Sunday, September 12, 2010

My interview with DJ Tyra from Saigon...

I remember when Myspace was on top of the heap of social networking, I discovered lots of new music. Everything from people making beats in their bedrooms to big established bands looking to increase their fan base.
I am a huge fan of scratching, I would search for hours  looking for Turntablist on Myspace who would allow you to download a song or 2. I came across Tyra's Myspace a few years back and I was pleasantly introduced to her groovy and energetic music. 
I have pestered her over the years on the internet and she has always been a good sport about it.
So when I started this blog I wanted A interview with Tyra so bad, even though now she is living in L.A, her and I grew up in the same city west of Toronto. She is a total success story for female D.J.'s and she is from Ontario.
 Before I start, just a heads up... dont be fooled by her beauty, when she gets on the turntables she is A absolute monster and will asphyxiate anything you think is live that you throw at her...

So...  lets us begin...
Keef -Please do tell us how you got into being a DJ and where it has taken you.

Tyra-  I've been playing music all my life. Ever since I was young I always had a knack for making up melodies and music composition. I mostly did this with keyboards and guitars before I knew what turntables even were. Looking back though, I was naturally drawn to pleasing the ears of my listeners. I was known as "the girl who made really good tapes for everybody".  In the summers of my childhood my parents would drop my sister and I off to our babysitters and the only three things I brought with me were my briefcase full of cassette tapes, my Walkman and Gameboy. I would get more excited receiving blank cassette tapes from my father than getting new toys. Since I owned my first Walkman at the age of 8, I began making mixtapes and my dad bought me my first boombox the following year for my grade 4 birthday. It was like the top of the line Panasonic CD/double deck cassette player and I would always bring that thing everywhere with me. He spoiled me with expensive electronics since he was an audiophile himself and that's how I was able to do all these things. When I was in high school I met a couple of DJs from the rave scene and my curiosity began to grow. I figured why wouldn't I be able to do it if these guys can? I had tons of musical experience and knew I was able to pick it up really quickly. I always thought it was so cool how DJs could blend songs together and one day I was at a friends place and one of the guys brought a documentary DVD over called Scratch. I couldn't sleep at all that night after watching that movie. The scratching blew my mind and I came home and told my dad I wanted to buy turntables with my savings. He helped me research all the top brands but I ended up being impatient so I got a used set up on eBay which came with the crappiest mixer. It was such a piece of junk that I couldn't really do much but mix on it but my ultimate goal was to learn how to scratch. I started playing house music because all my equipment could do at the time was just blend records. Later on, I upgraded my mixer and was able to learn some scratching techniques. 
Where it has taken me?  I got to meet a lot of dope musicians/DJs and a lot of great people through this journey. I'm not going to lie though, DJ'ing isnt my real love - I'm a songwriter but most definitely, being a DJ/Turntablist has helped me expose myself much easier. I dont think I'd have as much listeners if I just played guitar and wrote songs about heartbreaks.

Keef- You are the founder of "females wit funk", tell us what that is all about.
Tyra -Females wit Funk is a global platform I started back in 2005. When I first started Dj'ing/Scratching I didnt know any girls who did it except for DJ Killa Jewel from Montreal, Canada who I found by fluke on a DVD. I can't describe to you the adrenaline rush I got watching her and how her scratch routine changed my life. I was so inspired my heart was on fire and I had to just share this feeling to other people out there. I didn't even know girls could scratch, I thought only guys knew how to do it and I was so amazed so I did my best to find every girl in the entire universe who was practising this artform and got them together. I approached DJ Q-Bert with this idea before I started it and he said it was great so I launched it right away that summer. We showcase female turntablists who are exceptionally skilled at what they do. Some names to mention are : DJ Shortee, Annalyze, Step 1, Supra and many others. Check it out at . My goal with the concept was just to inspire other girls just like how Killa Jewel did for me and its awesome because I see more girls out there stepping up their game because they see us and know that this kind of talent exists out there.

Keef - I was doing some research on your work, you have met many interesting people in the game and dealt with some big sponsorships, please tell us more!

Tyra- Being a scratch DJ has opened up many opportunities for sponsorships. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that scratch DJs are a lot more technical and know how to work the turntables more than just regular mix DJs. Most of artists I know that are sponsored are scratch DJs or very established big names club DJs/producers. I have worked for a couple companies, to name a few : (Mixvibes, Rane, Pioneer, Ortofon, Innofader, PCDJ) it was really nice to be affiliated with these guys because they make everything I use and being able to demo their equipment to the general public before they release their products was an honor for me. I got my first sponsorship probably three years after learning how to scratch but then again I put in a lot of my time practising to get where I was at that point, I wanted to see progress fast so it pretty much consumed my life for the first few years. I get to travel and meet tons of awesome people and thats the best part about it. Can't complain about the free gear they send you. Right now Im working with this company called Innofader which I truly wish started when I was learning how to scratch. I could have saved myself a lot of money by just buying their special crossfader and installing it in a budget mixer. Innofader makes the best crossfaders out there right now, I even replaced my stock Rane TTM 57 crossfader with the Innofader and am loving it.

Delayed Flares - Scratchlopedia Breaktannica

Keef - Do you wish to continue making music and make a living out of it?

-I don't plan on making a living out of music but if I could just quit my day job and do this for life I sure as heck would. Who wouldn't? Depends on what music you're talking about though, I have a hard time selling my personal stuff. I'd rather give away for free since they are my own expressions. Having listeners is more than I can ask for. If somebody wants a beat produced, thats another story. Same with DJ bookings and services like that

Keef -What do you love about the DJ scene and what is something you could do with out...

Tyra -I love that almost everyone's real. They're like family to me, we all take care of each other. The scratch scene especially, they're very supportive too, I haven't met a single hater from what I know. What can I do without? Well I wish that I was able to take up more overseas gigs and (said in the most NON-DIVA way possible), but I wish  that all my flights were first class because I have horrible motion sickness so I really hate flying when I have to travel and play out of town but I do it anyway to a limited distance haha.

- What advice do you have for up and coming female DJ's?

- Listen to the best and surround yourself with the best. Don't be easily satisfied with your progress because us girls get away with too much.  Practice your ass off, and don't eat too much sugar.

Keef- What does 2011 have in store for you, what do you wish to accomplish musically?

a -Musically, probably just get back into guitar more. Pump out a couple more mixes, know more popular songs, remix a couple of tracks and maybe get my heart broken a couple of times. That usually gets me going...

Keef -I tried getting you on to DJ HERO 2, I will try harder to get you into DJ HERO 3. You up for that.... we can do it!

- Damn, right I am! Make it happen.

Keef- What are you listening to these days?

Tyra- Lots of DJ Divsa. A friend of mine from Toronto introduced me to this guy and he's probably by far one of my favorite DJs these days..  Pretty much everything and anything asides from DJs, I rarely listen to DJ mixes actually but this guy is phenomenal. I recently got into top 40, hip hop, I fell off for a couple years and listening to DJ Divsa definitely inspires me. Plus, hes a Libra and so am I and if you don't know this already, (not speaking for myself) but the best musicians are Libras (known fact). Look it up. 

Keef -We are from the same small city west of  Toronto, How do you feel about killing my claim to fame about being the self proclaimed best DJ in town. I saw your stuff and I wanted to cry... how do you feel about that?

-Hahaha, Im flattered and I just shed a tear after reading that now.

Keef -Im willing to bet it was a tear from laughing... your so evil...dope but evil! Do you have any shout outs?

Tyra -Hi, Shout outs to : Ro-meo, Mom, Dad, Sister, Thud Rumble, my best friend MOUSE, all the ladies at Females wit Funk, DJ Annalyze, Trippy Tron, Incise, special thanks to ELLIOT from Innofader and the entire team.

Thanks to the world.

I want to thank "Tyra from Saigon" for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview. As you can see her skills are off the chain, and she has he ability to make you think twice about steppin up.

Please... check the links...

Thank you Tyra!


Only the best roll together!

No comments:

Post a Comment