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Interview with 2016 QSU Valedictorian Supaphonik

How's it feel to be the new QSU Valedictorian?

Supaphonik: Amazing, can't believe it, I'm so honored and blessed to be this year's valedictorian. It's an achievement, and a new start.

How and when did you first get into skratching?

The very first memory I have about scratching is a song called "Mais Vous Etes Fou" by BENNY B with cuts done by DJ Daddy K, I was around 8 years old.

Since then every xmas I asked for turntable and mixer, until i finally got my first set at 15, thanks mom. All I wanted to do is scratching. Of course I would learn all the basics mixing tricks, but scratching always came first.

Who are your biggest influences, early teachers, etc?

The DJ who influenced me the most at the time was DJ CRAZY B. It's kind of normal I guess since he was the French champion back then, and then I discovered QBERT. These two are the reasons why I got into it. I didn't have any teachers before QSU, I learned with VHS tapes watching DMC, ISP etc...

How long had you been practicing before seeing major progress?

think I had to practice maybe around 3 to 4 years until I started to be a little satisfied about what I was doing. But that was never enough, I always wanted to learn more techniques, new combos, and different way to flip those ahhh and fresh samples.

How much did you practice when you were first learning? How about now?

When I was totally in, practicing was just like all days, 6 to 10 hours minimum. I was totaly addicted, now if i can practice at least a few hours a week it's good.

How disciplined are you in your practice? How long does it take you to master a new combo?

Very, when I want to get one technique or specific pattern down, I will not stop until I get it, even if it takes month or years. Just one exemple with the Prizm technque - I started practicing this one maybe 5 to 6 years ago, and I'm still trying to get it faster and cleaner. Sometime it just takes time for your muscle memory to be strong enough to execute the technique - practice is never ending.

Are you Hamster or regular?

HAMSTER. The first scratcher I saw live was Crazy B and he is regular. Qbert is hamster too.

Serato, Traktor, or vinyl?

Both, but for pure practice skratching, I always go for the analog.

Favorite sounds to skratch (besides the Freshhh and Ahhh)?

Aaahyeah and funky fresh !

What do you think about when you're skratching?

When jamming I like to teleport my soul to some places I never been, and just discover secret feelings that are deep inside me. And sometimes I just think about the day I had, if it was a good day or a bad day, it truely affects my mood when scratching with sometime "happy scratching", sometimes "angry scratching."

What’s something you’ve learned from Qbert through his lessons?

That it's a never ending game, there is always something new to learn, to try, we play with infinity. I've learned a lot about rhythm, syncopation rhyming, music theory that can be applied to scratching.

What’s the skratch scene like where you live now?

I'm kind a new in the city I live now (Lyon, France). I just know Fong Fong and DJ Fly are from this town. I'm connected with some of the scratch headz out there, there are some kut sessions here and there, so it's not as big as Paris but it's cool!

What do you do for work?

I'm working as a waiter and bartender in a restaurant.

Are there many opportunities for skratch musicians where you live?

Not so many, but like I said I'm new in this town so I don't really know how the scene's like yet.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Every kind, from jazz to hiphop to drum and bass to latin. Since music is emotion, you can find different ones in different kinds, depending on witch emotion you're looking for.

Who are some of your favorite producers?

Producers....damn I believe I don't have any favorites, but I will always follow what Q's doing and all the scratch bands out there.

Is there any music from you out there we can check out?

Yep, my 1st album: http://www.tablist.net/album/dj-supaphonik-experience-album
My 2nd album: http://www.tablist.net/album/dj-supaphonik-desperado-free-album
The Scratch Master Tape: http://www.tablist.net/audio/supaphonik-scratch-master-tape-2012

All the Supalooper are up on http://yourlooper.com/.

And of course my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/supaphonik. There is a series of short videos that shows specific patterns called SUPAVOCAB, check it out!

What's one thing you would tell someone who's new to skratching?

Don't do it for the money, do it because you love it, and show people love.

How do you feel about the current skratch scene?

It's going up again I guess, there is now a tone of dope scratchers, the level in general is really high now. The portablist movement is a good thing, bedroom DJs can finally show this thing to the world. It's just getting better and better.

What do you want to see in the future for the skratch scene?

Another beat4battle world championship for the scarcth nerdz we are, and.....more scratching school?

Why is technicality valued over musicality in the skratch scene?

Maybe because we come from a battle background and there is always a little spirit of competition. But hey - you don't to have be too technical to be musical. There are a lots of easy patterns that are so funky and groovy. Sometime less is more. Maybe the young guns should know a little bit about swing, funkyness, changing rhythms, and shouldn't be afraid to sound simple.

Do you think skratch music will ever appeal to people beyond those who also create it?

For me it's kind a like there are two scratch scenes: you have the nerdy jazzy soloist thing, and then the scratch "music" band thing. Birdy Nam Nam, C2C, ISP, Scratch Bandy Crew opened a lot of doors. The fact that those guys are now on the mainstream side of the business, can give to the skratch headz a little more shine, maybe.

Anything else you'd like to say? Where should we follow you online?

I'd like to thanks all my familly for supporting me over the years. thank you ADA for the interview. See you in 2017 on the wheels of steels! Follow me online at https://www.facebook.com/supaphonik.niko

Supaphonik - 2016 QSU Valedictorian

Supaphonik, 2016 Valedictorian for Qbert Skratch University at ArtistWorks.

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