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Interview: DJ A-Trak [DJ Series]
Friday, December 1, 2006
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T: What's the difference between performing by yourself and performing with Kanye?
AT: It's just a whole other dynamic of working and performing. First of all, not being the headliner, backing up another artist; it's a context where technical merit is definitely second to what musically sounds good and what's good for the show. And then with my solo stuff I might do certain routines, if I was at a battle I would do certain routines strictly because it's impressive. But at a Kanye show it's more about being in the context of a musical performance which is centered on one man's music. And the whole challenge is, the fun is figuring out how to creatively integrate my background as a turntablist into that context.

T: What have been the most memorable shows with Kanye?
AT: There's been a bunch. Some of them are straight like headline type highlights, like performing at the Grammy's, performing at the Brit Awards, playing at Abbey Roads Studios in London, playing Madison Square Garden, playing in LA and having Common, Jamie Foxxx, Patti LaBelle, Avril Lavigne, all these people come out to the show. Sometimes the memorable performances will just be a straight up great show. We just did a show in Adelaide, in Austrailia. Small town and everybody was down playing it like, Adelaide it going to be boring. We went there and the crowd was amazing, they were chanting along to every single word of the whole show. The sound was good, the lighting was looking great, everybody was on point that night, and Kanye had recently fractured his ankle, so he kept giving them extra songs. It just felt like a great show. And that's like the underdog show, the show you wouldn't expect to remember like that.

T: We saw you up in Dave Chappelle's Block Party, you getting royalties?
AT: I don't get royalties. When you're in a movie it's not like you get more if it does well or less if it tanks.

T: I know you like southern Hip-Hop who's your favorite?
AT: Three 6 Mafia is my favorite southern group. I'm just happy to see them do good right now.

T: You still pay attention to the battle scene?
AT: I try to stay up with it as much as I can.

T: We've heard the Dipset joint from your album, will the beats all be scratch-based?
AT: Everything is scratch-based on there. But I got this joint with Lupe Fiasco that's pretty crazy, the beat is all coming from scratches that have effects on them, and Lupe killed it. I'm really happy about that one.

T: We saw you chillin' with KLC in your DVD, how did you meet him?
AT: I met KL through my boy DJ Spin in New Orleans. I went to New Orleans a couple times for some shows and I had a friend who was a DJ there who would show me around. After going there a few times, he's like, I gotta take you to meet my boy, he's a producer. He was one of the main producers from Beats By the Pound, who did all the No Limit stuff during the Master P hayday. I was like, goddamn! And that's how I met KL. I really feel like DJs are in a position to bridge a lot of gaps in music. Because you wouldn't expect somebody who produced I'm Bout It to link up with a DMC type DJ. But people forget that a lot of the southern producers used to be DJs ten years ago and they just made that transition into producing. Mannie Fresh used to make mixtapes in the early '90s that I always hear about. Even for me, I don't expect that someone like KLC would have that type of interest to linking up with me and to see what I do as a DJ. They get a kick out of seeing what kids are doing now.




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