November 13, 2009
He’s been deejaying for over a decade and has worked with artists from Nas to the Tragically Hip. Now, DJ and producer extraordinaire Skratch Bastid is about to breathe a breath of fresh air into our night life with his new and highly anticipated events, “Skratch Bastid Presents” which kicks off Saturday Nov 14 at Revival Bar on College St.
I don’t know, I mean I’ve travelled across Canada and right now I’m feeling Toronto the most, so I’m here.
What’s living in Toronto been like so far?
I did move during the garbage strike so it wasn’t the most fragrant – or maybe it was a very fragrant thing when I moved here. The shows have been awesome too. I’ve gotten to see so many shows: reggae, hip hop, rock. There’s always something going on and I really like that. I got to play with Hi-Tek and [Talib] Kweli the second month I was here so that was great.
You’re kicking off a new event in Toronto called Skratch Bastid Presents this Saturday. How did the idea of a live, interactive stage show come together?
I’ve been deejaying for over 10 years and basically I wanted an event that challenged me a bit and then also yielded an exciting result for people coming to the show. I wanted a different club experience where there’s great music that you can dance to and enjoy but it’s also kind of that live once in a lifetime or in the moment type of event that happens with spontaneous free styling and improvisation. I still wanted to keep that party element alive, so it’s somewhere between a show and a DJ set.
This Saturday, November 14, you’ll be performing with special guests DJ Starting from Scratch and DJ Scratch, the beat boxer from The Roots. Who else do you hope to collaborate with for these events?
For this event, I just went to Scratch, the beat boxer’s live show and I was really inspired by how in touch he was with DJ culture. So I thought, “Hey let’s combine this with a DJ on stage.” Then I said, “Why not make it two DJs?” So that just came on spontaneously. This is a new concept so I’ll be looking for talented people I can collaborate with onstage — in the next month or so whoever catches my ear. It’s going to be hard to live up to the first show.
It feels like club nights and DJ nights have gotten a little stale in Toronto and pretty much just lure people with cheap drinks. What are you luring us with?
I feel the same way. I feel like it’s so easy to be a DJ now, especially with the technology that has come out. But it’s my job and I have a lot of great ideas, so in order to separate myself from the pack and make sure I don’t get labelled as an average DJ, I’ve got to give it 110% percent. I have to put forth new shows so that’s what this live interaction thing is going to be. If you’re too busy getting drinks at the bar, or looking for the cheapest drinks, you’re probably going to miss some great shows going on.
You’re pretty adamant about sticking to vinyl; do you think that sets you apart from other DJs?
Well, I use Serato and digital DJ software, for sure, but everything started with records for me. I have a mean record collection that I draw from and I think that’s what’s going to set my club nights apart from others. You’re not going to hear the same music you hear everywhere else. You’re going to hear records that I’ve found, remixes that I’ve made and the years of experience I’ve got, combined with all the newest great stuff.
We’ve been teased with videos of rehearsal footage on your website where you’re spinning Run-DMC, Biggie and Spoonie Gee to name a few. What else can we expect to hear on Saturday?
We’ve rehearsed but it’s just a matter of what we feel like doing. We actually have more than enough material for the show and what’s great about that is we’re just going to see what the crowd enjoys. If they’re into hip hop, we’ll play hip hop. If they’re into rock, we’ll play rock. We’ll probably hit them with some stuff they didn’t expect. Basically we’ve broken down genres and we’re going to do a whole bunch of mini sets and surprise people with the artists that we chose. The sky is the limit.
For more information about this event visit: www.skratchbastid.com