Interview: DJ RTC – Midwest Music Mogul

Written by R.E.D.

Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 7:37 pm
Views: 2538


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In the modern era of hip-hop, there are many different routes to take on in the DJ role. With the use of technology, it has made it easier to play and distribute music throughout the world. However the successful DJ is grounded in what makes his role important – finding great music and giving it to the people. DJ RTC has been doing just that in several ways. He is in the forefront of Chicago’s hip-hop scene, creating mixtpaes with the city’s top MC’s like GLC (Similart to the Letters) and Naledge (Attack of The Brainiacs Series) as well as being the creative force behind the website Ruby Hornet. With new projects and goals on the horizon, I spoke with RTC about where he has been and where he is going.

IHH: Do you prefer records, CD’s or Serato?

DJ RTC: I started DJing before Serato came out, and was strictly a vinyl cat. I spent many, many hours in Dr. Wax and Dave’s and initially hated Serato. I finally gave me in because I realized that Serato was the future, and to resist was only hurting my career. I use the vinyl Serato because I love the feel of records combined with the capabilities and possibilities that Serato adds.

IHH: What DJ’s inspire you the most?

DJ RTC: That’s a tough question, as I’m inspired by a lot for different reasons. DJ Babu is very high on the list, just for his pure skill. When I first bought turntables, all I wanted to do was scratch, and create DJ cuts about how dope I was. I had one where I would take Phonte from Little Brother saying, “Roosevelt Treasurechest” and then follow it up with a sample from Paul’s Boutique of Adrock saying, ‘A Pirate on cassette” and stuff like that. Beyond Babu, Mixmaster Mike is another. Seeing the Beastie Boys live after they brought him into the fold was very inspiring and showed me what a DJ can and should be adding to a group. I could run down the list and give the cliché answers of Premier, Grandmaster Flash, cause they are all inspiring, but another guy that I think about a lot is DJ Drama. I had the chance to interview him and he gave me a piece of advice that I think about almost everyday, ‘never think you’re too good to practice.’ Mick Boogie and Clinton Sparks inspire me and kind of paved the way for some of the things I want to do. And my Chicago peers and people before me like Rude 1, Timbuck2, Mano, Hiroki, 33 1/3 supply me with inspiration as well because they send me back to the lab to think of new s**t to reach their levels. Finally, every whack ass dude that just bought Serato and has club gigs now cause of who they know or work for (and we all know that there are many in Chicago) inspire me to crush and embarrass them any chance I get.

IHH: Is there an artist that you interacted with that made you think twice about playing their record?

DJ RTC: That’s a good question as well. Ummm, not really. I try to keep my personal feelings about artists to myself, and separate that from what I do musically. I will say that the majority of music that I play is by artists that I respect on and off wax.

IHH: Talk about the best and worst experience you had as a DJ.

DJ RTC: Nothing too bad has happened to me as a DJ (thank G-d), but working with Serato can be nerve racking at times, and I’ve definitely experienced my share of ‘computer issues.’ Probably the worst thing that happened was forgetting my Resurrection vinyl at home during a recent event I did with Mikkey Halsted where No ID was the honored guest. In prepping for everything, I left it at the crib. I felt like an idiot, especially since I actually have an original vinyl copy. The best thing that happened to me was meeting the Beastie Boys. They asked me where my name came from and we just started talking (another benefit of the weird name). I told them the story and said I had a mixtape on me if they wanted it, and Mike D. was like, ‘yeah, hit me with it.’ So I got to give Mike D. my mixtape, which is something I’ll never forget.

IHH: If you had to pick a couple of artists that you thought were going to have a breakout year, who would they be?

DJ RTC: Do I have to?….just kidding…I think Pac Div are set for something big along with U-N-I out of Cali. I’m hoping that with his new album, Mos Def can really re-emerge AS A RAPPER. In terms of Chicago, there’s so much happening under the surface that a lot of cats have a chance to really do something. GLC, Mikkey Halsted, Mic Terror, Naledge, Mick Luter all have new stuff coming and hopefully they’ll all really break.

IHH: Do DJ’s have groupies and if so how would you rate the average DJ groupie (1-10)?

DJ RTC: Haha, what a great question…Let’s just say that DJing has its perks, and that I’ve been on a little hot streak lately…My last gig at the Tonic Room was dope, I didn’t catch her name, but if the girl I met after that set is reading this…hit me up at Alex@RubyHornet.com.


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