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DJ Roast (Hip-Hop DJ / Producer)

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DJ Roast has been a solid DJ since 1996 playing on stages alongside Gza, Redman and Methodman, Immortal Technique, Ice T, Africa Bambatta, Ugly Duckling, Tim Westwood, Scratch Perverts, DJ Format and Abdominal, Klashnekoff, Skinnyman, Rodney P and Skitz, Foreign beggars, Stig and Syntax, One Be Lo (he is also One’s UK tour DJ) Rhyme Asylum and many more. Helena Rea caught up with DJ Roast as his debut album Cuttin it Fine was due to be released...

Helena Rea: Hailing from Cornwall, how did the music industry treat you in the hip-hop world down there?

Interview imageDJ Roast: It treated me well thanks. I made some solid friendships with some talented heads. There’s a lot of hidden talent down there covering all aspects of Hip-hop culture. My man deceptakut is killing it on the turntablism tip, he’s started his DMC quest now, and before him it was Clockwork and Sneakee.

Beat wise my man Cheebo who now lives in Bournemouth near me and some other producers bubbling up in the South West.

Other heads pop in to mind True, Proof, Level, Black beard. Good people. The industry was kind off started by us, blossomed and has died down a little. Saying that, man, there’s a crew in Penzance who are doing their thing and getting crazy artists down but I don’t really know any of those heads. Reach out!

HR: Where did you get the name DJ Roast and is there anything behind the name?

DJR: Not really. It’s a nickname and I started DJ’ing young so was desperate for a name and never expected to do as well as I have and unfortunately I have now done too much to turn back. It’s me now.

HR: Cuttin It Fine is your first release, what have been the highs and lows in the making of and releasing of this album?

Interview imageDJR: All highs man, I loved making the album. It’s been a journey where I’ve learnt a lot and made some good friends. That’s why I got my tattoo. It’s a mark of a journey unfortunately it’s almost over but there’s plenty more in the pipeline!! (Maybe not tattoos,I’m running out of space). A massive high is how it’s being received. People I respect in the game are giving me love so that’s a great feeling.

HR: You have played on stage with many artists, who has been your favourite and why?

DJR: Definitely Red and Meth. Probably cos that was my first big gig in London and it was at Shepherds Bush Empire. Plus that was my first gig with Triple darkness shouts to those guys. The whole show was rehearsed to perfection and it all went smoothly! Plus watching Red and Meth perform from backstage was a plus ill stage dives from speakers!

HR: Being such a well-respected UK DJ and producer you must have a favourite; which do you prefer DJing or producing?

Interview imageDJR: Dunno how well respected I am but thanks... I think I prefer DJ’ing in clubs. I love making beats and to be fair over the last two years I’ve been doing way more of that. At this point in my life I’m not doing many gigs so am missing that a lot. I’ve been scratching a lot more as of late, due to copping a new mixer, so I’m happy to be back cutting every night.

HR: What are five words that best describe you?

DJR: Hairy, meat, music, booze, fun

HR: What major musical influences have been instrumental in the way your career has been shaped?

DJR: Turntablism is the main influence. I started out as a scratch DJ and even though I don’t really see myself progressing as a scratch DJ, due to not having the hunger to compete and having so many other things to learn in beat making etc. It will always boil down to the turntables for meditation and enjoyment. That’s why there are so many scratches on my album.

My favourite artists are Revolution and Babu. I love their beats, cuts and the way they compliment each other. I’d hope someone would think the same about my music.

HR: What motivates you more: money, family or fame?

Interview imageDJR: Family, friends motivate me.  Although currently I’m on a low wage and would like to start making some money from dj’ing so I can do fun stuff with my girlfriend and buy more trainers. Getting recognition for hard work is also pleasing.

HR: If you got bored of this industry tomorrow what would you do for a day job?

DJR: I’d love to be a sound engineer in music. I used to be a sound editor for TV but didn’t like the industry and eventually got stitched and made redundant so ass kissers could take my job. I’m currently working at a college and would like to train to be a teacher in digital media. I’m not sure how rosy the industry is I’m not really involved.  The people I deal with are on a level and grounded. I’ll keep in that circle and keep music as my passion.

HR: When was the last time you sang in the shower? (Come on, we all do it!)

DJR: I beat box, this is hip-hop.  I’ve been waking up loads lately with different Skandal tracks in my head though. Plus I get up at 6:15am every morning, so if I sung or rapped at that time my misssus and the dog would kick off.

HR: What is your biggest love right now?

Interview imageDJR: The situation with my girlfriend and home. I’ve got a great working space and good company. That star bars and maybe Logic.

HR: Do you have any advice for wannabe rappers/hip-hop artists?

DJR: Do it for passion and enjoyment.

Don’t let any one hold you back. Be fresh original and have fun.

HR: And finally, how would you describe your new album to people?

DJR: It’s got something for everyone. If you like, dark, moody, political, conscious, jokes, word play, soulful, fresh cuts and banging beats this album is for you.

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Cuttin it Fine is available from Higher Heights Records from 01 March 2010.

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