|DJ IQ :: Update
Arrr man I knew this one was coming! Ha! I basically left school with 3 AS levels which are kinda like ‘half’ A-levels so not that great. I don’t plan to be using any of my academic qualifications anyway, if I did, I’d probably go back to the drawing board with a course in music or something… College dropout for real! Haha.
OK, and have you now made DJing a full time thing, or like most of us are you holding down a job to pay the bills?
I'm extremely happy to say that Hip Hop is my fulltime job, it’s a beautiful thing to wake up every morning and have the same ultimate goal in mind. Things are very hectic at the minute but this can only be a good thing! I love doing what I do!
Right, I think one of the major things you did just after we talked was becoming Jehst's live DJ, and you played on his tour for the Falling Down LP release. How did that come about and what did you make of it?
The Falling Down tour was some crazy shit! No one had ever really done a tour like that before Hip Hop wise in this country. The gigs would either be every night or every ‘other’ night from town to town, city to city. It was a golden experience, highs and lows, tiring but undoubtedly worth doing. For me, it was the perfect way to introduce myself as Jehst’s official DJ. The gigs themselves were live as everyone there came to see our show specifically.
It must have been an eye opener, both in terms of larger audiences focussed just on the stage and you, but also, what was it like to work with an MC, 'cos that is a bit different to just playing records - you have to take into account what other people will do...
Yeh totally, it’s just another aspect there for a DJ to master. I'd consider myself a pretty well rounded DJ and whether its DJing for rappers, in clubs, on radio or mix tapes etc. its good to delve into all! DJing for rappers is cool 'cos you act as a team, especially if you’re often doing gigs and on the road. Its been Jehst, Myself and Asaviour; that’s been the collective for the past year and a half now doing shows... We be on some raw RUN DMC type shit! One DJ, 2 emcees… LET’S GO….!
What Are you best memories from the tour?
I think in terms of shows the Jazz café was proper live, I swear that was some groundbreaking type shit! And it also had some kind of ‘magic’ to it… Everything was jus kinda perfect. Many artists were there as well so for me, it was like DJing for everyone I looked up to and respected musically in the scene. Not just the usual team but a long list of guests, Klashenkoff, Kyza, Tommy Evans, Task Force, the Sundragon etc. so that was quite special to me... also being that it was in Camden, close to home, there were a few special people in the crowd such as my mum, dad and girlfriend at the time.
On the other hand, some places really took care of us... Big up Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Notts, Cambridge, Newcastle, Cornwall to name a few places that were extra good!
Do you have plans to continue working with Jehst? Will you be doing the cuts on any of his forthcoming releases?
I will be doing cuts for his next album for sure, I’ve also got a beats project I’m doing with him which I think will also be the first release on his own record label!
A Beats project? So does this mean you have turned a hand at producing?
Yes indeed... It was always gonna be part of the bigger picture! A natural progression if ya like… but a lot of good music will be dropping soon, believe! I have various projects: EP’s, Mix CDs, Album’s in the works and all dropping early next year! Its funny but I seem to be in between generations musically!.. From DJing for Jehst and working in that circle I’ve also been working with my own peers and crews. So I’m trying to sort of bridge the gap between generations. The stakes always get raised higher, kids are getting cleverer with it 'cos information gets around quicker now.
The access is there! I’m an example of this... one of the new breed!... Only still others aren’t willing to really work at it, to proper work hard. However, more to the point, material on the way will therefore have a unique marriage of talent regardless of age or generation. Nothing like you’ve heard before!
So what production is on the way?
My album ‘Live from the Sofa’ is dropping spring next year… I have disguised it as a mix CD tho, quite sneaky!! Reason being is so that its not that far removed from what people already know me for! It will be all my production, all exclusive material but mixed and cut just like a mix CD. It’ll be all song based too, not so much one minute long freestyles scattered here and there. A proper product! I might also put out a ‘Live from the Sofa’ EP, the most popular tracks taken from the CD, jus giving it up for the DJ’s and vinyl collectors who can then have the tracks unmixed to play in clubs or wherever.
Also I have an EP coming out with my boy Kaspa Troy aka K Trizzle aka K.T, who’s one of the younger up & coming rappers killing it with some seriously ill flows. The EP’s entitled ‘The Current Status EP’ and it’s looking like it’ll be the next thing I release. IQ on the beats. Kaspa on the rhymes.
Expect it early next year!
There’s also an IQ / Skratch Turntablism U.S.A collabo hapenning… The Mancan Skratch Mix CD! Watch this space for that. I’ve jus finished a scratch intro actually for the ‘Ear To The Streets’ CD being released on Skratch. It’s being released in the states but hopefully I’ll have a few for my website in the months to come… 'Yeeeahh, it’s real BIG BABY!!!'
But all this amongst others things has kept me a very busy boy indeed!
Speaking of releases you have had a couple of Mix CDs out now already. Can you tell us about them, both in terms of track selection, but also the reasons for doing them and the vibe you want to create. What is your unique selling point? Where can people pick up the CDs?
The last mix CD I released was ‘The Official vol.2’ which is still selling and available through Boombox distribution.. must big those guys up at Boombox! Big up! They make sure my CDs get in to all the independent stores round the country and even now, in to the HMV’s and the Virgins… so u can still get that CD now! It’s a product with a mixture of everything, quite timeless in the sense that its got classic Hip Hop old n’ new, breaks, exclusives from Jehst, Yungun, Kyza to name a few followed by scratch routines 'n everything! It’s well put together mix wise, lots of wordplay and skills and I s’pose you could call it Hip Hop's easy listening! And of course, naturally, the CD before this was ‘The Official Vol.1’. There have been a handful of mixtape / CD releases over the years, most of the older ones have been deleted but if anyone wants to get hold of them send me an email!
The Official Vol.2 should be available at all good record stores!
OK, so it has been a couple of years since you won the Young DMCs. Can you talk a bit about the prestige that brought you and how it might have opened doors for you?
It definitely opened doors for me, it got me recognised as a young talent but at the same time I’ve always seen it for it was. I guess just one part of the puzzle! It got more people to pay attention to me as well. Half the time in this business it’s not the talent that’s lacking, it’s just the difficulty of getting the right people to hear what you’re doing!
So, are you still doing the DJ competition thing? If you are is it like turning pro as a boxer and you have to step up your game to mix it with the professionals, or have you knocked it on the head? If so why?
I’ve knocked it on the head... for now! When I first started DJing that’s all I was really on! Just scratching, cutting up and doing routines and whilst I think its still very important for Hip Hop DJ’s to have this phase, jus for the skill you acquire from practicing, I’ve found joy in other areas now.
‘Turntablism’’ doesn’t fascinate me like it used to, I do feel this has to do with the quality of it nowadays but at the end of the day... I’d rather hook up a break with sum dirty drums on my MP… get me!!
So what beats are you into? Do you have a specific sound?
Well beats I’m into, cats like.. J Dilla (the illest!!) Madlib, his brother, OH NO! and Pete Rock to name a few... I think my sound is still developing but I can at best describe it as the ‘new age bounce’! It’s a combination of that hardcore, stripped down funk shit but with a spacey futuristic twist.
Every beats gotta have that ‘bounce’ to it u know… regardless of wherever the sample may come from... You can get music from almost anywhere! And in general I’d say ‘sound’ fascinates me. Music is my way of transferring my energies out of me and into the outside world, my way of relating.
So, what nights are you regularly playing out at, do you have a residency?
I’m just about to start a new residency at this night called ‘the indelible marker’. ..It's every Sunday at Madame JoJo’s in Soho, London. As it’s on a Sunday it’ll have a nice chill vibe in there as opposed to Saturday night crazyness!
What plans do you have for one off shows, if any?
Well I’m always gigging, the pattern can be irregular but do you just want a copy of my dates? Haha.
Do you still have the Itch FM show? How is that going and how has it developed?
My Itch FM show has gone through various phases but I think it’s found a comfortable format. It’s basically a mix show, something straight off the block. 2 hours of uninterrupted brand new music, all mixed. I do the hosting as well, nothing over the top! When people txt in for requests or shout outs I deal with it. But it’s not the kinda show where I’m asking for 20 missed calls to take back this one track! It’s every Tuesday 6 – 8pm which makes it a drive time show.
I hear you have been making contacts with the BBC and stepping up to a larger organisation must be good for your career. It is also good for the listening audience who will get to hear you. What have you done for them so far - 1Xtra stuff, but also have you got on the main networks?
I’ve done loads of stuff for 1xtra on and off, guest appearances on various shows including Ras Kwarme’s ‘Homegrown’ show, Benji B’s ‘Broken beats’ show, Rodney P and Skitz’s show and its always good fun. I’ve also done various mixes for shows and it’s definitely a powerful thing, 1xtra reaches people other stations can’t simply because of it being on the internet and it spreads the word further! I’ve also done mixes for Kiss 100 but nothing regular.
Are you going to get your own show?
Can you update us on any other wax that you have appeared on - probably providing the cuts I suppose?
I have done cuts for the new Asaviour 12” on YNR Productions entitled ‘The Homecoming’ b/w ‘Money In The Bank remix’ both sides!
I’ve also done cuts for the new Tom Caruana EP which is out now on Breakin Bread records.. even tho I recorded those cuts tiiiime ago! Haha!
Sometimes product takes a long time to get out there! Can I get an amen ?
…I’m also working on a track with Ghost for his album as an appropriate follow up to work on his previous release ‘The Ghost Stories EP’.
I’ve done a lot of cuts at the High Plains HQ waiting to come out too…
Those CD decks have developed a bit more since we last spoke and the Pioneer ones are often in clubs now. Have you changed your opinion on them, and do you see them becoming more prevalent?
I still feel it’s no substitute but is a definite aid! Especially for shows with rappers… I can make a beat during the week and drop it in a set on the weekend jus like a record. So I do appreciate that!
How did the breakbeat.co.uk tutorials come about and go down? They were good, but I felt kinda cheated about that 'cos I suggested you do that for my site a few months before hand :)
HAHA.. did you now? Wow, I’m so sorry maaan! That was cool, I have an endorsement deal with Allen & Heath and I think someone who works there must also work at www.breakbeat.co.uk… something like that anyway! It is a small world, you know how it is! It was simply a case of trying not to bite every word from all the other scratch videos around. There’s only a few ways you can explain a ‘chirp’ scratch for example!
How do you feel you have developed as a DJ? What are the skills you have worked hardest on and does it all just become second nature and easier for you these days?
I don’t think it has become easy, certain shows are more work than others and that’s just down to circumstance. As a DJ, I always feel I need to watch what I’m doing! I think I’ve improved mostly musically. I’m into a lot of different kinda of shit now and don’t necessarily draw my inspiration from Hip Hop…
What happened to the London I / RAF? They had that one 12" and then I never heard of them again?
Everyone in those crews is still involved with music in some way but I guess live just took over! It happens a lot, a lot of people have talent and have what it takes but things get in the way, life! I just feel very blessed that I can simply get on with it and try and do it properly!
And the Unwritten Characters?
We still have that crew, Unwritten Characters always consisted of the three of us. Myself, Kaspa & Bill Zoot (formerly one half of the London I!) and its still all in the family. Bill’s studying at university in Manchester which funnily enough is where we recorded the Current Status EP! And it’s all to do people choosing their different paths but we still move!
How do you feel now that Mr Bongos has closed down? That shop had a fair bit of pedigree, it has to be a shame it has gone?
Definitely… long live Beyond there!!
But I suppose Deal Real was making more of an effort with the Friday night things and Scenario seems to have a dope selection...
Haha Scenario Records DOES have a dope selection and I work there so holla at ur boy!
Watch out for the Current Status EP Featuring Kaspa and ‘Live from the Sofa’ dropping spring 05’ ALL on Mancan. ‘Mancan Scratch’ is a small label I set up for Mixtapes / CDs. Keep checking www.djiq.co.uk… shouts to my mums, my pops and all those fighting for the cause. PEACE
Thank you very much for finding the time to let the readers know what has been happening to you since we last talked.
2000 & Beyond