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Interview: Docta D and DJ Razor

24 January 12 interview: Al Needham
photos: Dom Henry

"Anybody who has been a proper DJ at some stage in their life has had tuberculosis from going in Robs Records"

How long have you been doing this?
Docta D:
I got into DJing after seeing Whodini at Rock City, when they put two lights on the Technics, which rose very slowly on a pneumatic, and the next thing you know…’Hang on, we know that tune...but what the heck is he doing to it?’ It was absolutely mind-blowing. From there I got a teaching job in Italy, came back, bought two Technics, and decided I wanted to make records as well as play ‘em. So me and someone else got signed to Sony Columbia, did an album, three singles, two tours – one national, and one European, under the name Subsonic 2.

And was Razor around at this time?
He must have been about one or two. He used to get his hands on there all the same, but, I dunno - I just wanted to something up for him, y’know? Because at the end of the day, I knew he would gravitate towards it. He was always there in the background, listening, learning, and developing his own style, his own feel. And in the end, people ended up telling me; ‘You know what you was like at 21, 22, and you were invincible? Well, your son's killing you at 16!’

So how did you get into radio?
No, I did my first shift on the very first day of Heatwave. That's where I met my rapper. Did a bit of a competition; ‘if you've got a demo, send in your demos to Selectadisc’ – great place, that was. So yeah, there was Heatwave, Power FM as well.

Do you miss the pirate era?
Yes, because it was so cut-and-thrust. You never knew if this show was your last, or this was the day you were going to have the door bust in on you. I can remember looking across the flats and seeing the DTI kicking in the door of Globe FM the same time they were kicking in our door. That was incredible to watch! Like some Village People raid or something! And yeah, we were back up later on that day.

Razor, when did you realise what your dad did?
Razor: To be honest, I don't remember. I remember breaking his Technics. Actually, that was the wrong thing to say. That would be an admission of guilt. I was not guilty, I was a child, so I'm not liable there. As a parent, he should have put the decks in a more suitable place where I could not have got access to. So that's poor planning.

Docta D: That was the first time I took apart a Technics SL-1200, repaired it and put it back together. And I remember, I came in to yer and I said; ‘You know what, son...’

Razor: ‘Failed you!’

Docta D: Yeah, I know. I remember. And I said to you, ‘You know what, fair dos. I'm sorry.’

Razor: I think I was about 14, 15 when I started doing things myself, and got introduced to certain people like Courtney Rose at Take One Studios. And Courtney, being a friend of my dad's, started filling me in things from back in the day that my dad was doing. Kinda like a history lesson. Anyway, I started to go to Groove City for my vinyl. Just sit in there for time...

Docta D: Ours was Robs. Robs Records up Hurts Yard. Anybody who was worth their salt went in there.  Anybody who has been a proper DJ at some stage in their life has had tuberculosis from going in Robs Records.

He had a tidy-up recently. It was…weird.
Not the same. You've got to go in there, find an old Roy Ayers record that's worth £60, completely covered in dust, but it's still sealed in plastic. Blow it off, take it to him, and Rob'll go, ‘Well, it's Roy Ayers, I know about this one...’ And then charge you £6. ‘Rob, you’re doing me!’ Then walk away laughing. Hee hee hee!

Razor: Is that the one down that tight alleyway? All I know is that it smells like damp.

Docta D: Listen. That did not put us off. The higher echelons of Nottingham DJs were allowed to go upstairs. To the unsifted stuff.

That's hallowed ground, that is. What’s it like?
It's just piles and piles and piles of records. And you see a sideboard, move it out the way, and there’d be rows and rows of records. And you'd look at it and think; right, okay, I know I have to go somewhere at 4 o'clock, and it's ten to four. I've just found another pile of records. I am going through every single one. There was a little record player on the side, which we got going – put a fuse in it. And be sat up there. Forever.

Razor, do you and your dad ever argue about music?
Razor: Yes, actually. The other week we were doing a show, and he was there – ‘I got this mix to play to you - wicked music, yeah’. I swear down, from when he pressed play – I was in agony. I hated it. I just wanted it to stop. Couldn't stand it.

Docta D: Do you know what one of the songs was? Tour de France. Kraftwerk. Absolute classic! From the scene in Breakdance. when Turbo comes out, with the brush. I told him, you can’t say that! That is sacrilege to the very shoulders you should be stood on!

Razor: I don't like electro. I don't get it. It's repetitive.

Docta D: What did you say?

Razor: It's repetitive.

Docta D: MWOW MWOW MWOW MWOW MWOW-MWOW! MWOW MWOW MWOW MWOW MWOW-MWOW! DO IT LIKE A MONSTA MAN! DO IT LIKE A MONSTA MAN!’

Razor: Hey! Leave Giggs out of this! That's a beat!

Docta D: I don't like this new style of grime, dubstep, that completely rides roughshod over the very people and the peers they should be looking up to, but they don't. They'll take something and cheapen it. They've just put a coupla beats behind it. If they start to do a tune, they get a machine, go, ‘OK, today’s tempo is 118, and everything else now will sync in with the 118 because my computer will lock it that way.’ Whereas in my day, if you're trying to mix the SOS Band with somebody else, it was still a band. So therefore, when it got to the chorus, I knew it was coming I knew that he was gonna get a bit mental, and speed himself up by an eighth…I'd be like, right okay – I'm there. With the music of today, if you lock it right, you can walk away, go the toilet, make yourself a cup of tea, and come back.

Razor: I know how to DJ on vinyl. I got taught how to DJ by Mista Jam, before he moved down to London for 1 Extra. I can play on my own. Don't worry about that.

Docta D: This is why our show is called Old To The New – New To The Old. We try to bridge the gap, where he'll end up getting on my last nerve about half past eight, and he starts to play songs - and I've got the original. And I'll say; ‘Take that off! Play the original!’

Razor: He can't finish a sentence without growling. ‘You'rrrrrre listening to Doctarrrrrrrr...’

Docta D:Actually, I can finish every sentence by sounding professional.

Razor: What? By sounding like Tony the Tiger?

Kemet’s pretty much the only modern music station in town now, isn’t it?
Yeah. This is why I think it's pretty important that the job that Kemet and the gap that they're filling and the job that they're providing. I think there are more people listening to us now, because we’ve taken the station live on the internet.

Kemet, of course, bills itself as an ‘Urban’ station, not a black one. How do you feel about that?
Docta D
: I hate the term ‘Urban’. But, I live and die by it.

Razor: But to me, ‘Urban’ just means, y'know, inner city.

Docta D: If they'd just called it a music station – a radio station, y'know? That puts us on par with everybody else. Then we can forge ahead and go forward on our own merits, and be judged on what we do, not what we play.

So what's Kemet's policy towards local acts?
Razor: It's strong. I've got my own show on a Friday as well, and I always try and get artists and producers Radford, St Anns, all round Notts involved in. So does Ms Tempz - her show is more focused completely around it. There are so many youths that I know, and I tell them; right, listen, stop doing this, stop doing that, you're making yourselves look stupid. Get me a copy of your track, clean it, and I'll play it on my show - and then maybe next week I'll bring you in and I'll interview you.

Any last words for LL readers?
Razor: Y'know what, whatever it is, old or new, music is music. Anybody who has music in their life, or has access to music, or the ability to make it – anybody who has music is blessed, that's what I just want to say.

Docta D: Everybody involved in this is amazing, as far as I'm concerned. Whether it be the people who do the sales, the accounts - everybody who mucks in. There are some unsung heroes who propel Kemet FM forward, and keep us DJs doing the right thing. It's a great thing to be a part of.

The Old To The New Show, Tuesdays 7-9pm. DJ Razor’s Midnight Melt Down, Saturdays midnight-3am.
 

Kemet FM website

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