September 6, 2008

DJ Slyce Interview

has been a prominent figure on the DJ battle scene for over a decade, consistently coming up with new routines, sick juggles, and crazy shit to make you wonder where he gets his ideas from. After winning the US DMC finals in 1997 and taking 3rd in the 1999 US finals, Slyce has made a return to the DMC battles this year, taking first place in both the east coast finals and US finals. Right now, we have the pleasure of hearing from this year's champion before he heads out to London for the 2008 World DMC Finals.

DW: Born/raised/representing?

DJ Slyce: bronx/teaneck NJ/ Durrty Jerz still solo

DW: Early influences for DJing/ turntablism? When did you start?

DJ Slyce: DJ Alladin, Steve Dee, started when I saw a local DJ named Jazzy Lamel stuttering RUN DMC records in 1985.

DW: I notice a good portion of your juggles (Yello, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, System of a down) use records that aren’t hip hop, was there anything in particular that inspired you to do this?

DJ Slyce: I learned how to juggle really early, and I never had anyone around to tell me that I shouldn't cut with certain records, so If I heard a possible idea for any genre, I just tried it. Usually with interesting results. Then I learned the chase pattern, and one day tried it out on Billie Jean. I think Sinista's "Swat" routine might have made me think to pick up Billie Jean. That opened my eyes up to many other records. The crowd reaction of course inspires me to try it with other songs.

DW: How was the experience winning the US DMC finals in 1997 and traveling to Italy for the world finals?

DJ Slyce: I honestly cant remember anything at all from the day in NY when I won in 1997, except when DJ Red Alert teased me for using the heavy rubber mats. I have few memories of Italy. None of them being the actual performance. I remember hanging out with A-Trak, Cash Money and Q-Bert, the topless beaches, curtainless and tubeless showers in the hotel, great chinese food, and a couple of us almost got hit by cars when we were carelessly crossing the street.

1997 US DMC Finals

DW: What do you think about the battle scene now in comparison to how it was 10 years ago?

DJ Slyce: The battle scene around the world seems to be relatively the same, which was OK, but in the USA, I think peoples inspirations got lost somewhere. But back then it was a totally different realm. It was all about funky juggles because the "chase" pattern was still fresh in everyones heads, it was easy. Learn chase, plug in your favorite record, make heads bop. I think that now DJ's aren't looking far and wide enough for their inspiration. Not only that but you have to be a producer as well as a turntablist to win now. The game has moved past using only store bought records to using customs with your own production on it. I'm hoping that will inspire some former contenders to compete again.

DW: What inspired you to jump back into the DMC’s this year?

DJ Slyce: In 2006 I saw Netik's routine, and thought "customs? hmmm, interesting". Then in 2007 I saw Rafik's routine and thought "customs again, its mostly scratches, not enuf juggles for my tastes. Is this whats winning now? what if I started juggling with electro mp3's....." One fun juggle turned into 3. Then I became obsessed with producing a set. Then it snowballed. It got serious from there. I really enjoyed producing a set in serato and thought "I HATE shopping for records, this is sooo much easier."

DW: What can people expect from DJ Slyce in the World finals this year in London? How do you feel about the competition, anyone in particular you are looking out for?

DJ Slyce: I was looking out for Rafik, but It looks like he's not defending. I'm ready for him anyway, or anyone else like him, because I dont know who's competing. I looked at the last 2 years of world DMC's and there generally is only 3 dj's to worry about every year. I do worry about the judges though. You never know what judges for the world comp likes. I just know not to do a routine with predominately american records. If the competition turns out like I think it will, I should stand out pretty well, maybe even make make it an easy decision for them.

DW: Any advice for the up and coming battle Dj’s out there?

DJ Slyce: Don't listen to your friends when they tell you what records not to use, if you're gonna use weird records, make sure you make peoples heads bop. If its not a toe tapper, you're probably not doing it right. Make your standards high with your creations. Don't only use the winner from the year before now to be inspired, make your research go back at least back to 1999. If you want to be in DMC, you gotta work constantly on your routine, don't think you can win while doing 5 other jobs. You gotta focus.

DW:Final thoughts/last words/promotions?

DJ Slyce: My only website so far is
Any updates will be there. Hopefully I will have an update with Gold electronics in it.

I want to say thanks to DJ Slyce for taking the time to do this interview. All my Jersey heads will be here rooting for him, and to my UK fams, definitely hold it down for him when he gets out there. For those interested in attending the 2008 US DMC Finals:

Friday 26th and Saturday 27th September @
Indig02, Greenwich, London

In the meantine,
Check out some of Slyce's routines...

1999 US DMC Finals

Made You Look Routine