DJ Mr. President Interview 2015
DJ Mr. President continues to explore the art of DJing, working at clubs and bringing music to the masses, Wanna know what’s he’s doing today? Then check out this fresh and interesting interview!
1 – Is there a story behind your name DJ Mr. President?
People ask me that often wondering if the name was something I made up but actually, when I was a small child my step father (Chambers) called me “Mr. President”. He playfully gave me that nick name because I always took forever to make decisions, weighing the pros and cons. I’d turn EVERY simple question into a big “presidential” decision. It started out as something very funny but actually stuck over the years. Years back when I was MC’in I started out as MC Baby Fresh but when I officially went into DJ’in I went with DJ Mr. President.
2 – How long have you been producing?
My growth has been very steady over the years starting out as an MC in the 80s, going into DJ’in and the natural progression for me I felt, was production. I have always been around music production even as an MC but I would say I dove 100% into music production back in 2007. I felt I always had a good ear for music, growing up listening to multiple genres of music, Hip Hop, Soul, Rock, R&B, Classical to name a few. Yes, I said classical, that comes from playing the violin when I was a kid, lol.
3 – Do you use samples or compose your beats from scratch?
I do both. It all depends on what triggers my creative senses when I step into my studio space. There is no one single process I stick to when I work on a track. I naturally flow with whatever catches my attention, whether it is a part of a record I hear or messing with a chord on the keyboard. I’ll run with it. As you know, sampling goes back to the beginning of hip hop because we had no genre, we had to piece together bits and pieces of other genres. I have respect for both processes of production.
4 – What software and hardware do you use today to produce music?
HARDWARE: AKAI MPC 2500, M-AUDIO OXYGEN 61
ACOUSTIC STUFF: ALESIS DM10 STUDIO DRUM SET, LP ASPIRE TIMBALES, SOUND TUBE, TAMBOURINE, CLAVES, SHAKER
MIXER: M-AUDIO PROJECTMIX I/O
HOST PLATFORM: PRO TOOLS
PLUG-INS/VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS: ASSORTMENT OF MIXING & MASTERING PLUG-INS FROM COMPANIES LIKE NATIVE INSTRUMENTS, IK MULTIMEDIA, FXPANSION & WAVES
MONITORS: YAMAHA HS50Ms, M-AUDIO BX5As, KLIPSCH MONITORS, MACKIE BIG KNOB STUDIO COMMAND SYSTEM
COMPUTER: APPLE MAC PRO WITH DUAL MONITORS
DJ STUFF: (2) TECHNICS SL-1200 MK2 (WITH SHURE M44-7 CARTRIDGES & STYLUS), RANE MIXER TTM-57SL, 17″ APPLE MACBOOK PRO, SERATO, DENON HEADPHONES DN-HP1000, QSC GX5 STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER, PEAVEY CS-800, BEHRINGER VIRTUALIZER PRO DSP2024P, BEHRINGER 8-INPUT/2-BUS MIXER, JBL SPEAKERS JRX-115s, 12″ FENDER SQUIER FLOOR MONITOR
ON THE ROAD; PRO TOOLS 8LE, DIGIDESIGN M-BOX 2, M-AUDIO KEYSTATION
MISCELLANEOUS STUFF: EIKI PROJECTION SYSTEM LC-XB23C, RODE NT1-A, SHURE SM48
AMMUNITION: TONS OF VINYL, BREAKBEATS AND DRUM SOUNDS
5 – What’s the name of your latest track? How can we download it?
My latest track is called “Invasion of the Killer Butterflies” and it is available on my Band Camp page. It is available as a free download before hitting the online outlets such as itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc. later this month.
6 – What challenges did you face as a DJ during the late 80s?
Back then I was really into MC’in with my partner and brother Manny D, we paired up with DJ Fresh and Mixmaster Supreme (Internationally known for his travels with the Magnificent Force and music producer for such greats like Kurtis Blow), I had the pleasure of being around this greatness. Mixmaster Supreme really is the one who inspired me to start DJ’n at a very young age. He would let me “get on” and do my thing. I’m sure I sounded horrible, lol, but it’s all part of the process, he taught me a lot. It was a transition that took years, MC’in and getting on the turntables when I could. So back then regarding DJ’in it was all a learning process, I couldn’t afford equipment myself so I was always DJ’in on someone else’s.
7 – What’s the best DJ set you played that sticks in the mind as being a special night?
I have played different venues but the one place that still stands out as being a great set was playing at Rapathon in Harlem. For anyone who has never heard of it, it was an annual event breaking the Guinness Book of World records for the longest running MC Cypher with DJ’in playing on the set. It started out as 24 hours the first year and they added an hour every year afterwards. In 2009 during my DJ set about two o’clock in the morning it was almost spiritual. The group of MC’s on stage and I were one, we put on a show and it was like no other. People in the audience felt it in the air, the MC’s and I all felt it, hip hop history was being made. We still talk about that one.
I would also have to add another “set”. In 2009 after I heard about the passing of Grandmaster DJ Roc Raida, I held a tribute in his honor and DJ’d for a straight 24 hours by myself. It was video streamed and witnessed by thousands. This was so touching, towards the end of my marathon set, I really felt his presence in the room (either that or I was delirious on the 24th hour, lol). It was really something special.
8 – Do you still DJ with vinyl? Why?
Yes, Yes and Yes, I make sure I disconnect my computer play and practice with real vinyl records. If a DJ want’s to really appreciate the art of DJ’in, they have to learn and be fluent in playing real vinyl records, it is essential. Technology is great, I love playing digital but mixing and blending two records together without a computer is very, very different and not everyone can do it.
9 – What are some goals that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
There are really no specific goals I’d mention, I’ve DJ’d a lot of venues, MC’d many shows and had the opportunity to meet a lot of great, successful people in the business. I am very proud and blessed to have had the experiences I’ve had; I also look forward to more in the future.
10 – What do you see in the future for the music industry?
That is a good question. I really feel everyone is still trying to figure out what direction this thing is going. Right now, I think it is more of a level playing field for the talented artist (or not) to get his/her music out to the masses. The entire industry has changed so much over the years with the internet and insurgence of the independent labels. The big record labels are taking pages out the independent artist play book to try and keep their bench players in the game. They have no choice but to rethink what they have been doing for years. Right now the industry is wide open and will be going forward.
Exclusive Interview: VE/RA Discusses Techno Hit “Love & Peace”
I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with VE/RA, an up-and-coming Techno musician, to talk about her recent popular single, “Love & Peace” in collaboration with The Rocketman. During the interview, she talks about the process of creating her unique and powerful sound, juggling her music career alongside other responsibilities, her aspirations as an artist in the long run, and various other topics.
1 — How did the idea of mixing elements of Rap and Techno come about in your new track “Love & Peace”?
The Rocketman and I, both being Techno artists, decided to create a track in our genre. However, we wanted to make it unique and distinct. Upon discovering a Rap vocal, we immediately started building music around it.
2 — What was your reaction to receiving support from industry heavyweights like Charlotte De Witte, Nicky Romero, and Maddix?
After finishing the track, we sent it to Charlotte de Witte. Over the weekend, while scrolling through my Instagram stories, I came across a post where she was playing “Love & Peace.” Overwhelmed with excitement, I immediately called The Rocketman. Getting support from Charlotte de Witte is a huge deal within the Techno scene. Soon after, Maddix also supported us multiple times, which was great since I’ve always enjoyed his productions. A little while later, I received a video of Nicky Romero playing our track on the main stage at EDC Mexico. It was surreal to see the huge audience react so positively to our track. In short, it was a very cool experience!
3 — Did you face any challenges in achieving the hard-hitting sound?
No, not really. The track was there within 5 hours. After finding the vocals, a hard-hitting kick, psy bass, acid line, and trance synth were built around it. The result was not overly complicated, as simplicity was key.
4 — What do you think sets “Love & Peace” apart from other Techno tracks?
“Love & Peace” is a highly accessible Techno track that appeals to a wide audience. While Nicky Romero and Avao are not necessarily Techno artists, they still play the genre. Additionally, the Rap vocal adds a unique touch to the whole sound.
5 — Can you share any details about your upcoming collaborations in 2023?
No, unfortunately, I can’t say anything about that this time.
6 — How do you balance your music production career with other commitments?
I still live at home with my parents, so my expenses are not that high. I do this on purpose, to put my full focus on my music career.
7 — What’s the most unforgettable experience you’ve had while performing on stage?
That was when I was playing at Dutchweek in Saalbach, Austria, on top of the mountain. My sister, father, and his girlfriend were with me. After finishing my performance, my father stood with tears in his eyes and said, “I’m so proud.” My sister also wrote me a message expressing her pride. The warmth and positive energy from both my family and fans always stay with me the longest.
8 — How has your music evolved since you first started producing?
I made a lot of strides in the field of producing. I took private lessons producing in Den Bosch, and took a lot of online courses, including those from Alex Stein, ANNA & Wehbba, Amazingblaze, and UMEK. I also took a course at the Herman Brood Academy and learned a lot from other producers.
9 — What are your long-term goals as an artist, and where do you see yourself in the future?
I would love to set up my own label and event. Besides that, I would love to travel the world and share my music with as many people as possible. There are too many events to list where I would love to play, but one of my biggest dreams is Tomorrowland, Awakenings, Ultra, Time Warp, EDC, and Soundstorm.
10 — Finally, is there something else you would like to share with your fans?
I want to thank my fans very much for all the support I have received. I get so much positive energy from them all the time. You can expect new tracks from me this year and I will be debuting at a lot of cool events. Keep an eye on my socials and hopefully, I will see you soon!
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Unpacking The Meaning: T@NE Talks His New “Autumn” Remix
T@NE is a multi-talented artist who wears many hats – musician, saxophonist, composer, producer, rapper, vocalist, and director. His recent collaboration with Dronez resulted in an epic remix of a new track called “Autumn.”
In this interview, he shares his inspiration for the remix, how the collaboration with Dronez came about, what sets this remix apart from the original version, and much more…
1 — What inspired the decision to remix “Autumn”?
I felt the composition really lends itself to being remixed. I mean you can remix anything, so yeah it’s great to hear what someone else can do with the work. And, it’s a great way to collaborate with people and build each other’s brands.
2 — How did the collaboration with Dronez come about?
I was studying (and still studying) the genre Future Riddim and I was listening to a track Dronez released called “Quest;” I was thinking to myself, man Dronez is gonna rock a remix of “Autumn.” We should work together, let’s collaborate.
3 — What sets this remix apart from the original version?
One of the main things was to give Dronez the freedom to do whatever he wanted with the track. When discussing what to do, I said to Dronez, “go in and do your thing” and yeah he demolished it; Dronez absolutely rocked it.
4 — What kind of emotions do you hope to evoke in listeners through this remix?
You know, the beautiful thing about putting out work is that everybody can get something different out of it.
For me, it’s hey, just keep believing in yourself, keep believing in your dreams, and put in the hard work. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my experiences it’s that not only do you have to be the hardest worker and smartest worker in the room, but you also have to be up working before everybody else. I try to set my alarm for 3:30 am/4:00 am because those extra hours of correct practice really add up in helping you to be prepared for when opportunities arise.
Whatever it is you do, your career, romantic relationships, or friendships, it’s about really trying to bring your A-game all the time, and that comes in the preparation and putting in the hard work. So yeah, keep working and always try and be a better version of yourself.
But, like I said what people get from our work, I really believe depends on the individual.
5 — How did you go about selecting the beats and harmonies for “Autumn”?
For the original, I had been talking to my friend Be Steadwell about working on a song together, so I went to her place and we pretty much wrote the whole composition and lyrics in like three days, I remember working on a few chords when I got back to my place.
And for the remix, I sent Dronez some stems from the original; the vocals stems, guitar stems, keyboard stems and some synth and pad stems. Stems are exports of the individual tracks out of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), that you can then import into your production/mixing session in another (same or different companies) DAW.
The vocals already had production on them (i.e. EQ, Compression, Reverb, Delay, Etc.) by my guy Johannes Raassina, and then Dronez added more of his own production to the vocals.
So yeah, once Dronez had the stems from the original, he used some of what Be and I composed, and then he came up with his own incredible composition.
6 — Can you elaborate on the concept that the lyrics convey?
Be Steadwell wrote the lyrics, I just remember her composing all these lyrics on the spot, I was thinking to myself this is incredible.
7 — The artwork looks very striking! What was the idea behind it?
Thank you, yeah the album artwork is by my guy Fishman Art 89, he’s amazing. Fishman has done a lot of our album covers, I love working with him.
This artwork is a variation of the original. The lady on the cover isn’t anyone in particular, that was just my idea that I had for the cover; usually, when I think of a song there’s also a visual that comes into my head that goes along with it. So I’ll sketch out the concept and send it to Fishman, then Fishman will send me a few of his sketches, and we’ll pick one and take it from there. But yeah, I really just let Fishman go in and do his thing.
8 — Do you have any plans for future collaborations?
I would love to collaborate with Dronez again, and whoever is down to collaborate. I love collaborating with people whether it’s for an original, remix, or anything else.
9 — Are you already working on your next release?
Yeah working on more music projects with my bandmates, and also working on my Nightwing script. I really believe I’m the guy to play Nightwing and direct the film. It’s coming along great, at the moment I have around 106 pages of script. I’m not gonna say too much about the script at the moment but I will say Batman/Bruce Wayne is in the screenplay and I’m writing those parts with Ben Affleck in mind. So yeah just working on that.
10 — How do you see your artistry evolving over the next 10 years?
Just taking it one day at a time, trying to make sure I put the correct hard work in and keep moving forward.
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A Look Inside Moon And Aries’ ‘Break The Matrix (Episode Three)’
Jordana Moon, who is a member of the musical duo Moon And Aries, talks about the new EP ‘Break The Matrix (Episode Three).’ This material draws inspiration from the idea of breaking away from the old world and building a new, healthier paradigm. Learn more via this exclusive interview.
1 — What was the inspiration behind the concept for your new EP, ‘Break the Matrix (Episode Three)’?
Hello! This is Jordana Moon speaking with you today. Thanks so much for your time and inquiry about our latest “Moon And Aries: Break The Matrix Episode 3”
That’s definitely a loaded question that leans into a loaded answer, but I’ll do my best to give the cliff notes. Tom (Aries ) and I have a deep fascination with how reality works in this realm or matrix. Concepts of laws of physics, the law of attraction, laws of nature… things like that. Exploring the illusion, the limitations, the potentials, the infinite perspectives of truth …the ultimate truth. Why we are here? Who are we now and where are we going. These are the questions we explore in the full trilogy of “Break The Matrix”. Basically, challenging and breaking free from the old World to help create a new, healthier, paradigm.
2 — How would you describe the creative process of this project?
Tom and I talk about the concept of each song for a few months before Tom begins his initial ideas for the composition. We flush out the idea, see how it’s resonating through our lives, and then Tom captures the essence of our thoughts and feelings and puts them into his incredible compositions. So, we talk about each song individually and explore the concept of the album in full, simultaneously. We sort of live the concepts during the making of each song. Then I write the lyrics once the composition is near to complete, and it unfolds from there.
3 — What was your favorite song to work on from the EP and why?
Illumination Society. Tom and I love this concept a lot. It’s like, the whole trilogy leads up to this song. It’s a song about winning! The instrumental is so dynamic and I loved writing the lyrics in sort of a rap song type of way! This song has become our calling card.
4 — Is there a formula to create such futuristic sounds?
Yes and no. I feel like if you are in a state of creative channeling, almost like meditation, you’ll become a very clear channel of what the World possibly needs to hear. Indie music has the potential to be at the very tip of the music industry because we don’t need to play by the same trending rules. So, we have creative freedom. But from the conception of a song to its release, is usually a 9-month period for us. So, we need to always be hanging in the future and bringing that into the now in order to be at the forefront of the industry. Like the musical Marty McFly!
But, on the flip side, we are just doing what comes naturally to us. Some people think our sound is very nostalgic! Some think it’s current. Some think it’s futuristic because of the Sci-Fi type of concept. Tom and I are just acting on impulse and intuition. Creating the music, we want to hear.
5 — Did you face any challenges while working on this material?
This project was actually pretty smooth. We just had finished writing a 9-song album and a 5-song EP and we worked out a lot of kinks with those songs. Sometimes my lyrics are not in full alignment with my emotions if that makes sense. So, I have to get all of me to surrender to the song so that my vocal performance is on par with Tom’s instrumentals and my lyrics. My voice has to really sell the song. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes it takes me 8 to 10hrs to record a song, especially if I need to transmit a deep level of vulnerability.
6 — How does ‘Break the Matrix (Episode Three)’ differ from your previous works?
It’s definitely the episode with the most energetic songs. All dance floor vibes, a little more playful, a little more fun.
7 — What is your message to your listeners with your latest release?
Honestly, we just try to create music that activates and puts people into a higher state as they listen. If you feel better during and after, that means the most to us. If you’ve had a few existential moments, even better 🙏🙌
8 — Can you talk about the music video for your recent single “From Another Dimension”?
The music video was created by our friend Lissete Real from Ecuador. She’s actually made around 10 of our videos, I believe. We love animation and simple videos that don’t overcomplicate the song’s meaning. This video highlights a lone astronaut who is both on land and in water. Now, it doesn’t exactly go into which planet he’s on, but water is consciousness and rebirth… so he’s on his existential journey of self-discovery, no matter which dimension he’s in. There are infinite versions of ourselves, and you could say there is a version of ourselves “watching and waiting” as we look upon the version of ourselves that is exploring and discovering.
9 — As a duo, how has your collaboration evolved throughout the years?
Tom and I have now known each other for 3 years! But have still not met in person! We are 9 hrs apart lol We will be meeting in person soon tho. And as we get to know each other better, our music becomes more cohesive. Even tho we clicked right off the bat, like anything, you grow and evolve and naturally get better if that’s what you desire. So now when we go to work on a song, our vision, and our truth is much more aligned.
10 — What can we expect from Moon And Aries in the upcoming months?
We will be re-releasing all 3 episodes as one full concept album. That will happen very soon! And after that, more music, and new concepts. We’ve got a lot we are working on right now. And we also have big plans (currently a secret) but that also revolve around meeting in person and performing live on stage together. So, stay tuned for those updates!! Thanks so much for chatting, it’s been a pleasure.