And so the 2021 adventure begins – and how! DMCWORLD grabs a world exclusive with the new 2021 DMC Numark World Portablist Champion – SWORDZ!!!!!!!!!!!!
Swordz a huge welcome to DMCWORLD! Let’s kick off by giving you a huge CONGRATULATIONS for winning the 2021 DMC Numark World Portablist Championship at the weekend. Has it sunk in yet, it was an incredible performance! Tell us about yourself…
Hello hello hello! So as you all figured my name’s Swordz. I’m 40 years old (just turned 40 during the actual Portablist battle actually!). I kinda feel old when I look at all those brilliant kids participating nowadays, which is excellent meaning turntablism is still alive and kicking! I was born in the Philippines (Manila) but I have lived almost my whole life in Belgium. But I feel like repping both countries if you will. I always get emotional when I see or hear Filipino scratch DJs!!
You blew the minds of so many people at DMC, “where the fuck did he learn to scratch like that?” shouted Cutmaster Swift! So tell us, how and when did this turntable journey begin?
Wow thank you for the lovely words! Well I started scratching in 1998 after having seen the DMC 98 US Finals video where Craze won for the first time and later on won the World in Paris. That whole battle completely blew my mind. And if I remember well, literally a couple of days after that video, I bought a mixer and a rather entry level belt drive turntable because I absolutely had to get into this!
Around the same time, I discovered the Camel Bobsled Race Mix by Shadow & q-bert. (For those who know this mix, Q is completely going nuts on the first intro beat and the “now approaching midnight” phrase).
To me still up to today the most insane and especially soulful way of scratching ever done…
So yeah, after listening to that daily on repeat and watching every single 6 min routine of that DMC video, I started slowly with crabs and transforms.
It took me a while though because of the gear I had back then (a belt drive turntable and the Gemini Scratch Master Mixer). But around 99 I bought the Technics DMC mixer and started to understand that when you buy the right gear it helps tremendously in improving your skills.
So long story short I have been around (on and off), I kind of quit for a couple of years between 2008 & 2012/13 but picked up scratching again when I bought a house and had more space for all of this. Since then, I’m practicing weekly or bi-weekly again which may not sound a lot but as I have an intense day job and a family for me this is excellent to keep it going. And now with COVID, I even have more time to practice. Guess that’s one of the few advantages of Corona…!
My first DJ battle ever was the Belgian DMC in 2000 – and in 2007 I entered the Benelux Chapter Supremacy category where I ended up 3rd. And now finally at the age of 40 I made it. After hearing the results on the live stream I immediately texted my mom saying that as an “old timer” I finally won haha!!
The Numark mixers were so popular in the mid 80s but it’s their PT01 Scratch portable turntable that has really brought their name to the forefront again. What is it about this machine that you love compared to it’s rivals?
It may sound ridiculous, but first of all I really like the fact that it’s a nice squared box with a great handle! The first time I scratched on the original PT01 (the one with original arm) the needle didn’t skip once…and I was testing this with those heavy drill scratches. And of course, the fact that you can mod the hell out of this thing!
How have you customized your Numark?
I bought a full customized from DJ Lamont from Belgium. He had it modded by Bihari from Hungary which is great! So I have the first arm Bihari made, an innofader plus a Bihari metal platter, an Ortofon VNL needle and what I call the street fighter start/stop button haha!!
So your winning routine, were you happy with it?
To be completely honest I really don’t know anymore. It took me 15 takes or so to record it, so after having it sent to Christie Z I didn’t listen to it anymore because I was so tired of hearing it. But in the end I was very happy and especially very lucky when it came down to the actual finals because the other scratchers like Jose Rodriguez, Drazec, AKA, etc were all so in-sane-ly good!
I’m a very lucky man, that’s what I thought when I heard the results. And hereby I wanna give also a huge shoutout to all the 85 contestants! Everyone was so dope! And not to forget a huge thanks to DMC for organizing this. What a ride…incredible.
Who have been some of your mixing/scratching/turntable heroes from days gone by?
Obviously first of all the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, The X-Men, The Allies, 5th Platoon. And in Europe our very own ‘The Mixfitz’ from Belgium, The Lordz of Fitness back in the day, Kypski, Scratch Science, Skillz Machine, DJ Loop Skywalker, Netik, Troubl, Skratch Lordz, DJ Beatbutcher, DJ Odilon, Chmielix, Vazee, DJ Ben etc…And my good friend and personal favourite DJ TMB. If you don’t know him check him out for sure. So many dope DJs I have met along the years, so many friendly faces and good times I’ve had with these people.
Tell us about the reception you received from family and friends – how did you celebrate?
That’s a good question. The day of the live stream we were organizing an outdoor bar/listening party, respecting the COVID rules obviously. DJ Jack, one of my best buddies from the DJ group the Mixfitz, organized that in his hometown Diest in Belgium. An amazing place with truly the nicest people ever. So I went there to chill, scratch and play a little bit – but we were obviously also on our phones following the live stream at the same time. So, basically we had beers, the sun was out, music and the live stream. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my win with all these lovely people!
Are you a working DJ back home?
I used to DJ a lot back in the day when I was living in Prague (Czech Republic). Nowadays I am more into showcases. Thanks to the collective Herrmut Lobby, which is a beat collective from Belgium that invented that magnificent “Playground” app, I did a few banging shows. Me on turntables and them on a gigantic touch screen using their own app. For those who have never heard of Playground (shame on you haha here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/getplayground and the link to the inventors of it: https://www.facebook.com/herrmuttlobby
We did our last show a couple of days before the Covid lockdown, but we’re definitely going to pick up the pace after this awful time is over!
Looking ahead, what does the future hold for Swordz…what’s next on the agenda?
I’m trying to get hold of some sponsors (so anyone who’s interested contact me haha). As mentioned earlier when Covid is over we want to pick up the showcases we did before Covid with playground or maybe something new coming up! In that regard sponsors could be a very good deal as big things are coming up from the Herrmutt Lobby side. So look out for that y’all! There is a new project I’m involved in called Crystal Camino. We’re about to release very soon a first EP with non other than Frank n Dank from Detroit. I’m telling you the beat produced for this release is an absolute neck breaker. Here’s the link to the project’s instagram page https://www.instagram.com/crystalcaminobeats/
And last but not least. I wanna keep on scratching of course. I wanna stay on point. I want to enjoy this art form.
Thanks for having me, DMC. I really appreciate what you’ve done all these years…