On the heels of their new EDM collaboration, the robot DJ known as Kryoman sits down to interview the NBA champ Shaq turned producer, DJ Diesel…
Hi Guys! It’s me, Kryoman, yeah the guy with the robots... you know. I am releasing a record called ‘Rat-a-tat Revenge’ with my good friend and longtime collaborator Shaquille O'Neal, aka DJ Diesel, and I thought it would be a good idea to grab the NBA hall of famer out of his busy schedule to really get down to the grit of where this very accomplished individual is coming from artistically and what he hopes to achieve in the electronic music space.
Shaq, when and what sort of music and/or artist inspired you to start DJing? Describe the process...
“Hip-hop — I first started DJing in 1988 when I saw Terminator X at a Public Enemy concert. I saw how he played all the hot music and took over the crowd and I was like, ‘I could do that’, and then I started up DJing. I was a high school DJ and in college, and then I got to the pros and started doing albums. The DJing took the back seat at this point. Then, what reignited that fire in 2014 was when I went to TomorrowWorld. I’d never heard about it before and I saw all the top DJs spinning and I got back into it. I hit up TomorrowWorld and they let me play the next year.”
What equipment did you learn to spin on?
“I learnt on a Pioneer mixer and two SP-1200s. I did my research and found out what all the top DJs were using at the time, I cut grass, sold lemonade, I fixed people’s stuff to raise the money and I found two at a pawn shop and bought them.”
And what equipment do you use now for your DJ sets? How do you select music to curate a banging set?
“Currently I'm using a Pioneer set-up: a CDJ-2000 Nexus with a DJM 900 mixer.
I tried to go with EDM, but I'm wasn't that familiar with it, and then one day in Miami in the club I saw a guy named Skrillex and he played some hip-hop with some crazy noises. I was like ‘what the hell is that’?! And he was like, ‘that’s trap, and I thought that I could do trap, I could really do it because what I saw in the crowd was a mixture of all different races, colors and trap is like — I wanted to say EDM hip-hop at the time — I really didn't know what trap was. Once I saw that, I wanted to be the son of Skrillex and Kryoman.”
You've played ball in countless arena, but when it comes to a DJ set, do you prefer a club or a festival/largescale arena venue?
“A festival because when a person comes to a festival they come there for one purpose, that’s to jam. A lot of the time when I do clubs, the new generation got their phones out taking pictures and videos instead of jamming. So I’d rather do festivals.”
Describe your sound in three words.
“Dark diesel trap. Or Bass banging sounds.”
What are you currently working on in the music space? Any collaborations/releases/ remixes we should know about?
“I contacted on of my favorite DJs, Kryoman. I love the way he controls the crowd. We got together and did our first song which was a big hit so we are doing a second record together called ‘Rat-a-tat Revenge’. Also on the record are some excellent artists, Rose Gold, Lexoskeleton and STIX.”
If you could collaborate with any artist - dead or alive - who would it be and why?
“I’ve worked with just about everyone out there, so once again I have to say Kryoman and Skrillex because the throw down the sound that I like.”
Well, thanks for that! We can collab anytime… Which festival do you want to play next?
“Ultra Music Festival in Miami and TomorrowWorld again but this time, on the main stage.”
What has it been like starting up rapping again but in electronic music? Do you find the genres seamless to transition between?
“To me, it’s sort of the same thing, but what I'm rapping on now is a lot harder. You know when I did my albums, they were mellow and a few had some bass, but this shit is banging!”
Do you ever have any issues about the DJ desk being too low?
“Nope, when I'm DJing it’s not about me, it’s about the crowd.”
Do you think DJ Mag should have an award for world's tallest DJ? Explain why yes or no?
“Nope, I don’t wanna be known for my height, I wanna be known for my skills.”
What do you have to say to people who hate on or question your skills as a beatsmith?
"I don't hate anything. Everyone has their right to their opinion - and I understand - but I've been doing this a long time. The problem is when you have the celebrity DJs that just pop up, every other celebrity that happens to be a DJ gets put in the same box. I've been around a long time man, there is footage of me DJing 30 years ago. I'm sure not a many can say that."
It's your last night on earth, and you have to choose between spending it shooting hoops or making music - which do you choose, explain...
“Making music. Because you get that vibe in your head, and hear your last jam and when that time happens, it happens.”
Words: ANDREW MOORE, aka, KRYOMAN