Ahead of his performance at Supa Dupa Fly @ Jazz Cafe in Camden next week, DJ Jazzy Jeff chatted with SBTV‘s Ash Houghton about working with Mac Miller and the key to longevity in the music business…
We hear you’re visiting the UK soon – what can we expect from your set at Supa Dupa Fly @ Jazz Cafe?
J: Well, I always try and bring a level of energy and I just want everyone to have a good time. It’s really not too difficult for me, my job is to get people to forget all of their problems, stress, bad relationships, bad jobs, money problems; for two hours I want everyone to just let go and have a good time.
We also hear you’ve been working with Mac Miller – what can you tell us about that?
J: Yeah, myself and Mac have been cool for about 2 years. We got on the phone and I expressed an interest in the fact that he was a new guy that was really focussing on a lot of classic hip hop. I kinda like bridging the new and the old, so we talked about doing a project. I linked him with DJ Premier, Q-Tip and some of those guys, I thought it’d be a really good thing for some of the veterans to embrace somebody new and bridge the gap. He’ll call me and we’ll share stories, and I just think it’s amazing to watch, to see where he’s come from to where he’s at now.
Any idea of when that project will be released?
J: We talked about dropping it in January but, like I said, with his growth and development, I’m just waiting on him. Whenever he’s got some free time, we’ll finish putting it together and release it.
Is it a lot different working with some of the newer artists, as opposed to back in the day?
J: Well, the funny thing is, the method is different. The way we record and some of the things we do now are a little bit different because it’s a lot faster. I’ve got a studio set up in my hotel room which is pretty much comparable to the studio at home – and that was unheard of back in the day. I could find someone today, bring ‘em to the hotel and [a track] can be ready to put out that day.
With the introduction of technology, how drastically has your role as a DJ changed – do you still spin vinyl? [Laughs]
J: I mean, I spin Serato, I definitely don’t spin vinyl. It costs too much money to bring vinyl overseas. So, spinning off Serato allows me to bring all of the tunes that I would like to, without really cheating the crowd or affecting your performance at all.
You’ve been in the game for a long time – what would you say the key to longevity is in the music industry?
J: You’ve gotta keep your eyes and ears open. You’ve always gotta be open to new things, music is gonna change. First and foremost, I’m a fan of music, so that enables me to keep my ears open to new stuff, embrace new technologies and just keep movin’. What happens is a lot of people get set in their ways and aren’t willing to do anything different; that stunts your growth.
With that in mind, would you say you’re generally optimistic about the state of hip hop and where it’s going at present?
J: I mean, there was things I liked and didn’t like about hip hop 20 years ago. So, I kinda think it’s the exact same thing now. I don’t like everything about [the state of] hip hop, but I just think it’s amazing that this is something I started doing God knows how long ago and it’s so global now – it’s everywhere in the world. You can’t help but be happy about the growth of hip hop.
Most definitely – so, lastly, what’s the next project we can expect from Jazzy Jeff?
J: I’m actually finishing up an album with a young lady from Toronto named Ayah, so I’m mixing that whilst I’m on the road now and we’re hoping to put that out sometime this year. I’m also trying to figure out if I’m gonna do another studio record in 2013. There’s also a film documentary that I’m gonna be working on the music for in 2013. So, I mean, I got a whole bunch of stuff on my plate, I’m just trying to figure out when I’m gonna do it all as I’m on the road so much, y’know.
Wicked, well thank for chatting with us and we look forward to catching your show in London soon!
J: Definitely, man, thanks a lot!
Interview by Ash Houghton
Catch DJ Jazzy Jeff performing at Supa Dupa Fly @ Jazz Cafe in Camden on October 15th (click on flyer below for full details) – purchase tickets for the event here