This weekend, Palm Springs representer and fine, fine beatsmith DJ Day makes it out to our neighborhood for a guest gig at The Rub at Southpaw in Brooklyn this Saturday night (alongside fellow out-of-towner DJ Mel), and a lead-up appearance on The FADER's East Village Radio show this Friday. We asked Rub ringleader (and FADER contributor and friend) DJ Ayres why he booked Day to perform at the Rub, and Ayres said, "because he ripped it at WMC in Miami. And we love his records and mixtapes. Plus he's just the homie." We agreed on all counts. Then we asked Ayres to interview Day for the site. Read it after the jump, complete with empeethree download of Day's b-boy funk anthem "What Planet What Station."
DJ Day, "What Planet What Station"
Where did you grow up?
Palm Springs mostly. I lived in the Inland Empire for a minute but mostly right here. Exciting!
What's it like there?
It's fucking hot man. And to all these people bitching about 90 degree heat, come see me next time it hits 124. But yo, it's laid back man. We're right in between LA and SD so it's a quick drive into the city, yet you can avoid the drama. It's a good place to raise a family. I've lived in a couple places out here. The longest place I stayed was with my moms in basically a block of apartments, but it was a decent neighborhood. You didn't really have to worry about too much. You could ride your bike up the block and nobody tripped. After I came back from Job Corps I lived in a fucked up spot and got into some stupid situations, but overall it was a decent place growing up.
What was the first record you bought?
I think it was Van Halen "Jump" and Run DMC "Walk This Way" in the same day. Big spender at the Wherehouse.
When did you start DJing?
Around '88 or '89 but "officially" (with 1200's) in '95. Before that I just used 2 boomboxes and this giant piece of shit all-in-one turntable/radio/cassette thing. I would make pause tapes and then record those with me cutting or mixing onto the other boombox. You had to get creative back in the day.
When did you get heavily into digging, and what were you digging for?
I had always been digging or taking records from whoever, but I got more collectro-ish in the mid-late 90's. I really wasn't feeling hip-hop at that time when the Shiny Suit Mafia came in, so instead I went to find the roots of all the stuff I had grown up listening to. And of course to find stuff to sample for myself. The thing about digging and trends and all of that is, despite what comes and goes and what's "in", if you really take the time to listen to things, you come away with a broader understanding and appreciation of all forms of music. At least you should. Unless you're still checking for 4 second Vic Juris samples.
When did you start making beats, and to what end?
I think I had a sampler before I even had actual turntables. I had one of those old Gemini 12 second samplers and a Tascam four-track and would just trigger samples by hand for three or four minutes straight. This was around ‘93-‘94. Me and my man Osha would bug out with that thing. Sampling AT&T commercials and cutting em up to make them sound evil etc. I think technology has made it too easy for people in some respects. I mean, ultimately it comes down to who's using the tools, be it Ableton or an MPC, but to me, starting with little gives you more creative energy cause you're not bogged down with an overdose of options. What do I know, though? I'm talking out my ass.
What was the first beat you sold? Your first shit that came out?
There were comps and stuff early on, but my first solo thing would probably be "What Planet What Station." After that things kinda took off quick with the other releases.
Are you going to do a whole alblum?
Yeah, actually that's in the works right now for MPM and should be finished by the end of the year. Aloe Blacc and Exile will be involved as well some other folks. I'm just gonna try and do me. Hopefully I'll make something I still want to listen to 20 years from now. That's the goal at least. The next single is coming out soon as well as a mix for Subcontact in Japan. Then a tour in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
Is it some B-Boy shit or some downtempo shit?
My album? Hmm... man I really hate to put either of those labels on it. I don't want to sound corny like some fucking "arteeest" or anything, but I'm trying not to be categorized other than "good or bad". Someone from a major music company - that will remain nameless - was talking to me at WMC and when he asked what kind of music I made I blurted out "instrumental hip-hop," the guy says "Oh…" and starts talking to someone else. So, you can see why I'm a little reluctant to throw a title on. I'm just trying to make something people feel so you can call it what you want.
But there will be some fast shit and some slow shit?
Oh yeah definitely. I think if you look at each record that I've put out I've tried to let people know where I'm coming from with each side. There'll be fast stuff but it won't be a cut and paste super sample orgy like what I've put out on the singles. I'll still make party records though.
Is it funny that you're getting a lot more out of town gigs now because you have records out, even though you’ve been Djing for 10 or 15 years?
Yeah, it's kinda strange but it's what I would hope for. I think when you DJ locally in a place where I live, which is small, you can't exactly be demanding all kinds of loot and a residency unless you play strictly top 40/club stuff. What we do obviously is more of a niche thing in that respect. You get your loyal folks who come every time you DJ, but it's not gonna be on the level it is other places just because of the size of the city. Don't get me wrong though, we have a monthly we do called Electric Kingdom and we do our thing. I'd rather have the freedom to get drunk and play records with my friends then make loot and be a robot every week.
Do you play different out of town than you do at home?
Hell yes. I mean, the crowd I play for here is mostly hip hop/classic joints, so I can't really bust out a Tittsworth record and have it go over like it would, say, at The Rub. So you gotta know what works where, but it's always good to try and expose people to new music. It's what we're supposed to do right? So I played Tittsworth at the last gig out here anyway. Yo, I should add, and this is true, that the Rub remix records go over ANYWHERE. Every place I've played I always rock those and they never fail.
Hahaha. It's true. Bia bia!
Can we get a top ten of what you're going to play in New York this weekend?
Golden Flamingo Orchestra - Guardian Angel
Too $hort feat. Snoop - Keep Bouncing
Willie Evans Jr. - Do It
Yellow Sunshine - Yellow Sunshine
Federation - 18 Dummy
Prince - Lady Cab Driver
Q-Tip - Official
Tittsworth feat. Stimulus - 911
Blame One and Kankick - Untitled
Lupe Fiasco - Kick Push (Exile remix)