You know you’re a good DJ when KORG and RANE come to you to help design a series of DJ equipment. It also doesn’t hurt when you DJ for Aesop Rock, El-P, Cage, S.A. Smash, Hangar 18, Rob Sonic, C-Rayz Walz, ApSci, Little Egypt, Ben Arthur and others. DJ Big Wiz is also 1 half of the STEELWORKERZ and Record Playa Haterz – DJ Crews. If Samantha Ronson tried to hold a candle to Big Wiz, you would think she had a melting wax fetish. Fiiire.
Shabooty: Give me the low down on the Steel Workerz.
DJ BIG WIZ: The Steel Workerz is my DJ crew consisting of myself and Marz One We started that back around 97 I believe. We hooked up through the 5th Platoon and started getting really big on the NY battle scene in the mid to late 90′s. Along with a couple of other friends, we hooked up with Rane, designed the TTM series mixers and started doing stuff with them. We don’t do much as a crew right now, but still rep the name. Marz is a very in demand graphic artist as well as a ill DJ, so he stays pretty busy. I know he had a few over sea offers a while back. I hope to get him on my album. We’ll see.
Does your girlfriend tape your gigs (’cause I notice youtube videos by “DJsGF”)?
Yeah, that’s my girl. She posts a lot of video from our shows under the name “The DJ’s Crazy Girl.” She usually films and takes pics at our gigs when she can make it out. She does it mostly for us, but is nice enough to post some up for people to check out. She also bakes for us when we do shows… her baked goods are stuff of legend on tour. She’s dope.
When and how did you hook up with Aesop Rock?
I hooked up with Aes. through [Def] Jux. I started out as El-P’s DJ, but El wasn’t doing very many shows when Aes dropped the Bazooka Tooth album. Since he needed a DJ, El suggested that I spin for him and a few other Jux artists as well. We’ve been working together since then.
If a newbie wants to get started what equipment do you recommend?
It really depends on what they want to do, and how far they want to go with it and if they are sure this is something they want to stick with or not. There are a lot of things to consider there. There is no reason to invest in top notch gear if you’re not even sure if this is something you really want to stick with. But, if you want and can afford the best, it’s Rane mixers, Shure needles and mics, Scratch Live and there are a few good turntables out there Technics 1200′s are the industry standard, but I also like and use the Stanton STR8-150′s a lot. Stanton also just released a new midi controller that is really cool (the SCS.3d).
Are you boys with Mr. Dibbs?
Oh man… I really don’t want to say anything nice about him on record but yeah, we’re cool. He’s one of the few people who I’ll allow to punch me and take it as a sign of affection and friendship and won’t strike them back. He still owes me a tube of toothpaste though… after I get that, we’ll be all good.
Who are your DJing inspirations?
Wow… I never know how to answer this question… there are so many people I take inspiration from for so many different reasons. There are really too many to name, but some of the earliest were Grandmixer D.ST (now DXT) JMJ, OC & Crazy Eddie, GM Flash, Jazzy Jay, Hitman Howie T, Davy DMX, Marley Marl, Joe Cooley, DJ Cheese, Steve D, Tat Money, Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, my man Ready Red my partner Marz One… this list could go on for a LONG time, but those are a few that are DJ’s. I have several other people that have influenced me as well who are not DJ’s.
What do you think of Samantha Ronson? Is she a joke to DJing?
Not too familiar with her work… I know the name, but have not heard her much. I tend to think people like her are a bit over hyped because of all the media attention they get for being part of that Hollywood scene, but [DJ] AM gets that kind of attention and he’s dope so… I guess if you like what she does based on her skills (if she has any), then cool… but if she get gigs because of the hype then… I have problems with that.
So you were in on the production process on the Aes record?
Well, as far as the scratching went. The majority of the production was all Aes. He gives me a lot of freedom when it comes to doing my thing, but I always look for his input on it to make sure it’s going in the direction he wants. We tend to work pretty well together and he’s good at editing my work and choosing which takes to keep and which to toss. I have trouble with that because if there are several good takes it’s harder for me to get rid of something.
How’s the Texas music scene?
Hard to say. I left H-Town in 96. There has always been amazing artists out there like the K-Otix, but the only thing that really gets shine out there on a national level is the whole gangster or krunk stuff that everybody associates with the South. Don’t get me wrong… there are some dope cats out there like Scarface, Bun B, Devin the Dude etc. that are nice, real nice. But, you can find quality underground music or music of any genre you want out there if you really look. The scene itself was kinda whack when I left as far as the whole crabs-in-a-barrel thing goes. Nobody really wanted to support anybody else and a lot of people just wanted to sit around and complain about stuff but never try to do anything about it. For what I was trying to do, I was too limited out there and had to move on. But, there are a lot of talented DJ’s, Producers and MC’s all over TX.
Are you a partier, drinker, smoker?
I don’t party too much… I usually don’t have the time. I have a drink here and there, but never smoke.
When are you going on tour again?
We’re all in the studio right now (Aesop, Rob Sonic and myself) cookin’ up some new stuff so we probably won’t tour again for a while. I’m sure we will still do a few shows here and there, but as far as a real tour… probably not ’till we drop a new project. I would like to hit the road mid to late ’09 for something but we’ll see how it goes. We’re never quiet for very long.
Heard any of the new Cage record?
I heard a little bit of some real early in-the-works type stuff. Everything I heard was ill, but it’s Cage so I didn’t expect any less. I’m looking forward to hearing the whole thing.
Howd’ ya get your nickname?
My homeboy Ronnie started calling me that when I started DJing because of how fast I picked it up and because I was good at fixing equipment. One day he said something like”Man, you’re like a wizard at this stuff,” so Wiz came from there. Then, my partner Marz One called me “Big” Wiz at a gig one time and it just stuck.
I have to say it’s proper that Aesop Rock gives you your shine (lets you shine) during the live show.
Yeah, he gives me a lot of room. I’m the kind of DJ that has to do my thing though and contribute to the show. I’m not the guy who’s gonna just play the back and press a button or just start the next track at the right time and that’s it. I’m not a song player… I’m a DJ. A real DJ as far as what it means to be a real Hip-Hop Dee Jay. If you see me rocking with somebody, you’re gonna see me doing my thing to some extent otherwise there is no reason for me to be up there… you can train anybody to press a button if that’s all you need.
Do you listen to “The Howard Stern Show”?
I do and like his show, but don’t hear it a lot. Usually when I’m in SanFran hanging with Aes. He plays it all the time. If I had satellite radio, I’d probably listen to it more.
What do you think of the “cd” DJs that scratch cds?
I think if it’s somebody that has real skills and is using a cd table that really works like a turntable, it’s cool. The only difference then is that the needle can’t skip but the skills still have to be there. Whether scratching with a cd table or real turntable, the technique is still the same. Same hand/fader movement, etc.
The names that pop up in my head in terms of DJs in your scene are yourself, Mr. Dibbs, Ant, DJ Krazyglue, DJ Eclipse, etc. Are you homies with all those guys, or is there any rivalry?
I’m cool with just about everybody out there… there are a few cats I don’t really like, but I still try to be professional about it. There are a lot of cats out there who really hustle and stay busy, but don’t get as much shine as they should. Like Relm, Quest, Boo, Vajra, Shines, Zone and several others.
When’s a DJ Big Wiz album dropping?
Man… I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time, but have been too busy to make a decent effort towards it. It’s kinda of a double edge sword. It’s great to be busy since that’s how I pay my bills. I’m not gonna get paid to sit around and work on my album, but I think I finally have some time off the road to chill for a bit and work on it. I would really like to drop something in ’09 or 2010. I had starting putting some tracks and ideas together a couple of years back while out w/ Mr. Lif and Metro, but never backed any of it up. I lost it all in a bus accident we were in.
What’s your relationship like with EL-P?
I started out with Jux as El’s DJ. El is an amazing producer and lyricist and a good dude. I just saw him actually for a bit at a Murs show in NY. (Murs killed it by the way… if you see that he’s doing a show in your area, do yourself a favor and go check it out. It was a great show with a lot of energy). For the most part though, we are both busy cats and don’t see each other very much outside of gigs or at Jux, but we’re cool. I’m sure we’ll work together again in some capacity.
Aside from Aes, which Jukies (Def Jux Artists) are you closest with?
I’m cool with everybody on Jux, but as far as who I’m closest to… I’d have to say Rob Sonic since him and I are always together with Aes. Rob’s a real good dude. I’ve worked on his last 2 albums and think he’s a great artist. I’m also pretty cool w/ Lif, Metro, Hangar 18 and Walz… I’ve worked a lot with all of them.
What do you think of some dude out there using your name ‘Big Wiz’?
Hahaha, man… I think it’s kinda whack. It’s not like I just started doing this a couple of years ago. I’ve been doing this probably longer than that dudes been wearin’ big boy pants. Feel me? My names all over if you type it in and look. I’m not hard to find so…. I don’t know man. It is what it is… I ain’t gonna trip over that, I think it sucks more for the fans of both of us… people get confused you know? I wish dude would’ve chosen a different name, but I ain’t got no real problem with him.
What does 2009 hold in the cards for Big Wiz?
I don’t play cards much, but hopefully a winning hand and a solo album that everyone will buy 2 copies of and cherish forever as their favorite album of all time until I release something else.
No, thank you! Peace.
Photos via DJ BIG WIZ’ Myspace