Our favourite DJ in the world?
Following the success of his sell-out Revenge of The Ninja tour earlier this year, Jaguar Skills has announced that he will return to the road in October 2011 with the ‘HoooOOO! Tour’. The Radio 1 mixologist brings his lightning-quick mixing and mash-up skills to Twelve of the UK’s finest venues, and will be joined by a veritable feast of artists such as Brookes Brothers, DJ @War, Kamuki, DJ Zinc and Flux Pavillion.
Hi Skills, an amazing career ahead of you, kick started by doing a mix tape for fashion label Maharishi and then accepting Jade Jagger’s offer of a residency at her Jezebel night in Ibiza and across the globe. What were the highlights of some of those nights with the lovely lady…? Why did you decide to go down the mash up route, was it simply a case of standing out from the crowd of the million other DJs out there, knowing you had a real skill for it?
“Well, Jade had some amazing super-star house parties in Ibiza. She had an amazing spot in the hills and I used to DJ at those events. There was loads of remember-able stuff that happened at that time. But I’m a ninja. So what goes on tour, stays on tour! Ha!”
“Mark Knight, around 2005, told me about Ableton. Before then, I was just DJing, Hip-Hop style, with two turntables and a mixer. But when I switched to Serato, I started using Ableton to do little re-edits and stuff for my Jezebel DJ sets. I really wanted to rock the crowd, and I didn’t want to piss the headliner off by spinning the same tunes as them, so I figured if I played a re-edit, then it’ll be cool. Just being able to play things I made myself, was a real revolution in my DJ sets. People back then weren’t used to hearing wild re-edit mash ups of stuff then and it was a bugout for all concerned. So I didn’t plan ever do be known as a mash-up guy, it was just really me learning about the technology available, and trying to use it the best way I could.”
Why did you decide to go down the mash up route, was it simply a case of standing out from the crowd of the million other DJs out there, knowing you had a real skill for it?
What music was coming out of your speakers growing up?
“My Pops was a DJ and Radio Producer in the 70’s and 80’s. He produced the first reggae radio shows in the UK. He started the career of David Rodigan. He also produced a load of disco records and country and western records. He was a huge record collector and we had around 80,000 records in the house. Like, every wall and every room had thousands of vinyls stacked up. He had whole areas for different styles and genres of music. There was a whole TV theme tune part, rare KPM records, mad Disco stuff. Like, all the early Hip-Hop records. Jazz shit. Pop. Everything really. So I used to help him sort them out, and when record dealers came to the house, I would pull out the vinyls they asked for. I was only 7 or 8 years old then. But I somehow memorised the covers and names and shit. I guess I was drawn to the Disco stuff mostly. I loved the cinematic, cheesy feel of it. Kinda’ disco theme tune stuff. I later checked out pretty much the whole collection. It was a wonderful and lovely time.”
Were was home?
“South East, UK.”
What did your parents think of your choice of profession?
“Dad was super supportive. He passed away a few years ago and didn’t get to see a lot of things. But he’d be proud.”
So a big new album coming out ‘Toolroom Knights’ on Toolroom. Describe what you wanted to do with album?
“I wanted to make a dope multi-genre electronic album. An exciting, edgy, kind of thing. I tried to make it as visual as possible. I pretty much deconstructed the tunes and remade them all.
Tell us about the exclusive tracks on it?
“There’s a couple of tunes I worked on with my buddy DJ@War. One’s called ‘9 Level’s Of Power’ and it’s a really simple, banging little beat.”
What are the big tunes on the album? What are the big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
“The whole LP is kinda one big tune to me. I love the intro parts of it. But there’s this wicked remake I did of ‘Strings Of Life’, that I love. Oh, and there’s this bit where I sample Jeremy Kyle that’s cool too. But really, I love the thing as a whole.”
“They’re all re-edits I’ve done of things. And even if I told you the names of them, no-one would know em! The problem is, I make a re-edit, name it something else, and end up forgetting the tune’s original name. Or mash up 3 tunes in one, edit that, make a name up, and always remember it as that. I only Dj my own re-edits, and now I’ve got around 3000 of them in the hard-drive. Mad, eh?”
What are the big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
“If we came back to yours after a club, what would be your 10 Back To Mine tunes you’d play us?”
“Oh cool. Ok. Well, I’m a massive Jazz-Funk fan. I love Jazz – period. So I’d start with something like, off the top of the head:
‘Montara’ by Bobby Hutcherson. I absolutely love that, man. I’m an old skool Hip-Hop B-Boy too. A rubbish one. But one, none the less, so, maybe, some Slum Village. Like the track ‘Hold Tight’. It’s got Q-Tip on it. Jay Dilla produced it and it’s just the best. Omar. ‘Syleste’. Or something else from Omar. He’s cool as shit. Some Roy Ayers for sure. I mean, I think ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ is maybe the best tune ever made, but I’d like to go a little deeper with the selection. So maybe a track like ‘Chicago’.Like some disco vibes.
Mos Def. Eiher the track ‘Uni Says’or ’Universal Magnetic’. Would have to put some MF Doom on there. Maybe ‘Beef Rap’. Or ‘Rap Snitch Knishes’. Yo, that beat is crazy dope. I’m weirdly into 80’s Pop too. I genuinely love it. I’m not too sure if that ruins whatever credibility I had, but it’s true. So maybe something like Talk Talk ‘Life’s What You Make It’. The beat is wicked on that.
Oh, ‘Sweet Power Your Embrace’ by James Mason. My old school buddy DJ Femi Fem used to DJ this when I just started hanging out and going to clubs. It reminds me of my days as a yoot, hanging out with my buddy’s in Ladbroke Grove. ‘Keep It Up By’ by Milton Wright. Come on! That’s the bomb! ‘Ricky’s Theme’ by the Beastie Boys is wonderful and so is Gangstarr ‘Jazz Thing (Instrumental 7 Min Version)’. ‘Lady Day and John Coltraine’ by Gill Scott Heron, could be the best tune ever made too, for me. As is ‘Music Is My Santuary’ by Gary Bartz. Erm, ‘Night’s Over Egypt’the Jones Girls. Ah? ‘The Theme to Fame’ 80’s TV Show by Irene Cara. Also the theme to ‘Taxi’ by Bob James. I’m a big Latin fan too, so if you came to hide-out, you might find me listening to something like Arthur Verocai. Like the track ‘Na Boca do Sol’. Is that enough? Cos I can go on and on…”
You’ve become a regular at the Toolroom nights, where this year have you enjoyed especially?
“Midnight at MOS London was wicked!”
What are other DJs do you rate?
“Jazzie B, Femi Fem, DJ Al Fingers, DJ Craig Leckie, Fake Blood, Trevor Nelson, Roni Size, Andy C, Yoda, Spinbad, Z-Trip, Zane Lowe, Jazzy Jeff, Mark Knight, Scratch Perverts, Taku Takahashi…man, there’s loads and loads…”
What is the best record ever made?
“That’s an impossible question. It’s like asking what the meaning of life is? Or is there a God? HA!”
What’s the story with your name?
“I don’t know that one myself.”
“You are a regular on Radio 1 on the Trevor Nelson show and In New DJs We Trust – what was it like first going into the famous Beeb studios?
“It was mad. Radio One have been so supportive of my stuff. I love doing little mixes every week and hearing them on the radio. It’s a bug out every time!”
What do you think has been your best ever release? What’s coming next from the Jaguar studio?
“My son. His release date was Jan 8th 2011.”
“I’ve just come back from Japan with a load of new bullets, ninja contacts and plans and missions.”
What’s coming next from the Jaguar studio?
And finally, why do you want your identity a secret?
“I’m wanted. See ya! x”
7th October – Oxford 02 Academy w/ DJ Zinc, DJ@War, MC Skibadee
8th October – London Scala w/ Brookes Brothers, DJ@War ,MC Skibadee
13th October – Southampton Cube w/ DJ@War
14th October – Newcastle University w/ MC Skibadee, Kamuki
15th October – Birmingham Custard Factory w/MC Skibadee, Kamuki
21st October – Manchester Sankeys w/ Flux Pavillion, MC Skibadee, DJ@War
24th October – Sheffield Plug w/ DJ @ War
28th October – Norwich Waterfront w/Flux Pavillion MC Skibadee, DJ@War
29th October – Bournemouth Firestation w/DJ @ War
2nd November – Bristol Thelka w/ DJ @ War
4th November – Nottingham Rescue Rooms w/ DJ @ War
5th November – Liverpool w/DJ at War
Tickets are on sale now from www.gigsandtours.com . Make sure you get yours ninja-quick!