Big Forward Network

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Selecta: March 08

I'm going to take a moment to humble myself, and fan out real hard. This past month has been the memorable in years for my DJ career. I've done two very memorable shows, that are historical moments for me. I'm sharing this, more as a few anecdotes on DJing, instead of being boastful. Mainly because I know one of you can relate.


You may have already seen my post, mentioning the Sister Nancy show we held right before New Years. Before the buzz had even died down, another promoter approached me about having my Sound play at the Reggae Wintersplash event at 4th & B, in Daygo. The promoters idea was to have an all night dance, since the venue was permitted to do afterhours. He wanted to put us on at 3am, and I told him I was concerned with playing that late, because I felt people would leave was the alcohol stopped flowing. He conceeded, and told me we would play right after Sister Nancy, with a scheduled set at 2am. Around the night of the show, I had been purging my itunes library into my Hard Drive, in an attempt to get an upper hand on this whole Serato/MP3 thing. Bottom line is I had only brought music for the set we were scheduled to play, and not the overstuffed library i usually bring with my laptop. Apparently I did not have enough foresight to conclude I would need anything else but my sets worth of tunes.

The promoter linked us witha little VIP booth for the crew, and when I got to the venue about 12:30am, we eased into the booth and let the smoke blow. Within 30 minutes, the promoter tells us Sister Nancy was not there yet, so he needed us to play earlier. I set up my stuff, and then my bredren Rock hits me up about running riddims for his set before Nancy. Of course that was easy, I loaded up his riddims, and did it. Before I could even start my own set, the promoter comes out on stage and says "I need you to play for Nancy too". I asked if she brought riddims, and apparently she had left them at the hotel. That's when the horror of my situation became apparent. Before I could even argue, they called Sister Nancy out on stage. Mind you this was a pure Sound System style performance, so no band required. I rapidly flew through what I had, and realized I only had 4 usable riddims in my selection. She knew the deal, and worked the crowd like a pro. When it came time to run the riddim called "Stalag", so she could sing Bam Bam, we ended up running the version for 10 minutes, doing different songs before she left the stage, and MURDERED Bam Bam for the encore. The whole show I was walking the line of disaster, and ended up pulling it off by the skin of my teeth.

I also used the Rane Serato mixer for the first time, and had no clue about switching between line and phono on this machine. I also had multiple USB dropouts during the performance, meaning the music would cut out in the middle of a song, and we would have to play it off as a wheel up.

Sister Nancy is a serious Professional Reggae Deejay. She handled the situation with such finesse, I couldn't help but be impressed. The historical moment for me, is that Sister Nancy's album "One Two", was one of the first reggae records I acquired for my set so many years ago. If you would told me then I would be supporting her stage show on the 1's and 2's, I wouldn't have believed you.

Sister Nancy-Dance Pon The Corner


Not a week goes by, and my old friend Rez from Seedless Clothing asked me to DJ at a reggae show going down at On Broadway with Eek A Mouse. At first I was just doing a set, but Rez then asked if I would play for Eek A Mouse. I said for sure, giving him the guarantee I could be ready with riddims for that. One thing I should mention, is On Broadway is a very upscale, mega club, and I had never made my way in there due to Dress Code enforcement, and steep drink prices. To hear that they were doing a Reggae show there, with a very loose dress code made me very curious as to how the night would pop.

I spent the next week trying to track down Eek A Mouse instrumental versions. After doing a bunch of studying, I realized most of his big tunes were over more obscure Roots Radics riddims, instead of over big, more popular riddims. In fact, there weren't very many Versions of his tunes to found at all. San Diego is a HUGE Eek A Mouse town, and I wouldn't be able to pass off the wrong riddims for their favorite tunes. I immediately realized I might get stuck in another situation where I didn't have enough riddims. It took me talking to my man Eaz One in the Midwest, to realize I should call someone locally. I got a handful of viable riddims from my man Carlos Culture, and figured that was my best bet.

30 minutes before the Eek A Mouse is scheduled to perform, he calls me from the hotel across the street, and he kicked me down some more riddims for the show. Since I was fully stocked for the show, I was able to just enjoy myself, instead of worrying about it. What a good time that was. I got to mix up the tunes for Eek A Mouse, and see the show from a whole other vantage point. The highest points for me, were Eek A Mouse pulling out his first tunes he ever recorded. I had never seen that in the x-amount of Eek A Mouse shows I've seen over the years. When he called for the tune "Wicked Shall Not Reign", I got goosebumps as the bass came in. That's a tune that was released under his original name, Ripton Hylton. He called for a wheel up and explained to the crowd the history behind the tune, and ran it again. F'n wicked!

The historical part for me, came in two parts. Number one, you can't grow up in San Diego without being hit off with one of Eek A Mouse's albums. He is second only to Bob Marley in Daygo, and I've known his tunes front and back from real early. In fact, I was reminiscing with homie from High School, how we used to roll around with my friend's older brother J.G., bumping Eek A Mouse, and smoking herbs. This would have been 10th grade for me. Low and behold, when I knocked on Mouse's hotel door, the door was answered by none other than J.G., who apparently befriend Mouse over the years. It all seemed to come back around last night, and I'm still hyped.

Ripton Hylton-No Wicked Can't Reign

As you can see I'm a serious fan. You have to be in order to be a DJ.


Sean said...

I'm was sitting in the dark with 2 sick kids sleeping at my side up north in Canada when a friend emailed a link to your blog. Thanks for the great stories and music. I'm listening to some of the tunes right now, and very thankful to hear the early Eek a Mouse, who I saw 22 years ago on my 18th birthday. Brings me back....

Hugh Knight said...

glad to hear that someone's out there paying attention. Big Up Canada, and thanks!

Sonny Phono said...

"...I got a handful of viable riddims from my man Carlos Culture,".....

Hugh Knight said...

You should see what I got from Eek A Mouse... said...

"I also had multiple USB dropouts during the performance, meaning the music would cut out in the middle of a song,"

Peace from NYC Unite, i noticed you're having the same problem as me. Shit is so frustrating man! I just got a new Mac and i'm still having this issue! Do you have any idea why this happens? I thought it had something to do with running the music to high but i've also had this issue at home where i keep the music at a moderate level. The USB drop outs have even happened to DJ A-Trak recently on the Kanye tour...check it!


Hugh Knight said...

I Never had it happen till I used this new Rane Mixer that the guy had setup. Maybe it was his USB chord, cuz I would jiggle it and it would come back. I dont know though. I hope it doesn't happen again, and it hasn't since. ??? there's always

Big Up Neil everytime!