Hollars and Dollars Exclusive Interview With DJ A-TrakJuly 20, 2009
Here is an Hollars and Dollars exclusive interview with DJ A Trak. His tour comes around Calgary on the 23 of July at Hifi. I ain’t gonna sit here and put out a huge intro on A-Trak cause you know who he is. If you don’t then I don’t know where you been for the last decade and maybe you should spend some time on wiki and educate yourself. Here is the interview with A-Trak!
Hey how’s it goin?
Cool how are you?
Good good. Your all settled in right now?
Yeah yeah, I’m good thanks.
Where abouts you at? You in New York right now?
No I’m on tour right now, I’m in San Diego. I started the tour a week ago.
A week ago? Cool. Yo, I’ll just get right into the interview. So you started DJ’n when you were 13 and you won the DMC when you were 15…a lot of people spend years perfecting their skills but you crushed that into 2 years. How was it battleling it out at the DMC’s at that age?
Umm…I mean you know for me, at the time I didn’t even realize that it was that it was special or different you know, I was just like really passionate about scratching you know and turntable-ism and I would practice it everyday and I was really determined to get as good as I could and I gave it my all. It wasn’t till later that I realized the impact that it woulda had to win that competition. But at the time, I was just really just having fun and putting my heart into something that I was really passionate about. It sound really naive…and it was. I liked scratching and I scratched and I wanted to be the best at it and I was really having an awsome time doin it.
Looking at it on paper now it seems simple. It’s all like “He practiced for hours in his basement, came up and won a contest and now he’s all big and stuff…” but in reality there’s a lot more than that you know what I mean lik….
…Yeah but you know…anything beyond that is hard to really pin down and define or anything…as far as I was concerned it really felt that simple. It’s just that…in the scheme of influencing other DJ’s and what have you, then it has an effect that is way bigger than I could have ever imagined. Being the youngest to win, being the first Canadian to win…and especially the whole age thing. A lot of DJ’s come up to me till this day at shows or whatever and tell me that when they saw the video of me at the DMC’s…thats what made them start DJ’ing. I think they saw me and felt like “If this kid can do it, then I can do it.” People are always like “You probably hear this all the time” and it’s true that I hear that a lot but it’s so crazy that I hear it a lot and never get used to it…like I’m always touched because like…you know to have that impact on people, to motivate people to try something new and believe in themselves and everything is amazing.
When you entered the DMC’s, did you go in it with the intent to win or just to see how it would all go down?
I mean yeah…I wanted to win it, but I wanted to win it the same way a kid would enter a chess championship and wanna win it, but it doesnt mean that I wanted to influence a generation or anything…I just really liked to scratch.
We are pretty much around the same age. Remember when the Return of the DJ series came out? How did that affect you?
Yeah…the first one was a huge influence on me. I wanted to learn all these scratches and I couldn’t just go into a club and hear it…and ofcoarse this is pre…before the internet got…you know…anywhere near where it is now. I remember my brother went to Toronto for a weekend and he went to the record shop and bought the Return of the DJ record for me, and it was like if an archeologist finds…you know suddenly a full skeleton of some…you know what I mean?…And your lookin at it like “Wow, I can work with this for months…” and really listen to it for months and just learn all these new things. It was a huge influence for me.
Which tracks were the most inspirational on that cd?
Uh…the Babu one and the Skratch Piklz were my biggest inspirations.
How did you meet Q Bert and become part of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz?
I met Q bert in a…I was booked at a show with him in Montreal when I was 14. Basically before I entered the DMC’s, I was starting to get a couple bookings in Montreal just to go to these spots and scratch basically. This one club booked Q bert and a couple other DJ’s and I was really this new new new…super young up and coming kid, and these promoters just paired me with Q bert on the show lineup and we kept in touch a little bit. Then I entered the DMC’s and won the Montreal regional, and when the Canadian finals came, Q bert judged the Canadian finals and that was the second time I met him. And basically after that battle which I won that QBert first invited me to join the Skratch Piklez.
Once you reach a certain point in a career, you gain status…and I read in one interview that it’s weird sometimes to get people that “know” you come up and chat you up when you don’t know them. It’s especially true now a days when people are so accessable through social networks like Myspace, facebook and Twitter. What’s your impressions on these sites?
On these sites, I don’t have a problem being there. You have fans and people who are first discovering me and it helps reach more people. The only time it gets a little wierd is the Facebook chat thing when like, you can be on your computer and some person that you never spoke to says “Wassup dude? What you doin?” Like thats a little too close for comfort…but aside from that…I think its more like when someone comes up to you in person and they know what you been doin and they been reading your twitter or whatever…then its just a mental adjustment you gotta make. And even then, it’s fine and that’s why I’m on twitter and that…I realize what information I’m putting out there so…I know what I’m getting myself into…but it’s always a bit of a surprise when someone you never met starts talking to you and you mention something you did yesterday and their like “Oh yeah, I know I read that”…its a bit of a mind fuck.
There are a lot of underground cats like Wale, Big Sean, Kid Cudi that haven’t even released a major cd debut and yet they are up in the super star status. The internet is totally allowing people to get noticed and network with all types of people. There are lots of growing musicians that are already collaborating with established musicians, artists of different genres…You think these kind of collaborations and the bridging of the status gap is gonna help the creativity of music?
Yeah completly, its great. I mean its helped me with a lot of little projects that I’ve done that started with a simple you know…reaching out from those sites.
Speaking of collabo’s, any late news on Ducksauce?
Yeah, today (July 14, 2009) we released…we did like a advanced release on the two main tracks on Beatport which is an online store really for DJ’s. It’s not the official release…the official release will be in September, but this is just for the DJ’s to have it playing in the summer. We are just kind of building over the summer and gonna work on the video and everything.
Any big plans for 2009? You got Ducksauce, got the tours goin on…your stayin real busy…
My main priority right now…we’re just wrapping up the Kid Sister album, I mean all the songs are done and I think theres like…2 mixdowns left till were finished mixing her album. I’m doing this tour right now which is a pretty big step for me cause its the first time I do like a…stage production. I have a light show I’m traveling with and everything. Yeah yeah, its like a concert…like a DJ concert which is cool. Like what I’ve done with Kanye or this…I want to expose more people to DJing and also try to push where you can go with it and what you can do with it and everything. That’s really tough to do. I also have the 2 mixtapes that came out in the spring. Infinity +1 and Fabriclive. Both are out.
And then of coarse Fools Gold the record label that’s my day to day operation…keeping the label running, getting the new releases ready, tours and events and stuff. We have a label compelations in the fall…and then later in the year…well really after this tour I’m gonna start working on an album…an A Trak album.
Its a pretty packed year!
That’s crazy you sure got a lot goin on…
And now we say our thank you’s and goodbyes but you don’t really need to read about that part…