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.