Monday, July 16, 2007

Interview with DJ KMD

I met this talented brother at Ripple for Open Turntables and the skill he showed was a mix of all the DJ's I look up to old and new school. Just to witness someone young and killin the turntables man....You want to see a real DJ..Introducing DJ KMD..

1. Where does your name DJ KMD come from and how did you get into turntablism?
First and foremost I'd like to start this the way any true Muslim starts anything by saying, Bismillahir rahmanir raheem (In the name of Allah [God], the most beneficent, the most merciful). I'd also like to thank you Joey for giving me this opportunity and platform to express myself. May god continue to shower you with blessings and mercy in everything that you do. Now, to the question at hand.

It stands for Kut Masta Dee. My best friend DMK or Dutch Masta Killa (R.I.P) was the MC I first began to experiment with musically when I was learning how to DJ. He and I recorded a song called "Reflections" where the concept was to use words that spelled other words backwards (e.g. pots > stop) in our verses in order to challenge our rhyme skills. In writing the hook we came up with KMD as the perfect DJ name for me b/c it was his MC name spelled backwards and I was able to make it an acronym. I often have to use the longer version to differentiate from the early 1990's hip-hop group, and enunciate the "Dee" to differentiate from one of the best DJs from NYC, CutMaster C (one of my influences). I contemplated changing my name when I got heavy into turntablism and battles and also to disperse the foresaid confusion but I decided to keep the name as an ode to my departed partner.

My dad began the laborious task of teaching my younger brother and me to DJ when I was about 11 or 12('93-'94). My brother actually picked it up much faster than I did. But he abandoned the practice and after about 1-2 years I had surpassed him and began DJing family events (holiday parties, bbq's and such). I moved on to do book mobile gigs as I got older. By 16 I was trying to get a club gig. My age made it very difficult (no one wants to risk their liquor license on some 16 yr old kid DJ). A DJ at a local club decided he'd take me under his wing, DJ Jay Dee. Under Jay Dee's tutelage I learned proper techniques of rocking a party. He also introduced me to DMC in which he showed me the first battle I had ever seen, the '97 DMC US Finals. I began practicing all the techniques I had seen on the tape, began collecting the tapes myself, and entered my first local battle less than a year later (at Abracadabra Pro Shop in North Babylon, Long Island, NY).

2. Whats your intake on DJ technology today the software, serato, the
use of mp3's etc?
I consider myself very traditional but I'm actually looking into getting Serato. The technology has come around to the point that it facilitates the process of DJing better; it doesn't make it so that anyone capable of pushing a button can DJ. It's sorta like good running shoes for a track star. No pair of Nike's will ever make me run like Michael Johnson. And I also haven't seen a pair get up and win a gold medal on their own. If/when the technology gets to that point, that's the point where I'll begin to protest. As of now I believe it is creating more avenues for the art of turntablism to grow in and allowing it to get more places faster and with less hassle.

3. Name 5 songs you love cutting up?
Flava In Ya Ear - Craig Mack (The first song I learned to mix/cut with)
Microphone Master (Remix) - Das Efx ft. Mobb Deep (The first 12" I bought on my own)
Real Love - Mary J. Blige (Classic)
Unbelievable - Notorious B.I.G (I love Premo beats)
Get up & Dance - Freedom (Break - used by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - Freedom)

4. Who are your inspirations?
Too many to name them all, but here's a brief cross-section in no particular order.

Old School/ Pioneers: My Dad/teacher "Grandmaster P-Ski," Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, Kool Herc, Afrikka Bambataa, Grand Master Caz, Jam Master Jay, Mix Master Ice, Grand Mixer DXT, Red Alert, Jazzy Jeff, etc.
Radio/ Club/ Show DJs: DJ Jay Dee (my mentor), My boy/partner/mentor DJ Cel (Club T-NY in NY), Kid Capri, Ralph McDaniels, Funk Master Flex, Mister Magic, Spinbad (Power 105.1 FM and Z100 FM in NY), Dr. Dre (Yo! MTV Raps), Biz Markie, etc.
Mix tape/ Producers: Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, DJ Scratch, Clark Kent, Evil Dee, CutMaster C, Tony Touch, Green Lantern, DJ Juice, S+S, DJ Clue, etc.

Competition/ Battle: DJ SupaDave (whom I consider to be a mentor), Invisible Scratch Piklz, Beat Junkies, X-Ecutioners (X-Men w/ Mr. Sinister), Allies, Fifth Platoon, Scratch Perverts, DJ Mousse (Morocco), DJ Static (Denmark), DJ Jay K (Switzerland), 5. Any projects you’re currently working on?
I've been apart of the hip-hop group, SKAM Fam since 1998 as a DJ/MC and a creative entity. We've got an archive of songs. We are currently working on getting the business side straight. We'd like to be distributed worldwide if possible; we just don't want to get jerked in the process. You can check out some songs at (I've attached a track with me rhyming as well)

Also, courtesy of Joey 2 Fresh, I’m working on cuts for 2 tracks for the MC Flud.

I'm a perfectionist, so I've also been working on 4 or 5 mix tape for the last 4 or 5 years. LOL. If Cel ever gets some time I'd like to begin releasing the old school mixes we started on years ago and also a concept mix tape series called "The Best of Both Worlds" (read between the lines to figure the concept).

6. How often do you crate dig?
Shoot! My cuticles are bleeding now. J/K. Pretty much when I get some time to get my hands on something different. I'm in the process of retro-updating my library. So I go straight to the "Old School Rap, R&B and Classic Singles" sections in Rock & Soul. I actually scored a really good buy about a month ago at a yard sale: 3 crates (about 210 records) for $30. One of the LPs alone is worth more than $30, Michael Jackson's "Thriller." So I am still in the process of organizing and listening to all of those records.

7. Do you think of getting into beat production?
Yeah. I'm creeping my way in now. I put all kinda crazy stuff together for my group back in the day using just my on board sampler on my mixer, some break beats and 2 cassette recorders (for overdubs). I even used my little cousin's Playskool keyboard to play out this sick melody once. (Don't sleep on Playskool! They got sounds. LOL). I moved up to a cassette 4-track and now a digital one. I'm getting my computer situation straightened out now. I just need some software and some outboard pieces and I'll be straight. My latest track, I did on Fruity Loops. (It's attached in this email if you wanna post it)

I actually learned alot from the site I'd recommend it to anyone thinking about production. I'd also like to take an official course at somewhere like in Chelsea, NY where I know a couple of the instructors (Neil Armstrong and Daddy Dog of the Fifth Platoon).

8. Name one of your favorite past time battles?
It has to be the first one I ever saw, the '97 DMC US Finals. It was chock full of talent and I could never forget it. The competitor I saw to be the weakest is apart of one of my favorite DJ crews. I would have loved to have been there in person (It was right here in NYC). And Red Alert hosted what more could I ask for.

9. Any mix cd's to look forward to and shows?
I always like to find a re-release of some old school classic like DJ Dirty Harry, and I get my share of true classic CD's when my dad, uncle, or Godfather come around with a Hollywood, Luv Bug Starski, or Dr. Duss CD.
I generally look forward to releases from my favorite Mix CD DJs like Green Lantern. Or artist promos like Ludacris' "Release Therapy". There has to be a good DJ displaying skills on the CD. I believe that's the whole idea of "Mix tape/CD." Alot of the CDs out now should just be in the "Various Artists" section. No disrespect to the "Freestyles & Exclusives Only" DJs. Artists truly need you guys. I just like a mix of the 2. I think I'm gonna go listen to 1 of my Tony Touch - Power Cipher (50 Emcee's) tapes later.

10. How do you know Joey Too Fresh???
I met Joey when he was hosting "Open turntables" at Ripple Bar in BK. The bar is around the corner from my parents' crib (formerly my crib too). I did a pretty good set and as the saying goes, "real recognize real" and I exchanged numbers and pleasantries with Joey, Honeycutts, DJ Samir and other Ripple regulars. Hopefully we'll be working together more in the future.

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