Skratchpad Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary With Big Skratch DJ Concert & Battle Tonight In San Francisco

Posted by Billyjam, August 8, 2013 02:04pm | Post a Comment
Tonight, Thursday August 8th, Skratchpad celebrates its ten year anniversary with a big scratch DJ party at Neck of The Woods at 408 Clement in San Francisco. Yes a full whole decade has passed since that unassuming foggy San Francisco night back in 2003 at Sublounge (20th Street off Third St in the Dogpatch district) when DJs Deeandroid and Celskiii and a group of fellow turntablist enthusiast DJ friends initiated  what would go on to become the leading (and only) regular  monthly DJ scratch session party in the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Been that the Bay Area, long considered the epicenter of the scratch DJ movement, was without any other regular club destination for those who love turntablism to go to perform at and/or enjoy others perform at soon solidified Skratchpad's reputation as being a very special place. Over the decade Skratchpad has relocated a few times around San Francisco venues - from  long gone Sublounge to Azul to The Cellar to its current location on Clement Street, Rockit Room, now known as Neck Of The Woods - all the while providing (and always no cover charge) an appreciated oasis for fans and participants of the scratch arts to gather and share in their somewhat marginalized hip-hop musical art form. Skratchpad is all done out of a shared love of the art form of skratch DJ as proven by the always free club's mission statement mantra of "No Cover, Just Culture"  plus a commitment to providing each month "Q & A Skratch Sessions// Party Rockin// Monthly Guest Showcases// Beats // with Prize Raffles & Giveaways."

Many rightfully consider Skratchpad as the sole institution to have continued the legacy of the famed, long gone Beat Lounge at Deco in the Tenderloin where, back in the 90's, scratch DJs would congregate to hone their craft. Since 2003 Skratchpad has been selflessly providing that same resource to their community. Furthermore in that same time period, with too many famous talented turntablists stopping by  over the years to list here, Skratchpad has not only developed and steadily grown in size and rep but the club has also expanded beyond the Bay Area setting up satellite Skrathpad clubs in such cities as Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, Portland, Las Vegas, and Houston where like minded folks - equally passionate about turntablism - similarly religiously congregate to celebrate their art. Many of those same DJs will be traveling to San Francisco to be at tonight's anniversary event where, in addition to such residents as Deeandroid, Celskiii, and Snayk Eyez, there will also be sets from from Teeko, Derrick D, Genie G, and DJ Pone. Additionally there will also be a Skratchpad DJ Battle Finals with five contestants (Kut Kaos, Rated R, Smoovgroovs, Dstrukt, and Kiddomoney) battling it out against each other with the first place winner receiving the above trophy plus a DJ Tech Limited Edition Thud Rumble TR-1S mixer and custom midi fighter as the grand prize.

Over the past couple of days I reached out to several folks somehow connected to Skratchpad to ask them what is the single best thing about Skratchpad and what has each personally gained from the existence of Skratchpad over the years? Those I talked to included both co-founders Deeandroid and Celskiii, plus DnZ, Snayk Eyez, DJ Pone, Chuck Flava, Mista B, and Charles Angeles Jr. 

Deejay Deeandroid  (Skratchpad co-founder)

The single best thing about Skratchpad is the VIBE! From the beginning to now, the energy of the DJs, Hip Hop community - MCs, Bboys & Bgirls, Graff heads and the Music heads who come out to Skratchpad all have positive energy. It's all love for the culture and the art form, everyone is passionate about their craft. It's always fun to Jam all together on the turntables, check out a dope showcase, watch dancers get down, or just kick it and have a good time. Feels like a big family! I love that about Skratchpad. All the Skratchpad Chapters in each city all carry that vibe too, so I feel right at home!

Personally, Skratchpad has taught me to persevere in the face of doubt and to stay up! There were times where organizing and throwing Skratchpad events has been challenging on top of already dealing with everyday life challenges. Skratchpad is a source of motivation for me. Becoming a mother was a huge life changer and then becoming a single mother was a bit devastating - at first! Focusing my energy on my daughter and Skratchpad helped me get through hard times. I will be forever grateful for the impact music, Skratchpad, the DJ and Hip Hop community has had on my life. I plan on giving back to the Skratchpad community until it's time for me to leave this planet.

Furthermore Skratchpad has shown me how important community is and has taught me that I can help contribute to a greater cause and help create change in the world through Skratchpad and through being a practitioner through the art of DJ'ing.

DJ Celskiiii (Skratchpad co-founder)

Best thing about having Skratchpad these last 10 years has been meeting and building with DJs from all over who also take the art of DJ'ing seriously.

It's been a source of constant inspiration, getting a chance to see so many DJs rock and listen to their different styles, and see the art of skratching, beat-juggling, and mixing progress. Working with so many dope DJs who are also great organizers has also been dope. We are all learning from each other in different ways.

DJ DnZ (Amazing Zoo Crew, Hip Hop Slam, and Skratchpad member until he relocated to Japan)

Best thing about Skratchpad is that they (Celskiii + Deeandroid) have built up the DJ/Tablist community and kept it constant throughout 10 years in the Bay Area. When you look back at the years we didn't have a Zebra, a Guitar Center, B-Side, ITF or DMC battles here, Skratchpad was everyones place to go, meet other DJ's, scratch and hone their skills, but it still kept a fun and friendly atmosphere. I think if it wasn't for them pushing to keep Skratchpad going the Bay Area wouldnt of seen a regional DMC like it has the past few years.

What was once the Hip-Hop/Scratch DJ Mecca would of been ghost town in a sense. Personally I've got to meet a lot of cool people which I don't think I would of normally run into or met. Now being in 5 different cities I wouldn't of met the SP cats from Portland, Vegas or LA. I wouldn't of been able to be part of such a dope DJ family and group of friends. I get to be a part of our generation's Deco.

DJ Pone  (Skratchpad member, Longtime Bay Area turntablist / battle DJ /
89 Skratch Gangstaz/ Transplants/ Dub EFX / Backspin Boys / Hip Hop Slam)

It shows the longevity and continuing interest in scratching/turntablism over the past decade, despite the ups and downs in its popularity. So much has changed over that time - mixer manufacturers jumping on the scratch bandwagon only to stop making scratch mixers a few years later, Panasonic dropping the venerable Technics 1200 line, etc. It got a little popular in the mainstream, then it got unpopular, but there's still people doing it. And it's not just the same people - it's seeing new kids still showing an interest and doing this stuff too, and seeing them at Skratchpad.  What I personally get out of Skratchpad is validation of what I've been doing for years (although I'd still keep scratching even if there was no validation) - to see scratching continue on and new generations taking an interest and doing's good to see it go on like that, and it's good to feel like I'm part of passing it on to the next generation.

Snayk Eyez (Longtime Bay Area turntablist / battle DJ / 89 Skratch Gangstaz/ Skratchpad member)

The best thing about Skratchpad is that it never let the scratch scene die. While some DJ's moved on to different outlets as the music trends progressed, Skratchpad stayed true to its mission and preserved the art of scratching as well as the traditional foundations of DJing (digging for records, playing breaks, etc). And it's awesome to see other events like Skratch Lounge in Seattle and Skratcher in Canada being established because they have the same passion as we do.

For me, Skratchpad kept me on my toes with my skills. There's only so much one can do on their own. So seeing other DJ's, new and old, come out and cut it up always kept me inspired and practicing...and it still does! Not only that, but it helped with the entire bay area hip hop community by providing an outlet for local talent to perform their material. And now that it's expanded to other cities, the inspiration keeps going.

Mista B (4OneFunk, renowned Battle DJ, Skratchpad member)

The best thing about Skratchpad is that it's a free event for the community. It gives all kinds of DJs, not just Skratch DJs, a place to come and be welcomed and themselves. I really attest that to Cellskii and Deeandriod being so welcoming to all kinds of DJs. It's very inspiring because for me, it's the first place where any DJ can jump into the cypher. Of course, I didn't have the transportation (and I was underage) to go the legendary club Deco back in the 90s but Skratchpad is that for me and more. Personally, Skratchpad has provided me a lot over the years in terms of self growth as a DJ. At first, it was a place to just go cut, kick it, and get lit with the homies. I would say 2009 is when Skratchpad got a huge facelift and I was asked to help out which I was stoked about. It so happen at that time that Cellskiii and Deeandriod suggested I showcase at one and I remember doing a 20 minute turntable showcase and feeling like, "man, I should just battle again." With the support of the Skratchpad fam, it kinda open the up the flood gates for me as a live performance DJ.

On top of the DMC DJ battle stuff, I've gotten to take part in what I consider "Cousins of Skratchpad" with Skratch Lounge in Seattle, and Skratcher in Vancouver doing showcases. I've also been up and down the West Coast, Texas, New York, Philippines, and Japan just to do showcases and I truly believe Skratchpad has been instrumental in getting me there refining my skill set as I go.  On top of that, I help out with coordination with who's gonna showcase at each Skratchpad event along with DJs Snayk Eyez, Pone, and Robynn. Skrachpad is also doing more youth outreach events to have younger folks have DJ experiences that they may not have at home. I guess when I was younger, I saw a lot of Tableturns videos coming out of NY and thought to myself, it would be cool if this generation could get that too. A place where folks of all skill levels can showcase their skills without the restraints and time limits of DJ Battles.

It's pretty amazing that Skratchpad has spread to Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose, Portland, Las Vegas, and Houston. I've heard that there is interest in New York for one too. There are also other DJ organizations to be recognized like Battle Ave, that help cultivate the scene. I'm happy that hardcore Turntabilist, Skratch Heads, Selectors, Collectors and so on can get along under one roof. I do think Skratchpad has really helped the skratch scene become popular again. Hopefully younger DJs can take what the whole Skratchpad camp is doing and pass it along to the next generation.

Charles Angeles Jr. (DJ/Party Rocker at Spintronix Entertainment LLC and Collaborator for DJ QBert and Yogafrog at Thud Rumble)

Single best thing about Skratchpad? The community of DJs sharing the passion for music and skratching. It's great to have a pioneering concept than can be replicated by other regions that are into skratching too.
Personally gained from Skratchpad's existence?   Great vibes. It's all about the congregation of the whole culture. Skratchpad is something all the other regions I know envy about San Francisco. Regardless of different DJ crews and interests, DJs come together to have fun and support each other.

Also, you'll never know who's dope until you see them come up at Skratchpad and let it loose on stage; old-school battle DJs, up-and-coming turntablists and just plain skratch enthusiasts.

Chuck Flava (Skratchpad regular, battle DJ from Chico CA who won the Denver CO DMC Regionals which resulted in him traveling to NYC last weekend to battle in the 2013 DMC US Finals)

I grew up in Chico Ca, a small college town where turntablism is extremely rare. I started DJing at the age of 13 and wanted nothing more than to be a battle dj. When I left Chico to serve in the military in late 2003 and returned home in late 2008 I wanted to continue to train in the art of djing but I knew I had to leave home to find the skratch dj/battler/turntablists community I wanted to be a part of in order to grow and learn. Back before I left in 2003 DJ Badrok and DJ Pone used to throw a function called "All That Skratch'n" here in Chico every so often before the small skratch dj scene diminished. It was like a small scale Skratchpad. I even had a chance to showcase my skills back then. It was basically what I always wished was permanently around when I was a kid coming up and I had learned so much the few that I had attended.

But growing up in a small town that lacked an active scene I knew it was time to move in order to grow. So basically my entire dj life I wanted to experience this sense of community. I knew that moving to the SF Bay Area still close to home yet big enough I would find it somewhere, I would just have to put in the ground work and look for it. I was well aware of what djs hailed from the bay and knew there had to be something somewhere. DJ Lazyboy was the first dj I met when I moved to Cotati Ca in the North Bay and he introduced me to DJ PriMO a member of the Skratchpad collective/community. They are both skratch djs like myself so meeting them was exactly what a small town bed room dj like myself needed in order to find the "scene" to grow and learn. PriMO took me to a Skratchpad event at the end of 2009 at the Cellar in SF. That night I knew I had found what I was lookin for. I have now been attending Skratchpads for over 3 years now and have watched as it grows and divisions all over the west coast have been activated. The best thing about Skratchpad exisiting as a sole skratch venue for so long is that is creates a strong community of djs/musicians/artists that continue to grow and have an outlet to interact and function as a thriving scene in a certain geographical location with ties to other locations around the country which in turn help it grow. It also gives a chance for young djs/musicians/artists to grow, learn, meet people, and experience things that they might not elsewhere, like in a small town like Chico where I grew up. It provides a home for our kind of dj/musician. Personally I owe my accomplishments over the last 3 years to the Skratchpad community.

Skratchpad provided a place for me to be the kind of dj that I am and introduced me to people I might not have met with out it. Skratchpad provided me a place other than the bedroom to grow, learn, study, and perform. I met my crews Funk Lab and Asthma Funk through Skratchpad, I was given countless opportunities to perform and showcase my skills. I started to battle again in 2010 because I would learn about competitions through my dj friends in the community who I had met at Skratchpad. I have been given the chances to perform at the same shows as some of my favorite turntablists/battle djs of all time at Skratchpad. Skratchpad is a major reason why I started entering the DMC competitions. So many veteran DMC djs belong to the community it made me want to carry on the tradition of being a DMC DJ and helped me prepare for it. Skratchpad has helped me get out of the bedroom, socialize with my kind, and has always provided me a venue to have fun and keep the culture and traditions of the skratch dj alive. As long as Skratchpad is active it will continue to provide a place for all djs to learn, grow, socialize, and experience things they would not in the bedroom or on the internet. Skratchpad continues to provide me with multiple divisions and venues around my area of Nor Cal to go have fun at, and keep the skratch dj culture and traditions alive.
Tonight's (Aug 8 2013) Skratchpad Anniversary Party & DJ Battle is from 9pm to 2am. 21+ No cover.
Free prizes. At Neck of The Woods at 408 Clement in San Francisco.

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Mista B (16), Dnz (4), Skratchpad (14), Skratch Music (13), Scratch Music (2), Deeandroid (5), Celskiii (2)