With more than two decades experience as a turntablist, DJ D is one of ten finalists in the 2020 Australian DMC DJ Championships.
What does it mean to be a finalist in the 2020 Australian DMC DJ Championships?
In 2020, as it has for the last couple of decades, it really means the world to be a part of the top 10. My love for this competition began in the '90s where I would often call it a night watching past DMC competitions on VHS tape.
I held back entering till I further developed my skills, competing for the first time in 2005 where I placed 8th as the only female competitor in the Australian nationals. I entered once again as the only female competitor in 2015, taking 3rd place in NSW. The creative and practical aspects of your championship video set; how’s it all coming together?
The process for me sure has changed over the years. In the early 2000s I dedicated every waking moment possible, outside of work commitments, to practising on the turntables.
In 2015, my focus shifted to breaking down how to create a DMC set using DVS (Digital Vinyl System) as my previous experience had been on the analog tip ie. vinyl, stickers for markers, etc.
I hadn't planned to enter in 2015, though took the plunge at the very last minute when some industry peers had encouraged me to do so, putting a set together overnight and surprisingly taking 3rd place.
Fast forward to 2020, now with child, most of my planning is done mentally with 'mum life' taking over. Although I'd had the concept for a little while, it was still a push to get my entry in on time for the elimination rounds, once again being an overnight creation.
As for my set for the finals? Grateful to have a lil more time this time around, although I still envisage endless cups of coffee with cheers to all nighters.
Describe your championship video set in six words?
Honouring '80s/ '90s DMCs and lowriding.How many hours/ days have you put aside to practice your routine; and biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make to maintain that focus?
Perhaps not as many hours as I'd like to, although the brain is constantly ticking away with ideas and how to best execute them.
The biggest sacrifice, as with most of my musical projects, really is sleep; I often work through the night with less distraction. Cheers to all those years of all nighters playing up in the clubs, as it has me well training for running on next to no sleep.Who has been the biggest influence re: your own scratching techniques?
My earliest influence is perhaps my biggest, taking me back to my pre/ early teens where the Walkman near never left my hands – DJ Jazzy Jeff.
It was their 1988 cassette 'He's The DJ I'm The Rapper', notably the track 'Live At Union Square' that I had on repeat, a recording that begins with the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) announcing he was only 17 years old.
It was the 'transformer' scratch in this track that got my attention, I rewound and listened to those patterns over and over again. To date the transformer is still my favourite scratch 100.
When you're not home practising your turntable skills, where can we find you DJing when COVID allows it?
As much as live gigs have been limited in 2020, this has still turned out to be one of the busiest years on the DJ front.
I host a radio show via the turntables called 1200 Degrees Mixxbosses, a show that is much like a weekly mixtape, and somewhat a combination of shows I've hosted in years gone by: 1200 Degrees est. 1999, and Mixxbosses Australia est. 2007.
The show goes out seven days a week on various networks including Radio 2RDJ, 88.1fm Sydney, Ozurban 87.8fm Perth, Tune1, Starter FM Bangaz – you can get more info at 1200degrees.com.au.
2020 has also been the year for live streaming, where I spin weekly for Sounds Of Queens at Australia's first online nightclub: 2020 Lounge; my son often joins me, under his chosen name of DJ Ohhh, stealing the limelight from his mama with his MCing, DJing, dancing and lighting guy skills.
I also get down with 45 Queens hosted by the 45 Kings Collective, spinning all 45/7" vinyl record sets, plus soon to join their 45 Kids stream with DJ Ohhh. Big shoutout to Clubworld 360 based in Houston who re-stream a lot of my sets via their app, and on the to do-list are live sets for Clubworld 360 (Houston/USA), the Q Point (Sydney/AU), and That's Alright (Glasgow/UK).
I've also been working on original tracks, and am excited to announce a new track with King Quez/ Quez Outlaw (USA) will be dropping end of October 2020 entitled 'Keep Ya Head Up'.Don't get ahead of yourself; from the other finalists, who's your pick to be crowned Australian champion?
I send best wishes to all competitors, though if I had to choose just one I think I'd have to say DJ J Red.
His DMC achievements are nothing short of amazing, and I think we both have an appreciation, understanding and love for the old school. I'll make him a cup of tea any day.You're at a party and someone asks what exactly turntablism is, how do you respond?
The art of manipulating records (ie. scratching, beat juggling, body tricks, live remixing, etc) utilising turntables as a musical instrument as opposed to a stand-alone player; where live sets are often not the same twice.
To watch DJ D's routine and comment, visit the official DMC page
The Australian finalists will each upload a new, four-minute set by 15 October (national finals streamed on 18 October), with the national winner announced on 25 October. The global DMC champion will be crowned 30 November.