It all began in 1985. DMC had launched its DJ ONLY mixing series in February 1983 together with Mixmag, then a newsletter to its DJ members that would have such a huge influence on the planet in the years ahead.
In 1985 when Peter Stringfellow built his battleship club, The Hippodrome in London, the DMC DJ Convention was launched within which a DJ competition delivered the first World Champion, a young Londoner called Roger Johnson.
The event expanded beyond anyone’s imagination. When the Def Jam guru Russell Simmons (below with Tony Prince) accompanied Run DMC and Public Enemy to the Royal Albert Hall, he was heard to say, “We should put this on in America”. Indeed, DMC did, not just in New York but with elimination heats around the USA and then to Rimini in Italy and Paris France.
Just when the event had settled into its new home at London’s major concert venue, the music industry who had filled the boxes at the Royal Albert Hall with their staff and guest artists, the British Phonograph Industry (the ruling body for the UK record industry) decided to move the BRITS from London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to DMC’s inspired leading venue.
The reason the Championships could no longer be staged at the Albert Hall was because the major labels had instructed their promotion teams not to support the event with guest artists but to concentrate on the BRITS. James Brown had graced our stage, Alexander O’Neal arrived three times to accept the DJs award for the World’s Best Vocalist.
Back at the Hippodrome event a young Whitney Houston made her first public appearance. Every major artist majoring in dance music attended over the years. The DMC AWARDS had been crucial in filling the Albert Hall where a predominantly huge DJ audience enjoyed the Championships and the annual line-up of major dance music artists; Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Roxanne Shante and, on the one occasion the event was staged at the Wembley Arena, Boo Yah Tribe caused a riot outside as fans tried to break in.
The first sponsor of the DMC’s was Technics Panasonic HQ in Osaka, Japan and the company stayed with the events as DMC moved back to more funkier venues in London. At its peak DMC had events in 30 countries, America grew to stage elimination heats in 16 States as Champions pumped up the art of live mixing each year. Cash Money, Craze, A-Trak, QBert (below) became legends around the world as do others who win each year.
It wasn’t left to the American DJs to rule the roost. France became powerful, Japan won time after time, Canada and Germany also took the Golden Turntables. New events evolved flanking the annual Championships, the Battle for World Supremacy had first been staged in New York’s Marriott Marquis on Times Square as part of the New Music Seminar. When the Marriot barred the event due to the enormous gatherings taking over the hotel social area, the event moved around the corner to a club. After this it died.
Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records had been the main promoter of the Battle and agreed to let DMC stage it rather than let it die. Then in 1999 the DMC DJ Team Championships was launched and won by the UK’s Scratch Perverts. In the following year the American/Canadian two-ball Craze & A-Trak took the crown.
When France’s C2C took this title 4 years in a row…
…they looked unbeatable strutting their 4-man routine and delivering extraordinary performances which whipped the packed venues into a frenzy.
After this, with C2C retiring unbeaten, Japan’s KIREEK took their record (sic) one step further winning year after year for five years from 2007 to 2011.
UK winners began with Chad Jackson, Cutmaster Swift, Plus One, Mr. Switch (who dominated the Supremacy Championships for 3 years. Last year, in 2019, France’s DJ Skillz took his second title whilst DJ Matsunaga won the Supremacy for Japan. The Team event ended in 2017 with Canada’s Fresherthans being the last team to win after 19 years.
Whilst here in the Coronavirus era venues were made to close their doors with DJs globally locked-out and unemployed, it all looked unlikely the battles would continue. However DMC had been staging their ONLINE DJ CHAMPIONSHIPS since 2011 allowing, for the first time, DJs from any country in the world to show what they’d got.
And so DMC has decided rather than take the year off (and hope it is only for one year), the decision to build a major new platform to accommodate the TECHNICS/DMC WORLD DJ CHAMPIONSHIPS entirely on-line.
The event launches on 7th September with the first stage, the Practise Room where DJs will provide a one-minute performance to warm up fans for what is ahead. This first stage will not be judged, it is simply for DJs to let the world know they are coming.
This year Technics HQ are once again the lead sponsor and will shortly be announcing the prizes. Technics made 1985 possible back in the day when their SL1200 turntable ruled the world in clubs and in bedrooms everywhere as mixing became a major hobby. Stanton Stylus had also been a major supporter and in recent years RANE had ruled the event with more recent support from Technics who had once again entered the DJ market with their brand-new turntable the 1200 Mk7.
When the record industry ended vinyl sales it looked like the DMC’s would come to an end, especially when Panasonic decided to stop manufacturing their work-horse turntable. But Rane became a lead sponsor and DJs combined their decks with digital methods of performing live. This year Rane decided to decline DMC’s invitation feeling they need DJs to physically see and play with their equipment in live circumstances.
DMC branches around the world are seeking national support, but Technics are the 2020 GLOBAL SPONSOR. In countries where there isn’t a DMC branch or agent, the new platform will provide each country with their own National platform providing there are at least 3 DJs entering in that country. All other DJs from around the world will be entered into a REST OF THE WORLD platform.
This year there will be no public voting. Comment and discussion will be allowed but the judging will be conducted by capable, established judging panels in each country. The WORLD FINALIST will be judged by former DMC WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Tony Prince the founder of DMC said, “We are so very excited about this year. The platform we are creating will be incredible and we are so very grateful to Technics Panasonic for making this possible”.
Reigning World Champion DJ SKILLZ (France) and Supremacy Champion DJ Matsunaga (Japan) will have an automatic entry into the WORLD FINAL ELMINATIONS if they wish to defend.
With the DJ population around the world now able to enter there will be no restrictions on the equipment they use in the 1 minute, 2 minute and 4-minute elements. In live situation that has never been possible due to the live environment needing swift set-changes on stage.
Over the years the DMC films have dominated YouTube with millions of clips inspiring new DJs to take up the mantle and become a DMC/TECHNICS WORLD DJ CHAMPION. This year will be no exception, right now DJs in their home studios are rehearsing and preparing to film their challenge.