42:35.920 some other established people hosting these certain panels. We wanted to also dig into

01:42:41.520 the local talent as well and give them an opportunity to share with us their trials and

01:42:48.680 tribulations and all. The tour in theory was a success. However, there is a big barrier

01:43:00.280 between the generations of hip hop because the baton got passed only at certain levels

01:43:08.760 and then it cuts off when obviously drum and bass, grime and that came around. So those

01:43:15.840 that follow hip hop now without that are genuinely into it but there's a

01:43:21.620 disconnection with elements of the art form so for example I can go to I do

01:43:28.880 appearances at tones coffee shop and I drop my levels of turntableism in its

01:43:37.320 infancy again now which is party rocking so you're manipulating

01:43:41.700 records that everyone knows in a fashion that was the birth of turntableism. You know, you

01:43:49.620 try not to go too far with it, but you show the skill and drop breaks because now you

01:43:55.180 can find out samples, you can just examine them, there's who's sampled and you can find

01:43:59.500 out any record to a certain degree. You know, so you try and re-educate people to this

01:44:06.460 stuff, you know? So you were saying earlier that you're just going through and editing

01:44:11.620 the videos at the moment of the talks that you had and it wasn't just MCs, it was dancers,

01:44:17.940 graffiti artists, all of the elements, right?

01:44:21.460 Yeah, there's three panels. One's Respect the DJ, which is what I hosted and had DJ Woody

01:44:28.380 on the tour and Excel came down and we talked about the DMCs and the elements of the DJ

01:44:34.180 and what's the blueprint of a DJ?

01:44:37.780 How do we communicate?

01:44:39.100 How relevant is social media?

01:44:40.460 Why don't we do mixed dates anymore?

01:44:42.220 Is technology taking over?

01:44:43.980 Do we have to worry about AI?

01:44:45.580 All those type of discussions.

01:44:46.820 The discussions like we're having now,

01:44:48.900 in front of a panel.

01:44:50.580 I tried my best as a host.

01:44:54.860 I'm not really a host.

01:44:55.740 I'm not Michael Bargenson.

01:44:57.260 And I learned as a host,

01:44:59.500 you've got to dictate the pace

01:45:01.260 and make sure you're person.

01:45:03.900 You interview doesn't go on a while.

01:45:05.600 - Yeah.

01:45:06.600 - A wild story.

01:45:07.440 You got to bring it back on track.

01:45:08.440 You know that, you probably did it with me now.

01:45:10.680 But yeah, that's what we did.

01:45:12.280 So that was respect the DJ.

01:45:13.360 And no one was called a different perspective.

01:45:14.940 And that was, again, getting the stories of the people

01:45:19.000 that were instrumental in the makings of the people

01:45:21.960 that made it to the forefronts that we always look at first

01:45:25.960 and never look at the background.

01:45:28.080 So we have producers, we have radio people on there,

01:45:31.920 pirate radio people, MCs, all sorts of elements, dancers as well.

01:45:38.520 All the elements discussing from a perspective.

01:45:42.360 And then obviously we had another one, the final one, So You're A Rapper, that was hosted

01:45:46.360 by Funky DL.

01:45:47.800 And again, they discussed the elements of how they put their rhymes together and MCs

01:45:53.560 their inspired by and why they got into MC and it's it's quite clear that lots of MCs

01:46:02.440 obviously have a voice and they put together their lyrics to be heard and acknowledged

01:46:10.740 of whatever topics they they choose to talk about and one thing that is definitely obvious

01:46:19.720 throughout all the elements of hip hop when you become an authority figure in it is the

01:46:25.600 responsibility you've got in it, you know, and with power there is responsibility and

01:46:32.280 we've got it. Me as a DJ, you know, I can't just go up there and start playing anything

01:46:37.880 I want to even though I'm, I can feel entitled to, but I've got to be aware of the crowd,

01:46:45.640 whether it's through age or content or whatever, you know, I've got and most importantly wanting

01:46:54.640 to make them move, make them enjoy their experience, enjoy the party. I'm not one of those egotistical

01:47:02.080 DJs where you can't approach me and say, Can you play this right now? because I won't

01:47:07.600 do that, but you know, I always try and explain to people when I'm playing music and someone

01:47:13.240 comes up and gives me a request if it doesn't fit with what I'm playing at the moment, you

01:47:18.000 know, it's like having a meal. You don't just go from the start straight to the dessert.

01:47:22.440 You have the starter, you have the main course and then you have the dessert, you know, you

01:47:26.240 don't, or you don't start with the dessert and work your way backwards. So I try and

01:47:30.880 explain it like that. And, you know, you've got to be aware of timings and, and most times

01:47:36.800 when you DJ as you know, we're five records ahead of what's being played. You know, you've

01:47:42.560 You've got an idea of where you're taking that party, whether you're doing the warm-up

01:47:46.900 set, whether you're doing the middle part or where you're doing the ending when you've

01:47:50.280 got to bring it down.

01:47:53.360 You structure your sets and MCs structure their verses and whether it's the hook line

01:48:00.480 going to sell the record, it's the verse going to sell the record.

01:48:03.160 I think we're in trouble at the moment, I think MCs now, because people's attention

01:48:08.880 spans are so short.

01:48:11.120 now are, I have to have a hook. They're very short, you know, two minutes of record.

01:48:16.160 I saw a stat earlier on because I'm going to be hosting a round table myself around

01:48:21.840 AI in sampling and music in a couple of weeks, in a couple of, I think we're recording next

01:48:27.840 week. So yeah, keeping an eye out. I've got some, got some people who know a lot more about it

01:48:31.920 than I do. I'll tell you that. So, someone's been doing some research on it for me and,

01:48:37.280 and the founders start about something called the waterfall implementation or something that basically

01:48:45.040 I've only read the headline and taken some assumptions but basically labels one artist to be releasing

01:48:52.960 new music every four weeks. Yeah and if you think that's saying you're putting an album with a

01:49:01.120 of material out a year.

01:49:02.920 This specific.

01:49:05.160 - Well even now ones have changed now.

01:49:06.040 They're not 10 and 13 tracks anymore.

01:49:08.360 They're like six tracks.

01:49:09.200 They're an EP on there.

01:49:10.120 - Yeah.

01:49:10.960 - An album?

01:49:11.800 - It's crazy.

01:49:12.640 We're gonna have to wrap up here.

01:49:14.000 - No problem mate, it's been a bit.

01:49:15.560 - Could you just tell me what,

01:49:17.440 when the talks are done for hip-hop is 50,

01:49:20.280 is the best place for people to find out more

01:49:23.280 if they follow you on Instagram?

01:49:25.400 - Yes, they can follow me,

01:49:26.440 but there is a dedicated website called hiphop@50.co.uk.

01:49:31.080 And that's going to have, yeah, we're looking to, like I said, edit these panels.

01:49:35.800 The 10th of August is the plan to have a party in London.

01:49:41.320 So have a paint party again, which was an element of the art side of it.

01:49:46.080 We're going to premiere parts of the screen in the Ritzy in Brixton.

01:49:51.440 So it's going to be on a big screen for people to see the panels and the

01:49:56.400 in-depth discussions.

01:49:57.480 And we're going to try and have a party because we never had a party in London.

01:50:00.480 We did have it in some other areas, but we didn't have it in London.

01:50:03.000 So, yeah, if you're free from in Derby, come down to London.

01:50:07.520 Yeah, yeah.

01:50:08.200 Oh, I would absolutely love to do that.

01:50:10.080 If I've if I've got your link as well.

01:50:11.880 Yeah, if I've not got childcare, you family matters and stuff.

01:50:14.360 Any links that you have.

01:50:15.720 Yeah.

01:50:15.920 Popping in the show notes and what's your handle on Instagram?

01:50:21.400 It's cut master Swift.

01:50:23.440 Simple as that.

01:50:25.320 Cut master Swift.

01:50:26.320 I'll send you them.

01:50:27.640 I don't all know them all by heart because it's not whether there's an underscore

01:50:30.400 But I tell you what, there's no misters in front of my name.

01:50:33.320 It's always cut masters with there's only one other cut masters with,

01:50:36.640 and he spells his name differently.

01:50:38.200 Thanks ever so much for that, that's been a great conversation.

01:50:40.840 And yeah, take care of yourself.

01:50:43.280 You too, sir.

01:50:44.440 I look forward to what everybody else you've got to share with me right as well.

01:50:47.840 Thanks for listening to the once a DJ podcast.

01:50:53.960 If you've got any questions or feedback or any suggestions for guests,

01:50:58.480 Please just get in touch with us at onceaDJpodcast@gmail.com or on Instagram at onceaDJpodcast.

01:51:07.960 Take care and we'll speak to you soon.

01:51:09.480 (upbeat music)

01:51:11.400 Oh, that was nice.