DJ Jazzy Jeff and ?uestlove on Red Bull and playing digital versus carrying crates

Categories: Interviews

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This past Saturday night at Beta, during Red Bull's Thre3Style competition, celebrity judges ?uestlove and Jazzy Jeff closed the night out with a live drum and DJ peformance. Before the competition kicked off and before ?uestlove and Jazzy Jeff set the place on fire with their impressive finale, the pair graciously gave us a few minutes of their time to discuss their thoughts on the battle and the ever-present discussion of crates and credibility.

Westword: Tell me your thoughts on Red Bull and how the company supports artistic creativity.

?uestlove: I think it's really admirable that Red Bull continues to support all forms of music. They do a lot of these workshops, producer workshops, band competitions, Q&As, that type of thing.

They really put their money where their mouth is. A lot of times, you hear about corporations that say they invest in art, but Red Bull has surpassed all of their peers as far as really embracing the music culture, and we're here to support it.

They usually call me once a year to do some type of workshop with producers or DJs or musicians, be it talking to students, judging competitions, that type of thing. Whenever my schedule allows, I'm all in support.

Jazzy Jeff: I think it's really great that they've shown the importance of the DJ culture. It's also giving chances to up and coming deejays to break into a really big market place, with a lot of attention put on them, and they can really show their skills. This is an excellent launching pad for the next generation of DJs who are trying to become household names.

Competitions like this seem to bring the education and technical aspects of deejaying back to the forefront.

JJ: One of the things I was really impressed with in this competition was that the judging criteria is very, very fair. It's probably fairer than any other DJ competition I've ever see -- the point system and what they base it on. They base it on showmanship, creativity, crowd participation.

And then they actually give great numbers that you can only be judged [on, such as] five points for crowd participation -- because sometimes people will bring 200 people, and that will be the deciding factor. [Red Bull] won't let that be the deciding factor.

I think DJs who are getting in it have to be well rounded. I appreciate that because it teaches the up-and-coming DJs that you can't just do one thing. You need to hone your skills all the way around.

Is a DJ who's pure digital on par with a DJ who still carries tons of crates?

?uest: That's always been the tried-and-true debate, whether you are a real DJ in real and postmodern technology times in 2010. We're both supporters of modern technology; we both use Serato, but of course, the more creative you are, the more respect you get. For me, I'm more about range. I look for a DJ who has the range and knowledge of music. It all starts from there with me.


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