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Archive for Interviews

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Beatslappaz Interview

And now…wrapping up the IWSY Remixed Volume 2 interview series…some of the baddest and funniest bass makers on the planet…from the land down under, the one, the only Beatslappaz;)

Interview by Kelly Ross/Agent 137

Tell us … who are you?

A: We’re the Beatslappaz, a duo that’s been writing music and playing shows together for the last 10 years.

BeatSlappaz
Please give me a brief background on your dj/production experience:

A: We first got together after being brought onto a radio show as guests that ran from Midnight till 6am on a Sunday morning. We had similar tastes and goals and decided to form up into the duo we are now.

We had our first release on vinyl way back in 2007, then went quiet for a bit until we reformed a few years back to start producing again – and here we are!

Tell us which remix you did for the IWSY remix album:


A: Wes Smith – Hands Up!

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What made you choose this particular song?


A: We generally only remix songs where the song title tells you what activity you should be doing while you’re listening to it.

What is your Wes Smith connection? 


A: When you see a man with mutton chops that you respect, you don’t just throw him a life-jacket. You swim one out to him. I hit him up over Facebook to let him know that I loved his work and we bonded over fish tacos. While we haven’t met yet, I can tell the guy is one of the nicest guys in the business and lord knows he works hard for it.

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What’s next on next for you after this? Do you have any upcoming projects/remixes you would like to mention?


A: Our homies at Punks Music have us locked in for a few projects. “The Drop” is our next original that’s going to hit shelves soon, along with a remix for Wuki and the Stanton Warriors. Big things! We really want to head back to the states and play a few shows there, so look for that later this year as well.



Any last thoughts?

A: I would like to ask you a question – Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life, or would you rather permanently feel like you’re going to sneeze but never do?

Related Links: [Hands Up: Wes Smith Original] [Hands Up : Beatslappaz Remix] [Beatslappaz : Facebook] [Beatslappaz: Soundcloud]

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Lunathics Interview

Next up in the Agent 137 interview series for It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Volume 2…

Interview by Kelly Ross.

Tell us – who are you?

I am Diego , from the South of Spain , but I have lived in Ibiza since 2014.

Lunathics

Please give me a brief background on your dj/production experience:

I have been mixing since 2000 and producing since 2008. I have played alongside artists like the Stanton Warriors, Deekline, Lady Waks etc.

Tell us which remix you did for the IWSY remix album:

Turntable Sax

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What made you choose this particular song?

Because I liked the funky touch with that sax. Its a fun song that makes you dance.

What is your Wes Smith connection? 

Wes and I met via Facebook . Wes liked my remix productions and he suggested me do a remix of one of the songs from his album “Its Wes Smith , The Album Vol 1”. We connected quickly and we have a very cordial relationship.

What’s next on next for you after this? Do you have any upcoming projects/remixes you would like to mention?

I’m working on 2 new songs for the label Selecta Breaks (Spain) and have recently recorded a guestmix for Anonyms radioshow , Record breaks (Russia ).Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 11.04.08 AMThank you for this opportunity. The treatment I have received has been great, I’m impressed by the professionalism of Wes’s whole team. I hope work again with Wes on new tracks!

Related Links : [Turntable Sax : Original] [Turntable Sax : Lunathics Remix] [Lunathics : Soundcloud] [Lunathics : Beatport]

 

Interview w/Julian Cortez aka Phat Rabbit of Square Pegs [Charlotte NC)

Aloha friends…as many of you know I just wrapped up a really fun show in Charlotte, NC.  As a follow up to that I thought I’d pick up where we left off on last years tour related interviews and catch up with some of the awesome people that bring me around the planet.  Check out the interview of Julian Cortez aka Phat Rabbit of Square Pegs in Charlotte, NC.

Interview and words by the one and only Kelly Ross / Agent 137.

These Are The Breaks

Tell me about the beginnings of Square Pegs and how you became a production company:

Square Pegs have been together for the last 2-3 years. I started it with Dat Boy Fletch and we have two other DJs affiliated (Mac & Mad Monk). I made a decision 5 years ago after living in Fayetteville to move to Charlotte. I thought I would be going to breaks shows every weekend and that turned out not to be the case. To make up for that I partnered up with Fletch and started a monthly called “Bump” at Crown Station.

Square Pegs is a different focus on breakbeat a “be there or be square” branding. I have been djing for 25 years now and breaks are my love. We wanted to bring the focus back to breaks because it seemed like every time I went out it it was all house. Even at the house events when someone would drop breaks its so damn funky ALL the girls would start to shake their assses.  There are a lot of big name guys out there playing breaks too. When they pepper it in, it just explodes.

What is the Wes Smith connection?

I have heard about Wes now for a few years now. His progression in the last 2 years has been EXPLODING. Square Pegs had been doing some really greats shows and we decided to move the bookings up a notch. Wes had always been in the conversation because of his diversity. He makes it funky on some stuff, his Punks stuff is super bassy and he knows how to read a crowd. He may take it left or take it right – to me that’s a smart DJ/person.

These Are The Breaks 2

What’s next for Square Pegs?

June 10th we are bringing in DJ Icey – fortunately, we have been able to reach out to the younger crowd. Icey is notorious for doing that as well – he is still touring to Chicago, Texas, Florida and really all over to big crowds because of his ability to keep current.

Any final thoughts?

I don’t like the arrogance of some DJ’s/producers, in fact, we have passed on booking a bunch of people because of their arrogance. We booked Wes for a reason and we really appreciate him coming to Charlotte for the Square Pegs show.

Related Links: [Event Info : These Are the Breaks]] [Square Pegs : Facebook] [It’s Wes Smith Yo!]

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : DJ Skip Interview

Yo yo friends…the Remix Album interviews keep rolling…next up, one of my most random connections and a good pal to roam the country with…DJ, Producer, Turntablist; DJ Skip, from India.

Interview by Kelly Ross/Agent 137.

You are in India, how in the world do you know Wes Smith?

Wes is a common friend of another friend of mine. He was in India in 2011 for the Red Bull 3 Style as a judge and he came across as a really cool guy. I met him again this year.

JR1608_It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Rupesh Pant aka DJ Skip, Turntablism, Red Bull 3 Style, DMC, DMC Championship, IDA, Scratch, Turntable Sax, Breaks, Breakbeat, Native Instruments, Traktor, Maschine, Technics, The Sound Room, DJ Academy, DJ School, India, New Delhi, IWSY!, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

Tell us what the Red Bull 3 Style is:

The Red Bull 3 Style is a competition that takes 15 min of time where you choose three music styles that rock the party. You are judges on body language, music selection and skills. It’s a body rocking competition built for the party scene. Wes was the judge – and I came in second and in 2012 I won the National Championship and represented my country in the world championship in Chicago. It was my first foreign trip ever.

Wow – the pressure! How do you prepare for this type that type of show?

I would watch post sets online so I knew what is happening around the world. I assessed the competition and paid attention. I also knew my weakness and my strengths. Doing edits and mashups on the fly in a way to beat the competition was key. I opened the whole competition out of the 7 day competition so it was interesting to see how the week played out.

What are some of your titles:

2013 IDA #3 in the world
2014 IDA and DMC National Champion

JR1608_It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Rupesh Pant aka DJ Skip, Turntablism, Red Bull 3 Style, DMC, DMC Championship, IDA, Scratch, Turntable Sax, Breaks, Breakbeat, Native Instruments, Traktor, Maschine, Technics, The Sound Room, DJ Academy, DJ School, India, New Delhi, IWSY!, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

That’s amazing. how did you start out to get to this level?

I have been a DJ for 12 years now. I was in small club that happened to have a pair of dusty turntables they were willing to let me use, so I bought needles for them. I didn’t even have slipmats for three years, I would use a thin t-shirt and cut a hole in it. I got some old Bollywood music which usually have dialogues before the track starts, so used one of those as my scratch sample for years. Everything was self taught after the basics were taught by a friend, videos, etc. I also joined QSU (Qbert Scratch University) but was unable to attend for too long due to gigs and shows I was being booked.

Do you have any advice to the new Dj or someone starting out?

Sure, when you are first starting out I recommend you join a school and learn from the pros. After joining QSU, I found things I was definitely doing wrong. Very small things like finger placement etc. can be done in a hundred diff ways. It’s very physical our bodies are different, sounds are very different and everyone has their own style. it will give you a proper edge to know if you are doing something wrong because it’s all muscle memory at the end of the day. This is one of the reasons why I thought opening a school would be a good idea.

JR1608_It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Rupesh Pant aka DJ Skip, Turntablism, Red Bull 3 Style, DMC, DMC Championship, IDA, Scratch, Turntable Sax, Breaks, Breakbeat, Native Instruments, Traktor, Maschine, Technics, The Sound Room, DJ Academy, DJ School, India, New Delhi, IWSY!, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

 

I watched the DMC National video from this year and I thought that you were the clear winner. However, they announced the winner and the reason was his set was all analogue. You started out on turntables, what do you think about the analogue vs digital debate?

I switched to Traktor back in 2002/2003 and now I am endorsed by Native Instruments as a product specialist – things are going really well. In my sets I can do stuff I couldn’t do on techs. I use Maschine and do a lot of finger drumming and the game is changing to a whole other level. Do what works for you.

JR1608_It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Rupesh Pant aka DJ Skip, Turntablism, Red Bull 3 Style, DMC, DMC Championship, IDA, Scratch, Turntable Sax, Breaks, Breakbeat, Native Instruments, Traktor, Maschine, Technics, The Sound Room, DJ Academy, DJ School, India, New Delhi, IWSY!, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

What’s next for DJ Skip?

Life is a journey to become better at what you do and Chicago was the turning point of the turntablist side of me. I’m practicing every day and have some new things up my sleeve that I have been working on for my live act. The remix I did for Wes (Turntable Sax) is coming out soon and I am really excited about it. I completely twisted and created a fully different version with scratching elements.

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Related Links: [Beatport : DJ Skip TurnTable Sax] [Wes Smith Turntable Sax Original] [DJ Skip : Facebook] [DJ Skip : Mixcloud

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : B-Phreak Interview

Happy Thursday…next up in the interview series…repeat Juice Remixer, B-Phreak from Germany.

Interview by Kelly Ross/Agent 137.

Tell us – who are you? 

My name is Bernie Ott (B-Phreak) and I’m a dj/ producer/ remixer of bass/ breakbeat orientated music from Germany.
B-Phreak 2

Please give me a brief background on your dj/production experience:

I have been into bass/ breakbeat driven music for more than 20 years now. I started producing beats back in 1999 and djing worldwide for a much longer time. I had my first release back in 2002 plus a big list of orignals/ remixes I’ve done for many different labels. I was one of the first dj’s/ producer’s who brought the “German breakbeat“ sound to the world.

 

Tell us which remix you did for the IWSY remix album:

I remixed “Daft Bump”.

 

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What made you choose this particular song? 

I really loved the sound/ energy of the original track!

 

What is your Wes Smith connection? Do you have any weird/funny stories when you met him? Anything else to say?

I have never met him personally, but some day…. who knows. Wes is a very nice guy and I made contact with him via Facebook/ Soundcloud! We love each others music and he asked me doing some tracks/ remixes for his label, Juice Recordings. I always loved the sound of his label, so it was a pleasure for me to release some tracks on Juice.

 

What’s next on next for you after this? Do you have any upcoming projects/remixes you would like to mention?

A new EP on Juice Recordings is planned in near future. I’ve already released a 4 track EP (Take Me High) on Martin Flex’s “Let’s Go!”  label“. I also have a project with my homie Philly Blunt running and our next release will be on Rump Shaker Records in March called “Get Ya Head“ with upcoming remixes from Bradley Drop and Beatslappaz. Phil and I have planed to release some more tunes later this year as well.

B-Phreak 3

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 2 : Mutantbreakz Interview

Hello friends…off to a great start, first up in the interview series, my good pals Mutantbreakz from Spain.

Interview by Kelly Ross/Agent 137.

Tell us – who are you?

We are Ruben & Angel aka MutantBreakz – both DJs & Producers from the South of Spain.

MutantBreakz

Please give me a brief background on your dj/production experience:

It’s the most beautiful experience to be able to play with your own creations in different parts of the world and meet good friends at the same time.

Tell us which remix you did for the IWSY remix album:

Funk Train

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What made you choose this particular song?

We thought the song had the same ingredients as our style. In this remix we tried to recreate it with some funky breaks that sounded fresh and fun for the dance floor. We are always trying to do something different.

What is your Wes Smith connection?

Our first connection Wes was on the internet and we worked on his previous remix album. After our US tour I (Angel) had the pleasure of meeting him in person, he is a fun and friendly with a touch of madness. A story to tell as to say that the first night I met him in Miami he took us to a karaoke but did not have the pleasure of seeing him sing.

What’s next for MutantBreakz?

We dedicated our time to our tour in Florida and now we are back in Spain. We have already begun to finish new projects for our label and also another big label. We think it’s best not to reveal anything at the moment, it isn’t it better to get surprises?

Mutant Breakz 3

Is there anything you would like to talk about that has not already been mentioned?

We loved to see Wes on the Red Bull tour and those Wes Smith sideburns!!!

Related links: [MutantBreakz : Facebook] [Funk Train : MutantBreakz Remix] [Wes Smith : Original] [Mutantbreakz : Facebook]

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Chris Bad Habit Interview

Barreling down the line with funtastic interviews, next up is Chris Bad Habit, of Bad Habit Muzik.  I met him through various music discussions online and a phone call or two sold me on his positive, nice guy status.  Kelly Ross | Agent 137 managed to wrangle him across time zones and his globetrotting life for this super informative story from across the pond;)

What is Bad Habit Music about?

Bad Habit Muzik was started in 2000 as a party for all my DJ friends and went on to becoming a successful night in London and the North West of the UK. I had been in music and producing, DJing and working alongside top artists for many years and then I semi retired in the South of France for 10 years. I  returned to music by way of a themed VIP chateau party weekender with all my oldskool DJ friends and the Ministry of Sound with my French Events company “Nouveaux Vintage Events”. Having put on another successful party we launched the label to work hand in hand with artists, djs and producers to form the brand we have today that covers all genres of music.

Along with production, remixes and mastering in our studios we are working with artists to bring a new flavor to 140 breaks, deep house, garage, breakbeat, electro, dubstep, dnb and hip hop. We are really pushing the future jungle scene and although it hasn’t taken off as quickly as I had hoped, we want it done well and we are willing to be both persistent and realistic to get the movement up and running. I’m all about supporting the smaller artist because I am in it for the future. We believe in what we do here I have a great team helping Bad Habit Muzik be internationally known. In the UK we have – Lee, Rob, Alex, Rich, Ross, Kris and Tariq and in USA- Curious, Tasha and Sharham take care of business. We work as a team as well as being players in our own field so together we bring a unique sound to the table with many years of experience collectively.. I manage the promotion , remixes, socuial media marketing, pr, artists schedules for shows and do all of the event organization. I am really concentrating on pushing all of their talent combined in many genres as i believe with our collective experience is really putting this label on the map in the UK, USA ,France and now I am expanding more into the Spain. we have become the most successful multi genres label the past 3 years with over 44 #1 Hits on Trackitdown Charts as well as 13 DJ Mag reviews this year. Muzik is in our Blood!

 

JR_1524 It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Chris Bad Habit Interview Juice Recordings, The Juice Squad, It's Juice Yo, It's Wes Smith Yo, Califunkya, Variety Shyo EDM, UDM, Bass Music, Electro, Club, Funk, Funk Bass, Breaks, Breakbeat, Booty, San Diego, California, Strange Rollers, Bad Habit Musik, Hands Up, Otter, Agent 137, Kelly Ross

How are you doing that so far from the US?

People are most familiar with us in the UK because we have been on TrackItdown for 3 years now with a lot of success. But in the U.S. our popularity started because of contact with George aka DJ Curious one of the original dj’s/ L.A rave organizers. His love for the UK sound – especially the 140 Future Jungle Breaks linked us together and ever since then, Curious has been representing Bad Habit Muzik. We created our first west coast tour in 2013 – taking in Las Vegas, San Diego and L.A showcasing this unique sound.. it’s really all about networking. I feel Americans are team players and are really in it for the good of the music so it’s somewhat easier to network and gain/give opportunities. I am a real believer in pushing new talent and am all about the “break”. Having good people around you makes you push forward and a lot of people support our sound. I have to see things from all sides to be fair to everyone around me. Even if it’s not what they want to hear, but I always try to give good advice to help push talent further.honesty being the best policy..its a tuff game the music industry..30 years has taught me that!

JR_1524 It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Chris Bad Habit Interview Juice Recordings, The Juice Squad, It's Juice Yo, It's Wes Smith Yo, Califunkya, Variety Shyo EDM, UDM, Bass Music, Electro, Club, Funk, Funk Bass, Breaks, Breakbeat, Booty, San Diego, California, Strange Rollers, Bad Habit Musik, Hands Up, Otter, Agent 137, Kelly Ross

Speaking of networking in the U.S., that is how I met Wes. The “It’s Wes Smith Yo!” tour has been legendary for the last 8 months or so and it really reminded me of how we used to do this back in the day – the tour has really put him on the map. As a company, Juice is so well established and while we really noticed the tour, it wasn’t just on Facebook but also by word of mouth. I pay attention when persistency and determination come through. Promotion is promotion and what Wes is doing on the promotion side, he is doing very well. The Playstation deal he struck for the game soundtrack is going to be incredible, it’s a tremendously successful brand and they have a great marketing team. Royalty wise this is going to accelerate him even further into the next tier. He has earned the respect with his talent as well and deserves the amount he is charging for his DJ gigs. I like to work with like-minded people because I only work with who I consider, good people. He has our full support because all we see from Wes is positive and that is very appreciated in this day and in this industry.

JR_1524 It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Chris Bad Habit Interview Juice Recordings, The Juice Squad, It's Juice Yo, It's Wes Smith Yo, Califunkya, Variety Shyo EDM, UDM, Bass Music, Electro, Club, Funk, Funk Bass, Breaks, Breakbeat, Booty, San Diego, California, Strange Rollers, Bad Habit Musik, Hands Up, Otter, Agent 137, Kelly Ross

Tell me about the remix:

It’s a Strange Rollers & Bad Habit collaboration. We worked in the studio in London on Wes’s “Hands Up” which had about 4 different sounds. We added 20 more sounds that we thought worked and reworked it many times to get it right. It’s a funky, but also has a heavy old skool anthem feel to it. We are very excited to be a part of the collaboration and to put our spin on this tune.

JR_1524 It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Chris Bad Habit Interview Juice Recordings, The Juice Squad, It's Juice Yo, It's Wes Smith Yo, Califunkya, Variety Shyo EDM, UDM, Bass Music, Electro, Club, Funk, Funk Bass, Breaks, Breakbeat, Booty, San Diego, California, Strange Rollers, Bad Habit Musik, Hands Up, Otter, Agent 137, Kelly Ross

 

While we are waiting for this to come out, I want to congratulate you and The Strange Rollers on the remix of Otter’s original “Funk It Up” now both #1/#2 on TrackItDown. It’s a banger and I know you had said you thought Otter was really going places, so congrats to you all! I look forward to the “Hands Up” release and meeting you in the future.

Related links: [Bad Habit Musik : Track It Down] [Bad Habit Musik : Free breaks Blog] [BHM: Soundcloud] [BHM : Facebook] [Wes Smith : Original Tune]

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Phat Kidz Interview

Hello friends, it’s time for the “phattest” interview ever…featuring the always awesome Phat Kidz.  I met them a couple years back at Miami Music Week.  I’ve enjoyed listening to their DJ Mixes and worked many of their jams into my live sets over the years including my most recent MTG mix.  We were booked by Rob Analyze for a festival this year which got us talking about the remix project.  Incredibly excited to have them on board;)

Interview by Kelly Ross | Agent 137

How did you two meet?

Nikki: We met at a house party, I had gone with a friend and saw a crate of vinyl sitting there and I kept asking whose it was … finally JT says it was his but he didn’t play much anymore. I told him that he would be starting again if I could help it.

JT: She peer pressured me into it.

N: We basically started hanging out after that and Josh started playing again.

JT: Eventually we played a couple local shows together and when Nikki moved to Ocala we started Ableton production with two other people as Shoot2Ill.

JR1524, IWSY Album Remixed Volume 1 - Do You Phat Kidz - Phat Kidz, Wuki, Tweezy, DJ Nikita, Rich D, Supernaut, Chronic, Dj Hero, Mike Nice, Breaks, Breakbeat, EDM, UDM, Podcast. It's Wes Smith Yo, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

How did you begin writing as a duo?

N: We first did a track together titled “You Can’t Hide” released under Tommy Who Records, then 3 years ago did a Remix competition for Deekline…after that we decided to start our duo as Phat Kidz. Since we became a duo, we have played every show together except two … JT has not been to WMC yet due to family obligations, we hope to get him there soon.

What advice to you give to aspiring dj’s and producers?

JT: HAVE FUN! Djing, producing, etc are not about the fame or money, if you are not having fun doing it, you are doing it wrong. Push the envelope and have fun with it.

N: Never give up, if you produce something and you do not like it, there is an audience for it that may love it. Don’t be too hard on yourself and create your own sound instead of trying to sound like particular artists.

What producers are out there right now that you are really digging?

N- Wuki – he just has a different style of breaks and is really changing the sound.

JT- I am digging anyone that pushes the envelope. Wuki is redesigning the sound by not sticking to a certain style from funky riffs to a baseline that blows the speakers.  DJ Hero as well. John sends us a lot of stuff and he is on point – so clear and clean.

Both- Also, Jauz, The Beatslappaz, Chris Lorenzo, Cause & Affect and Icey (of course)!

JR1524, IWSY Album Remixed Volume 1 - Do You Phat Kidz - Phat Kidz, Wuki, Tweezy, DJ Nikita, Rich D, Supernaut, Chronic, Dj Hero, Mike Nice, Breaks, Breakbeat, EDM, UDM, Podcast. It's Wes Smith Yo, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

What made you decide to start a podcast?

N: I saw link through Podomatic that linked to iTunes so we thought of venturing out and have other people do guest mixes. We wanted to work with people from the US, Spain, and the UK (etc).

JT: It was a mix between helping us cross promote our name with all the talent out there and provide a platform for some of the artists that aren’t as well recognized but with great talent. It’s a tight knit community and we want to help the artists within it.

What are the upsides and the challenges of being part of a team?

JT: The energy we feed off each other is outstanding. Some days I will be in sitting in the studio and here comes Nikki all bubbly, it’s infectious… We create off positive vibes!

N: If you get to know JT – JT is me in a mans body and I am JT in a woman’s body. We are very much alike, he is one of my best friends and we always said we would never let the music separate our friendship. The challenge is that I moved away 4 hours away so we do a lot of sending back and forth.  We do try to get our bookings together, JT has a busy job and a commitment to his family . He is a dedicated family man and puts family first . We don’t play for bar tabs and do free work anymore. We do it for the love of the music, however, we have put in our time and can tell who is dedicated to it as well.

JR1524, IWSY Album Remixed Volume 1 - Do You Phat Kidz - Phat Kidz, Wuki, Tweezy, DJ Nikita, Rich D, Supernaut, Chronic, Dj Hero, Mike Nice, Breaks, Breakbeat, EDM, UDM, Podcast. It's Wes Smith Yo, Wes Smith, Kelly Ross, Agent 137

What’s the Wes Smith connection?

N: I met Wes in Miami the year before and he had mentioned doing a remix for him. I saw him this past year and listened to the album after. We want to thank him for the opportunity, this is pretty huge for us and we are very excited for the release.

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Thank you for your time, Nikki and JT, I look forward to the release and everything Phat Kidz has to offer. I am a personal fan and wish you all the best!

Related links: [Beatport : Phat Kidz] [Facebook : DJ TWEEZY] [Facebook: DJ NIKITA] [Facebook : Phat Kidz]

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : Rob-E Interview

Next up on the road to the remix album release…the one and only Rob-E based out of Orlando, Florida.  While a few minutes of rave culture have passed for both of us, we most recently linked up this year at the Revelation party in Tampa.  Bass heads throughout Florida and beyond need no introduction, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Interview by Kelly Ross | Agent 137

What is the Wes Smith connection?

Wes and I have known each other since the 1990’s, the original Juice days. I met him at Simons back in the day, He and I lost contact for a while, he popped back up a few years ago and has been totally been putting in work. Everywhere you look you see Wes Smith!

 

Which tune did you remix off the album and why did you pick it?

I picked “Do You Want To Get Funky” I got to choose which one and it was the vocals that really caught me, full of soul!

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What were your challenges with the remix and what were the good points? 

It’s an old C&C Music Factory track and her vocals are absolutely amazing so that excited me to use them. I got the vocals dry at 118 bpm and there was a snap that was throwing me off and I had to write around it. It took some creativity to get around but it flowed fast after the snap and we were able to finish the remix in 6 hours.

I’ve known the Rob-E Name now for a long time.  Tell me what has changed since the “back in the day” times for you?

Everything in life changes, it evolves, especially music. But back then it was a lot more exclusive to be a DJ. I would walk into Vinyl Frontier and I would have test pressings and dub plates from Icey, amongst other breaks artists. I had a flightcase full of white labels and dub plates, super exclusive. But now it’s a totally different game. With Mp3’s as our main format of music, it’s not so exclusive anymore. It’s real easy to share media these days, so the days of being super exclusive are far-gone.

Rob-E 1

How do you keep it exclusive in this time?

I try to keep it true to the old school, if someone gives me music and asks me not to share – I don’t. I try to keep my shows exclusive now a day as well. There’s only a hand full of promoters that I will play for – I’m also a full time father of 2 [daughter 11 and son 10] Music was my first love, but now that I’m a father, my children get my full attention first and foremost.

Who is your biggest influence?

My Influences come from many different genres of electronic music. I get a lot of influence form my partner in crime Carl(DJ Security) – My mentors are Andy Hughes, D-Xtreme and DJ Orlando (All the Old skoolers in O-Town will know this name!) Kimball Collins also had a big part in molding my sound, but when it comes to break beat, thank heaven for Icey, I have known him since the Edge days. He has kept the breaks scene alive and moving for a long time, if it wasn’t for that guy it may have died. The breaks scene has been up and down like a roller coaster, but he has been there in the valleys and he is the one that has kept it going. Hands down he is the pioneer of the U.S. break beat scene.

Where would you like to see the future of breaks go?

Right now I am teaching my daughter how to DJ. She is really into it and digs the music. It’s cool to see some of the newer generation that is into break beat, and where they will be taking it. Pauly [Fixx], Keith [MacKenzie], Wes [Smith] are the ones really putting in work right now, I’m proud of Pauly – he is a machine and living the dream. The breaks guys (and gals) in Europe are taking break beat to a whole other level now. It reminds me of the USA back in the 90’s’ Also, Sharaz is producing some new stuff that is totally different, it’s retro but nothing like you have heard it’s a super fresh sound.

Thank you for your insight, Rob-E. We look forward to your remix on December 14th. Bless.

It’s Wes Smith Yo – The Album Remixed Vol 1 : DJ Hero Interview

Next up in the interview series is DJ Hero.  I’ve always enjoyed the variety in his sounds and was pumped to have him jump in on the remix project.   While we have not met in person, we’ve connected through mutual friends over at XeroTribe and chat in bits and pieces over the last year.  I’ve found his perspective on music refreshing and worldly insights fun to follow.

Interview by Kelly Ross | Agent 137

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Where does the name “DJ Hero” come from?

When I was young, I used to draw comic books. One day, when I was 19, I was sitting at my house with my roommate, doodling. I had just recently started DJ’ing. I wouldn’t even consider myself a DJ that point. I sat there, at the table drawing, while my roommate sat across from me reading. I had set my drawing pad down, and gotten up to go refill our coffee cups. When I returned to the table, my roommate had drawn the Superman “S” on the chest of the little DJ character I had been drawing. Before I could say anything, he said “that’s you, you’re DJ Hero”. I erased the “S” from the shield, and added a DJ. It just sort of stuck. To me a hero is someone that sets an example and is an inspiration for people. If I was the normal guy, then DJ Hero would be my muse to be more than I was; to be a better person. I hope that over time, as DJ Hero, I’ve inspired other people to be and do more with their own lives through my music and hopefully the example I’ve tried to set.

DJ Hero - Shield Logo

Your label is named Solitude Studios – what’s in a name?

I have been a bit of a loner all my life, and not a fan of big crowds or busy places. My studio is my place to get away from the rigors of the outside world, or packed clubs, venues, and festivals. I tend to think more clearly, and more creatively when I sit in peace. When I finally built my studio it seemed only fitting to call it “Solitude Studios”. Later, a friend of mine pointed out that Superman’s home is called the “Fortress of Solitude”, making me that much more of a nerd.

I listened to a few Solitude Studio podcasts today. Tell me how that started.

Several years ago, the podcast started as a radio show on United Breaks FM. From there, it moved to Party 95 out of Orlando. After several years on Party 95, and shortly after I started Solitude Studios, the record label, I changed the radio show to a Podcast I aired myself, once a month. Originally, the weekly radio show spotlighted the most popular breaks of the time. I tried to make the show put breaks in a good light. As my tastes evolved, I started adding other sounds and styles. Today the podcast is my way of showcasing the latest Solitude Studios release. The podcast’s sound each month, directly reflects the style of the release. As my own sound grows and expands, so will the podcast’s.

Solitude Studios Logo (JPEG), with slogan, Alternate

Talk to me about Denver. How you arrived, why you stay, what the music landscape is like etc.

In 2007, I was touring with Huda Hudia. The last stop on the tour was Denver, Colorado. I loved it. I loved the climate, the view, the city, and instantly clicked with the group of people we had met at that gig. At the time I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and had been in the south for upwards of 12 years. I hated it. I was tired of the dirty south. A little over a month later, I had moved to Denver. I thought I wanted to move back to Florida in 2014. After getting there, it took me about 7 months before I was back in Denver, I missed it so much. This is my home now.

Denver is the birth place of Beatport, so the music scene has always been pretty hot. We’ve also got some pretty famous clubs, from Vinyl that over the past 20 years has hosted just about every one of the biggest DJ’s, to The Church, which is a gorgeous converted Catholic church, to Beta, which is now one of the country’s super clubs. We’ve also got some pretty successful promoters that have had their hands in some massive events.

There really isn’t much to complain about out here from a musical stand point.

When you sit down and listen for tunes to play or remix, what do you look for?

I look for originality and production quality. I look for tracks that are unique. As the use of premade and purchased sample packs increases, I’ve decided I would rather steer clear of them. I applaud the companies that have created successful businesses around selling the packs. And, I feel there is a place for good sampling, that’s what so much of my generation’s music is founded on, from hip hop, to pop music, to dance music. But I feel relying on sample packs and construction kits is lazy, and ultimately decreases sound quality. You can’t alter the effects already on the samples, so producers are limited in how much they can manipulate their sounds to specifically fit with the sounds they produce themselves. When I look for tracks for my own virtual record bag, I look for tracks that don’t sound they’ve come from those packs. When I look for tunes to remix, I try to choose tunes that I can’t use my own original production to make the remix sound top notch and unique.

Aside from that, when I’m looking for new music, I try to avoid blatant drug references and sexists or abusive lyrics. I don’t do drugs, I don’t party like that. It’s just not my thing. And, the bad lyrics and vocals are just annoying. I don’t really want to hear some MC demoralizing woman. Again, that goes back to the “DJ Hero” name sake. I just don’t think either is a good look, and doesn’t set a good example.

DJ HERO LOGO

What’s the Hero/Wes Smith connection?

A while back I was listening to a mixed set online while hiking with my dog. In the mix was a pretty cool track that I couldn’t ID. I reached out to the DJ that posted the mix, and he said it was Wes Smith’s remix of his track. I heard a new/different remix in my head, so I asked if I could have a go at a remix. The DJ agreed, and sent me the remix pack. After going through the remix pack, I noticed it was missing one of the pieces I really liked about Wes’s remix. At that point I reached out to Wes for the part I wanted. Once Wes sent it to me, I completed the remix and sent it to the original producer of the tune, and to Wes (because he had given me a pieces from his remix of it). Wes seemed to enjoy the remix quite a bit, and, later, asked if I would remix one of the tunes on his album “It’s Wes Smith Yo!” The rest is history.

DJ Hero 4

What’s some advice you would like to pass on?

If I could say just one thing to every would-be producer looking to make music, I would say “be you”. Make the music you want to make. Don’t try to make something that sounds like the other guy. Don’t make music to be cool or successful, do it to express yourself. But, I never want to say just one thing, so let me add this; Take your time, make mistakes. Suck for a while, because you’re supposed to. Learn your craft. Prevent yourself from taking short cuts. Learn humility, because not everyone is going to like you, people are going to lie to you, blow smoke up your ass, hate on you, etc. And, that is OK….be you.

Beyond that, don’t send a label an unfinished track. That’s the fastest way to be skipped over when the label goes to listen to the demos in their in box. Label your work properly; Artist Name – Track Title (Mix Title). If the label doesn’t know who and what they are listening to, they won’t follow up and try to find you. Instead they’ll find another track. Take some pride in your work.

After Turntable Sax, what’s next for DJ Hero?

I’m going to keep making new music. After really contemplating who “DJ Hero” is over the past two years or so, I’ve come to the decision that I love far too many sounds, and too many genres to limit myself to just ‘breaks’. That said, I’m going to make whatever inspires me, be it breaks, house, trap, or anything else for that matter. The goal is to create music that can span the genres in one mixed set.

Related links:

[DJ Hero : Soundcloud] [DJ Hero : Mixcloud] [Wes Smith Original]