Read Ortofon's exclusive interview with DJ Graded, the winner of DMC Danish DJ Championship

DJ Graded DMC Denmark Champion

Ortofon: Congratulations! How do you feel after this victory?

- I feel really glad, because that gives me a chance to return to the World Championships and try to do even better than I did last year. I am really happy that I won again!

Ortofon: This is your 4th consecutive victory in four apperances. Which title had the best feeling?

- I think this year’s victory, because the set that I presented is my best so far. I got better year after year, and this set was really my own. Over the last couple of years, I got inspiration from DJ’s like Unkut, Netik, or Rafik ,and I used a lot of that “glitch” sound. This year, I combined both this kind of “fast cuts and glitch sounds” and my own taste of music, which is classic Hip-Hop and breakbeat. I really think my set from this year is the best.

Ortofon: After a 3 victories streak, many DJs would stop competing. What inspired you to run a 4th time?

- Well, I placed in 6th position at the World Championships last year. So that kind of pushed me to run again this year and hopefully make it to the Top 3

Ortofon: You have been present on the battle scene for several years now. You are also very active on the club scene. In addition, you are a teacher at the “Street Mekka” scratch school in CopenhagenHow do you combine all these activities?

- I really like doing club gigs because I can experiment a lot. I can practice something at home, go to the club, try it out and see how the crowd reacts when I cut up the music a certain way. Most people don’t get it because they just want to dance, but I think it’s fun to combine turntablism elements to a club set. And you also get some practice out of it. Then, teaching is also great because I learn a lot at the same time as I teach the students. When we start from scratch with the students, they learn from the basics and I kind of “re-learn” it as well because I break down and study every movement.

Ortofon: As an experienced DJ who is frequently confronted to new student DJs, do you see a difference between generations?

- When the new kids start deejaying, they generally come into it with a role model and they don’t know much about the turntablism scene. I really try to teach them about that aspect and about how it started. I usually show my students the “Scratch” documentary. Of course, they are allowed to play what they want but I try to school them in all genres of music and teach them to be open-minded. And some students are really committed, practice a lot and get into it, while some others just want to try it out.

Ortofon: Unfortunately, battles attract fewer competitors each year. What message would you send to the young DJs who hesitate entering the battle scene?

- I think you should practice a lot and do it when you feel ready. I have been deejaying for many years and got into the battle scene very late in 2009. By then I already knew how to scratch, saw all the DMC championships, and knew all the DJs, but I didn’t stay home and practice patterns, techniques … I wasn’t geeky about it. Around 2007, I really wanted to try battling, but I knew that I wasn’t ready. So I spent 2 years practicing. When I was ready, I knew it. I won on the first year that I entered and won every year since. If you don’t feel ready, you can also enter the competition just to try it out but with a “in it to win it” mentality, just to get the experience of playing your set on stage in front of a crowd. Even if you don’t win, you get a lot of experience just by doing your 6 minutes on stage. Competing is also a good way to keep the scene alive; if all DJ’s spent the next 2 years practicing, without entering the competition, there wouldn’t be any new DJs in battles for the next 2 or 3 years.

Ortofon: Time for the quick questions: What is your favorite cartridge?

The Q-Bert Concorde. I always use it. I like the high level of output, and it’s great for both scratching and mixing.

Ortofon: Who are the 3 DJs that you would dream to compete against in a battle?

- That’s a hard one … It would be fun to battle Noize, in a good way. I also really like DJ Troubl’. It’s a really hard question, because I know that I would lose if I was to battle them. But yeah, Noize, Troubl’ and … Craze! That’s sort of my Top 3 DJ’s…

Ortofon: Favorite record?

- I listen to so much music in so many genres … But I’d say “The Pharcyde – Labcabincalifornia”


Ortofon: The best song to rock a party?

- (Laughs) I was going to say “Lean Back” by Fat Joe. Because as soon as you drop the intro, people go bonkers! You can almost play just the intro and move on to something else! Not that it’s one of my favorites tracks though, but just for the intro. And there’s also the Biggie remix of “Lean Back …

Ortofon: What's next?

- Going to the World DMC and try to place in the Top 3. Also keep on playing a lot of gigs through the rest of the year and keep on teaching. I also want to do a lot more mixtapes and promo mixes where I can go crazy and blend turntablism in a club playlist. I’d like to start producing again. I was producing a lot of music some years ago and when I got into the battle scene, I didn’t have the time to sit down and make beats anymore. So I’d like to get into that again, doing more remixes and edits. I’m also going to Hong-Kong in December for vacation, and I would like to play some gigs while I’m there.