DJ Jazzy Jeff - conducted by Phayde  

DJ Jazzy Jeff

April 2007

MVRemix: What kind of a role has the internet played in regards to [your production company] A Touch of Jazz? I remember you saying something about bringing it "more online" in 2004….

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Well you know what? I didn't really jump on it when I should have. I was really looking at, that I felt that that was the future. I thought the future was going to be, if you can guide your fan base to a location that they can get all of the stuff that you do, then it's great, because they don't have to look for it. They don't have to hunt for it. We have such a cult fan base with A Touch of Jazz and the stuff that we were doing that I was just looking to say, "Hey, if you like the stuff that we do, here's a place that you can go and listen to some stuff, and if you like you can buy it, and maybe we can put together our own tours and showcases and stuff specifically for you." I didn't jump on it like I should have, or the way that I'm trying to do it now. Today it's a lot easier, with things like MySpace, and your own personal web sites.

MVRemix: Speaking of A Touch of Jazz, how many people are currently working for it, and what projects are y'all workin on?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Well you know what, A Touch of Jazz right now is kind of dormant. I kind of put it on hold for a second. When you're traveling and just doing a lot of the stuff, I really wanted to make it a lot more just about me, and just about music, especially until I really got a grip on where the music industry was going. And I don't really consider myself a part of the industry anymore. I look at it like, I'm not a part of the music industry, I'm just a person who does music, because I don't really like what the music industry stands for now. It's not about artist development; it's not about creative freedom. You just try to look for these places that you can kind of be able to express yourself creatively and get your music out without someone putting the barriers up, and not being about, you know, paying radio stations to play your songs. You want it to be about people having the ability to pick what their favorite songs are, like it was in the past. What that made me do was just kind of like— that was one of the reasons why I moved the studio and rebuilt everything, to just kind of figure out where is it going to be.

MVRemix: Is there anything about you that you feel hasn't been covered enough?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: That hasn't been covered enough? Nah, you know what, I think the one thing about me is I've always tried to give the most loyal interpretation. You know? I'm not two people. The person that you're talking to is the person that I'm going to be when I hang up the phone, because I can't confuse myself. What people don't understand is I gotta wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror, and I don't want to have to go into the Superman booth and put this cape on and turn into Jazzy Jeff. Jazzy Jeff is Jeff Townes. I tell you what I like, I tell you what I don't like, and I try to keep it one person, because it's less confusing to me.

MVRemix: Tell me something that no one knows about DJ Jazzy Jeff.

DJ Jazzy Jeff: [Laughs] That no one knows? If I wasn't a DJ, or doing music, I'd be a chef.

MVRemix: Really. What's your best dish?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: I don't really have a best dish, I just love to cook. And I love to experiment, experimental cook. You know what goes together, just grab a bunch of seasoning, put some stuff in a pan, cook it up and keep your fingers crossed.

MVRemix: If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Ooh. At its current state? Well, I think if hip-hop was a woman, she'd have to be quadruplets. It couldn't just be one woman. One would have to be very afrocentric and very down-to-earth, and try to keep everything pure, and the righteous one fighting for equality, fighting for what's good. One would probably have a weave down to the floor and implants and a really tight skirt. One would probably have to be a banker who is very driven, just about being successful, and one of them would probably have on booty shorts and gold fronts.

MVRemix: What you got planned for the rest of 2007?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: I'm excited to see what the response is going to be from the record. I want to do some stuff pertaining to the record. More than anything, I want to go into the studio and complete three more records by the end of the year — not necessarily my records. I want to do another record that's going to be a little bit different, just with a lot more worldly music, you know, some Brazilian stuff, just some different stuff. You know, some house stuff, and some funk stuff, and just cover a little bit broader scale. Then I want to produce about three records for people. I'm just trying to pick and see what I want to do. I think I just want to get a little bit more involved in producing records, because I don't think I'll ever, ever stop DJing. I've kind of gotten to the point that I know I'm going to do my tours in the UK, I know I'm going to go to Asia, I know I'm going to Australia. I think my goal is to just complete my cycle again. You know, you have to hit all four corners of the globe and put out some music that people love, and try to hit all four corners of the globe next year.

MVRemix: What makes you happy?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: What makes me happy? Doing what I love. I think this may be one of the happiest times in my life because, I think, especially with music, and life, I don't think you ever figure it out. If "figuring it out" is a 10, I think the closest that you get is an 8.5, and when you get to 8.5, something is going to happen that is going to throw you back to one. And I think me just understanding that, that I'm accepting that I'm at a 7 and it may be time to go back to one, and just, you know, now it's time to open my mind up and try to learn. I think that's the biggest thing. From traveling around the world and meeting people, I've learned so much stuff from children about the world that they don't even realize that they're teaching you. That's the one thing that makes me happy. I've learned to relax a lot more and take life as it comes, instead of trying to dictate it, and get this hit record, and chase this big thing. It's kind of like, "You know what? It's a taxi ride. Let me just get in, shut up, and enjoy the view."

MVRemix: What pisses you off?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: What pisses me off? People not maximizing their potential. Even though it may not be my issue or my choice, I think that we don't always get the chances in life over and over, and there are a lot of times that people are confronted with opportunities that they take for granted because they think that it's going to come back again. Some people are granted with 10 opportunities in their life, and some are granted with one. It bothers me when I see someone who is talented, or see someone who has the potential to do stuff— And I'm not talking about the people for who it may not be the right time for them to do it, but there are other reasons, you know? Sometimes bad relationships can make you not tap into the potential of things that you need to do. Sometimes, holding on to a bad decision and kicking yourself— I think we all make mistakes in life, and when you make your mistakes, you have to learn from your mistakes and keep it moving. You can't sit and say, "Oh my God, I can't believe I chose this man. I'm so miserable." It's like, you know what? We're going to make good choices and we're going to make bad choices. The bad choices you just need to shake off and make another choice instead of spending the rest of your life complaining that you made a bad choice. And it's hard, because I am not someone who expresses my opinion to people who don't maximize their opportunities. I've always just tried to be a motivator. I look at it like I'm blessed to see the world. I know a lot of guys that are in a position to do the exact same thing that I am, and they're sitting home because they're like, "I don't want to sit on no plane for eight hours." I'm kind of like, "Wow, sitting on a plane for eight hours is the bridge between you changing your entire life."

MVRemix: You said you had two kids. How old are they?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Nineteen and seven.

MVRemix: Are they fans of your music?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Yes. Absolutely. I have incredible hip-hop debates with my oldest son. My youngest son is a sponge. I love the debates that I have with my oldest son because he grew up with me and my music, and he has his music today, and we'll always have debates. I'll call him and ask him what he thinks about a record and he'll tell me what he thinks, and his views. I like it, because he has great opinions on music. Then I try to educate him, that one of the big differences between my generation and his generation is that we were fans of groups, and his generation is fans of records. We couldn't wait for Public Enemy's record to come out. We didn't care what it sounded like. We didn't need a single to validate it, or radio. We were there when the record came out. It's almost like, he can have a favorite artist today, and if radio doesn't play his favorite artist's next record, he's going to say the guy's wack.

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"I think this may be one of the happiest times in my life because, I think, especially with music, and life, I don't think you ever figure it out."