Q & A with Chicago DJ ‘Shark Tooth’
How did you become a DJ?
‘I had been playing in bands my whole life and never gave much thought to dj culture until 2007 when I went to Bonnaroo and stumbled upon Sascha and Digweed. I didn’t even understand what or how they were presenting their music but worked my way into the middle of the crowd and got weird for a few hours. I left Bonnaroo with a newfound interest in dj culture and its umbilical connection to the music of the past and present that I had overlooked in the past. I finally picked up a pair of turntables and vinyl around 3 years ago with the intention of incorporating vinyl samples and the turntable as an instrument in my own music. To be a dj is one thing, but I never wanted it to be my only angle, people like DJ Shadow and Fred Falke influenced me in this way.’
What are your favorite genre’s to mix?
‘I love playing all types of music; the music I primarily make is funky house that is rooted in gritty samples and a heavy emphasis on the bass line. I’ve also been really into the Dirtybird sound coming out of San Francisco, and the evil sound of Gesaffelstein in France.’
Tell me about your trip to Ohio?
‘Ohio is where I’m from and it’s where I recently traveled back to throw down with my fellow Athens Ohio DJs. I love that place because you can play some crazy music and everyone is either hip enough or drunk enough to get down with it.’
Is dubstep here to stay?
‘Sure, Dubstep is just another branch in music that is getting a lot of attention now. I have the utmost respect to the originators of Dub and reggae producers such as Prince Jammy, King Tubby, Mad Professor, Joe Gibbs (The list goes on and on….). With this said, I enjoy the never-ending legacy of dub and how musicians working in the present are still heavily influenced by the aesthetics and production techniques of dub. What you expected me to hate? haha’
Which Lollapalooza performer is a must see for you?
‘At The Drive-in for sure. The first concert I went to was The Mars Volta in Detroit on their Frances The Mute Tour. I just know they are going to really go at it.’
Why are vinyl records so awesome and how many do you own?
‘Because at the end of the day, pressing wax is the only way to preserve whatever legacy you want to leave behind. Going through stacks of dusty records you realize how much music is out there, and how much has receded into a cultural abyss that everyone making music will eventually fall into. Vinyl appropriation and Vinyl appreciation go hand in hand because along with the cultural methodology of sampling, record shops have provided a cultural archive for musicians to collectively interact with each other and the records they find. In other words Vinyl is the foundation for creating a multitude of interlocking communities of exchange, continuing to use the medium as a platform for history, knowledge and the best samples.
My collection is in its infacy so I probably have 75-100 quality records. My production set up is primarily based around the sounds I have sampled from records into my MPC 2000, which is one of the best investments I have ever made. I use abelton’s FX and VST Racks in conjunction with the gritty aesthetic of the MPC to build my sound.’
How do you avoid getting bored of playing the same songs over and over?
‘I get new tracks, but there is a difference between taking checks and playing requests, and building a set for a junky warehouse party.’
- Ben’s first DJ name was Trophy Wife
- His first CD ever bought was the golden eye sound track.
- Skrillex won 3 Grammys this year.
- Posted by Kevin Doellman, Ayo Kdoe Productions