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.

1 comment:

sleeper said...

the besttttttttttttttt everrr

no questionnnnnnnnnn

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