Meet DJ Ricardo, a face of the new generation

More and more young DJs are joining the culture of turntablism, sharing their skills on social media and entering major DJ competitions. Ricardo Suárez, also known as DJ Ricardo, from Spain, is eleven years old. He started DJing by the age of six, and, despite his young age, he has already had his first DJ victory! But to the young and talented Ricardo, it's not all about winning; it's about meeting new people, participating with the best, and to keep evolving. We were lucky to catch Ricardo online to discuss his journey.

DJ ND: We would like to know about your story. DJs of the young generation often saw an uncle, a brother, or a father DJing and started because of that. Why did you start?

Like many other DJ kids I know, I haven't had the luck to have someone in the family who could help me or teach me about DJing. Nobody in my family is a musician, much less a DJ. Since I was very little, I have liked music, and my parents enrolled me in the local music school when I was four. I was there for two years, but it was very boring for me, so I told my parents that I wanted to do something different. They thought I wanted to play an instrument, but I told them I wanted to be a DJ. My grandparents had a turntable at home, and since I was a baby, they played classical music from the '70s and '80s for me. I loved to watch the vinyl spin; it was like I was hypnotized. I then started watching videos on the internet about vinyl and record players, and one day I discovered turntablism.

DJ ND: Are you only interested in turntablism, or do you dream of DJing at parties and festivals as well?

- I prefer turntablism, but I have a lot of fun in front of my turntables and my mixer in general. 

DJ ND: A lot of DJs from the new generation chose controllers. Why did you go for vinyl and turntablism?

- I prefer the feeling of real records, and I feel like I control it much better. But I tried it with controllers sometimes, and it's ok for me too. 

DJ ND: Despite your young age, you've been participating in a lot of competitions already. Can you give us a short overview?

- My first competition was a local DJ contest that I participated in when I was nine years old. It was my first victory, and I was then invited to perform my show in front of many people. Afterward, I have participated in many online competitions such as Ortofon Scratch nerds, IDA, or the DMC. This year I have joined the beat juggling category.

DJ ND: What is your best result so far, and what is your goal? Do you dream of becoming a world champion one day?

- I am just a child, and the results or winning doesn't matter to me. What I like is to participate and thus be able to improve by competing with the best. But of course, I would love to become a world champion one day, although the real prize is all the people I am meeting and who help me learning and to enjoy music. 

DJ ND: How is the DJ scene in Spain; do you have a mentor, and are you practicing with other DJs? 

- The DJ scene in Spain is great! There are many people in it, and it's very competitive. For a few years, we have had great results, such as Barret's victory in the last Ortofon Scratch Nerds, Datflex in the last IDA, or Jose Rodriguez in the Cut2Cut. My first mentor was Alberto, DJ Cress. He was my first teacher and the one who taught me almost everything I know. When I met him, he told me that I could be very good at DJing. He believed in me. Now I have new mentors, like Ulises (Hardy Jay) and José Rodriguez, who are teaching me to do my own routines and improve my scratch skills. I have also been lucky enough to practice and learn with other great DJ masters such as Datflex, Barret, Yul DJ.

DJ ND: Who are your heroes in the DJ scene and why?

- There are many people. The list would be very long, but I will tell you some who I've followed since I was very little: A-Trak, Pro-Zeiko, Nedu Lopes, Fong Fong, or DJ Angelo. 

DJ ND: Can you name one DJ with whom you would love to DJ? 

- I would love to DJ with Skillz. He has always been very kind to me and has helped me a lot with his advice from France. Maybe one day I can meet him in person and thank him for all. 

DJ ND: We see this new wave of young talented girls and boys slowly putting their names on the DJ map. Do you know or talk to any of them? 

- Unfortunately, I don't know any other DJ kids here in Spain. I would love to have a friend of my age to share my passion. I know several talented children around the world, such as DJ Livia, DJ Michelle, DJ ScratchBoy, DJ Rilion, the sisters' Amira and Kayla, or DJ Rena and K-Swizz. However, they are not so young anymore! I don't know them personally, but I follow them on social media. It would be great to organize a competition just for children. That would mean that we have a great new generation interested in turntablism.

DJ ND: What are your plans for the near future? - Just keep learning, DJing and having fun.

DJ ND: Here comes four short questions

Scratching or beat juggling? - I can't choose, sorry.  

Q.bert or D-Styles? - D-Styles. His performance for 2012's Serato remains one of my favorites of all time. 

DMC World champion or best DJ producer in the world? - Winning the DMC has to be the best in the world. 

 What is your favorite Ortofon cartridge?

- I always use Concorde MK II with Scratch needles, the best ones! I've always liked the gold model, and I would like to have them one day. The new VNLs looks very good, but I haven't tested them yet.