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  Offworld Music
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  BAD BOY BILL INTERVIEW

Bad Boy Bill
   

 

WEBLINKS
- BadBoyBill.com
- System Recordings


 

 

 

Bad Boy Bill BTD Behind The Decks
Listen & buy here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bay Boy Bill has come a long way since he first began making mixed tapes to fuel his breakdancing craze. In 2000, he popped up as #84 in a poll conducted by BPM Magazine for best American DJ, in 2001 he jumped up a few spaces to #40, then in 2001 he suddenly was #4 and currently, he is BPM's #1 DJ in America.

Since the age of 14 he has astounded crowds and critics alike with his mesmerizing blend of house, hip hop and hard house. His style is unique and unlike any other. He is known for Banging tracks faster than you can imagine, throwing track on top of track turning the most simple and standard house groove into a hypnotic blend of songs that keep the dance floor bumpin' all night!

Born in Chicago, and thrust into the house music scene, BBB has been at it for years. From the earliest days as a DJ, he competed in DJ spinoffs constantly and still does to this day. While his reasons for doing it might have changed a bit over the years, the reason the crowds hover to him has not. He won competition after competition, but says he got his first real "lucky" break when he met Farley Jackmaster Funk from Chicago's infamous radio station WBMX. It was he who gave BBB his first radio broadcast gig, and things just snowballed from there.

On top of being a #1 ranked American DJ and performing up to 150 gigs annually, Bill is also a very successful producer and songwriter, working with artists like Donald Glaude, Carl Cox and Richard Humpty Visson. Bad Boy Bill has numerous mixed CD compilations out, with the most popular being the acclaimed Banging The Box series. His second 2xCD mixed set, "Behind the Decks", hit the shelves September 23rd, and is a unique project in that it also contains a two hour DVD made using 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and DTS. This combination of media represents what seeing Bill is like live, a mind blowing mix of music and stunning visuals that remind you that he didn't get to #1 for nothing!

Despite his far-out schedule, we were still able to grab an online interview from Bill while he was out on the road promoting Behind the Decks. In it, we gain a little insight on what to expect from this veteran turntabilist's latest release, and a little glimpse into the life and parties of the DON JUAN OF THE DECKS....

Annalee: You have said many times that you started to spin at the early age of 14, I heard you were breakdancing back then as well... did that help you get into spinning?

Bad Boy Bill: I used to get the music and make the tapes for our crew to break to... I loved doing both, but I really loved putting the music together.

You have credited your success in part to the big break you got from Farley Jackmaster Funk who gave you your first broadcast gig. How did you hook up with him and get that spot on the radio?

I used to be a promoter, throwing our own events and hiring guys from the radio like Farley and Julian Perez. We became friends with them and one day, when I was with Julian, went to my friend Mike Hitman Wilson's house and Farley was there... Mike had been telling Farley about me and that I was a good dj, and Farley asked me to spin.

So in front of all three of them (Julian, Farley, and Mike), I had to start mixing. I was scratching, doing tricks, and blending from one song to the next... After a little while he stopped me and said, "you're on the radio next week, make a tape for the station" and just like that I was on WGCI, one of the biggest stations in the city!

You've been competing in DJ spin offs from your very first days of spinning. What gave you the confidence to go out there like that? What is your motivation to continue competing?

When I first started spinning, it was all about battling. You had to prove that you were better than the next dj, and it was very competitive. I stopped battling a long time ago, but I give so much credit to the guys that have taken the art of turntablism to where it is now. It blows me away when I see what these guys can do behind the decks... It is a completely different thing than what I am doing now. Battling is an art, and a show of skill, not necessarily what is best to get people dancing, which is my main focus now.

I often hear the term "turntable gymnastics" when people speak of you And your live shows. How would you define your style of spinning?

I have no idea what they mean by that... I do incorporate some scratching and tricks into my dj sets, I also like to have two copies of every record I play so I can play the best parts of the song, or get to the break faster...But Gymnastics??? Hmmm....You got me on that one...

Your style is very unique in that I have only heard a few others that have similarities, namely DJ Irene and RHV, have you always "banged tracks" this fast or did you evolve into this style over the years?

My style is constantly evolving... I feel that certain songs are meant to let play, others are too monotonous to listen to for 8 minutes, so I get in and out of them faster; There is no set pattern, its just a feeling I get when listening to a song. If a song starts to bore me, I get out of it Faster, and If its building and goes somewhere I will let it play longer...

I read that you play an average of 150 gigs annually all over the country, what is life like on the road?

An adventure! Its always different, and you have to be ready for delays, lost bags, bad food etc... but when you get in front of that crowd and they are cheering and dancing and are so excited to hear you play, it makes it all worth while...

How do you keep up your energy with all that traveling, like do you have rituals you do before you perform?

I try to sleep whenever I can. I am good at sleeping on planes, in cars, and the only ritual I have is drinking a lot of water. That keeps me feeling good, except when I have to use the bathroom in the middle of my set...

In an interview with Eventvibe.com, you were quoted as saying that your dream gig would be to play the Playboy Mansion. Have you gotten there yet? Would that still be your dream gig?

I haven't gotten there yet... Hopefully one day....

Are there other places you haven't played yet that you would really like to spin?

Australia... Japan... Brazil... Italy. Those are a few places that I would love to spin.

I remember you from playing Club Ultra in Downtown San Diego a few years back, you seemed to know EVERYONE from the club managers, promoters, even the clubbers. Is that how you are in most of the places you spin?

I have been in the game a long time, so I am lucky to have a lot of friends in different cities. That is one of the best things about dj'ing, being able to travel, experience new cultures, make new friends and meet new people.

BEHIND THE DECKS

On your website there is a gap in between 2001 and your latest new double mixed CD set and DVD, "Behind the Decks." What was the reason for that?

I wasn't really happy with the way the mix cd market was getting flooded by mix cd after mix cd, and so I really focused on making my live show better. I worked with some amazing visual artists to create a new dj experience with music and visuals. I then began recording a lot of my shows, and building up visual content, and I wanted to do something more than what had been done with a mix cd. Behind The Decks is my answer to what the mix cd needs to evolve to - a complete audio/visual experience. It took a long time because I wanted it to be a quality project and I wanted to give the people something more than they would expect. I wanted them to have the full live Bad Boy Bill DJ experience that they can bring to their home and enjoy whenever they want.

With BTD were you trying to give listeners an idea of what seeing you live was like, or what was the concept? How did you accomplish that in the studio?

Yes. In the studio we used 5.1 surround sound technology so the music is all around you. Combine that with the visuals you will be seeing and you are in the middle of a complete audio visual experience!

What type of equipment did you use to put together BTD? Anything new from your Banging The Box series?

I used a Pro Tools HD3 system... Loaded with plug ins... I used the standard two turntables, a Pioneer DJM 600 mixer, 2-CDJ 1000 CD Turntables... What is different from the bangin the box series is we have never done 5.1 surround sound mixing, and we also used DTS encoding which sounds AMAZING!

What was it like doing a mix for 5.1 Surround Sound?

It was a completely new experience. You now have 6 speakers to send audio to. Most of the time you are only using a song that has a normal stereo Mix, but Because I multitrack my mixes and overdub scratches, accapellas, and sound efx's, I have the ability to pan these things to different speakers and create an experience with sound coming at you from all angles. It was a lot of fun, and a learning experience for sure!

You produced a few original tracks on your acclaimed "Banging the Box" series... are there any on BTD?

Yes... I have a song called "Freq'd", "Costa Del Sol", "Happy", and a track I did with Hatiras called "Rockstar".

What do you enjoy about making music videos?

I like putting visuals to music. A lot of people have tried to say dance music doesn't have a face and that is why it doesn't receive mainstream exposure. That is total crap, because if you've been overseas you will see dance videos all day long on MTV, and I think its important for US artists to push that medium ahead and keep putting that face to dance.

Of the videos you've made, which has been your favorite and why?

I really like the video we did for Behind The Decks. It was directed by Rick Kim who is an amazing director. It was originally shot to another song I had co-produced, but we re-edited the video for Behind The Decks, and I think it works wonderfully. Rich is so creative because he tells a story through the video, and it makes a lot more interesting to watch then random scenes.

Sometimes funny things happen when you're trying to shoot a difficult scene or club scenes do you have any funny or bizarre stories from any of the videos you've shot?

I remember in Bangin The Box V4 I was walking out of an elevator while wheeling my record box behind me. I made it out of the elevator, but my record box got stuck by the closing elevator doors. It was funny, and you see my friends start cracking up laughing, so we kept the scene, and its in the video...

What role do you play in the creative process for making your music videos?

It varies, sometimes I just do what I'm told. Stand here, do this, get behind the turntables and mix. Other times I help with everything from ideas to casting to catering... It all depends...

What made you decide to do a DVD this time?

I wanted to take everything to another level. If you're not growing you're dying. You have to constantly challenge yourself, and expand on what you are doing. My live show had a completely original intro, and visuals throughout my set. I wanted to bring that experience to the audience in something they could take home with them. Plus with CD copying and downloading running rampant throughout the music industry, I thought instead of bitch about it, give the consumer more value. Make it so they find so much value in your product they wouldn't want the downloaded version. They would actually want the DVD, they would want the surround sound etc...Give the people more than they expect is what I believe.

Do you already know what your next project will be?

I am working on my artist album. I would like to get a couple more 12"s out in the meantime.

Any final words to the readers out there?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your support... I really appreciate it! Hope to see you at a live event soon! Thank you!

Thank you!!  

-- written by Annalee Stone

 

 

 

 

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