For the next installment of “A Moment With” we spoke with D-Styles. His involvement with the seminal music collectives Invisibl Skratch Piklz + The Beat Junkies progressed DJ culture in the 90s + 00s, and he continues to pave the way for Turntablist / Beat heads as a resident of the long-running “Low End Theory” event based in Los Angeles.
New music by West Coast Underground Hip Hop legends, Third Sight (Roughneck Jihad, Dj Du-Funk, & our very own D-Styles). They have a new album coming out called “Third Sight IV” and the lead single is called “Trife 1”. With a menacing beat by D-Styles & Sharp Lyrics by Jihad, this is for fans of some of that classic beats & rhymes with an dark edge!
Friday, April 29th….The Beat Junkies are doing a special one off party in Downtown LA called “Live & Direct”. Babu, D-Styles, J.Rocc, Melo-D, & Rhettmatic will be throwin down on the decks plus some special guests might come thru. All happening at The Well. Doors from 10pm-2am. Donations $10. Los Angeles, come thru & get down with the Beat Junkie Sound!
Our very own D-Styles & Shortkut along with the incredible Dj Q-Bert are some of the members of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, one of the dopest DJ crews in the world. They’re finally dropping a new album called “The 13th Floor”. Their first official single just dropped, courtesy of the Red Bull Music Academy.
“The phrase “legends in the game” gets chucked around a lot, but there really isn’t any other way to describe the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. The crew captivated the attention of a generation in the early 90’s with their fast-evolving definition of Turntablism. Recently, the current incarnation of the group consisting of Dj Q-Bert, D-Styles, & Shortkut hit the Red Bull Studios in Tokyo to record the first Piklz album in 20 years. The same trip included an appearance at this year’s Red Bull Thr3estyle World Finals, as well as taking part in a Guinness World Record-breaking Team Scratch routine with the Finalists – their heirs from around the world. “Classical Moog” is a exclusive peek at three truly inspirational pioneers coming full circle into a new era of technique technology”
Listen & Download “Classical Moog” here: http://20before16.redbull.com/invisiblskratchpiklz/
Scratch sentence phrasing is kind of elusive. Many want to do it well, but few seek out strategies for making it more effective. Even worse, lots avoid scratch sentence phrasing altogether because they perceive it as too difficult. This is unfortunate considering it can be one of the most powerful tools for capturing people's attention with scratching. Particularly people who aren't scratch dj's because it's easier for them to comprehend.
A Clear Definition
Before we go any further let's establish what scratch sentence phrasing actually is. A scratch sentence is a series of words put together on a record to form a sentence such as "say what" or "cut like a guillotine". Phrasing is actually not specific to scratching and is really just a way of soloing with more emotion. Good phrasing is similar to a good conversation as it will have a variety of pauses, punctuation, rhythm and mood. For good examples check out artists like John Coltrane and Marty Friedman.
Scratch sentence phrasing is simply combining those two elements. In other words manipulating scratch sentences in a creative way. It is very common in scratching to move back and forth between two to three words in a sentence, playing them off each other. D-Styles is a master of this and you can hear him do it most often with "say what".
Key Number One!
Now that we've covered our bases, let's get into what you need to do to be more effective. You must have excellent timing. Phrasing never sounds good if it's not timed well. A common way to establish good timing is to treat your scratch sentence phrasing like scratch drumming. In fact, a lot of the coolest phrases are really just drum patterns in disguise.
The easiest way to improve your timing is to take a two word sentence and time it to the beat you're scratching over. Often times the first word of the phrase will land on the kick drums of the beat and the second word of the phrase will land on the snares. In terms of a 4/4 rhythm, that would be the first word on the 1 and the second word on the 2. Scratch techniques commonly used for this style consist of forwards and stabs.
Key Number Two!
You must sound extremely clean. Scratch sentences usually consist of sounds that are short in length and arranged close together. If you're the slightest bit off, you'll sound sloppy because you'll end up going too far forward or too far back into other words of the sentence or even land in a silent spot. Even if you scratch precise with the record you will likely run into synchronization issues with the fader.
To gain precision, always watch where you're at in the record so you don't lose track. A common way to do this is to mark the label of the record you're using with a sticker that lines up the beginning of the first word of the sentence with the needle. You can also add an additional sticker below the first to mark when the second word of the sentence begins.
In terms of improving your fader and record hand synchronization, this can be done in isolation with stabs using one word of the sentence. Granted stabs are just one element of scratch sentence phrasing, but they're a primary element so it will do you well to pay close attention to them. Clean stabs pulled off consecutively give a strong feeling of precision that tapping a sampler is known for.
Key Number Three!
You must have a variety of scratch patterns. If all your scratch sentence phrasing consists of are drum like patterns they'll become boring. This is where phrasing in the style of traditional musicians comes into play.
Typically when we scratch we use sounds like "Ahhh" and "Freshhh". As mentioned, phrasing is meant to flow like a good conversation. There are no limitations to what techniques can be used.
A great way to break in and out of drum pattern style phrasing into traditional phrasing is to treat each word in your sentence as you would an "Ahhh". Just take one word and do a variety of scratches with it. When you decide to revert back to drum style patterns is up to you, but if you mix these two ways of phrasing up enough you'll greatly reduce the chance of sounding dull. Phrasing is an inexhaustible topic and to go into more depth is outside the scope of this article. However, you can learn a ton about how to create high quality phrasing here: The Definitive Guide to the Tear Scratch.
A great way to bridge the gap between drum pattern style phrasing and traditional phrasing is to use the sound "Freshhh". Sense you're likely already used to using a variety of techniques and patterns with "Freshhh", the next step is to break it into two parts, between "Fre" and "shhh". You can apply drum style patterns to each part as well as traditional phrasing. This will get you in the habit of phrasing as you would with a scratch sentence and also establish some really good, transferable patterns. Most importantly, it'll help keep you from making excuses to not work on phrasing as not working on it is worse than even the smallest bit of effort.
This Thursday (October 29th) is Nightline at The Pot Lobby Bar inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown (Los Angeles). This month’s residents Dj Melo-D & D-Styles along with their special guest, Dj Bella Fiasco doing an opening set. It’s FREE from 9pm to 1am….Come vibe with the Junkies as they will dropping some dope tunes for you to enjoy! Shoutouts to our boy Chef Roy Choi!
Tonight (September 2nd) is LA’s longest music cutting edge weekly club, Low End Theory at The Airliner. This week’s guest is our very own Dj Babu, the Dilated Junkie, making his debut at the Low End Theory, along with the homie Frank Nitt, Sahtyre, & Ill Camille. Plus Low End Theory’s residents: Daddy Kev, Dj Nobody, & our very own D-Styles….hosted by Nocando. Shoutout to the Gaslamp Killer who’s on tour right now! You want hear some 808’s & Slaps, this is the place to be! 18 +
Yes….the stars have been aligned!!! It’s the return of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz! The Grandmixer himself, Dj Q-Bert, along with our very own D-Styles & Shortkut are part of legendary DJ dynasty who’s roster that also includes the incredible Mixmaster Mike, the talented Dj Apollo, Dj A-Trak, just to name a few. Peep out the video below and the rest of the documentary here: http://www.redbullthre3style.com/article/return-invisibl-skratch-piklz
“DJ LEGENDS! The Invisibl Skratch Pikilz have reformed after a twenty year hiatus to record a new album and perform at the Red Bull Thre3style world finals in Tokyo, Japan.
This past weekend, was the second annual Low End Theory Festival and it was phenomenal. To catch you up to speed, I’ll start with what LET is.
Low End Theory is a magical place where deejays, producers, emcees, vocalists, musicians and beat junkies of all walks unite on a weekly basis. It’s an institution in Los Angeles, and some follow it religiously enough to call it their church.
Whether it’s the fact that the place is 18 and up, or maybe the booming Pure Filth Soundsystem being tuned to make your bones rattle and ovaries twerk, perhaps it’s the countless who’s who that randomly show up (such as Thom Yorke, Prince, and Erykah Badu to name a few).
October marks 9 Years of Low End Theory which is brought to you by Daddy Kev ( founder of Alpha Pup Records ) DJ D-Styles, DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, and Hosted by Nocando. All adding their own special sauce to the mix, you can catch a wide-variety of performers on 1 of 2 stages any given Wednesday in Boyle Heights at The Airliner.
The reason I titled this entry “Lock Yourself In A Room Doing 5 Beats A Day For 3 Summers” wasn’t because I think that this such sound advice from Mr. West, but rather just a reminder of someone being dedicated to a craft, regardless of how many shapes it takes. The majority of this lineup I’ve been following for years and have really witnessed the growth in their sound through various releases and I as well as many others have been lucky enough to interact with many of them through Low End Theory, Beat Cinema, and other platforms that focus on this genre of music. It’s really cool to see guys who started in their basement play center stage in front of thousands before the likes of people like Flying Lotus & Thundercat. A lot of these guys used to actually go to events with boxes of cd’s and just hand them out freely with hand-drawn/cut/photographed packaging, just cd-r’s and cassettes hoping they’d somehow reach someone who somewhat cared enough to follow up and actually purchase or support them further in their journey… It used to be a very DIY effort, coming from a genuine and pure place that was much deeper than youtube views and soundcloud plays. I think the process really created some very humble and modest artists because of the patience involved in really getting heard by “the right people”. That same mentality was getting people shine on stages like Low End Theory along with many others, and in-turn picked up for mini tours and festival opening slots, as well as traveling opportunities.
To me, this festival was like a holiday for all the people who’ve waited in line week after week only to hit the door and the place being at capacity while their favorite artist performed inside. It was a special treat that was mutually beneficial for the performing acts, the attendees and supporters, as well as the format/genre/sound as a whole. It brought together a ton of amazing people, visuals and sounds that I don’t think you’d catch anywhere else in the city, and best of all is it was an organic showcase. All of these acts have performed prior on the weekly Low End stage and never for a moment did it feel like some corporate backed function where they slap stickers all over the Lamborghini, thus maintaining the integrity of the event. From Jhené Aiko, Dom Kennedy, Earl Sweatshirt, Childish Gambino, and even Shia Labeouf there was no lack of star power in the house and I feel like people left satisfied with a longing for more… That being said, check out http://www.alphapuprecords.com/ explore some of the acts that were on the lineup further through Soundcloud & Bandcamp. Support what you love and drop by Low End on a Wednesday to see what it’s all about. Shout out to Kev and everyone who made the event happen, all the performers who got to express themselves – I truly can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year. Below is a full recap, end of the show clip with FlyLo and a photo from Nocando from the indoor stage.
Low End Theory 9 Year Anniversary
The 2nd annual Low End Theory Festival, occurred August 8, 2015 at the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds, Los Angeles, CA. Performers included Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Teebs, Jonwayne, Ras G, Mono/Poly, Samiyam, Dibiase, Alix Perez & EPROM, Milo, Open Mike Eagle, Mndsgn, Free the Robots, Great Dane, House Shoes, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Astronautica, Sister Crayon, Cazal Organism and Elusive. LET residents Daddy Kev, Nobody, the Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles and Nocando also performed. Low End Theory Festival 2015 was presented by Goldenvoice, and sponsored by Roland in conjunction with 808 Day.
Our very own “Scratch Scientist”, the one & only D-Styles gets interview by the legendary Chuck D‘s own “HipHopGods” website. Peep some of the interview below & then read the rest of the interview here: http://hiphopgods.rapstation.com/news/d.styles.interview
Did you have anyone you looked up to as a kid as far as music went?
My neighbor John. He was a little older and had a DJ set-up also. He would show me all the records and how DJs were mixing and scratching. John’s best friend back then was this guy Chris Cut who later changed his name to Peanut Butter Wolf. I went to school with Peanut Butter Wolf’s younger sister, Amy. So we would go to Amy’s house to hang out and whenever Peanut Butter Wolf wasn’t home, I would go through his records to see what he had. I used to write down artists and songs and then go to the record stores to find these songs [laughs].
What was the musical climate like in your household when you were growing up?
Growing up, my parents used to play a lot of the old fashioned stuff like ABBA and Disco stuff like Donna Summer. I had neighbors though that would bump Rick James and Sugar Hill Gang. We used to play basketball outside of their house and they would always have the boombox outside playing this stuff. So I got my early musical taste from those older cats.
What’s up folks…..back with another installment of “Mixtape Mondays”. This time, we have our very own D-Styles in the spotlight.
Besides having membership in the Beat Junkies and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, D is also a core member of the world renowned LA-based Low End Theory crew with Daddy Kev, Gaslamp Killer, Dj Nobody, & MC Nocando. They are known for presenting and pushing new progressive music such as Flying Lotus, Ras-G, Odd Future, & more at their weekly spot in Los Angeles.
This mix is was made specifically for one of the Low End Theory’s Japan Tour a year or two back, which features futuristic hard knocking beats, seemless mix transitions, & exquisite scratches done in a way that only D-Styles can do. Sit back, listen, & enjoy the ride!
You can catch D & the rest of the Low End Theory crew at The Airliner every Wednesday night in Los Angeles!
What’s up folks…..
Wanted to post something up in honor of the term “Throwback Thursdays”. These particular video footages are from D-Styles‘ “Phantazmagoria” Album Release Party at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood on November 1, 2002.
A couple of things that made this night special: It was the first time that ALL 6 of us (D, Short, J, Babu, Melo, & myself) had performed together as a band, it was the release of D’s first solo album as well as making history as one of the first Scratch Instrumental album (all the music was made by scratches via multi-tracks) of it’s kind, & this event took place 2 days after the death of the legendary Jam Master Jay. As Babs said in the video “We’re performing songs written, produced, & composed by D, from his album ‘Phantazmagoria’…..it’s a real special night for us…it’s a groundbreaking album that D’s putting out….we’re just members of his band.”
Walk down memory lane with us & enjoy the footage……
A Night At The Knitting Factory
D-Styles Sextet Rehearsal #1
D-Styles Sextet Rehearsal #2
The Source Magazine did a spotlight on the Beat Junkies’ Digital Record Pool. To help celebrate this service that they’ve set up, D-Styles created a 25 minute mix Jazz, Hip-Hop, Funk, and Dance music. They also interviewed Rhettmatic about the Record Pool.
Peep the article here:
You can also listen to D’s exclusive mix here:
Bigups to our good friends at Mixcrate for always showing us love. You can check out some of our mixes as well as individual Beat Junkie members here:
Shout out to Randall Rufino
Our very own D-Styles & Shortkut along with the legendary Q-Bert performed as the Invisibl Skratch Piklz at Day 1 of the Redbull Thre3style World Finals in Azerbaijan. Congratulations to the 1st heat winner, Carlos Atendido of the Phillippines, who now advances to the final round this week.
From the Redbull site:
“The first night of competition heats kicked off Tuesday at the historic Baku Jazz Centre, with performances by the week’s host DJ Flipout, 2010 Thre3style champ, DJ Karve of Paris, and a rare set by the world famous Invisible Skratch Piklz from California.”
Listen to the audio sets here:
It’s The newest episode of the Beat Junkies’ web series “Watch The Sound”. This episode features the incredible “Scratch Scientist”, the one and only D-Styles. “It’s like this……”
Video by Brand-O
With an extensive catalogue of custom edits, remixes, & rare acapellas, our record pool at www.beatjunkies.com provides a wide array of selections to accommodate any DJ.
Our music library transcends all of our favorite music genres and provides a healthy range of selections for professional and aspiring DJs alike. With new content uploaded weekly, we strive to keep your crates fresh….Stop by and visit us at http://www.beatjunkies.com for subscription details!
Video by: Brand-O
You may have noticed in recent months that we’ve been very active on social media with our videos and merchandise. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for quite some time….we know that you’re curious to see what the Beat Junkies have been up to. Well folks, here it is……..
We’d like to welcome you to our newly designed, revamped website. It took us awhile to restructure, as we’ve been working very diligently for well over year to get everything ready. As you can see, we are back with a sleek new design along with several new additions to the site….but for the most part it’s business as usual, Beat Junkie Style!
One of the new features here at beatjunkies.com that we are proud to share is the Beat Junkies Digital Record Pool. Yes. The Beat Junkies started an mp3 record pool, personally curated by us for the DJ community and music enthusiasts alike. Collectively, we decided to combine our experience as DJs and tastemakers to provide a quality music service for DJs apart from existing record pools in the industry. As avid record collectors, we are definitely looking to fill in the gaps and share some of our most prized vinyl records with the public – custom edited in a DJ friendly format exclusively for you! Our digital record pool is a monthly subscription service, and was carefully designed for Professional DJ’s looking to expand their collection and deliver quality multi-genre DJ sets.
For official Beat Junkies product and apparel, be sure and check out our merchandise store!
We’d like to extend our thanks to our contributors, web design, and our web development teams for their creative effort and dedication to producing a quality website on behalf of the Beat Junkies. And of course, a very extra special thanks to you, our loyal friends and followers for your continued love and support. We encourage you to browse through our site at your discretion, and as always, your feedback is appreciated!
Welcome to the new www.beatjunkies.com