From his humble beginnings 14 years ago as a battle DJ in Halifax, Canada, Skratch Bastid (birth name Paul Murphy) has worked his way to the apex of his craft.
The Taipei Times caught up with Bastid in an e-mail interview ahead of his showcase for selected DJs early tomorrow evening, which will be followed by a party-rocking set for the general public later in the night.
Taipei Times: Can you sum up your style of deejaying in one sentence?
Skratch Bastid: One foot in the future, one foot in the past, and one hand on a beer.
TT: What do you think about the direction that music has gone in over the past few years? Do you enjoy playing a mish-mash of everything, or do you long for the ‘good old days’?
SB: When I was a teenager, I only liked really hard, underground and old-school rap. It was a way of defining myself when I was younger. As I grew up, I realized that by closing my ears to other music, I was limiting myself and missing out on some great tunes. I started deejaying in clubs and realized that people loved music that I had decided that I wasn’t going to listen to. The only way to get them to listen to the music that I loved was to find a common ground by meeting them half way. It made me respect other music and listen closer. Now, I can’t even tell you what my favorite style of music is. I think there is great music in all genres, and as a DJ it is my job to find the best music out there and help the crowd have a great time, with new music, older music, popular music and lesser-known music. I’m trying to make my own ‘good old days’!
TT: What is the one gig or showcase that stands out in your mind?
SB: Winning the Scribble Jam DJ battle for the first time in 2003. It was something that I worked really hard towards and was recognized internationally for ... It showed me that there is a lot out there, [and that] I just have to work hard in order to get myself out there.
What: Red Bull Thre3style Asia Showcase Tour
When and Where: Tomorrow from 10pm to 4am at Room 18, B1, 88 Songren Rd, Taipei City (台北市松仁路88號B1)
Admission: NT$700, which includes a drink
On The Net: www.skratchbastid.com
(After Bastid finished his battling career, he moved on to production and received a Juno (Canada’s version of the Grammys) nomination for Producer of the Year for Buck 65’s Situation. Bastid has also been involved with the Red Bull Thre3style DJ battles, for which contestants play at least three different styles of music in their 15-minute routine, as a judge. This gives him a chance to see and meet some up-and-coming and innovative DJs perform at the highest levels. Next year, Taiwan will send one contestant to the Red Bull Thre3style world finals.)
TT: What advice would you give to anyone just getting into deejaying?
SB: Practice, practice, practice, and develop your own style. Don’t be afraid to do something that other people aren’t doing. Something that will help you separate yourself from everyone else. Be unique so people will remember you.
TT: What about DJs who want to take it to the next level?
SB: Taking it to the next level takes a lot of hard work and defining who you are as a DJ and musician, so that you can inspire others to spread your style and music themselves.
TT: You’ve judged some of the Red Bull Thre3style contests. What has impressed you the most?
SB: The most impressive thing for me was to see all of the countries representing their own location-specific styles of deejaying. DJs drew on regional music and techniques to stand out, and that made the competition so enjoyable to watch because everyone was different.