What a Bastid!
Skratch Bastid tells Andrea Yu how ‘everyday clubbers’ can appreciate the art of mixing
Most clubbers are probably concentrating more on sidling up to a hot girl or guy on the dancefloor than on the effectiveness of the last track’s transition. That’s a sad reality for the most dedicated DJs out there. But one Canadian mix-master, Paul Murphy, comes to Hong Kong in the hope of educating the dancefloor masses. We chat with Murphy, better known as Skratch Bastid, ahead of his workshop and showcase with Red Bull Thre3Style to find out about DJ battles, embracing technology and how not to hide behind your laptop.
Hey Skratch! Can you tell us how you got started in DJing?
Well, I’ve been DJing in Canada for 14 years and I started as a competition DJ doing really short two or three minute sets – all tricks and scratching. After that, I started DJing in clubs and playing a whole club night’s worth of music. Through that, I gained a combination of skills where I applied what I learned from the competitions to what happened in the clubs − how people like to dance and how people like to have a good night. I became known for doing these two things at once.
And how did you get involved with Red Bull?
They created a competition in Canada based on this type of DJing scenario and, over the years, they’ve ended up with the Thre3Style competition [a DJing battle with 15 minute sets]. They contacted me to be a judge early on – a judge and performer. So when I saw the competition, I said ‘this is a really cool format and a great place for DJs to show their abilities’ and I helped them promote the competition and take it further.
What can we expect at your upcoming workshop at Volar?
I’ll be showing people new techniques and classic techniques, and basically just showing them what Thre3Style is looking for but also educating them on how to achieve the creativity, the originality, the scratches, the tricks, the techniques. And, beyond that, showing them a bit of the technology that DJs use to help them improve their sets so that club-goers understand what goes into a set.
Are you hoping to get dedicated DJs to your workshop or just your everyday party people attending?
Both DJs and people that want to know more about what a DJ is doing behind the turntables because I know that a lot of club-goers have no idea what’s going on, so it’s an opportunity for people to get a behind-the-scenes look and start to understand what really goes on behind the laptop.
So, with all this technology available these days… is it making for better or worse DJs?
I think that it’s allowed creativity to flourish but it’s also allowed laziness to flourish. And part of our responsibility as DJs is to create a standard for people to understand that DJs do put a lot of effort into it. The people that enter [Thre3Style] and excel at this competition are experts. We want to create a competition that raises awareness about how hard the world’s best DJs are working. Technology has allowed people to skip some steps and hide behind the computer but we want to show them how far DJs can take it in a club setting.
Skratch Bastid will conduct an exclusive workshop at Volar from 8pm. His showcase party starts at 11pm.