DJ QBert
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DJ QBert

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“Well we’re still working on the school and that’s still blowing up – it’s the third year so we’re doing it and it’s tracking really well” tells Quitevis excitedly, “In fact the third valedictorian for the Q-Bert school this year was from Perth – he was the best and he’s got a sponsorship with Native Instruments now – he’s totally amazing!”

Quitevis is also spending some time in the studio where he can, claiming there is some exciting material on its way – amongst a list of other challenging projects. “Right now I’m working on another album and I’ve got Kool Keith emceeing on there; I did a movie a while ago and were doing another animation project so that will be cool as well. Generally, I’m keeping pretty busy with all the touring and school stuff.”

In 2012 though, despite his commitments he is still enjoying travelling the world spreading the music message, adopting a rather spiritual approach to it in more recent times. He does have a fond recollection of the heydays of his distinguished career. Punters probably just see it as old hack for him now but that’s selling him a little short.

It is kind of same old-same old as it were, but he is still in love. “Every now and again I see that special performance – that’s what I’m looking out for – something that stands apart from the rest.” Back in the day – after being crowned the Technics World DJ Champion for three consecutive years – he was coerced out of his place in the competition, only to be invited back as a guest judge. These are the sorts of steps taken to keep a competition vibrant and fresh; and to keep other contenders from feeling uneasy about their chances of cleaning house. After all, spreading the love is what music is all about.

And the evolution in the industry has borne witness the scene branching out in various different directions. “It’s like all these things you can do now with the technology that’s out there; you couldn’t do that back in the day. For me, I have to say that I love scratching; and I still love vinyl because it is still the most accurate. I mean now you have stuff like video scratching, which is out there. But like anything that isn’t vinyl, there is a tiny delay there so it’s not perfect and it can never be as accurate as vinyl. It’s the same kind of issue you have with analogue versus electric or midi guitar – the acoustic guitar will always be the preferred thing. It’s the same with pianists – they have classical organs, pianos and stuff. You have regular scratching and digital scratching. It’s just a tree that keeps on growing.”

“Man, 10 years from now, party people will be scratching with their mind and not even touching an instrument – that would be pretty cool! Of course there will still be vinyl scratching, maybe it will be someone thinking of a sound and then putting it in the air and scratching the air,” he says in jest. “I really think music is a healing thing and people will become more enlightened about it. The world is all about healing right now and people are more spiritually healthy which is a really good thing. Music in Indian culture for example was for healing. The idea behind it was that it was about regenerative energy and the way it fixes your mind.”

Yet for Quitevis, the root of it all is scratching; everything stems from that. “If I work with a theatre company or if I’m talking about spirituality or whatever – I’ll learn about stuff that has to do with scratching and how it links back. In Australia, they have the didgeridoo – it is a healing instrument; it vibrates your body into a state of bliss if you know what I mean? So I’m getting out there with all that knowledge and trying to apply it to music.” Hip hop has always had a conscious slant – and Quitevis is seeing that philosophy through.

Finally, he is excited about getting back to Australia for his 2012 dates. “For the show, I have a new set of pretty crazy music. It’ll feature a range of styles of music from funky, dub step, hip hop, electro bass, b-boy – expect the unexpected! I’ve also got this champion beat boxer coming down with me; he’s like the dub step godfather so it should be a pretty cool gig, I can’t wait to get down there again! I always have a great time in Australia.”

And after all these years, he remains as gifted and relevant as ever. Bring the rewind, DJ.

BY REZO