Scratchj LabInter

Ryan The DJ Interview

Born and raised in Durban, Ryan has always had a passion for music since the early days of his youth. His early exposure to DJ culture had been introduced by his older brother whom led him to generate a lot of interest into the art of deejaying and turntablism. A resident on 5FM’s Ultimix with countless club gigs and festivals across South Africa he is the current South African Redbull Threestyle Champion representing Mzansi at the world finals in Poland. We caught up with him before the world finals

What was your motivation for entering the 2017 Red Bull Threstyle?
I’ve always wanted to showcase my skill on an international platform ever since learning how to DJ. After purchasing my first DMC competition DVD in 2003, it really gave me insight to what lay beyond basic DJing.Throughout the years, I have learned to work on my strengths in the different areas of Djing (scratching, juggling, selection, wordplay etc) and when the Red Bull 3 Style competition came along, I felt that it was the perfect fit for me since the focus was not just on technical ability but other aspects too.

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How did you go about preparing for your set and what were some of the challenges you encountered?
Preparing my set for the finals was no easy task since I had about a month to put it together. I’ve gone through many sleepless nights trying to find the correct balance with a set that best represents me and South Africa. Some of the challenges faced during this time was creative blocks (hours or days of no fresh ideas) and playing some ideas through only to find out that its been done already. I tried to stay away from the most obvious hype tunes and keep the balance of different genres but with music that’s relatable.

Tell us about the night of the South African Red Bull Threestyle qualifiers?
It was an exciting yet nerve wrecking night… to know that my set was being streamed worldwide was insane. My set for the night worked perfectly as it included genres that was suited for everybody.

What’s your take on the current level of DJ’ing in South Africa?
I think that the DJ culture in S.A is in a good place and with regards to the turntablism aspect, its good to see the up and coming djs are investing time to learn about the art.

You are representing South Africa at the Redbull World finals in….what are your expectations?
It’s going to be an amazing week ahead full of new experiences and new friends. This is most definitely a dream come true for me. The competition is tough but im out there to do me and show the world that S.A has talent.

What can we looking foward to when you get back?
Lots of events happening around S.A once im back. I’ll continue to hold it down on 5fm every Monday and release some music later in the year.

What’s your DJ setup and why?
My DJ setup consists of: 2X SL1200 Turntables, Shure M44-7 needles, Rane 62 Mixer, Pioneer SP1 Controller and KRK Monitors.
Its the setup that I am most comfortable with and which I use on a daily. Ive always been a fan of Rane’s rugged crossfaders and I upgraded a few years back from the ttm57sl to 62. The Pioneer DDJ – SP1 is the newest edition to my setup and i bought it for the sole purpose of having 16 Pads which allows for more creativity on tone play and finger drumming.

Are you delving into production anytime soon?

Yes, its in the works.

How has your residency on 5FM helped your brand and what’s your stance on brand vs skill/talent?

It’s taken me to places I thought I’d never see and enhanced my career tremendously.
We live in a time now where social media has taken over and its all about how you look or portray yourself on these platforms… While its great to have your marketing on point and your brand positioned nicely,I feel that it is essential to have skills that back it up.

Tell us one thing we don’t know about Ryan the DJ?

I love my sleep… ha ha

Famous last words…

Do what you Love, Love what you do