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Tony Touch - conducted by Hugo Lunny  


Tony Touch: Still The Same Ol' Tony

October 2005

If you've ever been up on the mixtape scene (pre-50 Cent superstardom), you know of Tony Touch. His legendary mixtapes filled with exclusive freestyles were world renowned. Over the last several years, Tony has released two versions of his "Piece Maker" compilation and more recently a Reggaeton album entitled "ReggaeTony." He's currently helping in the Scion mixtape contest and also DJ'ing on Sirius Radio's Shade 45 on Toca Tuesdays.


MVRemix: What's your first memory of Hip Hop?

Tony Touch: "The Message" with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, that and Rocksteady Crew's appearance.

MVRemix: Which was the first album that impacted you?

Tony Touch: Kurtis Blow's first album.

MVRemix: How did the moniker Tony Touch first come about?

Tony Touch: I had friends of mine, a little DJ crew we had in east New York. The members were PF Cuttin' and DJ 3D, they're both from east New York and they came up with the nickname for me. I was just DJ'ing and used to go by "Tony Tone," but Cold Crush [Brothers] already had Tony Tone so we had to get a new name and that's how Tony Touch came about.

MVRemix: What inspired you to make your first mixtape?

Tony Touch: To practice for one. The first mixtape I made was in '87. I started in '86, so I started doing mixtapes in '87. But my first commercial mixtape I started doing in '91 inspired by the movement that was already goin' on in New York, particularly uptown; Brucie B, Kid Capri, people like that that were already doing the mixtapes first. In Brooklyn you had DJ's like Mister Cee and Johnny T - kind of like one of the first Brooklyn DJ's. So yeah, those guys right there.

MVRemix: How would you compare the mixtape scene to when you began to that of today?

Tony Touch: When I began it was more focused on DJ's showcasing their skills, now it's focused on exclusive new music. 75-80% is focused on who has the hot new records first, it's not as focused on skills as much as it used to be.

MVRemix: How does Tony Touch define a DJ?

Tony Touch: To me a DJ is one that can really move the crowd without having to speak. He just has an incredible way of putting records together. There's a variety of different DJ's; you've got mixtape DJ's, you've got radio DJ's, you've got club DJ's, you've got battle DJ's. So the question is kind of vague because there's so many different elements right now.

MVRemix: Tell me about the "ReggaeTony" album.

Tony Touch: The "ReggaeTony" album is a representation of the movement that's taking place here in the U.S. I think it's the best representation of the Latin movement here which is we love Reggae songs, we speak English and Spanish. We love R&B, we love Hip Hop, we love Reggae and I incorporated all of these elements into the "ReggaeTony" album. Not all Reggae songs, the majority of it is because that's where everybody's ear is at right now, but I wanted to bring everybody into the other world such as Hip Hop, you know, Dancehall... things like that. It's also a combination of the biggest names in Reggaeton as well as the biggest names in Latino Hip Hop here in the U.S. such as Cypress Hill, Noreaga, Pitbull, Nina Sky - these artists defined the movement here in the U.S. as far as the urban scene here. With that and the Kings of Reggaeton in Puerto Rico, we were able to put together a phenomenal record.

MVRemix: Do you feel you've lost fans because it appears your main focus now is Reggaeton?

Tony Touch: Who said my main focus was now Reggaeton?

MVRemix: From the appearances it seems like it's now your main focus...

Tony Touch: According to who?

MVRemix: Just according to myself and people I've spoken to...

Tony Touch: Really? Because I decided to put out a Reggaeton album, I guess people mis-conceive and feel that that's my new focus, but in actuality I've been involved with the Reggaeton movement since '96. I put out an album in '96 called "Guatauba" that was all Reggaeton and Hip Hop. Everybody in the Hip Hop world knows I'm Latino. I'm mainly recognized for being a DJ, not really an emcee or anything like that. But I represent all of the above. I represent the emcee culture, I produce music and I DJ. When you come to a Tony Touch party, you're gonna hear a variety of different music. You're not just gonna hear Hip Hop.

I don't feel I've lost fans, I feel if anything I've gained fans as a result of this album. I definitely don't want people to think that all of a sudden I've abondoned my Hip Hop roots because that's in no way ever gonna happen. But I'm doin' it, I'm bringing my Hip Hop audience and introducing them into something new. Not everybody is gonna accept it, and not everybody that supports Reggaeton is gonna accept Hip Hop. But I feel I've nailed about 90% of the audiences and brought them all to this album. If you come to a Tony Touch event, you will definitely see a great representation of all elements of music including House music and Reggae, I play a lot of music from Jamaica and Salsa. I consider myself a global sounding DJ and I definitely want to put a stop to anybody that thinks I've abandoned my roots as far as the other genres that I represent.

MVRemix: Tell me about your involvement with Scion contest.

Tony Touch: I've been involved with Scion for a few years; hosting and DJ'ing events for them, this is the second year that we've done the mixtape contest. They've always supported me and the Tony Touch movement. I've done great things with them around the country and last year's mixtape contest was very successful, so this is just a follow up to that.

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Tony Touch: [ponders] Let me think... Let me think... A villain from some movie maybe... [ponders] Man, I'm stumped right now... George Bush.

MVRemix: Do you reckon you'd win?

Tony Touch: Would I win? Ah, come on... [chuckles] One hand tied behind my back.

MVRemix: What do you do to relax?

Tony Touch: Sleep. I guess a good movie or a good episode of "Deadwood" or something like that.

MVRemix: What do you think is the biggest mis-conception people have of you?

Tony Touch: That I've abandoned my Hip Hop roots and I've gone Reggaeton on everybody.

MVRemix: Aside from the album do you have any other guest appearances or compilations you've been working on?

Tony Touch: I'm working on an album with a female vocalist called Soni, I'm also working on an album with fellow mixtape DJ icon Doo Wop; another Diaz Brothers album - those will be my two focuses for the next little while. Also working very closely with The Beatnuts on a variety of projects.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Tony Touch: Thanks for the support, my website is still in effect - TonyTouch.com and continue to look for official Tony Touch material in the future.





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"Because I decided to put out a Reggaeton album, I guess people mis-conceive and feel that that's my new focus, but in actuality I've been involved with the Reggaeton movement since '96."