KURT: Back in music, the art of turntable and sampling collage has achieved at least a momentary apotheosis on a debut album, released late last year, called "Endtroducing," by DJ Shadow. The star here is a 24-year-old Californian named Josh Davis, who got hooked on hip-hop at age nine, and by twelve was conducting his own bedroom turntable experiments. Shadow's idol was that pioneer of turntable jazz, New York's own Grandmaster Flash. So when Shadow concluded a U.S. tour in Manhattan recently, and Abbie Kearse paid a visit, she brought Flash himself along for a sort of turntable summit.
MTV: Promoting his latest album aptly titled "Endtroducing DJ Shadow," 25-year-old Josh Davis, also known as DJ Shadow, has been on tour with Jeru Tha Damaja, as well as making a handful of record store appearances. At one recently in New York City, instead of just signing autographs and shaking a few hands, Shadow encouraged his fans to bring a challenging variety of vinyl recordings
for him to mix.
DJ SHADOW: Basically, [article id="1445090"]I know it's been put to everybody, that it's like a challenge. It's more of a friendly invitation for you to bring records that I can try and mix. And sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it sucks, and that's the nature of the beast [1.7 MB, QuickTime][/article].
MTV: Before Shadow's in-store performance, we introduced him to one of his heroes, legendary hip-hop DJ Grandmaster Flash. Along with Afrika Bambatta, Shadow cites Flash as a major influence.
SHADOW: I'm not sure if Flash knows this, but the first record to turn me on to hip-hop was "The Message.
ABBIE KEARSE: What does it take to be a DJ?
FLASH: Well, I have to say that hip-hop from it's inception, the DJ indisputably is the backbone to the whole aspect of it because we are the ones who have to set the mood, the environment, the temperature. I won't saying that rhyming is easier, but you can not do the rhyming
with out the music.
KEARSE: Right, if you don't have a beat...
FLASH: Then what do you have?
KEARSE: One of the first things we noticed when we came in was that you have your turntables set up this way as opposed to facing you. So, explain to me a little bit about this, and how this style helps you work.
SHADOW: This is just what works for me. I learned how to DJ opposite of almost everybody, because I didn't know it was wrong.
FLASH: That's cool, I like that.
SHADOW: So, for me, it's on, out. This is the cross-fader that controls which turntable you hear. For most people, it's the opposite, it's on... (DEMONSTRATES)
KEARSE: So, you must have spent a lot of time in your bedroom.
SHADOW: Yeah, instead of studying.
FLASH: That where it starts, that's where it has to start. I mean, if you're going to be really serious about it, you got to cut out all your fun activity and all that. It's like, go to school, straight
from school, in the bedroom, close your door, lock it up and just do it. And people were wondering why I wasn't going to play basketball or hang out -- I couldn't do it. I was thinking about something, and I wanted to make it a reality.
KURT: Shadow has a track called "Stem" on a new soundtrack due out Tuesday, for a Welsh movie called "Twin Town," which is due to open on May 9th. As for Grandmaster Flash, he's got a remix album in the works, and we'll keep you posted.