5 Minutes With… DJ Craze

The only DJ to have won DMC World DJ Championship 3 times in a row, DJ Craze is a much needed panacea to DJ enthusiasts who crave for more than just push-button DJs. JUICE managed to speak to the man before his set last Wednesday 6 June 2012 at Livescape Asia’s monthly night NSFW on being a proper DJ in this age versus being a push-button DJ.

In an interview you said you started spinning to be a battle DJ, and not spin for clubs. Were you being facetious?
Naw, I was being serious! I was 15. Back then the hip hop culture was so amazing to me, it was so positive and such an escape to what I was doing. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I was into my own mischiefs. I used to see breakers and MCs battling. I couldn’t battle, I couldn’t rhyme. I thought DJing was cool because they controlled the party and people would give the DJS props. That was cool to me. But then I saw some battle videos, and it hit me, that was what I wanna do. I don’t care about playing music. I wanna f*ck somebody up.

That still holds up to who you are now?
Now I’m all about rocking the parties, man. I still have the love for battling because that has always been in me. I can’t do it anymore though because there’s no point in me battling anymore.

Top of your game, of course not. Speaking of which,  DJing in the proper hip hop meaning has waned in popularity, most cats would rather produce. What do you feel about that?
Time has changed. It used to be that you can be a dope DJ, and that was what people wanted to see; somebody creative who can mix creatively and play different styles of music. All of that changed cause you’ve seen all that you can see after a while. Then the new kids who haven’t seen any of that moved straight to producing, cause that’s the way you get gigs, and that’s all they know – the music and the producers.

Producers didn’t use to travel and DJ back in the day because they can stay at home and make money by selling records. You can’t make money by selling records anymore though. So it has forced producers to start travelling, and the more they travel the more the attention got away from the DJs. You get more people who want to see somebody who makes the song rather than somebody who’s going to play someone else’s song. Kinda weird because most producers aren’t good DJs, they just stand up there and [makes a button pushing gesture] but the kids don’t care! They are like “wow, it’s a party.”

[Laughs] We get you. What are your personal feelings on that though?
I want to be a producer now. You need to get with the times or you’ll get left behind. It’s not my cup of tea, when I spin at a club I still show the crowd what DJing is supposed to be like. But at the same time I try to play music from my label, I play my own stuff, and still educate them on what I’m doing. I think a combination of being a good producer and a good DJ is what I’m aiming for, my ultimate goal.

There was this video of you doing a routine on the Traktor Scratch Pro 2, which was unbelievably insane. Are you always that good or was the routine heavily practised?
When I’m sober [laughs]. On the real though, I finished that routine while they were filming it. It took me a lot of times to get it right, that’s why I was so happy at the end… I was like “Wooh! I did it!” It took me like 20 tries cause I was still creating it while they were setting up. That’s part of who I am, it comes easy for me when people ask me to scratch. I’d be like sure, I’ve been practising all my life!

Damn right.

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