With the spectre of the DMC World DJ Championships looming on Sunday 17th October, DJs from all over the world are surely locked in their basements, perfecting their turntablist arts while wearing nothing but their socks and power underwear. We spoke with the UK Champion, DJ Jeppa, about the competition, his personal DJ philosophy and the best way to fend off a pack of ninjas using vinyls and a man’s raw grit.
What does it mean to you to be representing the UK in the World DJ Championships?
"Representing the UK and being back in the DMC World Championships means so much because I have always thought and dreamed about it happening for years and I just find it amazing that it actually is!"
Who do you think is your biggest competition? Any up-and-comers who you think might surprise us?
"Probably my biggest competition will be the Americans, French and the Japanese. I think the ones to watch out for this year is DJ Mandrayq, DJ Impact, Ligone and DJ Shifftee."
What can you do that nobody else can? Any tricks up your sleeve?
"I’ve been practicing more body tricks—well, trying anyway! Not so many DJs are doing them these days."
Could you explain how the DJ Championships work? Are there DJ battles? Is it round robin style? Do you spin to the death? Who judges?
"Okay, there are two competitions in DMC. You have the actual DMC World Final and you have the World Battle for Supremacy! To get to the World Final you have to apply for the regional heats, and you have to be placed first or maybe second to get to the UK final by doing a six-minute routine. Then you have to win the UK to be put in the worlds. When you get to the world final you have to do a three minute elimination round which will be your time to impress the judges! If you are successful you will have six minutes in the world final! For the battle for supremacy, you have two rounds of ninety seconds to beat the competitor!"
What's the atmosphere backstage like? Tense? Or is there more of a sense of fraternity than we might expect?
"I think for the up-and-coming DJs, it can be nerve-wracking; I’ve been doing it for a few years now so I’m kind of getting used to it. I can remember in 2006 they had the London heat at fabric and we all had to chill in the back room to wait for our names to be called—that was pretty tense."
Are DJ skills the only important part of the competition, or does personality also play into it?
"Well, I would say it is mainly DJ skills that will get you far in the competition but personality can help too! When I DJ, I try to look confident and try to have good showmanship!"
Are you worried about being sabotaged by any competitors, Nancy Kerrigan-style?
"(Laughs) No, not really. People do joke about that sort of stuff though. But if anyone wants to try it, they’ll lose."
Who are you heroes in the turntablism world?
"To name a few, there’s Roc Raida, DJ Tigerstyle, Netic, DJ Rafic, A-Trak and Craze. But I have lots of heroes."
What advice do you have for aspiring turntablists?
"The only advice I can give is practice practice practice!"
Last one. You're shopping for groceries at Tesco when you get ambushed by a gang of ninjas, and your only defense is to DJ at a set of turntables that are conveniently located in the frozen foods section. What records do you drop or moves do you pull that will pacify them?
"I would pull 'Everyboby is Kung Fu Fighting' by Carl Douglas—the dubstep remix—while beat juggling Michael Jackson’s 'Beat It', at the same time as moonwalking around them using vinyls as weapons!"
And for a taster, here's a hip-hop bedroom routine from two years ago... Ninjas not included.
Words - Drew Millard
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