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Issue 1084

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Feature

SEMTEX: DVD Pioneer

Semtex
Semtex Semtex Semtex Semtex BUY NOW

With the advent of the superstar DJâs in the late nineties/ noughties you might think that Cox, Tong, Oakenfold, Ramplin, Groovrider, Sanchez, Van Helden, Joolz, Block and of course Slim himself have well and truly had there day. And your right they have!?! Just joking guys...

Now as the tide turns once more in the DJâing world, as new type of musical alchemist comes to the forefront of the DJâing pack⦠His name â SEMTEX.

Ok Semtex has been around for a while now. Hailing from Manchester and starting his career playing places like the Hacienda and Home, amongst other high profile clubs/events to put himself firmly on the map. Then setting his sights on London -playing prestigious after prestigious party for a whoâs who of celebrity glitterati; whilst being involved behind the scenes for Sony, Universal and Def Jam. Bringing us up to date we find hip hop's hierarchy as DJ No1 on Dizzy Rascal's recent tour whilst continuing his weekend 1xtra shows (Iâm really tying hard not to use all the easy puns here btw; like explosive, blowing up the tuneâs etcâ¦itâs too easy) so why the big build up I hear you say?

New mix album âR&B Collectionâ is the reason why â a collection of the years biggest R&B tunes, but with something just a little different thrown into the mix. The first R&B mix album to include a âVideo Mix DVDâ (thatâs right, Semtex mixing videos bangers live - opps! sorry slipped out â what will they think of next?). You join Lee Tyler and Semtex at Londonâs Westend Dj store, as Semtex spills the beans on the process behind the concept/flourision of the future in DJâingâ¦

How were you approached to do this mix album

Basically, Iâve wanted to do a commercial mix album for years... and because Iâve been doing my thing on the Dizzy Rascal tour, Pioneer approached me and said âlook weâve got this DVD mixer (Pioneer's DVJ-1000), are you interested in it?â I was like... mmm... They said âweâd give it to you for free - blah, blaâ

Thatâs gotta help?!

Yeah (laughs) I was like cool! Visual mixing - it is... Because people that have tried to do it before â you had to have some crap headeral vision mixer that was like a PSP, and has never been that smooth. Whereas now you can get a DVD video and cut it up and itâs a totally different way of DJâing, because now you gotta think about not just how it sounds, but what it looks live visually. You have to be careful cos you can either get immersed with yeah, yeah it sound cool but how it looks bad visually. Or get blinded with the visuals so you have to be careful, itâs also got a sampler sonitude. Weâve got the SBM1000 video mixer on tour with Dizzy and on the back of that Universal approached me and said they have an idea for a DVD or something special, and I said how about a video mix.

Howâs the video mixing going down at Dizzyâs shows

Excellent! With this stage show youâve got Dizzy, Pipeman, DJ â Thatâs it! We did Reading festival sixty-five thousand people going crazy â we made special edition videos for each track, when Iâm cutting up - it all goes, you can see the effects. Iâm glad I jumped on it before anybody else did, but itâs defiantly the way forward... Saying that Iâve got to give a big shout to our sound man Chuck, who came up with the idea - we had to do something more visual. We were working with Pioneer because we need the C-Djâs and stuff and it kinda all fell in to place, there was no plan.

Do you see this as the future of DJâing

Definitely. I came through in the days of getting vinyl at record shops in Manchester and London trying to get that exclusive â Now you look at the average eight year old thatâs on UTube every five minutes â itâs all about the visuals. As an artist you have to have a video at the same time you release a track. I think the IPod Touch is the modern day ghetto-blaster, so video mixing is another step forward if you wanna stay in the game. I think now as a DJ you have to turn yourself into a bit of an artist if youâre gonna survive the next ten years, you definitely need the mindset of an artist. This has given me a bit of that and Iâm really glad as a DJ, Iâve had the chance to do it. You can apply it to Indy music, rock music, dance music whatever type of music you want â itâs another angle - the audio, visual experience is defiantly the way forward and you can do it at home. Since MP3âs became readily downloadable a lot of DJâs disappeared â wiped out by the âFifty Pound DJ.â This is a bit more specialized.

So, is the kit expensive

Yeah, the mixer is three thousand five hundred and the decks are about eight or nine hundred pounds a piece.
Well, thatâll stop me taking it up in the meantime!
Thereâs other things that are coming through including this new rage by Pioneer, where you just put the memory stick in and your awayâ youâre off and DJâing. Even I was like wow!

Youâve DJâd some heavy weight nights for lots of Celebs. Have there been any difficult demands like -play my tunes! Or do they say just do your thing

No not really â At Maria Careyâs Halloween party, they just wanted to hear the classics... At the Phat Farmâs after party Jay-Zâs security said âJay-Z wantsâ to hear TI!â OooooooK (I can imagine?! - Iâd play it twice if I was him!)... Dizzyâs No1 Party â I know all his favourites, and when I play his he says âAh, turn it offâ. Believe it or not most artists are not like that.

You discovered Fatman Scoop, how did that come about

You know what it was... My boss at Def Jam said âWhat is the biggest tune in the clubs at the momentâ Fatman Scoop ainât it. âWhy havenât we signed him?â You canât, itâs all samples. And my boss is like â âletâs try to do it.â So I said oook - At the same time I was trying to do it - Sony got the idea to do it, then Warners got the idea to do it. So I flew to New York and met him in a diner at five in the morning â heâs hard to track down â a wild guy you know. He was eating shrimp, fried eggs, rice and some other shit. I actually had indigestion just looking at the food. I was like - I can put this out, I can make it work - Iâve been playing it for years, letâs do it. One thing I will say working at Universal and Mercury, they are like machines at clearing samples. It helps a lot if the samples are on the same label. He really benefitted out of that - greatly. On the back of that he was on a Missy album, R Kelly album and still gets seven grand a show around the world (thatâs a lot of Shrimp!?). He even has his own TV show now. He is a character in his own right, and it definitely helped him. It just goes to show the power of the DJ, because it was never released as a commercial record it was just a DJ tool. So I feel kinda proud of what we managed to do.

It was such a massive tune, you should be. Whatâs next in store for Semtex

You canât just turn up at a club now days and play records, so I wanna make myself future proof. The only way I can do that is start putting out records. I've seen first hand what people like Fatboy Slim and Fatman Scoop have done â I was promoting records for Def Jam for years, working on other people stuff. So I think I need to start doing that myself â putting out party bangers.

Semtex has youâve proved he can spot a top tune and he's definitely proved hands down that you can mix a good tune â So, Semtex to start making music - it's DJ evolution, and we're all looking forward to that.

Get the 'R&B Collection' at all good record stores, outlets and downloading websites and catch DJ Semtex on 1xtra weekends - Fridays 22.00 - 00.00 and Sunday 00.00 - 02.00am... If you fancy winning a copy of the 'R&B Collection' featuring Semtex click here If you can't wait to win then click below to buy/download (ipod compatible) from hmv.
Words LEE TYLER

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