DJ Craze conducted by Hugo Lunny  

DJ Craze Interview

March 2003

These are the transcripts of an interview with DJ Craze. The interview was conducted by Hugo Lunny on March 6th, 2003.

Part of the DJ'ing group; The Allies, DJ Craze is the most well known, well respected battling DJ turntablism has seen. Why? He is the only DJ to win the DMC World Championship three times. Playing with Drum & Bass and Hip Hop, Craze is set to unleash some gems on the world as time goes on.

MVRemix: For those that are unfamiliar with DJ'ing and are unfamiliar with yourself, can you tell us a bit about your history...

DJ Craze: Yeah, my name is DJ Craze, 3 time DMC world champion. That's it. [Chuckles]

MVRemix: How did you begin?

DJ Craze: I began doing local parties with my brother in Miami, just throwing block parties and stuff like that.

MVRemix: Who inspired you to become a DJ?

DJ Craze: My brother. I saw him spinning and thought he was cool, and then I started watching other DJ's. DJ CrazeThe whole scratching thing caught me and I was like "Yo, this is what I wanna do." I was a b-boy, but I couldn't break, I couldn't graff, I couldn't emcee so I thought I'd try this DJ'ing shit out.

MVRemix: So your brother had tables already and that's how you were able to practice?

DJ Craze: Yeah, he had a set up at his crib. I would go there after school and practice everyday. I'd be there until my Mom would come pick me up after work. I picked it up through that.

MVRemix: What did you begin with? Which type of music?

DJ Craze: [Laughs] Miami Bass. Freestyle music. That's what was running Miami around '89/'90.

MVRemix: Why DJ Craze? Why that name?

DJ Craze: No special story, I was in this rap group called RBM when I was in high school. I had this stupid ass name in Spanish because I used to be all into West Coast shit. One of my boys was like "Craze, you crazy, you "Craze!" So what do you think?" I liked it. There was no special story; I just thought Craze sounded dope.

MVRemix: How long did it take you to hone your DJ'ing skills before you entered the DMC's?

DJ Craze: Shit... Five years - five years of losing.

MVRemix: What made you decide to enter the DMC's?

DJ Craze: I used to watch all the videotapes and thought that it was something that was dope. Kicking everybody's ass on the turntables. It was just like seeing an emcee battle. You see the guy who wins and you're like "That's the man!" I just wanted to be "the man."

MVRemix: Where do you get your inspiration for your sets?

DJ Craze: The music really. Just hearing music really, it inspires me in everything I do.

MVRemix: What is it that attracts you to Hip Hop and what is it that attracts you to Drum & Bass?

DJ Craze: I just like hard beats. I really don't care what they're saying, I just like hard beats. I like shit that makes your head nod. That's how I pick my Hip Hop sets and that's how I pick my Drum & Bass sets.

MVRemix: Do they mesh well?

DJ Craze: Yeah, if you know how to do it the right way. I think Drum & Bass is Hip Hop - it's double timed Hip Hop. It's street, it's dope. It's real music man.

MVRemix: Have you experimented/do you use many drugs? And if so, do you feel they add to or alter the music?

DJ Craze: Back in high school I used to do pills...I used to do all that shit. But everybody does that when they're in high school. I still smoke weed a lot, but just when I'm at my crib. I don't smoke when I'm outside my house 'cause I get paranoid.

MVRemix: Do you do it when you perform or is it just for relaxing?

DJ Craze: Um...I do only when I'm going in the studio. But I drink when I'm spinning because it makes me less inhibited. I'm a shy person, if I don't have a little buzz in me [Craze scrunches up his shoulders and lowers his head into his chest]

MVRemix: How did the SA-12 (DJ Craze's customized Stanton mixer) come about?

DJ Craze: Stanton just came up to me and asked me if I wanted to have a mixer. I was like "Yeah!" They asked me what I wanted in a mixer and I told them..."I want some effects. I want this...I want that..." They just made it happen.

MVRemix: What do you think about "Final Scratch"?

DJ Craze: It's the bomb! I love it! It's dope I'm just waiting for the Mac version to come out because I've played with the Mac version and it's way better. I mean, look how many tracks I've got here [Craze scrolls the lengthy list of MP3's he has on his "Final Scratch" laptop]

MVRemix: Damn...

DJ Craze: And I'm not even half way. Imagine how many crates that would need. I like having everything I want whenever I want it. I can pull up any track. Any track you need I probably have it. It's good for mixing, it's not the best for scratching but it's good for mixing.

MVRemix: Tell me about "Scratch Nerds" and "Drum & Bass Warfare"

DJ Craze: DJ Craze InterviewAdam F did a CD called "Kaos" - it featured all these Hip Hop cats over Hip Hop beats. It was all Hip Hop. Then he had all these Drum & Bass producers remix them. He asked me to do the CD because I'm known for bringing together Drum & Bass and Hip Hop. He said you should do it because that's your kind of flavour so I was like "Yeah, I'll do it."

"Scratch Nerds"...ah man, haha. I didn't think anybody knew about that. It's done. We don't yet know who we're gonna put it out with because the industry's really fucked up right now. Nobody wants to pay for the manufacturing and distribution, so we're still looking to put it out with somebody though. It's gonna come out on Ammo, A-Trak's shit. It's dope man, it's like a scratch CD - but not boring. It's not one of things where you're gonna be like "Ah, scratching, scratching..." We changed it up a lot and it's listen-able. It ain't something that you're gonna bump in a club, but it's something you can listen to and be like "Wow, that's crazy."

MVRemix: Are there any plans for further Push Button Objects material?

DJ Craze: Uh. Nah. [smirks] We were supposed to do this album for Warp (Records), but Push Button Objects man, he just disappears. He makes wrong decisions sometimes about who he makes friends with. I don't like that vibe so I was just like "Yo, you fuckin' with the wrong people." I mean he's a cool cat, but we're not communicating right, right now.

MVRemix: How long do you see yourself DJ'ing for?

DJ Craze: I really want to get into music more. I love making beats right now. So, as long as I can - as long as people want to see me. But when people get bored of my ass I'll just stop.

MVRemix: Is there something else you have in mind to do when/if that happens?

DJ Craze: Just make beats, I just want to make beats. I have a goal and everything. I set my goals for turntablism and I accomplished them. Now my new goal is to make some heavy, heavy Drum & Bass and some heavy Hip Hop.

MVRemix: Are there any artists you've planned to work with, with regards to this?

DJ Craze: I did a track with Roni (Size), I'm doing some cuts for this guy "Dillan." Within Hip Hop; I want to work with people but it's kind of hard. I mean, I've got contacts, but Hip Hop boys...they be chargin' like a motherfucker. You've got to be there already, you've got to have your foot in the door for them to hook you up. I've been away from Hip Hop for so long that it's like I've got to work myself back in it.

MVRemix: What have we yet to see from you, any unreleased material/material in the works?

DJ Craze: I started a label; Rugged Recordings. It's gonna be Drum & Bass mostly and I want to put out some dope US Drum & Bass. For the Hip Hop side; I've got tones of beats. I'm working with some cat in Miami called Deja. I wanna work with De La, I wanna work with The Roots when I get to that level. Right now I'm not ready but in the future they're some people I'd like to work with.

MVRemix: Are there any last words you'd like to put to fans/potential fans who're going to read this?

DJ Craze: Keep looking out for me. I'm taking long with the music, but I'm taking long because I want it to be dope. I want people to be proud of the shit that I make.

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