Interview: DJ Shadow On Skills, Counterfeits and Classics

DJ Shadow, whose skills are an inspiration to countless artists and fans takes some time with us to talk about his new package In Tune and On Time, a combo DVD/CD and double vinyl pack. Read and listen to our interview and watch footage from this important release.

Posted by Michael Bordash on Fri Jun 18, 2004

Music News
Josh Davis, better know to the masses as DJ Shadow has released a new collection entitled In Tune And On Time. Intelligent Hip-Hop Defined. The collection is an important piece to be had as it highlights some of the most adroit DJ-ing abilities from Shadow himself as well as his cohorts from past collaborations. For those of you who have never seen Shadow live, this DVD/CD pack will offer you a glimpse of the excitement a Shadow concert brings. Compiled from a 2002 concert at London's Brixton Academy, the set features a 20-track CD boasting tracks from U.N.K.L.E., Blackalicious, and Handsome Boy Modeling School.

Included on the DVD are four additional tracks and features the bonus footage "Pushin Buttons," featuring a massive battle on wax between Shadow, Cut Chemist & DJ NuMark. Also on the DVD are behind-the-scenes footage and an artist interview.

Album Trailer
Click your flavor to watch the trailer from In Tune and On Time {WMV|Real|QT}.

The InternetDJ Interview
DJ Shadow also had time to speak with us directly on this new album and exploring the state of the genre he is constantly re-defining.

listen: mp3 stream

read excerpts:
(internetdj) We just got your promo in the mail for the DVD, you're just blowing up all over the place. What's going on?
(DJ Shadow) Well, we wanted to document this tour we did in 2002. And it was, the first tour that I did that wanted to present to people in a good way, because there's been quite a few bootlegs going around. So this is, to me, the first time that I've had a show that I could present on this kind of level.

(internetdj) How you feel about the whole underground verses commercial?
(DJ Shadow) Well, you know, I think if you ask must "underground artists" if they would prefer to remain underground, probably most of them would say no. I just choose to do what I do in a way that tends to not allow me to get on the likes of MTV, because I tend to do music that just doesn't have that kind of necessary instant pop appeal-- everybody has their own style and certain people-- I mean I'm not out for fame, so I'm just trying to do cool music and leave a mark.

(internetdj) Is it important for you to educate your crowd?
(DJ Shadow) Yeah, I think that a lot of people don't understand what it is that I'm doing up there, a lot of people tell me that "by you explaining what it is that you're doing and by me being able to see your fingers on the screen, I get a better appreciation for what it is that you're actually doing." Because in Europe especially where this was filmed, a lot of people would just pop in a CD or DAT and then kind of stand up there and pretend like they're doing something. And so a lot of crowds just assume that's what I'm doing, when in actual fact, you know, there is a real live element to what I and a lot of other DJ's are doing, and our job is to make it sound seamless. But there's a lot of cases where if something were to go wrong, it would go wrong very quickly and it'd very quickly turn into something unlistenable. So that keeps me constantly engaged onstage, and hopefully, that translates into the crowd's enjoyment of the show as well.

(internetdj) You've inspired so many people, who are your inspirations?
(DJ Shadow) All the other DJ's that came before me. I got my first turntable in '84, twenty years ago, and whatever was hot back then, everything from "Roxanne, Roxanne" to "Surgery" by Doctor Dre, the same Doctor Dre that's still around now. And you know any record that had scratching; so those are all my heroes, and just people who really did a lot to elevate the respect of scratching in general.

(internetdj) Do people go up to you and say hey I didn't realize you were a white boy?
(DJ Shadow) Yeah, I guess I do get that sometimes. I'm pretty happy with the fact that most people don't really know who I am unless somebody tells them who I am. You know what I mean? Like I can be in a room and with a lot of my peers, and I know who all they are, but they don't know who I am. I kinda like that.

(internetdj) Are there five pieces of vinyl you can't live with out?
(DJ Shadow) Well, on a show level, I mean, yeah, there's records that I have to be really protective of, especially when I'm on the road I can't let them out of my sight or whatever, because if they get stolen or I lose them, then the shows over. As far as personal records that I can't live without, I think it is just certain classics-- it's nothing like ultra-rare or anything-- but just ceratin songs that really mean a lot to me, like "AL-NAAFIYSH" by Hasheem is one on Cutting Records 1983. You know, Run DMC's first album, stuff like that. The classics.

(internetdj) Do you look forward to doing things like what the Executioners are doing with Lincoln Park, going on the road with some bands?
(DJ Shadow) Well, I mean I like to collaborate with other artists and artists in different genres, but going and seeking out a big name act and kind of trying to-- I'm not saying this is what anybody else is doing-- but you know, riding on someone else's coat tails really isn't my style in a way. I mean I like working with people when, you know, say if I meet them and we get along real well and it is real natural. I don't like it to be a "my manager call their manager" kind of thing.

(internetdj) Then how do you feel about guys like Danger Mouse, what did you think of that whole thing?
(DJ Shadow) I thought the Danger Mouse thing was, I think it's kinda interesting. I hope that he's able to get the same interest generated in his own music, you know what I mean? Cause I know he does stuff with Gemini and this and that. You know, well, it's all about Jay-Z and the Beatles, but my hope is that he's able to correlate that into a career of his own music.

(internetdj) Shadow, any parting words for your fans?
(DJ Shadow) Oh well, just thanks for your time, thanks for listening to this. And I'll start working on the album next month, and thanks for checking for me.

Other Links
Buy Shadow's In Tune and On Time
DJ Shadow Profile

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