Whetting the appetite for next months release of Intricate Moves Vol 2, created by Belgium’s very own scratch king DJ Grazzhoppa, Chess Move Cartel has made available a free download single and promo mix. Weezy finds out more about the album, and the Grazzhoppa empire, in conversation with the man himself.
Weezy: DJ Grazzhoppa, welcome to the Chess Move Cartel movement! Can you introduce yourself to the people?
Grazzhoppa: Thanks Weezy, it’s an honour to be a part of this movement. My name is DJ Grazzhoppa. I came to this planet in the year of the funk – 72 – so that’s why I’m here; to spread the funk! The first vinyl release I was cuttin’ on was the 93 limited edition 12″ by Blade (691 Influential) on the B-side of Clear The Way, called They ain’t Shit to Me. I’m European DMC Champ 91, and came third in the world final ITF 98.
Weezy: Your DJing and cutting skills are internationally recognised – what have been your main influences and creative goals from day one?
Grazzhoppa: Thank you, appreciate it man. From day one I tried to stay funky and kept an open mind. The main DJs I’ve checked for cuts through the years are Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, Joe Cooley, Code Money, Cheese, Supreme, MixmasterMike, Q-Bert, Shortkut, Tat Money, Davy D, Mr.Mixx, Pogo, Toadstyle, Aladdin… I could keep going! They all have their own style, and it’s important to me to speak your own scratch language and tell YOUR story.
Weezy: I see you have an entry on Wikipedia for your DJBigband! Can you tell us more about the band?
Grazzhoppa: We originally started with six DJs; Monique Harcum on vocals (who is my wife, and together we also form the group ‘Mo&Grazz’); and Fabrizio on saxophone. Then we expanded to 12 DJs, and even did a couple of shows with 13. At a later stage we also added a jazz band called AKA MOON. We recorded one of the shows and released it on DVD/CD. Then later we did a set with 12 DJs; Mo and Laila Amazian on vocals; and a three-man horn section. Now we’ve slimmed back down to six with Mo on vocals, because we needed to return to the core and reset the DJBigband for the next project. The way it works is every DJ does one or two sounds; with all DJs together it’s like a giant live MPC! Since we have Serato we can do even more, recording musicians to scratch with. It’s an awesome project to do and to learn from!
Weezy: How do you hope to influence the Belgian (and global) hip hop scene through your solo and collaborative work?
Grazzhoppa: You know I never really think in terms of borders. Hip hop is universal; I’m just addin’ my five cents. I hope I can inspire people with what I do – for instance with the DJBigband I really wanna show bedroom DJs that you have more options than just playin’ at clubs.
Weezy: How did you come to be involved with Chess Move Cartel?
Grazzhoppa: Through my man Jabbathakut! He asked me if I would be down to do a DJ/battle album and I said: “Let’s goooo!” I’ve worked on a couple of collabs with Jabba before, and he invited me over to mix once.
Weezy: Which elements of CMC’s strategy appealed to you? And how do they fit in with your own work?
Grazzhoppa: It’s hip hop; all elements are there and CMC moves in a posse so it’s powerful.
Weezy: Tell us about Intricate Moves Vol 2.
Grazzhoppa: Intricate Moves Vol 2 is the follow-up to Vol 1, which was created by Jabbathakut. I didn’t want to bore people with too much scratchin’ from start to end, so I invited some MCs (K-Hill, JMega, Kwote1, Praverb The Wyse and Creme De La Creme) and some other DJs to have some different styles of scratchin’ on there (Woody, Envious Mind, Iron, Jazz T, DJGDJBB…). I did most of the beats myself on ProTools with the SP12 and MPC3000. I also invited some other beatmakers I’ve encountered through the years (Smimooz, Reef Ali, Blastah Beats, MighGawd…). It’s a three course meal now with starter, main and dessert with lots of different flavours. I just want to keep the listeners entertained with quality music and a bit of humour! I had a ball makin’ it; it was all very natural.
Weezy: Are you going to be working with CMC on any future projects?
Grazzhoppa: I think so – let’s build!
Weezy: Finally, complete the following sentence: In 2012 I will…
Grazzhoppa: go to Mars with DJ Grazzhoppa’s DJBigband, and in the process save planet earth with scientific scratch techniques!
Interview by Weezy.
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