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!