This interview was conducted on February 2000
[Dj Motif8 style begins with songs that have meaning. Love, free thinking, connected with what some of his listeners
referred to as phat beats, using techno, acid, aggressive electronic sounds and effects and melodies that 'take you away'. The various 'motifs' keeps listeners coming back, and often times leave them noticing how there is a lot of bad/boring dj's out there as well as some good ones. He appreciates the styles of other dj's and will once in a while use their songs or mixes in regard to it being a form of compliment.]
Interview with DJ Motif8:
Question: Could you describe your mixing methods and DJ Motif8's Style:
I usually like to use vinyl originals, you know the full cut versions, and take it from there. At that time I have a song to work with and let my creativity influence the mix.
If a song is good I will leave it alone, often times playing the whole song regarding this as a compliment to the
artist's creative ability. The music I play (hardcore trance, techno, progressive house) allows and possibly encourages me to do this to a degree.
Not that that is the only music that I play and listen to. I regard myself as someone with taste. I respect a lot of songs and artists for their efforts and for what their songs are. However, in my whole life I have listened to a lot of songs. Supposedly this is (song listening experience) what makes record producers and people signing artists the experts in the biz. (laughs)
Point is, is that I feel songs should have some type of message or (that) they convey a feeling. It doesn't always have to be positive or anything major, but then I think an artist can get more respect that way for who they are.
Anyway, I usually keep full cut versions of songs on cdr and will use these to play at different clubs and gigs. I premix them at home to a point on my pc using acid, but without a traditional mixer's EQs and crossfader.
I can usually use these as a basis for a show and change songs whenever. I think it is okay to play prerecorded material as long as you did the mixing - it is somewhat comparable to a rock band practicing their songs before they do live shows or studio time. Usually dj's don't spend this extra time when they already are mixing stuff at a gig, but I feel it sometimes helps in order to establish your style and the beginning of a set. Sometimes I see DJ's that are so lame that they'd probably be better with this approach. (laughs and gets serious right away)
I mean when I am out trying to enjoy myself and I see a bad dj, I feel like I am wasting my time or spend too much time concentrating on how bad this person is and how lame all these people that are here are. Or that it just could be so much better. What can I say, I'm an idealist in many things...politics, sports, relationships, music, and partying. I mean even this interview...I know I am leaving things out, my opinions that is...my experience...and i think what if
I don't come across the ideal way I want to. (pauses a moment) Anyway, there's also these dj's that stand around stiff as board. Like they are
"Iceman", but even "Iceman" moved...maybe they were frozen by
"Iceman". In any case, I know beat matching involves concentration but if you don't look excited, why should the audience care about what you're playing. I used to be called DJ Motiv8 and people would be like are you gonna motiv8
us dj motiv8? And I just thought maybe it's just an irony and motivating people comes at certain times. I also thought that motivation was a big thing in my life and other people since it leads someone to
accomplish something and to what level. Like sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don't depending on your motivational factor. I thought of myself as playing music that was motivating. To dance, to think, to drink, to stink, whatever....I guess I am like that in life and in my other jobs.
Question: Is that how you came up with the name?
No actually only partly. I was thinking on what to put on the license plate of my "bad-ass"
Camaro. You know something that said the car was "bad-ass"? Well, I wanted
"Think Again", using 7 letters referring to anybody that stepped up for a race. But it was of course taken.
I had to dig a little deeper but I like what I had. Concerning the car and that
phrase; it reminds me of how I wanna go back to school and get a Masters in Psychology. I thought about how this car is like me and can
motivate one to think again if the time is right. So I came up with MOTV 812 and on a bracket below, think again. When people try to figure that out, or say that's stupid, I ask them what does that say?
They take forever and only a handful were able to figure it out, but after telling them the answer, I'm like 'I just got you to do what it says'. Think again and again until you figure it out. That's like life. I can't help
it if you've never done it before.
Question: So what happens with your prerecorded cdr's?
At this point the music is fed through my pioneer cdj-700's. The looping feature allows me to create new phrases, or helps in creating the perfect timed mix transition from songs to song. But the main reason I use
these puppies is the speed control without affecting pitch. I always wanted something like that and when it came out, I couldn't buy another cd player even though they have a quite a price tag. But I figured the equipment
is studio quality and I could use it from many purposes down the line, especially for sampling.
Next while playing tracks, I busy myself with 3 things. One is applying various effects
mixes (I'm an effects fan since techno came out, the mixer provides a great starting point)
The other is sampling with either the onboard Pioneer sampler on the DJM-600, or my piece of crap boss Dr. Sample. The third thing that I still use as a Dj is a Numark direct drive turntable. This is used mostly for
scratching, playing old tunes or stuff that's only on vinyl, grabbing samples, creating unique sounds, and just throwing down as a tribute to all scratching turntablists that know the feeling I am talkin about.
I think there's always a lot going on when DJ Motif8's in the mix. And yes I am one of those DJ's that gets down on myself when I make an error that might seem barely perceptible to
listeners. However this quest for perfection,
is fixed by telling myself a couple things. First I think about how there's many ways I could've gone with that and at least I tried something. That's what brings out the creativeness of a dj. Second, I'm glad I tried it because sometimes you just get that mix where it's just perfect and you do shit you'd never even dreamed of; you feel like you're kickin ass while dropin the beats. I've heard djs compare this to sex, and other things like that that bring out a rush in you. They're not crazy...I've had tears in my eyes on many occasions. Often times this happens just messing around and I'm like shit...how did that go and feel like it was just a one time deal and I will probably never duplicate those efforts. I had these problems when I used to write songs on guitar.
Composing music is a lot like the feelings in life. You may feel similar at times but a feeling can only be experienced the way it was experienced just that once. At that single moment in time, given those variables, how you felt that day, who was around you, what you ate, etc. etc. The feelings can be duplicated if like music they are written down, or practiced enough to the point of what do they call that, uh, conditional behavior. But then you might not be experiencing the feeling to it's fullest potential
and just be going through a set of motions. However, creating music is cool in the sense that that feeling could be duplicated whenever. If somebody made you feel bad you could pop in your favorite tune and boom. It's amazing how Beethoven's symphonies still live
on today. I mean his music is like over 200 years old I think, and it reflects all the 'crazy' type of feelings he was having on the inside. Going deaf and struggling with some disorder that made him 'hear' all this stuff in his head. They
said the guy was exposed to 'leaded' conditions but he is still considered a genius. I bet the some of the Heavy Metal bands of the
70's and 80's will be regarded as the greatest pioneers of this century. Music is the best when it appeals to the soul -- (pauses) Some people souls got rhythm.
My taste in songs is usually aggressive or something that's melodic and catchy but I don't mean mainstream catchy. Well, a lot of techno has become mainstream lately so it depends. Usually you trust your dj's style and tastes and choice in music and you let take you to a place you'd love to be. Maybe this is how my drop "DJ Motif8 set ya str8" came about. (laughs) All I know is, I sure find myself listening to my tunes a lot. I think about how I wanna share this with listeners and club goers, and recreate the time other DJ's took me to "that place".
Question: What's in store in the future?:
My goal i think is simple. I wanna organize all the favorite tunes and mix them, and eventually with the start of my own record label in time create my own original songs. However this is so time consuming, and it can't just be done whenever. It's like telling a kid to go pee when he doesn't have to. Writing music to me is sometimes the same way. Maybe if I didn't have any other hobbies or responsibilities or issues with money, I could just sit around and wait for shit to come to me.
Right now, I can't afford that yet. I realized that I don't come from a family with money. I'm their first generation and have to be realistic
about that. As far as DJing, I do all this for myself even though I am criticized for not taking every gig or job offered or making enough money in the industry. Looking at things this way, not just my music career,
gives me peace within myself. There's less pressure, and I don't have to lie to anybody about how good I am or to myself about anything. I am not consumed with status or getting my name out. I'm like Jordan; if I know that I'm good that's all that matters. If people think that I'm good then they're smart (laughs) and I'm glad they found their path and enjoy themselves. Everybody who has some music appreciation is born a dj. They start to like certain songs and not like others.
With me, it started with bass hitting dance music and the mixing djs....Some of it was good and some of was crap and some was mediocre. But I thought, why not just play good shit all the time?? That's how my style developed. I've been asked to do weddings and your average run of the mill bars and I just pass, because my songs and mixing is the way it is and it's my style and artistic expression. Lemme play
a set for 2 hours and have the 'other guy' play top 40.
Label Chicago Club Events Music