Skratch Bastid has travelled the world preaching about the wonders of Red Bull Thre3style, but this week he'll be in Chicago, casting an expert eye over the eighteen finalists who are each vying to take the World Champion title home.
You've been somewhat of a Thre3style Ambassador over years. What does the competition mean to you?
Red Bull Thre3style is an event that brings together the most important elements of modern DJing. The current club music environment is diverse musically and stylistically, and I think it's safe to say that most people have at least a few different genres of music on their iPod. Thre3Style as a competition draws from that scene and quantifies the integral parts of rocking the party so that we can have a good ol' fashioned battle, but with updated rules. I got my start DJing in local competitions as a teenager, so I know the potential impact it can have on a DJ's career. I've been fortunate enough to judge & showcase in Asia, New Zealand, North America, South America & Europe with this competition alone, and I think it's a great stage for a DJ looking to take their craft one step further.
What does it feel like to share the stage with DJ Jazzy Jeff? Did you look up to him as you were starting out?
Jeff was the first DJ I ever saw on TV. To go from watching clips of him playing and listening to his albums and mixes to calling him a friend, I'm completely honored. Jazzy Jeff is DJ royalty
People often go to see a DJ perform than rather a band. Do you think the celebrity of what you do is damaging the art, or helping it?
I think it's great that DJing has reached the level of popularity that it has. I love the art form and I'm happy to see it reach so many people. In anything that skyrockets in popularity, you're going to have people who are in it for the wrong reasons, but I think it's our responsibility as DJs to lead by example and continue to promote the true essence of DJing; setting a standard with style, taste and skill.
What advice can you give to DJs competing in Red Bull Thre3style?
Practice lots at home and test it out in public to get comfortable with how people react to your musical ideas. And above all be yourself! It is the best way to stand out from the field. In a world where just about anyone can get into DJing, you have to find your own way to develop your own niche. Why should people come to watch you spin? Find the answer to that question and you're on the right path.
What gets you the most excited about the event?
Seeing the wide range of sounds at the world finals. It's incredible to see how far and wide DJing has spread, and how much it has picked up along the way. Even at the regional and national finals, just seeing how music changes from competitor to competitor and year over year, what songs are everywhere and what songs sneak by you. I guess above all it's a great gathering of great DJs and a good snapshot of what's going on in the DJ world right now.