Known for his versatility in different styles – hip hop, funk, disco, club, rock and just about anything that makes people dance – Skratch Bastid’s unrivalled technical skill and onstage charisma have made him a DJ's DJ.
You're headed to Australia including a date at WOMADelaide; have you heard much about the festival?
To be honest, no I hadn't. But I've only visited Australia once, so a lot is still new to me down under.
You would've met a lot of great turntablists, DJs; who stands out from your travels?
At this point I've met the majority of the people that inspired me to get into DJing; legends like Mixmaster Mike, Craze, Q-Bert, DJ Jazzy Jeff, all of who are great people and still rockin'. But yeah, DJs are a funny breed and you never know who's hiding out in remote areas practicing on the come up.
To keep it on the Aussie tip, last time I was in Perth someone reached out to me on Twitter and said he was a fan of my stuff and wanted to jam. I was visiting family for a week, so I had some spare time and ended up linking with this kid named Zeke for a scratch session and he was CRAZY with the scratches. Like I actually learned a lot from him that day.
He was one of Q-Bert's students who had travelled to the States to study with Q and stuff. He's actually making a name for himself right now with his production, Zeke Beats, so it's apparent that he is just a skilled dude all around. Shouts out to Zeke one time (air-horn sound effect).
The art of turntablism… can the craft return to the days of the late '90s, early '00s when the DMCs and events like it attracted global attention?
No forward-thinking craft should want to 'return' anywhere. The years you're talking about were exciting years for the DMC battle, but DJing has grown SO much since those years, and so has turntablism. Technology has changed immensely in the last 15 years and DJs are able to get creative on a new level and do things now they would have never dreamed possible with the help of Serato and new gear that takes advantage of it.
I feel like now we are coming into an era where DJs and fans alike have adapted to understanding how to interpret all of the technology and we are starting to get new excitement in the turntablism arena. As for events: DMC is still happening and has finally adapted its rules to fit new technology; IDA is a great, forward-thinking event that wasn't around then and is growing every year, and the Red Bull Thre3Style World DJ Championships are bigger than they've ever been.
Last year, Thre3style was in Santiago, Chile, the fourth continent the World Finals have been featured on. The event had a crowd of over 3,000 in attendance, was streamed live, and watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers. If that's not 'global attention', I don't know what measurement you're using.
How often do you go vinyl shopping?
I go vinyl shopping at home in Toronto every week or so, and I'm always buying new releases and other new/ old discoveries online via Bandcamp and Discogs.
Favourite record is impossible but my most used and abused 12" singles are M.O.P.'s 'Ante Up' / 'Ante Up Remix'. Those things look like they were dragged through Brooklyn underneath a yellow cab. Still plays nicely though and still works, every time.
Strangest, weirdest DJ booth you've encountered?
I wouldn't call it strange or weird but the stage at Fractal Forest at Shambhala is basically a tree house and is my happy place. Google that if you don't know.
What have been a couple of the best places you've played?
I don't like to play favourites. I'm grateful that DJing has taken me to 47 countries so far, and I hope to see many more. I love travelling and am inspired by the fans and friends and DJs I meet everywhere. I take a piece of everywhere with me when I leave. Excited to return to Australia and take a little more. A bigger piece this time.
You have your own range of BBQ sauces; how did that concept come about?
Every BBQ needs good sauce. Let me handle that for you. Try it, you will NOT be disappointed. DJ game Paul Newman.
Skratch Bastid's ideal barbecue consists of? And what are the tunes you're selecting?
Bastid's BBQ is all about good food, good music and good people. The food and music changes with the city and location. I like to eat those good, local specialties and whatever is fresh. At home I do a lot of jerk chicken, I love salmon off the grill, burgers of course, grilled veggies... hungry yet?
I tell the guest DJs to play whatever they would play at their own backyard BBQ. Music they like, music they want to hear, music they don't normally get to play at dark nightclubs, feel-good vibes. It's a great time. If you're reading this, you're invited.
You have a very stylish beard; how much grooming is required to keep the beard in check?
A lil bit of love every day goes a long way. Those ginger hairs have a mind of their own and you gotta catch 'em when they poke out in unwanted directions. The ginger gene is persistent. Long live the 'ranga'.
Skratch Bastid ShowsWed 8 Mar - Mobius (Hobart)
Thu 9 Mar - Transit Bar (Canberra)
Fri 10 Mar - Soda Factory (Sydney)
Sat 11 Mar - WOMADelaide (Adelaide)
Sun 12 Mar - Belleville (Melbourne)