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InSpairing Thoughts – Interview With DJ Spair


23 April 2004 No Comment

Do you remember the Red Bull DJ Academy (Cape Town) last year that featured Steinski, Prince Paul and loads of other international guests? I had the opportunity to bum rush the show when I was in Cape Town to visit the Milkman in South Africa. I managed to hookup with a very friendly and polite Dj Spair (man weren’t u warned before hand not to be too friendly with these South Africans cos we all suppose to be killers and hijackers?).

Spair is definitely one of those cats that knows his music. You can tell cos he was asking all the damn questions while we were prohibited from asking Prince Paul about so called rumors that he did some production for some porn joints awhile ago? Representing Oaktown he has just been picked as the number one draft pick for the Oakland Faders. I like this dudes sets which comprises of a lot of old school playas that seems to be pushed to the background by most of these new school Dj’s who either don’t know or forgot to take out the pioneers from those crates. Everybody knows the turntable is outselling the guitar as the most prized musical instrument and everybody wants to claim that Dj tag. We got in touch with Dj Spair who just lost one of his decks to the art called battling so he had some time on hand to give us some answers to our always profound thoughts. “I mastered the art of causing natural disasters you should learn the difference between the students and the master”

Dj Spair what’s been up, what’s been down since u just started conforming to a normal lifestyle with a 9 to 5 job, lost any love for the faders and needles?

Not really. I’m still Dj, at least 3 times a week. Plus our crew the “Oakland Faders” have started our own weekly. So as you can see I’ve been staying quite busy. I would say the only setback from having a 9 to 5 is I lose time to practice, but practicing is not paying my rent right now.

I need to find out how long you been into turntablism and how did u get involved in the artform?

Well I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a Turntablist. I would label myself as a dj with various skill trades of a turntablist. I started in 94. Before I started Dj’n I was doing Graffitti. The transition from graf to becoming a dj happened naturally keeping in mind that graff plays a big role in the Hip Hop community. Some of the biggest Hip Hop artists use to be or still are graff writers. Fat Joe, Krs One, Kay Slay, Evidence, and Redman just to name a few.

Tell me more about the Oakland Faders is that ya crew or is it just you reppin where u from to the fullest? 

It’s both. I was born in raised in Oakland. The name actually started as a joke. See we have this football team in Oakland called the “Raiders”. About 3 years ago my dj partner “Platrun” and I were producing a track for “Cue’s Hip Hop Shop” a Hip Hop comp which featured local artists in the Bay Area. We use to have a crew called the “Motivators” but it was very unorganized at the time. Me and Platurn were like the only ones doing stuff together, so we wanted to change the name of our crew (Motivators) to disassociate ourselves from the other members. I just scored a bunch of some bammer(bad) weed, and we were puffin a lot of it while thinking of names and I just blurted out “Oakland Faders” and the rest is history. 

Who do you think is bringing something unique to the art? 

Man there’s a lot. I definitely respect dj’s like the Beat Junkies., 45 King, Oakland Faders, 4 One Funk, all of the late ISP. 

You got some connection with Dj Q-bert, I saw you on Q-berts latest dvd with you ripping up a set, gotta say you mad serious when u on the decks what’s the connection with Bert? 

Thanks man….I met Q through mutual friends. We’re all family out here in the Bay Area. We all share one common interest when it comes to DJ’n and that’s scratching. I hanged out with Q a few times before he asked me and a bunch of us to be on the DVD. I highly thank him for giving me that opportunity. 

What’s your most prized record and what other’s are you fiendin for?

I have too many prized records. One of them would be Bobby Hutcherson “Montara”.. There’s a shit load of stuff I’m looking for. Too many titles to list.

How did it happen that you got on the Red Bull programme and do you feel you got some info that you were able to take back home and say yeah I learned that in Cape Town?

My friend Fuse One gave me the scoop about the academy. I really had no expectations of going. I just filled out the app sent it in and one day I got an email and they said ” Congratulations you’ve been selected!” I think a lot of the local Capetownians like yourself sprinkled me with some interesting facts about Capetown and South Africa. 

I need to find out how did you find the local scene was there any surprises cos u came to a land that’s unknown to u basically? 

Uh..lets see. For starters, the food was a lot healthier and cheaper then the U.S. I didn’t expect to see 5-year-old kids living on the streets. That was pretty shocking. The ghettos are more welcoming. At least the one I went to. Records are very scarce. I couldn’t imagine paying 120 Rand for a new 12inch back home to me that’s way over priced.

Spair in Cape Town

Remember The Lounge where u played with DJ Hamma and Reiko, well u played a set of some old school joints and u told me u felt peeps wasn’t feeling u and when the local DJ’s flipped some new school stuff the crowd just went crazy, in terms of musical education do you feel its a Dj’s duty cos you got a lot of new kids coming out that won’t even know who Run DMC is?

O.K. realized after I deejayed that night that I was playing for a trained crowd. It seems like the crowd only recognized a handful of the songs because those two might be playing the same records every week. Hamma told me he wanted to have a night in Cape Town where it was just true rugged Hip Hop with no Nelly and Ja Rule. I’m all for it. The dance floor cleared when I put on Eric B & Rakim. Where I come from that’s a classic club track, so I didn’t expect that reaction but I cant get mad at those kids for not understanding it. They were probably 1 years old when that song came out. If they want learn about old skool Hip Hop they can pick up many books (THE New Beats by S.H. Fernando is one or buy my mix cd).

Itz a demo 2003 nice mixtape you put together of some old gems like Juice Crew Allstars, Brand Nubian, BDP, Chi Ali, Spoonie G, Big Daddy Kane man u just making me go into a frenzy, do u feel mixtapes are still playing that same role for Dj’s as it did earlier?

It’s a circus out here in the States. Mixtape Dj’s are a dime a dozen. You just have to be creative and not follow the next man. 

Thanks for coming through on the one’s and two’s. Spair you keep on doing ya thing give us your final shouts and we hope to see you out in South Africa again soon!

Thanks to all the folks who showed me hospitality in Cape Town. Peace!

Interview By Rush

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