24 Nov 2010
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on November 23, 2010
[Photographs courtesy of Zoe Wilder.]
To DJ Nutritious, deejaying is way more than splicing samples, scratching records or matching beats.
Nutritious sees his craft as nothing less than an art form.
A New York City DJ with a 90s attitude, the man known as Mikey Beatz will be rocking the late nights on Jam Cruise 9 early next year alongside a list of performers including Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, Lotus and Galactic.
While on stage, Nutritious is reminiscent of a world-class poker player, constantly reading his audience and shifting gears in response to his analysis. He prides himself on focusing attention on the psychology of deejaying rather than the technology.
Headstash Magazine chatted with Nutritious about how to create that elusive synergy between the audience and performer, his unique old-school approach and what it feels like to be on the Jam Cruise bill.
Headstash Magazine: To those who have never heard your music, talk about your style.
Nutritious: When I’m deejaying, I usually focus on a dance club type of sound – primarily house music at the core. I’ll go in all kinds of directions. I have tendencies to get really funky with it. I like weaving R&B and old-school songs, like classic rock, funk and soul. Stuff like that.
HM: So you sample from other artists as well as using your own beats?
N: I use a whole variation of stuff. One of my favorite things to do is spin on vinyl. I love to find these obscure records because there are so many people producing dance music. There’s a lot of stuff I take from other people’s production and there’s a lot of stuff I take from my production.
HM: What sets you apart from other DJs?
N: I think it’s my music selection and my ability to read a crowd. I have a lot of experience playing shows. I have a great collection of music. I put a lot of time and dedication into creating my sets and structuring them for specific cities and for a specific venue. And I think that people get a unique experience depending on where they are and where we are in a certain time and place when the performance happens.
HM: What is your musical background, where did you get started with all this
N: When I was still a toddler, [my older brother] would jam with me and have me play drums. By the time I was 16, I was playing with local musicians in New York City, playing in clubs like CBGB's. We were doing a funk rock thing, heavily influenced by the Beastie Boys and some of the rap-rock groups. Eventually, I branched out and got behind the turntables to DJ.
HM: What facilitated the change to deejaying?
N: When I was 18 [in 1997], I started going to the night clubs on New York City on the Lower East Side. I would go home for the night and I would still have the music in my head and I wanted to recreate it somehow. So I actually grabbed up all the equipment I could find in my house at the time, guitar effects, four-track recorders and tape decks and stuff like that and started wiring them all together and mixing and creating new electronic dance music.
[FOLLOW Nutririous on Facebook.]
I started recording these mix tape cassettes and handing them out and people loved them. The people in my high school went crazy for them and people kept asking me to make more so I decided to step it up and bought some turntables and a mixer.
HM: Some people assume deejaying is easy with all the new technology and software available. How difficult is it to do what you do on stage?
N: One of the things that is brought up between this new style of deejaying and the people who started a little while back is the element of beat matching. It’s a whole different beast, deejaying with a laptop and using auto-synch as opposed to vinyl records or CDs where you actually have to match tempos and build songs. And I think that is a musical journey that can only be experienced that way. It’s like being on this crazy train and everybody’s waiting to see where it goes.
[FOLLOW Nutritious on his official website.]
Whereas a lot of this auto-sync stuff that goes on, it’s cool and I’ve seen some really wicked stuff, but it’s a totally different type of vibe. It’s more about the song itself and it’s a little bit more fragmented. You have these pieces put together in a computer as opposed to when you have beat matching and record playing elements it’s a long awesome journey that everyone takes together.
Keep reading to find out how Nutritious plays differently in different settings, how he feels about playing Jam Cruise and his message to jam heads who don't care for "inorganic" music.
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