DJ Scruff masters creative beats on Make It Unreal 

Who: DJ Scruff with Ninja Tunes

Where : Maxx Fish

When: March 10

"Generally I play in sweaty, dark clubs with good music," says DJ Scruff, who authored the diverse album Make It Unreal , from Ninja Tunes.

"And I don’t play anywhere that I wouldn’t go myself," he adds.

This Brit, who built his reputation track by track amid the populous nation of turntable spinning youths, has made huge strides in his career.

"I grew up near Manchester where about three people in the town knew hip hop," laughs the DJ, whose passion for music has withstood fads that come and go in mainstream sampling.

"There were not a lot of places to go (and hear the kind of music I liked) and here I was sitting and listening to this magic little box for hours as a young kid," he says.

Pirate radio stations became a welcome friend for more material exploration.

Now playing full time at age 30, digging up new beats is his constant challenge.

After establishing his own brand on tracks like Limbic Funk, with Pleasure in July 1996, and Fish and Get a Move On, with Ninja in ’98 and ’99, Scruff’s first full length album displayed a cross-section of music samples he favours.

"My gripe (with) modern music is that it can be very limiting. I think there’s great music to be found at the turn of the century, and from the ’60s and ’70s," says Scruff.

His discography, like his music samples, spans large fields.

With residencies in Brighton, London, and Manchester, where he moved full time just last week, there’s no shortage of shows for the creative maestro.

His gear of choice is the Technics SP1200-MPC 60, with hip hop drum boxes. Scruff quickly adds he needs neither the fanciest gear nor the newest songs to hone his craft for listeners lounging nearby.

"People are really a lot more intelligent with regards to what they take on and (what they understand) in the music," he says.

"A lot of DJs cut corners with overplayed samples and conventional sounding music, almost like fast food in comparison to great food," Scruff adds emphatically.

"Good music holds a crowd, like when your eyes meet with a stranger. Their smile may mean you are more likely to engage with them," he says.

That’s how the "honourary Ninja" earned his title, and it is a title earned, not just given, by the DJ World.

Make It Unreal is a diverse aural meandering, whose early tracks bring you into jazz club beats from the 1920 flapper zone.

His new, as yet unnamed release, is in the works, due out ideally by summer’s end. The breadth of choice keeps delaying its release.

"I’m like a lad in the sweets shop, there’s just so much music to choose from," he laughs.

Tracks on additional labels by Scruff include Just Practice with Fingathing in February 2001, as well as Watercress on the Jack to Phono EP released through Jacques Laverne Records in January 2001.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Arts

More by Nancy Hyndman

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation