Paul Skratch and Mike MSA [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – DJ Paul Skratch and Mike MSA are two of Vancouver’s premier turntablists who have been keeping the art of scratching alive in the Northwest through various projects such as Goons From The Moon and Hand Jive Theatre. Their newest venture Skratcher brings this concept out further by allowing people to experience the art of turntablism as a community. HipHopCanada recently sat down with the 2 DJs and founders to discuss Skratcher 2.
HipHopCanada: What is Skratcher?
Paul: SKRATCHER is created to share and inspire existing and upcoming turntable enthusiasts. Formed to allow people to explore the art and beauty of turntablism as a community and is an all ages event, inviting turntablists of the future.
HipHopCanada:Tell us a little about how the concept for the “Skratcher” events came together, what inspired you to put this together?
Paul: It started off in a small garage in Surrey, BC back in ’97. Powered by 6 turntables, 6 mixers, and a huge electricity bill. This was a weekly routine for myself and a few others. As the years past, the weekly get-togethers became a monthly thing, and then became a “when we have the time” thing. The scratch sessions that we used to have was nostalgic to my upbringing as a DJ. So, I decided to bring it back, but in a larger scale. I’d like to think of it as a huge jam session or a conference for scratch nerds.
In the future we hope to build off the momentum of the SKRATCHER and progress the quality of our events and initiatives. The ALMIGHTY and SKRATCHER names will not only be the force behind turntablism growth, but will also be the lifestyle brands of this artistic movement. Under these two banners we will develop bigger events, provide better venues, facilitate music communities, create lifestyle merchandise, and be product ambassadors for the audio and music industries. Using online and offline media, connection with turntablists, producers, and overall music communities, and through the acquisition of sponsorships, we will continue to progress the SKRATCHER events and, in turn, progress the turntablist scene in Vancouver and beyond.
HipHopCanada: What is your opinion on Vancouver’s DJ/Hip Hop scene in general? Where does the art of turntablism fit in?
Paul: It’s been a while since I’ve stepped into a hip-hop night in the city. As far as I know DJs still cut it up in the clubs or wherever it is. At most times they only scratch or beat juggle in their home studios. From experience, it seems that most of the public don’t really understand, what’s going on when DJs do doubles or scratch it up at a club night. For their defense, they didn’t go to the club for that anyways, they just wanted to party. I’d like to incorporate it as often, so that people can become receptive to it. It’s great seeing DJs doing tricks while party rocking. It’s like they’re personalizing their set with their style for that one night only.
HipHopCanada:Where do you see the art of turntablism going in the next ten years? It seems as though recently with the rise of DJ software such as Scratch Live and Ableton turntablism has taken a backseat: do you think that turntablism and vinyl for that matter are in danger of disappearing?
Mike: Turntablism is like Jazz, it is not going to disappear. All good things always evolve and change but never disappear. I think that the technology will help to move turntablism forward. An example of this is the DMCs, they are accepting the fact that Digital DJing is hugely popular and instead of dismissing it they are using it to their advantage and allowing Serato to be used. I think that the technology will help to move it forward.
Paul: Exactly, incorporating it will just help the growth and maturity of the art. I’ve never been an opposer when integrating new technology with older elements. My live shows are now enhanced because of Serato. My music is available for manipulating as soon as I finish recording. Although, I still use vinyl for scratching.
HipHopCanada: How can DJs who are interested get involved with the Skratcher project?
Mike: Come to our events! We are always receptive to new ideas, approach us anytime. Alternatively, go to www.skratcher.ca or www.skratcher.tumblr.com and always feel free to contact us via email that way – firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter (@SkracherGroup) to get the latest news and updates.
Paul: We’re always looking for people to bridge with. Whether it’ll be about helping out with our community events, or perhaps joining the team, just hit us up.
HipHopCanada: Can you tell a little bit about any upcoming projects other than”Skratcher’ that you have going on?
Mike: We have some new products coming and more community events. Maybe you’ll see the Skratcher event series in other locations.
Paul: I’ve decided to focus on the lifestyle branding aspect for Almighty. Directing it towards the turntablist/DJ and the music goer. Designing products and events that will help further the turntablist movement. My mind map looks insane at the moment. Consisting of online DJ battles, youth community workshops, motion video documentaries, Almighty Skratcher products, and a DJ school. Currently I am
partnering up with like minds to get our point across. So far the public has been receptive with what we’ve been putting out. We’re going to keep the momentum going and keep working for the scratch community.
Interview conducted by Kent Stephany for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jenkin Au for Justalilhype
Don’t forget to check out http://www.paulskratch.com/