DJ ND - Producer, International DJ, DMC World Finalist

Behind the name DJ ND hiding an international artist with numerous achievements and awards.

Read our exclusive interview with DJ ND.

Ortofon: Can you introduce yourself to the people who do not know you yet?

- DJ ND from Brussels, Belgium. I started deejaying in 98. I entered my first DMC in 2000, where I placed 3rd. I then won my first DMC Belgium in 2003 (both Battle for World Supremacy & Team Championships). I continued the competitions until 2009 where I won the Benelux championships (both Battle for World Supremacy & 6-minutes championships). I am also a resident DJ on NRJ Radio in Belgium.

Ortofon: Why did you choose to leave the competition?

- From my point of view, the purpose of competitions is to help a DJ “move further” by opening doors to do something else in order to get his/her name out. I opened a lot of doors for myself and came to the conclusion that I had done enough competitions. I just wanted to move on to something else; touring, being on stage, DJ at parties and apply what Turntablism taught me. But this door is not closed forever; if one day I find the motivation and the time to do it again, I will.

Ortofon: You are a club DJ, a radio DJ and a Turntablist. Which of those activities do you prefer?

- Clearly, I started with Turntablism and I didn’t care about parties and radio shows. The only thing I wanted to do was scratching. I was not interested at all in club gigs. After a few years spent into the Turntablism world, several Belgian DJ’s started inviting me on their mixtapes to lay down some cuts or intros.
Then those mixtapes started spreading and promoters contacted me, asking if I would be interested in playing at their club. I agreed, and over time it developed.
I like all three aspects, but my favorite remains Turntablism. Truly. Because this is my first love. I developed a certain taste for club gigs because you can come up with your own style, your trademark, and be different. There’s only a handful of turntablists who play club gigs. Most of them would rather play festivals or showcases. I am able to fully express myself to a larger crowd, a club crowd.
I really found my thing; being able to play club music while bringing my own touch by doing live remixes or by implementing a routine in my set here and there.

"Together" by DJ ND, Pierrick Kartez & Chris Roland

DJ ND, Pierrick Kartez & Chris Roland presents the First Track and video feat "TOGETHER", very special, watch it in HD!

Video powered by ORTOFON Vinyl Preservation Academy, Official Rane DJ & Reloop - Solutions for DJs ‪#‎Realdjing‬ ‪#‎production‬ ‪#‎Scratch‬ ‪#‎Madefromscratch‬

Ortofon: You are obviously a very busy DJ. However, you chose to make time and to open your own DJ school. What motivated you?

- The first thing that pushed me is that I find the turntablist artform to be fragile; with the new technology, you can play with USB controllers or CD’s. It’s a bit like the Samurai culture, it’s meant to die and I find that very sad. So if there are people like us who can transfer our knowledge to the next generation, it’s important to do so.

It’s the way I learnt; I had the chance to have more experienced DJ’s telling me to keep on working and not giving up. It’s important to motivate students, because it’s nearly impossible to make it alone without someone pushing you a little bit.

Ortofon: What’s your view on the big “Analog vs. Digital” debate?

- I think that it is the logical evolution, but that doesn’t mean that I embrace it fully. We are all vinyl lovers, we all have hundreds of records at home. After that, and within the frame of DJ competitions, I think that this is very positive to allow digital solutions because many DJ’s wasted a year of hard work just due to their needle skipping during the final or one of their records warped during transport. We have all had stories like that. With Serato or Traktor, it’s a new way of building a set. You have to be much more complete since you have to know how to produce also. Before, we all had 15 battle breaks to choose from and we had to build a set with those records only. Digital solutions brought Turntablism to a new dimension.

Ortofon: But don’t you think that, with the absence of “risk taking”, something changed in a negative way?

- There is positive and negative. The good thing is that you can experiment and test new things that you would not be able to try with vinyl. But it also made Turntablism less reachable; the crowd used to react to a beat-juggle over a Missy Elliott beat because they knew the song and were able to understand what the DJ was doing. With DJ’s using their own productions, you cannot fully understand what the DJ is doing anymore unless you are a turntablist yourself. Hence, people do not attend massively the DMC anymore like they used to. When you go to a DMC, the crowd is mainly composed of the deejays’ friends and other DJ’s. And that’s really a shame. We will never use a vinyl record during competitions like we used to. It may even be seen as tacky if one DJ did.

Ortofon: Don’t you have the nostalgia of this era, where DJ’s had to compete with a limited number of records and be creative with the records that were available in shops rather than being creative with Logic or ProTools for example?

- That’s true, but I also feel that we have just been going round and round for two or three years with everybody using the exact same records. Plus it was hypocrite because everybody was creating their routines on Serato and pressed them on bad quality dubplates. So it’s better to allow Serato right away. All in all, I think that it has been a positive evolution because Turntablism may have died without it.

Ortofon: You best memory as a DJ?

- I have several. The World finals in 2009 was a wonderful experience because I came without expectation, just with a lot of nerve and decided to give my best shot at it. And it turned out really good. Q-Bert even placed me number 3, so I was really satisfied considering that I had some problems with my records before the competition.

Another great memory was warming-up for the QFO tour at Le Rex (Paris) with my old crew LA GUILDE, or the long freestyle session that I did with Q-Bert when he played in Belgium. In terms of club memories, NRJ radio arranges a yearly festival called “NRJ in the park” and I was this year’s opening act, playing in front of 55.000 people. Crazy! You think that you’ll never get the chance to experience something like that, and when you get to experience it, that is simply incredible!

Ortofon: What is your favorite record?

- That would have to be one of the battle-breaks from Scratch Science. If I was to choose a more “regular” record, then it would be the “1nce again” 12-inch from A Tribe Called Quest. I am an absolute fan of this song. I spun this record again and again, beat-juggled any way possible. Tammy Lucas’ voice sounds so amazing. It was at the time when we were all listening to the “Cut Killer Show” here, and the way he flipped that record was crazy.

Ortofon: What is the best song to rock a dancefloor?

- There are some of those timeless songs, like “DMX - Party Up”. When I play this record in a club, I can see some kids which might be around 18 years-old, so 6 years-old when this song came out, and they go bonkers, shouting and jumping!

Ortofon: What is your favorite cartridge?

- I’ve always worked with Ortofon and tried almost all the different carts. My personal favorite is the Q-Bert cartridge. For a while, I was using the ELEKTRO because it has a punchy and dynamic sound. Then I moved to the Q-Bert which I find very robust. I also like the high-output level; when you mix after another DJ, you have the feeling that someone turned the volume up. But it’s just the cartridge’s high-level. I also like the design. It’s a very complete cartridge.

Ortofon: Who are the 3 DJ’s that you would love to face in a battle?

- I already battled against serious contenders during my career, such as Troubl’ from France. I would like to battle Unkut, because he is a friend of mine and beyond the battle dimension, there would be a fun one. Other than that, I would have loved entering a battle around the mid-2000’s, when I-Emerge won.  And of course, the late 90’s/early 2000’s with DJ’s like Craze and Klever. Like 98 in Paris. Even better, a team battle from the era of the Allies and Scratch Perverts. There was name calling, mockery and fierce competition.

Ortofon: What’s next?

- I want to continue my work on the radio. It’s something that I like and that opens me some doors. To keep on touring of course. We fixed ourselves a lot of objectives like a tour in Asia. Now that we have done it, maybe going on a tour to the other side like USA and Canada. That’s something important to us.

I would also like to really get into producing.

And of course, to keep on training because I am not giving up on Turntablism. I really want to maintain my level because you can easily become outdated in this Turntablism world where everything evolves so fast.