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interview // dj allstar

What the science about the your name?

I used to be "dj jazzy rock" way back when I was in my early teens, but my friends noticed that I had a penchant for always sporting the latest converse "chuck taylor's allstars" shoes--I had all sorts. my boys just started calling me dj allstar, and it stuck. i'm a member of the "wax musim collective", which is basically really two dj's right now, myself and dj rhino--wax of course being vinyl and musim -- just an alt. spelling of "museum" referring to the thousands of records that we currently have...of course being dj's we have loads of vinyl.

What was your first single/recording?

i've been djing for quite a bit, i really haven't had too much that folks would have heard of, outside of the Internet, at least...i've recorded with a group called "True Soldiers" about 5 years ago, but nothing was ever released. i did the intro, and have a joint on the "Sphere of Hip Hop" compilation. so i guess i'd say this sphere of hip hop joint is my first w/ fairly widespread distribution.

What instruments do you use?

pretty much ensoniq ASR-X (the older, black box), found sounds, and, of course, the turntables. i play percussion (congas, bongos, djembe) a bit, so i'm trying to get more of that in my sound...i'm working on and off with some good improvisational musicians to add a more melodic sound to my joints as well.

How would you classify your style as an artist?

definitely hip hop. some folks hear my stuff and think "electronic" or what not, and i sometimes try to push myself to that audience, since the sound is the same as hip hop in a lot of ways, but whatever i do, i like to stay beat heavy, with some original musicality. i'm not really a big user of sampled loops. i'm a big fan of shawn j. and dj spinna, how they can have a musical or electronic sound, but stay beat heavy. i've learnt so much from other beat makers...i'm trying to develop a sound where you can listen to an allstar joint and not worry about it having words--complete hip hop instrumentals. i'm definitley not there yet, but i'm working. i shouldn't knock the MC though, 'cos i definitely like making the kinds of beats where rhymers really be like "Yo! let me get that beat". i'm contemplating/working on a praise joint. some instrumentals along with some MC's on it. i definitely believe all music originated from man's need to praise God...i think its one of the forms of praise that humans can most easily relate to.  

What was your favorite single/recording you did?

i got a CD out right now, a demo, "Lucky Favorite Beats" 1.2000 that contains some of  my favorites. i can listen to that CD over and over. i like most of my stuff, really. i'm feeling myself like a nympho. :) nah really though, i do listen back quite a bit though, and be like "what was i thinking?!"

Growing up, who do you think was a few of your biggest musical influences?

i come from a family that was all into music. my mother plays the piano, my father played horns in bands, all my brothers played. there was always music around. mad records...although i played clarinet for a little bit, my instrument's pretty much the record player. :) i used to come home from elementary school and sit in front of the stereo playing records all the time...most definitely STEVIE WONDER was always in the mix at some point. i couldn't imagine growing up without his music in my life. we had all sorts of stuff--average white band, elton john, the meters, dr. john, ramsey lewis, Earth Wind and Fire most def, and whatever my cousin (who worked at RCA) would give us when she'd come home with the mad promotional copies--cats that put out one time hits and faded, LOTS of jazz. whatever was aurally pleasing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

good question. i won't go too far, 'cos everything is "God willing", but if my day job pans out and we IPO, i'll just say look for some better independent distribution direct from the Wax Musim  ;) outside of music, definitely building with the church here and seeing my lovely little girl (and hopefully more) grow physically and my wife spiritually. i'll be having a blast, and the crew will be massive--universe wide!  

What do you feel is the toughest part of the music industry?

trusting labels. something that some folks may know about is that i had a song that was going on this compilation album, and i got all the way to signing the contracts, and it took me inquiring about my advance before finding out that the song isn't being used. that was definitely upsetting, and this is from a smaller label that i had/have respect for. i've heard all sorts of stories about dealing with labels--i got a friend who always tells me he can count on his hand who he really trusts in the business. i guess a lot of folks are too busy to care about artists, or what not. i'd kill myself if i was trying to be the "hot stuff"--it takes too much sacrifice of yourself, your integrity, to "make it huge". i'm not willing to give that up.

What message are you trying to get across to fans?

music is God's. recognize that and have fun with it. give thanks for the gift of music!

If someone were to look in your CD player or tape player right now what would be in it?

right now as i type, i'm listening to Maxwell's "embrya". in my cd folder i've been carrying around this month Keith Green "for those who have ears to hear" Keith Green "the Collection" Ambassador "Christology in laymen's terms" MC Shan "Born to be wild" (can you say "juice crew law"?) Mos Def "Black on Both Sides" Prodigal Sons "Texno Theology" Starflyer 59--the silver one (MAN i like this album so) Me--"Lucky Favorite Beats 1.2000" E-Roc--"A Lie in Science" Stevie Wonder--"Innervisions" Om Lounge 1 (favorite flight CD) and 2 Iona--"Beyond these Shores" Marvin Gaye--"I Want You" (didn't realize this album was so raunchy :) Best of Kool and the Gang (the early stuff--Chocolate Buttermilk, NT baby!) Verve Bossa Nova collection Full Clip--a decade of Gang Starr  

Personally what does hiphop mean to you?

i can go on and on about this--in a nutshell, hip hop means nothing to me, hip hop means quite a bit. i like the way mos def puts it in his song "hip hop"--he goes on and on about it, then at the end says "but black it can't save you". word to *that*.

How do you feel your music will effect its listeners?

although my music is primarily between me & God, i'm hoping to have the same effect on folks that a lot of music has had on me...you tie a particular song to an event or a place...i'd be flattered if i hear of my song being like that....something like "man everytime i go to chicago i think of that allstar joint we listened to on the way there". :) i want folks to smile when they hear my joints. i like how music sets a mood, but i'd also like to produce that joint (or joints) that just make you get "that face" when you hear it, you know, like a dj premier joint. :-o!

If you could change one thing in world, what would it be?

too tough a question, next. :)  

What would you like to say to all the new artists in the game?

 if you want to get a deal--you got to be mad hungry. so many times it's right place right time, or who you know. save your pennies and roll your own, get on the Internet and push your stuff--get your CD made at mp3.com and buy a couple copies and sell it on the streets!

Any Last Words?

i was gonna give shoutouts but it would take forever, so i'll say peace to the family of God...keep doing what's in your heart...music makers let it flow, don't get caught up with the dough. turntablists--strike while the iron is hot--it's your time to shine! peace especially to cats overseas who are digging the work i'm doing, much appreciated. seek God with all your heart, drop whatever it takes to do that, you'll be content. thanks to you for putting me up for this interview. since i only do beats its good to be able to express myself in words.

For more information on Dj Allstar check out http://www.beats.com


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