Interview: Q-Bert

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As one third of the legendary DJ group Invisibl Skratch Piklz (Short Cuts and D-Style), Richard Quitevis aka Q-Bert has won so many world DJ battle championships titles that he had to retire from competitions – he’s just that good. JUICE drags the Filipino-American away from the wheels of steel for some mano-a-mano with the numero uno turntablist.

Text Lim Kok Kean

We heard that all 3 members of Invisibl Skratch Piklz played a gig in Bangkok recently; is a reunion in the works?
I’ve just put together Scratchopedia, a sort of enclyopedia of scratches from A-Z, compiled a 4 volume record/CD set called Breaktionary which basically contains about 250 breaks for DJs and I’m planning my next solo album. There are no plans for an Invisbl reunion, that gig in Bangkok just happened by coincidence. (Smiles)

How did you get into turntablism?
Growing up I loved hip hop music and was always checking out what other DJs were doing, I was fascinated by the turntable. To me it was a strange musical instrument with unlimited possibilities.

How does turntablism now compare with when you started?
There’s definitely more possibilities now with the things you can do with digital equipment, there’s a lot more toys to play with! Whoever said that turntablism is dead is wrong ’cause it’s infinite, the only boundary is your own imagination.

Is technology killing the art of turntablism and making DJs lazy?
Nah, there’s no easy out. With digital CD players there’s always a slight delay, there’s no way they can replace vinyl or turntables. And the only way to be a better DJ is to practice, practice, practice.

Legend has it that you lost your first DJ battle to Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys’ resident DJ). Have you returned the favour?
Haha, me and Mike grew up together, he picked up the turntable a month before me and yeah, he kicked my ass the first time we battled. And yes, I’ve returned the favour after that but Mike’s a great DJ, there are things that he can do that I can’t and vice versa, so it’s all good.

What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?
Back when we first started, me and Mix Master Mike got a gig to play at a cowboy bar, so imagine two hip hop kids being hassled and asked to play country music the whole night long….

Name the 3 records you’re taking with you when you’re marooned on a desert island.
Easy. Super Seal, Needle Thrashers Omega and Gag Seal Breaks. They’re all DJ battle records. (Laughs)

Q-Bert rocked the house at Orange on December 15. For more on Q-Bert, check out and This interview was published in the February 2008 issue of JUICE.

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