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Lost City

Interview: DJ Format

2 February 09 interview: Jared Wilson

The Mature B-Boy plays a DJ set for MNSTR at Brownes this Tuesday. Here's an interview we did back in 2005...

DJ Format made a name for himself in Brighton on the Return of the DJ and the Lessons series. In 2003 he released his first album 'Music for the Mature B-Boy'. It became an unexpected commercial success, showcasing his hiphop credentials to the fullest and teaming him up with rapper Abdominal, as well as members of J5 and Bristol rap crew Aspects. Since then he’s been back to the studio to record the follow up If you can't join em... beat em. Once again Abdominal, Charly 2na and Akil appear on the album as well as new Canadian crew addition D-Sisive. They’re also on the road as a trio around the UK. DJ Format, Abdominal and D-Sisive played at Stealth’s first birthday party in April 2005 and the crowd celebrated it in style. We got a few words in with Matt before the gig…

There must have been a bit of pressure on you to follow up a smasher of an album like Music for the Mature B-Boy?
Possibly a bit, but you just got to get down and do it. Really what I’m doing is just an extension of the hiphop that I grew up with and loved when I was younger. It’s still just fun to do it as a job though.

You and Abdominal are a pretty tight partnership these days…
I had him on two tracks on the first album and somehow we managed to turn two tracks into a whole forty five minute show. He was bought in to expand the live element and he’s brought something really special to the mix. I love touring with him because he take s the pressure..

What do you think D-Sisive has brought to the show?
I think he’s brought a different sound to it. He’s somebody who’s influenced by a lot of rock stuff. He listens to a lot of current hiphop stuff, he doesn’t necessarily like it, but he’s certainly aware of it all. When Abdominal and D-Sisive get together there’s some kind of chemistry. It’s like the Beastie Boys or something you know. Individually they’re quite different, but together they give a really good balance.

You've got the funkiest artwork, but it’s not that often we see your faces except for the live show…
I don’t really want us to be judged on what I look like. I’m just a 30 year old white bloke with a big nose. We’re just trying to give people something to look at rather than looking at me. D-Sisive is 25 and he’s just a regular looking bloke too.

Have you spent a lot of time in Canada?
I’ve spent a lot of time over there visiting those guys. I like the place, with it’s funky old record shops

Tell us about PIAS…
Their head office is in Belgium. It’s a good label with people like Amp Fiddler and others. Respect to them. It’s important to bring different flavours to the pot. Another act they have, who I am a very big fan of and playing with tonight is Little Barrie. They’re just a funky rock band. They’re the kind of band that I would be sampling. I think it blends in really well with the people that are coming to see DJ Format, Abdominal and D-sisives show. They’re all getting into the Little Barrie sound. It’s a strength of the label that we’re all enjoying working together.

What’s your favourite breakfast cereal?

Special K with chocolate, banana and raisins added. That’s what I have in the morning…

Any thoughts on Robin Hood?
He’s a bit of a legend isn't he. I guess I could make a comparison to how I make my music, stealing beats off some great old musicians and giving it back to the kids of today.

Does DJ Phase mind you stealing Abdominal from him?
I do know him and I hope he doesn’t mind me stealing Abdominal. Either way, he’s very good about it. 

Is your sister a foxy lady like you say on the album?
Very much so. I think one of us is adopted. I’ve seen the milkman and he’s an ugly bloke with a very big nose. Sometimes it makes me wonder where I came from…

I read that you drove the tourbus for Jurrassic 5 around the UK in 1998...
It’s interesting that you’ve just asked that question, because I’ve just diverted a call from a friend who hooked that up for me. He’s from the Derby area and he was involved in J5’s first tour, before they really got big. He just needed someone to drive them around and when he offered it to me at the time it seemed like the thing to do. So I drove them around the UK and consulted with them on record buying shops around the country on a daily basis. I love to listen to their music and as you can imagine it wasn’t a hard decision to take them up on it at the time…

You toured alongside them a few years after…
Yes. When Abdominal and myself toured with them it was 2003. Now that was the best three weeks of my life! Loads of great memories!

If you could work with any musical artist who would you choose?
Could I have a time machine?

Cool. If I could travel back in time I’d work with Big Daddy Kane. He was a real legend.

Have you heard much Nottingham hiphop?
I know Ivory from the P Brothers pretty well, so I’m aware of some of that stuff, but I’m not really someone who listens to a lot of contemporary music. I respect what they’re doing, but I’m just engrossed into my own stuff, which is usually sampling stuff that is decades old.

If there was one tune that you wish you’d made what would it be?
Music Man by Masta Ace. I love that tune.

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