Currently touring the UK and soon to be back ‘up north’ at The Warehouse Project on Decemeber 18, LSi beat the ninja at his own game and tracked Jaguar Skills down for a chat about festivals, The Wombles & taking America:
How did you get into djing?
My dad was a DJ and when I was growing up there were thousands of records around all the time. I didn’t really…it was just there man! I didn’t really have to do much, it was all just kind of there [laughs].
So you had a lot of musical influence from a young age?
Yeah, when I was little my dad used to have these record sales at our house, because he had at least 40,000 vinyls or something. I used to flick through them and if he was buying some records or selling them, when I was ten years old I’d flick through them and I’d know if he had any doubles or if he already had them, so I was like the guy that used to check them. I just recognised all the covers, never really heard the records, but I’d help him out….more like slave labour [laughs].
Were there any vinyls in particular your dad had that you liked?
Yeah, I had The Wombles! It was like an audio story thing, and I had the Star Wars story and then The Muppets. I love The Muppets. The record was amazing! I had others, this one called Buck Rogers and this other called the Bull Dog 2 sound effects. A varied mix of records, really, but they were my main selections.
So do these influences follow you into adulthood?
Yeah [laughs], I try and get them out there as much as I can, at festivals and stuff. Although, I haven’t actually tried The Wombles yet. You never know, it could go down quite well! Who knows.
Speaking of festivals, is that the kind of environment you prefer to play in or is there a venue in particular you like to play?
Festivals are amazing, because of the energy and everyone is totally up for it, primed and ready to go, so you can just go for it. Then, if you DJ in a small club with a really low ceiling and it’s pitch black and there are massive speakers, that’s amazing too. You can do a totally different thing, you know? I love them both, to be honest, they are different things. It’s pudding and dinner, you know? Breakfast and lunch. I like eating, it’s all the same. That’s pretty much how I see it. The thing is, when you do a big festival…I don’t know what it’s like for other people, but it’s a bit trippy for me. You go out and do it and it’s almost like a weird dream. You finish and, you know, you’ve been nervous for a couple of hours before and your adrenaline is going, then you come off and you think ‘what the f*ck happened there man?’ If you’re lucky and you’ve done a good job and everyone likes it, then it’s alright and sometimes you go and sit on your own somewhere and just think to yourself and try and recover and think ‘that was crazy’. In clubs though, you can kind of get into the music more and dance, it’s a different vibe. It’s not like a kind of ”hey, look at me and look at what I can do’’, it’s more that you have fun with your tunes. So, it’s all different, but it’s all music. It’s wicked.
Do you find that you get a different reaction in different countries? Do you find that you get a stronger reaction playing in the UK compared to say, Japan?
Yeah, I’d say so. It’s wherever I’m on the radio, because I don’t really release a lot of music in terms of songs etc. I release mix albums and stuff like that, but not really any songs as much really. Wherever I’m on the radio in that country, they seem to like me. Like here or Japan it’s the same reaction, but in America it’s completely different. No one knows me over there and I did this gig where I played to around 2,000 people over here and then flew out to America and DJ’ed in a pub to about 4 people [laughs]. It was amazing, it was like a bar with about 4 or 5 people just running around having a wicked time. It’s quite humbling when you go somewhere thinking you’re the b*llocks, but then you go somewhere else and there’s just 4 people. I went for it though, I DJ’ed to them like I would to 5,000 people for those 4 people and they loved it, it was hilarious. It ended up with them all on one side of the room and then running as fast as they could and just skidding on their knees [laughs]. They were just like 4 stupid children. It was in this weird bar in, like, Albuquerque – crazy. I’ve done a few great things in America…I’m not quite there yet.
Do you think that’s something you’re going to work on – making it big in America?
Yeah, that’s the idea. I’ve got this new mix out at the moment and these mixes that I’m doing now for Capital Radio that have come out- it’s indicated so I can get them out to loads of other places as well, so..I’m going to go out there and see what happens.
At the moment are there any other fellow DJ’s that you’re into?
There’s a tonne of DJ’s that I like and try and see. There’s loads, and most of them I kind of either know or are old school guys that I wanted to see when I was a kid, but couldn’t. All the new guys are wicked and everything, there’s f*cking loads and I don’t dislike anyone [laughs]. I respect them all and if you’re trying to do this as a job, then f*cking hats off man! I play tunes that I like and I try and find as many songs as I can to check out, and if I miss a song, it’s only because I’ve been lazy or something. Usually, what happens is if I go to a club and someone has DJ’ed either before me or after me, I’ll try and check them out. There’s loads of DJ’s out there at the moment, sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re not so good. I don’t think any DJ I’ve ever seen is constantly amazing. It’s like a boxer isn’t it- it’d be great to see Mike Tyson in his prime- I kind of hate boxing, but that’s the only way I can describe it [laughs]. For instance, at the moment I’m supporting The Prodigy on their tour and they picked me. They could’ve had anyone, and they picked me! I just thought “this is f*cking nuts”. And then you’ll get Grandmaster Flash shouting behind you, at you, I mean that’s f*cking funny! I’ve had loads of weird scenes where I think “sh*t, you’re a famous person and now you’re talking to me- you’re talking to me, like I’m some sort of big thing” [laughs]. I always just find it really funny when you meet someone famous and it’s like, what the f*ck do you say to them? No one else does, that’s the funny thing, so you’ll have four famous people standing around not saying anything! You just have no idea what to say [laughs]. So that’s why I wear a mask and don’t talk!
About the mask, is that something you decided you’d wear from the start?
It’s because I’m a ninja! A munter and a ninja! I have to wear a mask, don’t I? What’s a ninja without a mask? [laughs] Just a person! I don’t wear it in the day though, but I just hide out during the day and sleep- that’s why it took so long to get interviewed! [laughs] Because of all my night antics and ninja- type sh*t. I’ve got a load of masks, it’s like Tony Stark, like I’m Iron Man. A cheap Iron Man- I’m like Ryan Man [laughs].
Are there any plans to make an album?
This is great, because I am just finishing an album right now- funny you asked! So years ago I got into hip hop, I used to check out these crusty old hip hop records. The record label I used to check for, they’ve asked me to remix all these old records I used to listen to- it’s amazing! I went to New York and they gave me all these old tapes and I’ve put them all together and basically remixed all these wicked old 90’s hip hip tunes and I’ve just kept it completely how it is, I haven’t bothered to put a drum and bass or house spin on them, it’s just completely as though you’d got it in 1994 or something. It’s just something else! I feel so proud and honoured to get it. I’m finishing that in the next couple of weeks, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s just great. So, that’s coming out in February and I’ve got my mix on Capital Radio and Capital FM every Friday and Saturday. Check it out , kids! [laughs] I’ve got a load of new stuff, I did this EP, which was a project I did with a group called Virus Syndicate from Manchester- really hardcore rappers/ MC’s- which is now on my Soundcloud. It’s about 5 tracks and it’s called Karate Man – check it out!