Interview with DJ NEST

Champion of the OSN World Battle 2024

Meet Ludwig, better known as DJ NEST, the 2024 champion of the Ortofon Scratch Nerds World Battle. Hailing from the small town of Poitiers in France, DJ NEST has dedicated two decades to mastering the art of scratching, blending fast flows with a chaotic, electrifying style. His journey began in high school, driven by a deep immersion in hip-hop culture and influenced by his older brother’s passion for the genre. From experimenting with rap and graffiti to performing at concerts and festivals with various rap groups, DJ NEST has evolved into a prominent figure in the scratching community.

Can you introduce yourself. Who's hiding behind DJ NEST?

My name is Ludwig, I come from a small town in France called Poitiers, and I have been a DJ for 20 years.

How did you get into scratching and what has been your journey so far? 

I got into scratching in high school by meeting people who were scratching in Poitiers. I've always been immersed in hip-hop in general thanks to my older brother. I've tried the main disciplines of hip-hop, starting with rap and graffiti, then dance and DJing, which I became addicted to. I later joined several rap groups, as well as bands, with whom I quickly performed at concerts, festivals, etc. 

How would you describe your style and which scratch DJs have influenced you?

My style is rather fast flow, with a somewhat chaotic, disorganized side. My first influences were DJ Troubl' (he came from the same town as me), then D Styles, Q Bert, Mixmaster Mike, DJ Shadow, DJ Craze...

Do you follow a specific training program?

I don't have a specific program, but I mainly work in the evening, at least 4 hours a day, with days off to rest. I like almost all tempos, with a preference for up tempo (90, 120, 175 bpm).

What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to a DJ looking to improve their scratching skills?

It's a bit difficult to give advice as everyone has their own method, pace, style, etc. But for me, the most important thing is to practice a lot. It's not something you can do occasionally if you want to progress. So, dedicating a lot of time and being consistent helps to improve.

What is your favorite combo? Could you briefly explain it?

I love the sonic flare (orbit) and the crab. The sonic is actually a double-click flare accelerated (2x faster on a downtempo), and the crab is the quick sequence of at least three fingers on the crossfader, which gives a triple cut on the sound.

What is your favorite Ortofon model from the range?

By far, my favorite is the Concorde Q Bert, the most stable and powerful. But I'm looking forward to trying other models like the VNL and the Concorde Scratch MKII.

What is your vision for scratching in the coming years?

In France, for example, there isn't really a new generation to take over, which is unfortunate, unlike in the United States. Moreover, the French DJ culture is oriented towards club and electro, whereas scratching comes from hip-hop, so it doesn't develop much. However, there was a French Golden Age with Pone, Cut Killer, Troubl', and then crews like Birdy Nam Nam, C2C... I'm forgetting some, sorry.

You are now the Ortofon world champion. Do you have other ambitions for other battles? Any other projects in sight?

Currently, I'm training for the DMC championships, which will be held in France this year (which reassures me, given what I said earlier haha!). Also, I'm trying to get into beatmaking, with the ambition of releasing an album, an EP, maybe a vinyl.