The man who worked with the incredible MC Abdominal way before we ever heard of Format talks about the re-release of the top notch EP 'Flowtation Device' and more.
How long have you been a DJ/producing hip-hop and what are some of the projects you've worked on so far?
I've been Dj'ing for 11 years. Producing for almost 8. I've mainly produced Abs. Our first 12" 'The Vinyl Frontier' / 'Fly Antics' in late 99', 'Flowtation Device' 2XEP both on Tune Up Records. DJ Format 'The Hit Song' Remix. And a ton of product that hasn't seen the light of day. About to release some solo stuff from my DJ Fase solo Album.
When did you first decide you wanted to do what you do? Was it influenced by any particular artists or records?
I Started DJ'ing when I was sixteen with some friends. We pooled our money and bought turntables and a mixer. I had been into Hip Hop heavy for quite a few years. As soon as I started buying records I knew I wanted to produce. I immediately started saving for a sampler and started digging daily. It just felt so right. Actually, the moment my friends were like 'do you want to buy turntables?' I was like "Hell Yeah!" It wasn't any artist in particular, mainly just Hip Hop. I was always into music but, being able to make an entire song by sampling really intrigued me.
How did the re-release of Flowtation Devise come about and are there any extra's for people who already have the record?
It's hard to recall now. We were talking to the fine people a PIAS around the time Flowtation was originally released, for distribution, but nothing really happened then. I guess after Abs toured with Format they really saw how good he is. When they finally called and wanted to license the record a lot of time had passed. And then it took us close to 12 months to iron out the details. (love Lawyers)It's a shame it's taken this long, but hopefully it will expose the record to more people. As for extras… there are three new songs added. The two of the single… 'A Good Day' and 'Slow & Deliberate' and a third is called 'Sewmanee (Time's Fly)'.
What's in the works at the moment? A full length Abs and Fase album would do just nicely.
Ya, we are working on that. PIAS has an option on us so that will be coming. Expect an Abs solo record as well, and some 12''s from myself featuring a bunch of other Toronto artists. I've almost half done a Fase solo LP. I've been working with D-Sisive, K-OS, Theology 3, Grimace Love, Scandalous. Some singers, Latoya Alexis and Shawn Hewitt. And Detroit's finest Frank and Dank among others…
Which vocalists besides from Abdominal do you rate, and would like to work with in the future?
As just mentioned. T.O. cats that I've been working with and respect are D-Sisive (you will hear him on the new DJ Format record) is crazy. K-OS is an amazing singer and rapper. Theo 3 is a T.O. cat the whole world will know soon enough, Toronto's finest Funk Soul Jazz Hip Hop Band The Quartertones. Others I would like to work with are De La Soul, J-Live, Masta Ace, Cee-Lo, Glen lewis, Suakrates, Pharohe Monch.
Are you going to be stepping on the UK shores to promote the re-release and do some gigs? If so, when?
I've been dieing to get over to tour the UK. There were some dates being thrown around, but right now it doesn't seem likely. Abs and I would love to come tour or I would love to reach for some solo DJ gigs! Anyone out there that's interested? Show some love email@example.com
As a producer, what is your most prized piece of equipment?
I'd say my SP - 1200. I don't use is much any more, but it was the first sampler I ever bought and it's the Classic Hip Hop tool, and not too easy to come by.
How do you go about making a Fase and Abdominal track? Do you make a beat and then pass it on or does he come up with an idea or any criteria?
A bit of both. More often I'll make the beat and he'll write to it, but sometimes he will have something written and I'll make the music around that or have a beat that works. Abs is really influenced by the music though. The vibe, keys (like a minor key), the feel, really affect his content and what he will write about. Much more then others MC's. I like coming up with song ideas. So sometimes I'll give him or anyone I'm working with a beat and say right about this…
What's your personal favourite track that you've helped create and why?
'Elizabeth' off of Flowtation Device. Because it's a very personal track. I really tried to create a musical version of my woman. And its a track I always get a lot of feedback on. And often, people don't really like it at first, but eventually it becomes their favourite tune on the record. It's quite the epic too. And it could hold it's own as an straight instrumental as well.
How big is your record collection? Which one piece of vinyl do you love the most?
I'm getting close to 10, 000 records. I really can't say which ONE piece of wax I love most. I love so many different pieces for so many different reasons. You know? As a club DJ, as a digger, as a Hip Hop head, as a jazz head, as funk and soul fan, as a producer, for production use and musical inspiration. They are all different but important reasons.
What producers are you feeling the most right now?
I like Kev Brown, I love the Jake One and Vietmine D beats on the the new Encore LP, Supa Dave West (of De La fame), Jay Dee, Agile (of Toronto's BrassMunk), Saukrates (Big Black Lincoln is crazy), RjD2, Mr. Attic & Dj Serious.
Any last plugs, shout outs or disses?
No disses. Plugs and shout outs? Yeah… Anyone and everyone that comes out to all the weekly gigs in T.O. and everyone involved.
LoveMovement Monday's with K-os DJ NaNA and myself. My FOOTWORK Tuesday people (Toronto's longest running Hip Hop Funk Soul night), Spin Cycle Thursday's @ Fez. My Stylistic Endeavors RADIO crew… Myself Fase, and DJ Serious hosted by Planet Pea & Theology 3 The best in Hip Hop every Friday night 8-10pm 89.5 fm CIUT Toronto. All Toronto Artists. Do Right Music and Circle Research. Anyone that supports or just enjoys our music. All Abs & Fase fans with open minds. All press and reviewers, even if they love or hate our record, Thank You! And you Tee. Peace.