Djs. I interview them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

DJ Topspeed

This man is the real deal, he needs no introduction. -Mel

BTB: Let’s start where all great stories begin… at the beginning… Tell me how you got your start in DJing…

Topspeed: Well my name is DJ Topspeed and I’ve been destroying music since 1985. First I was a bboy, I used to break, I used to be part of the Galactic Rockers Crew. My love of DJing started from my bboy days.

I’ve been collecting records since 1980. I would get some records off the street and my mom would give me $5 here and there and I would walk down to this little record shop/repair store. I was searching for rock and roll and also a little bit of instrumental pop dance music, I wasn’t searching for rap. In the midst of buying records the guy behind the counter suggested I buy Another 'One Bites the Dust' rap by Sugar Daddy. Reason being I was looking for the one by Queen and I was thinking I’ll try anything once. It was just a dollar, so I brought it home and memorized it. I was blown away by it.

It was 1981 when I went back and asked if he had more rap and he told me to come back in a week and he sold me my first rap music 12”. It was 'Personality Jock' by The Fatback Band on 45 which I still have. It was real relevant to popping. That led to breaking, actually flo rocking.

Between the times of 81-85 I accumulated a good amount of records all the way around form rock to soul to instrumental rap and hip hop. My mom and I ended up moving to Eagle Creek Apartments on the Westside in 1985. I made friends between 85-86 that went to Pike high school and they were DJs. In 1985 a friend named Chad Jetter needed a little extra money before he went off to New York so he sold me his Radio Shack mixer. No cross fade, all up fade. It was really the dark ages.

In the mix of buying the mixer I stole the turntable off my mom’s stereo. I went to at Ames in Eagle Dale plaza in Indianapolis and found the exact same stereo my mom had and someone had disconnected the turn tables on it too. They sold it to me for $30 so with that I had two matching BSR German style turntables. Horrible sound quality. The mixer I was using had magnetic input and these had ceramic input and it had no grounding capabilities. It taught me how to scratch more than anything which is what I wanted to learn.

When I bought the mixer from Chad Jetter he had a friend named Calvin Wate aka DJ Que and Que was my first visual experience in seeing someone scratch in '85. I was blown away I couldn’t believe it. In the midst of witnessing he forced me to learn how to cut it up. I had maybe a full crate of records mostly instrumental and I was still into bboying.

In ‘87 I ran into a guy at a house party named Ron Miner at the time he was called Filafrost. He was working on being a premier DJ himself and also rapped and was pretty good. He told me to come out to Camelot where he worked and buy records because he’d hook me up. While I was down there getting my music he said I should go to his place so I could show him something and I went over and I sonned him. He said to stay right there and he went and got a guy by the name of David Woodard aka Baby D Fresh. Both of them watched me with amazement while I DJed for an hour. They said I had to DJ with them and I needed a name. Their crew was D-KOR, which stood for devastating knights of rock. They named me Topspeed that night in late ‘87. So Ron gave me the official name that I could run with and it would sell me. They were gonna call me speed but a guy was on the west coast and I heard of him. So by ‘87 I was DJ Topspeed.

1981 was my introduction a tall, long haired, white guy behind a counter at a record shop and here it is 2008 and I’m still into it. He told me rap was gonna be the next big thing and he was right. That little record store/repair shop is now a Latin phone store owed by some Latin kids.

BTB: What’s the longest you’ve gone without DJing?

Topspeed: I can honestly say the longest I’ve been away from the tables is a month in all the time I’ve been DJing. In 1988 the pair of 1800’s I was using ended up acting up and I started asking around to see how much it would cost for repairs and I was told $75. As a teen that was a lot of records, so I took them apart and got a soldering iron and I ended up buying a gold patch cable from Radio Shack and repairing it myself for $15. That’s what got me into repairing turn tables. I’ve done over 600 pairs of turn tables already. I do arm repair and cord repair.

BTB: If you could work with any group or DJ who would it be and why?

Topspeed: The group I’d want to work with for the sake of it would be with Public Enemy. I feel like Chuck D has a lot to say.

Another person I would like to work with musically would be David Banner. He has real commercial success and he’d be first to tell you he has a lot of respect for what the east coast has done. He would go through Indy and give me mad props on the radio.

A Dj would be hard to say because the guys I would want to work with are already big like Shadow, who has already made his name. One guy that I’d like to work with would be Karafania. We like the same amount of hip hop and he respects all levels of it and the big thing is to have respect for all levels of it. There are two types of music good and bad.

BTB: If you had to hear one song all day every day for the rest of your life what song would it be?

Topspeed: Toss up. I could hear Ikes Mood I by Isaac Hayes on 45rpm faster and slower. That would be my first choice and if for some reason that song wasn’t available than E.V.A. by Jean Jacques Perrey.

BTB: What do you have playing in your car right now?

Topspeed: Funny enough I still have a tape player. I bought my car from a buddy of mine that ended up moving to DC. The car didn’t have a cd player so it’s just cassette. I listen to the radio a lot.

First cassette I bought was 95 cents at the beginning of the year and it is called The Hair Soundtrack. Galt McDermot wrote the movie soundtrack and over a 100 different types of people covered it. It’s the most covered musical of its time. The second cassette I purchased is Original Concept. It’s the album called Straight From the Basement of Kooley High.

BTB: The night is ripe what song do you hit the floor with to get things started?

Topspeed: Depends on the crowd if it’s an all hip hop crowd and the people who like the classics than Ante Up by M.O.P.

For that top 40 hip hop crowd that doesn’t mingle with the bboy’s or graffiti artists I play whatever you like by T.I. maybe back it up by Get Me Bodied by Beyonce and mix it because they’re def out of tempo.

If it’s an all bboy crowd and the breakers wanna bboy to it I give props to DJ Spam. She lives in Cinnci and she is one of my students. The title of the song for all the bboys would be It Didn’t Have To Be This Way by Hidden Strength. Second one would be Police Woman by Henry Mancini. I would probably drop Who Shot YA by B.I.G. for a tough ass beat for a mc battle.

BTB: What do you do when you aren’t making music?

Topspeed: Searching for music. You’re only as good as your practice and what you find. Finding and researching is what makes the music I play better. I look for breaks and classic hip hop I don’t have. I also produce music with DJ Nate-G and I also DJ for the group Twilight Centennials.

BTB: Of all the sets you’ve played what one stands out the as the most memorable and why?

Topspeed: It’s hard to say. I don’t know if was memorable for anyone else, but a lot of people loved it back in 2000 when Fresh Fest came thru Indy. It happened to be downtown and it involved Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow, and three members of the New York City Breakers (Mike Boogie, London and Lil' Lep) I DJed Fresh Fest for Doug E Fresh &The Get Fresh Crew, Dr Ice, Whodini, and they asked me to open for breaks and I had some friends from Kentucky come up and break. I got photos, Kurtis Blow asked me to break.

I did a show in October last year for Ghostface Killah and Rakim at the Blue Bird. I ended up getting pictures with all of them.

BTB: If someone wanted their first dose of you where could they go and what track do you suggest?

Topspeed: On my myspace page you can hear two mixes I’ve done. One for radio and one in 2004-2005 of an all Biggie mix. Sometime in 1997 a local DJ, Mellowmix, did comps and I was on the green comp and I did a five minute mix called the combination mix ‘97.

BTB: Any famous last words?

Topspeed: If you’re going to bite don’t forget to swallow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I walked into the Soma Cafe to see Figure sitting at a table with his laptop, bearing a sticker displaying his name topped with a metal skull. He was jocking his flat billed black hat, olive green button up, and a black Member's Only jacket.
His nose was in his laptop where he was beefing up his Myspace friend's list via a friendbot.

Deltron 3030 came on and he started to tell me how revolutionary this album was when it came out. Telling me it was a huge influence on him when he was in High School.

BTB: Let's start with an introduction and a little about how you got started.

Figure: I am Figure from Kid Without Radio Records. I started DJing about 9 years ago when I was a Sophomore in High School. Around 1999.

BTB: What got you into DJing?

Figure: I was surrounded by music growing up. My entire family is musically inclined and my dad was a DJ. I was always really influenced by music so I just started doing it.

BTB: Does your dad still DJ?

Figure: No. He's Old. And busy.

BTB: What equipment did you start out with and do you still use any of it now?

Figure: I started with two really generic belt driven turn tables that went out within two weeks. No I don't still use them, but I kept the boxes for fun.

BTB: What was your first Vinyl?

Figure: I have two answers for that. One vinyl I just went out and bought to have was Puff Daddy and Mace, Can't Nobody Hold Me Down.
Then I spent about $400 on every scratch record I could find at this one website. I didn't know what to look for in that genre, but that's the direction I wanted to go in so I bought everything I could.

BTB: Where was the first place you got booked?

Figure: 1123 in Evansville, Indiana. It was their biggest punk venue and still is to this day. I DJed in between sets and before and after the show.

BTB: What genres did you start in?

Figure: Turntables, bass, hip hop.

BTB: How would you describe your sound now?

Figure: Grimy, fast instrumental in lite of the new European dance music.

BTB: Who were some of your early influences?

Figure: DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, DJ Craze, and Africa Bambaataa from my early hip hop years. My dance music influence comes from a lot of stuff on Turbo Recordings. A lot of the new Mad Decent stuff, a lot of early punk music like Dead Kennedys, etc. In general good hard hitting music.

BTB: Have you ever seen any of your influences live?

Figure: Yeah, all of the ones listed. I've seen all of my early influences preform and 50% of the people I want to see now at Festivals. I've played with some of them.

BTB: How did you get signed to your label?

Figure: A guy named Egadz. I ran across him on the net. He was doing a lot of big stuff on his own and took me under his wing. He finally signed me three years later.

BTB: What do you feel is different now that you are signed?

Figure: Knowing that anything I make that's up to par I can get pressed and released in a professional manner. Opposed to giving it away free and having to pay out of pocket to get it out there.

BTB: What's on your Ipod playlist these days?

Figure: Les Petits Pilous, Boy 8 Bit, Radiohead, Popof, ZZT, and Mustard Pimp

BTB: If you could have any super power what would it be and why?

Figure: Those who know me already know my super power. If you knew it you wouldn't be sitting here. I am not at liberty to discuss this any further.

BTB: What's your favorite clothing label?

Figure: My Creation. I'm supposed to say that because they are my sponsors, but I actually wear them everyday. They make really quality clothing.

BTB: How do you decide which song to start the night with?

Figure: In my opinion there are two different types of nights. One where you're booked to be a performer. People are watching for you to start and you need an intro. You kind of have to come with a product and create a soundtrack with the set. Those nights come from festivals and headlining spots more than anything.

Then there are the nights that are more club oriented where you have to mix out of the DJ before you and it's all about keeping the music going and the people dancing rather than you being looked at as an artist that they are there to see.

BTB: The night is at it's peak moment and you have everyone in the palm of your hand, what do you play?

Figure: Something classic, but not too epic. Depending on the crowd those days, that could span from Daft Punk to Little Wayne. Not that those two artists would be on deck, but it illustrates
my point. Another good thing is to use a tempo tool to change the energy.

BTB: Speaking of tempo tools, what software are you using these days?

Figure: I've had almost every piece of equipment I've ever wanted and clutter just gets in my way so now I keep it minimal. These days I'm using Ableton 7 and a midi keyboard with plenty of nobs for adjusting effects and Live with a slew of VST Softsynth for production and remix purposes. For live DJ purposes it's strictly Serato with two turn tables and the occasional processor.

BTB: Where can someone go to check out your sound?

Figure: They could go to I have a new mixtape called Kiss and Sell that is a good example of me live at this point.

BTB: What's on the horizon for you?

Figure: I have my cd "The Octapus Junkyard" coming out in a couple months on Kid Without Radio Records. I have a solo West Coast Tour starting in January that'll go for about a month and a half. In the Spring I'm doing a tour called "The American Beauty Tour" with Glue, Cutalinguist, Casone, and DJ Wickit. It's a 48 city tour. I have a lot of shows booked around the midwest in the meantime.

BTB: Is there anything else you'd like to say I haven't covered?

Figure: I encourage people to go to my myspace,, and to to get tons of free MP3's, free mixtapes, and updates on music in general.

BTB: Famous last words?

Figure: Drink more water and watch more Tim and Eric

Monday, November 10, 2008


"Whats up Gimmick? Just letting you
know that smash is a big big track
I have no doubt that it will be
successful. Jimus sounds awesome on
the track, SMASH!"
-Lone Ranger Productions

Yo, its Gimmick if you didn't know: I write, record, produce, mix, and master all my own tracks. If your lookin to get recorded or even just collaborate on a track, get at me. I'm down for the sound R A W bound.
Also if you want to put me on one of your mixtapes we can work something out. I'm lookin forward to finding new talent and produce tracks for hip hop artist from the ground up.

BTB: Start off by telling us who Gimmick is and how it got started.

Gimmick: Gimmick is a solo hip hop project I started about 2 years ago. Actually, before I turned hip hop I was only making techno beats with zero vocals, then gradually slid away from that to create hip hop tracks. I first started out with the name Kid Kombat, then later changed it to Gimmick.

BTB: I like the name Gimmick. Tell me about it.

Gimmick: Usually a stage name or alias is used as someones gimmick, I decided to call myself Gimmick 'cuz that's exactly what it is. Some say Gimmick means fake, or something hidden. That's not the case for me at all. All my lyrics are raw and totally real, but at the same time I'm not using my real name, I'm using my "gimmick" name. Also I'm a wrestling fan :)

BTB: haha awesome, I was a WWF, yes I said it, WWF! Fan in the 90's.

BTB: what techno work do you have recorded? is it still used?

Gimmick: I put together a 22 track instrumental, which I actually still have. I think maybe 3 or 4 people actually own it, but its basically a long lost project. Some friends say I should bring it back, but it's just not as fun to me anymore.

BTB: What equipment did you start with and do you still use it now?

Gimmick: HAHA! Wow, I started out with a lousy beat making program and a pen drive that had a mic on it. It was terrible. I've upgraded a lot since then. Now I'm using a M-Audio Midi keyboard for most of my beats and a Presonus Audio interface with a CAD GXL2200 Microphone for recording vocals. Not too pricey, but definitely way better quality.

BTB: do you get into Serato?

Gimmick: I've actually thought about it. I've tried some stuff with virtual programs, but I need a lot of practice before I would even consider scratchin up tracks to use on CD. Definitely a possibility in the future.

BTB: What got you into mixing and why hip hop?

Gimmick: Well I've always been freestyling with friends and verbally abusing people my entire life, ha, and I've been listening to rap my entire life also. It became really interesting to me once I started learning how to create my own music. I like the feeling of knowing I created something entirely by myself with no help at all.

BTB: what artists have you laid tracks with?

Gimmick: A few. B-Day from Butler, PA which has been my friend for a long time. Also, William James from whatis174. com. That track came out really cool. It was called "Doomsdays with Morrie" which is on my first album, "I'll Make You Famous". I recently did a song with a dude named Master Jimus from the United Kingdom. The track we did was called "SMASH" and it's on my newest released album "Raw Street". I did a few tracks with a b-tch named Sweet Lou. He's also the first artist I had beef with.

BTB: uh oh, what's the beef?

Gimmick: "When Sweet Went Sour" explains it all. Vibe it on Myspace.

BTB: Link me!

Gimmick: myspace. com/gimmick12345 CREEP IT CREEPS!

BTB: What's on the horizon for Gimmick?

Gimmick: I still have some tracks in the mix right now, and I'm looking forward to doing a Re-Mash with Chauncey from the Cardboard City Crew.

BTB: What mixtapes do you have out there and how do you get one?

Gimmick: I have a few copies left of my first album "I'll Make You Famous" and tons of my newest release "Raw Street". You can hit me up on myspace. com/gimmick12345 if you want to pick up a copy. Just message me and I'll work it out.

BTB: If someone wanted their first dose of Gimmick what track do you recommend?

Gimmick: "Welcome to Raw Street"

BTB: Any last words for fans and lurkers?

Gimmick: Eat your vegetables.

The Bad Moons

The Bad Moons is a new Rock and Roll group bringing it to you live from Emlenton, Pa.

"D/L away. My friends.

8 songs, in just over 40 minutes. ROCK N ROLL."

- ADL of The Bad Moons

"With songs such as "Restless Roads and Storms of the Gods". This band has a great future ahead of them."
- Keea of We Want Music

BTB: Let’s start at the start then take it away. Tell us who you are and how The Bad Moons came to be.

ADL: I'm Aaron D. Lauricia the first. I play guitar and sometimes sing in the rock n roll band known as The Bad Moons. The Bad Moons started because all of us really wanted to play music in a band and we're all friends, so we started playing together.

BTB: How long has The Bad Moons been around?

ADL: Hmm, well. Norman and I started jamming together sometime in 07. Soon after we got Brandon on the drums. It took us, what seems like forever, to find a bass player. Now we have Frank Hall on bass. That's our line up as of now. We've been playing together since 07 I guess. Yeah 07. 2007.

BTB: How would you describe your sound?


BTB: What do the bad moons have going on in the near future?

ADL: We're going to record a new EP before the end of the year. Play as many shows as we can. We're slowing going to start booking for a summer tour. That's the plan right now, at least. Also, some shirts maybe, sometime soon.

BTB: Where can someone check your sound if they've never heard you before?

ADL: Well, like most bands now of days, we have a myspace page. you can listen to a few songs on it.

Right now we have a full length CD-R out called Collapse of Space and Time. We recorded it back in May, we're still making copies of it. So thats out there. The CD-R is free. I've made a sendspace link for it a few times as well. I'd be stoked if you sent the sendspace link to some friends.

We put out a demo tape awhile back, but we're not making anymore of those. EBAY gold.

BTB: do you have any shows coming up?

ADL: Huh yeah we have a few shows coming up, just local gigs. One on the 22nd of Novermber and another one sometime this month? I forget what Frank said.

We're always looking to play out. Like I said earlier, we're going to try and book a summer tour.

BTB: anything else you wanna say to internet land lurkers and fans?

ADL: Sure. Keep music alive, buy records, go see live bands. Give a f-ck. Be yourself. Have fun. Live life. Start a band, a zine, a record label, etc. Don't let someone tell you what's cool or not cool. Stop thinking hot pink is a cool color.

Hit Countershtml hit counter