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.
Feather Talks About His Music Career And Latest Song, “Fixing Me”
1 – How long did it take you to become a music producer?
Haha, man some days it feels like I haven’t quite made it yet to that official title! But I guess there are many days where I do feel like it fits. I would say it’s taken me about 5 years to get to a point where I feel somewhat confident in my ability to create a workable idea. Although one time the artist and producer Blanke told me it takes about 8 years until you really feel confident!
2 – Where do you get the motivation to keep going?
This is a great question because I don’t totally know. My friends have always told me I’m a bit of a relentless maniac with my work ethic, but it’s just always been some component of who I am – overly passionate and hardworking. I prefer to be proactive in life as it helps me feel more in control of my situation instead of being a victim of circumstance.
Actually, I think the collaborative album project I just finished might be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. There were so many moving parts and components between artists, collaborators, and teams from the conception of the song to finally getting it released, and as an independent artist specifically who is rather involved personally in the process it was a lot of work at times.
4 – What do you prefer producing or performing live? Why?
I prefer performing, hands down. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a performer. I’ve been involved in some sort of performance art since I was young so it’s rather ingrained in my being. I feel very comfortable and natural up there and it’s one of the few places that I don’t think too much and I’m able to just be in the moment.
5 – What gives you satisfaction in your career?
I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction and actually cultivated a lot of respect for myself through the process of conceptualizing an idea for the project and then going through the (often frustrating and exhausting) process of attempting to execute the idea and eventually ending with a finished product. That entire process teaches you a lot about yourself and many other avenues involved, and in the end, you feel really capable and proud.
6 – How would you interpret the lyrics of your latest song “Fixing Me”?
To me, it’s really about the ability someone can have to completely change your perspective around, whether it be about life, love, yourself, etc. But their influence helps shift your energy back to a positive or optimistic feel-good vibe.
7 – What new things did you learn from this collaboration with SEGØ and Rajiv Dhall?
One of the coolest things that I felt happened through making this song was really a profound connection of being understood by other people. We often spent a lot of time in our sessions having these group therapy-type talks and I was blown away by how similar a lot of my personal issues ended up being to others’ problems! Through the process of talking and sharing and venting I think we all left feeling a little more understood and seen by another person and ultimately I think that leads to more happiness, better art, and a better life.
8 – Is there anything you would like to highlight about its creative process?
I could go on and on about so many things with the creative process, but I think one of the biggest things is how everyone creates differently and hears music differently. Each person contributes in a different way and it was really cool to see how we all filled in the gaps of everyone’s abilities. But it takes a lot of trust, understanding, and compromise so it’s not without effort but that’s why it’s so great that we all got along and were able to share personal things – it really helps the creative process feel smoother.
9 – How do you deal with self-criticism when it comes to creating new music?
Hmmm… I really am not the best when it comes to this as my internal dialog can be a little negative at times. I am constantly working on this and lately, it’s been focused on not thinking too much and just creating. Not worrying about what it sounds like or what it’s for, just let it come out and figure it out later. The thinking brain is not the creative brain so the more you can turn that part off through the many stages of the process, the better you’ll feel as you won’t really have the time or bandwidth to criticize what it is you’re making!
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of 2022?
I’m looking forward to getting this album out and then I really hope I can find some opportunities to perform and play some shows for people. As I said, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I really feel that I thrive up there and I want to show people what this project means to me in a live environment!
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The Reactivitz Shares Thoughts On Techno And “Todo En La Vida”
“Todo En La Vida” is one of the latest club bangers from French Producer The Reactivitz. He has releases on Suara, Filth On Acid, Octopus Recordings, and more. In this exclusive interview, he shares his thoughts on Techno and, of course, the new single.
1 — What’s the story behind your artistic name?
Hey Guys, thanks for having me on your interview series. My name is Jonathan, a 29-year-old French DJ, and producer living in Lyon, France. I started producing and playing music under the name of ‘The Reactivitz’ about 10 years ago. At the start, I was producing different sounding music, more like Deep House, House, and Electro. Therefore, it took time to find my own style as I have always enjoyed many genres of music. The underground scene always gave me a buzz and I felt a strong connection with Techno in particular. For years now I have been releasing and playing Techno and Tech House. I love creating dark and powerful tracks with melodic elements, peak time energy, and cool vocal samples.
2 — How do you genuinely feel about the current state of the Techno scene as a whole?
Besides COVID-19 which put the whole scene at a standstill for 2 years, in my opinion, the Techno scene is at the same time full of opportunities yet really closed.
Indeed, we hear more and more amazing music from upcoming talented Techno artists. Every week, I listen to music on different platforms, and I am always amazed by all the new tracks I find from artists I never heard before. With social media, streaming platforms, and Beatport, we have now the opportunity to discover more music than before and it’s a really good point as we have a lot of choices. These ways of communication are helping a lot of the artists to showcase their tracks, even if sometimes DJs and producers spend more time on social media taking off their image than music.
Regarding festivals and parties, we are seeing more and more big Techno events worldwide. Many people enjoy Techno and it’s a good thing for the future of underground music. Nevertheless, I would deplore the fact that we can’t see new names on lines-up. We have so many talents out there, but I am always disappointed to always see the same names when I go to a party. I really think that a lot of truly talented producers and DJs would have their places at the top of the scene, but politics and connections are blocking them. As an artist, even if you are talented, you will need patience and a lot of hard work to get to the top.
3 — Where do you get inspiration for your Techno tracks?
Most of my inspiration comes from what I listen to every day. I listen to many artists in different genres and it’s helpful to give me some ideas for my tracks. I can spend days listening to house, techno, rap or even pop music to find interesting new sonorities. I really like to see how artists structure their tracks and how they make them sound, whatever the genre is. When I am producing, I am trying to mix elements from different genres to have a unique sound. It means that I am not putting up barriers, I produce what I feel when I am in the studio as I love to explore new things. Sometimes producing outside the box allows getting amazing results.
4 — As a producer, does it matter if music is commercial or underground?
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as long as the music is good. Personally, commercial music is not something that I really enjoy as I prefer producing and playing underground music, but I am not against adding a bit of commercial sonorities into my tracks from time to time. Today, we can see a trend in both genres: a lot of the former commercial artists are getting into the underground scene and also underground artists are adding more commercial elements into their tracks. Is underground becoming the new commercial? The future will speak.
5 — What prompted you to take this Latin-influenced approach for your new single “Todo En La Vida”?
“Todo En La Vida” has a special meaning to me. It’s been a while since I have wanted to produce a track with some Latin vocals because my family is born in the south of Spain, so I wanted to do something related to my origins. Also, as I said before, I wanted to explore new things and I thought that the summertime was the best time to offer something different, more groovy and housey.
6 — “Todo En La Vida” is translated into English as “Everything In Life,” that being said, what’s the most important thing in your life?
The most important thing in my life is my family and my friends. I spent a lot of time with them. They give me advice and support me every day with what I am doing. I am happy knowing that I have their support whatever happens.
7 — Would you consider remixing this track? If so, what producers come to mind?
At the moment, I don’t think that it would be necessary to have another remix done on this track as Luke Andy made a stunning remix already. But maybe it could be a good idea to have some more remixes in the future. I am always interested to hear what other artists can do with my tracks.
8 — What do you think about this collaboration with Luke Andy as a remixer?
After having sent “Todo En La Vida” to There Is A Light, they suggested me to have Luke Andy as a remixer. I thought that it was a good idea as his style perfectly matches the vibe of the track. He did something different with his own vision and I really love it. Can’t wait to play his remix at my next few shows.
9 — What’s next in your schedule?
After “Todo En La Vida,” I will release a new collaboration track with djseanEboy on my label Immersion called “Strange,” followed by a two-tracker EP on Unity in August. I have also planned to release some tracks on Immersion further this year. This week, a new EP with Mauro Somm has been confirmed on FORM which will be released on September 2nd. During the next weeks, I plan to keep producing a lot of new songs and I have many tracks that I’m excited to release.
10 — How do you plan to keep your music style so innovative?
Listening to more music helps me to keep my music style innovative. As I said before, I love to hear many genres to get inspired for my next tracks. Traveling and discovering new amazing places is also a good opportunity to innovate. When I come back to the studio, I have a head full of new ideas and it’s always a good thing! Another important thing is to collaborate with other artists. I love sending and receiving new projects, so we can both share our visions and come up with something completely different from what we did at the beginning.
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Niko The Kid Talks Career + EDM-Driven Single “Fine” — Interview
Niko The Kid dove into 2022 with rapid fire. Upcoming releases on Toolroom, At Night, Sony, UMG, and more were all scheduled for this year. With this interview, you can learn more about his career and his recent EDM-driven single “Fine.”
1 – How would you describe your sound to someone listening to you for the very first time?
I’d say my sound is pretty versatile. It’s definitely very synth-driven. I love pulling inspiration from older dance records, Disco, Hip-Hop, and combining them with these modern sounds. I think I land somewhere between House and EDM.
2 – What do you enjoy the most about your artistic career?
I think my favorite part is DJing. There’s no better feeling than playing music out live and seeing people enjoying themselves to music you created yourself.
I would say Throttle, Oliver Heldens, and CID. I love these guys and they’ve been a tremendous help to me coming up.
4 – Did you ever imagine yourself creating beats for Akon, Young Thug, and Gucci Mane, among other heavyweight talents?
Never in a million years. It’s been a wild journey so far. Coming up in Atlanta and spending 6 years or so in LA, I found myself in these situations to be able to work with some incredible people. I’m super grateful.
5 – What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I would say navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media and streaming. It’s definitely a challenge getting new people to hear about you and grinding to create content while also making music. It’s definitely tough juggling all these things without losing your mind.
6 – Where did you get the inspiration to drop your single “Fine”?
I’ve been listening to a lot of melodic stuff like Rufus Du Sol and Camelphat. I’ve always loved these dark brooding synths and melodies. When we wrote the original demo I had these inspirations in the back of my mind.
7 – With this new release do you think your music has grown since you first started?
Absolutely. When I first started releasing music, I think I was still figuring things out. One of the hardest things about being an artist is honing in on a direction. It’s easy to get lost when you have such a passion for many types of music.
8 – What do you hope your listeners take from “Fine”?
The idea of the song is that we all tend to have self-destructive tendencies; big or small and that it’s okay to acknowledge that and move on.
9 – What’s your philosophy towards work while being at the recording studio?
My thing is to just always be creating, whether it’s music or visuals. Just making something. I also found a passion for 3D art during the beginning of the pandemic. It’s nice having another outlet. I find it helps recharge my creative juices for music to sit and create artwork or animations.
10 – Can we expect more songs to be released soon?
For sure! I’ve got a ton of new music on the way. I’m considering dropping an EP by the end of the year so definitely stay tuned for that.