DJ Quest Fine-Tunes Livehuman's Concert Mix By Channeling Everything Through His DJ Mixer

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2015 05:44pm | Post a Comment

Since they formed back in the 1990s, the pioneering San Francisco turntable jazz three-piece Livehuman (comprised of DJ Quest, bassist Andrew Kushin, and percussionist Albert Mathias) have been performing all over and at all kinds of venues from underground hip-hop clubs to outdoor jazz festivals. At those concerts the critically acclaimed modern jazz ensemble, who are heard everyday as theme music on San Francisco NPR outlet KALW, would do their part by performing at their very best. However how that would translate into the final mix heard by the concert goers in these venue was beyond their control since the mix was dependent on the club's sound-person. With fingers crossed, the musicians would hope that the sound person would know how to properly mix together the unique trio's individual sounds. Unfortunately, it rarely did happened that a sound man would get the Livehuman mix and blend of their three instruments just right.

Until very recently that is, thanks to new electronic gear and a whole new approach in concert for the turntable-based jazz trio. The solution to getting just the right mix desired was simple enough: they simply had to channel everything through DJ Quest's mixer. In comparison to the sound of old, the new way is a clean, clear, pitch-perfectly balanced, final mix of both Andrew's bass and Albert's various percussion sounds.

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Skratch Fight Inspires Bay Area Turntablists

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2015 01:27pm | Post a Comment

Like so many positive uplifting music events in the Bay Area that tend to fly under the radar and get little notice or props for all they contribute to the greater Bay Area music/arts community, the ongoing DJ session and battle gathering known as Skratch Fight is among the most admirable. An informal yet tight-knit community of dedicated skratch DJ and aspiring DJs, Skratch Fight is an ongoing series of turntablist sessions and/or DJ battles that take place on a monthly basis (typically twice a month) around the Bay Area including every last Sunday at the War Memorial building in Daly City where the next Skratch Fight will take place this weekend. Another location where Skratch Fight takes place is at the Michael Chavez Center in Concord CA where I stopped by on a recent (January 25th) Sunday afternoon during one of the Skratch Fight live DJ sessions (as distinct from their battle/fights). There I met with the main Skratch Fight founder/organizer/DJ who goes by the name Dulodulo, as well as Concord Skratch Fight organizer (and member of 925 Hip-Hop) Benny Contreras who both chatted with the Amoeblog (see video interview below) to break down the history of Skratch Fight as well as its positive impact. Those in attendance that day included DJ Me One, DJ Universe, Nicholas Joeseph Abigana, DJ Sick Nick (GPK - garbagepailkid), S.T.A.T.I.K., DJ MaseTheTablist, Ichy the Killer, Kurteek, Six Kutter, DJ ALF, and Chuck Martinez.  All were clearly into the ongoing informal skratch session which, as well as a musical outlet for turntablists, is a grassroots networking/meet-up; the type of event that inspires longtime DJs and aspiring DJs alike. It is also a potluck (everyone brings a dish of food to share) and an informal record swap meet with several DJs bringing extra copies of battle records and old VHS tapes to share or trade with their fellow skratch enthusiasts.

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Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 

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DJ Woody's "The Nature of Battle" Dedicated To 2014 DMC World Championships

Posted by Billyjam, October 4, 2014 12:03pm | Post a Comment
                 DJ Woody's "The Nature of Battle" dedicated to the 2014 DMC World Championships

In anticipation of this weekend's big battle DJ event in London - the 2014 World DJ Championships in London tomorrow, October 5th - UK battle DJ veteran DJ Woody has just laced up the above killer tribute video/audio mix as his "dedication to all the DJs who ever took their skills to the battle."  Woody, who gave up battling some years ago to concentrate on his career as a mixed media DJ career (he does amazing video sets), knows a thing or two about DJ battling with a  rich resume that boasts such titles as the 2001 World ITF Champion, and the 2002 World Vestax Champion.

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Five Year Anniversary of Passing of Pioneering DJ Grand Master Roc Raida

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2014 12:04pm | Post a Comment
On this date, September 19th, five years ago the hip-hop world was shocked to learn the tragic news that super-talented DJ Grand Master Roc Raida had died from cardiac arrest at age 37. The totally unexpected death, following a week of being hospitalized, was due to medical complications relating to an accident that the DJ encountered a few weeks previously while training in the contact combat self-defense system known as Krav Maga. Later today on my weekly hip-hop radio show on WFMU I will be honoring the legacy of the DMC world champion DJ who most got to know via his membership of the X-Men/X-Ecutioners but who, over his illustrious prolific career, worked with a wide array of artists that included MF Grimm, Big Pun, Pink, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Nelly, Opio, The Beatnuts, Mike Patton, and Dilated Peoples.

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