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Jon Marz Interviews DJ Smash

DJ Smash...

A Blue Note Mix

NAJM Dance Culture
In the last decade, international remix pioneer DJ Smash has enjoyed a strong ongoing relationship with Blue Note Records, beginning with his first remix commission on the 1991 Greg Osby album, Mantalk, and continuing with work on projects by Bob Belden (including 1997'S Come Together Remix Project).
About a year ago, DJ Smash discovered that he possessed enough Blue Note remixes in his own personal collection for an entire album's worth of music. He approached the label about putting together a compilation, which has resulted in Phonography: A Blue Note Mix.

A 14-track remix album of music by such artists as Medeski Martin & Wood, St. Germain, Ronny Jordan, Us3, Tim Hagans, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo, Richard Elliot as well as Greg Osby and Bob Belden. Their tunes have been remixed by a who's who of DJ culture, including DJ Smash, Blaze, Guru, DJ Spinna, the Amalgamation of Sounds, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, Nintin Sawney, Kingsize, Joe Claussell and Todd Terry. Jon Marz caught up with Smash believe it or not at the airport, just before a flight to Switzerland to promote the disc.



Jon Marz: How did the new album project on Blue Note come about?
DJ Smash: After years of playing various BN remixes from overseas and here, I thought it was timely to (re) expose these tracks. Eli Wolf at Blue Note was very receptive to the idea and somehow convinced the more conservative powers that be at BN to take a chance on the concept. I was shocked when he called me and said it was going to happen.
Jon Marz: How did you go about the A&R process?
DJ Smash: I had consulted with BN in the past regarding choices of remix releases and promotion. Since I have experience a&r-ing my own labels (Eightball, New Breed and Midnite) I felt I could tune into what BN could sell without too much difficulty. It is a big leap for them marketing wise. I know this one won't go down too well with jazz buyers at the big chain stores.
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Reinventing DJ Smash

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Jon Marz: You're reinventing yourself in America right now. What's your observation on the current vast musical dance scene?
DJ Smash: Actually it's the so-called dance scene that keeps getting re-invented. Since I am musically schizophrenic, this phenomenon only encourages my diverse musical urges. I'm doing what I have always done since I started playing: mixing the best of the different musical food groups like funk, jazz, Latin Caribbean, afro beat and pop.
dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) Jon Marz: Tell us about the new releases on your label?
DJ Smash: The current active label is Midnite, which was started simply to clear my DAT shelf of tunes I had worked on over the last 4 years and never got around to releasing cause I was busy doing other stuff. Picking from a batch of around 25 tunes, I played them for various people whose artistic and commercial opinion I value, I have released about 10 of these tracks so far. To be honest, Its pretty much a vanity label, the complete opposite set up from my New Breed days when at one point we had about a dozen different artists/ producers on the label. I needed to do some thing low pressure and fun for me and not worry about another artist's expectations.
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The Multi-Million Dollar WMC Party Hosted by Smash?

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Jon Marz: How was the Winter Music Conference for you this year? Any highlights?
DJ Smash: On a budget of around 75.00, I put together a last minute Blue Note party, mainly to announce the release of Phonography and show people you don't have to waste and spend a shit-load of money to have a good time with some friends and fellow djs (who were cool enough not to charge me!) MKL, Amalgamation Of Soundz, DJ Kingsize and myself played at this totally cool little jazz spot called Jazzid right on the main strip in South beach, yet very few WMC attendees have ever heard of or been to it. About 200 people rolled through and had a blast. Really, the highlight is always seeing my friends and peers from around the globe in one setting and having a mellow good time with them. I never really get any business done there. Miami has always been about chillin to me. I've been going there almost every year since 1988 and I never get any deals done. I leave my ambition at the airport and just lounge shamelessly.
DJ Smash presents Phonography is out in stores on Blue Note Records.
NAJM would like to thank Media Services in New York for submitting this interview to us.

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