The Finer Points of Turntable Science, According to DJ QBert
DJ QBert displays his mastery of the turntables at Fitzgerald's.
Photos by Marco Torres
If any ever decided to erect a Mount Rushmore-like monument dedicated to DJs and turntablism, DJ QBert's face would definitely be one of the chosen few on the side of that mountain. A pioneer of the craft of scratching, juggling and mixing, QBert visited Fitzgerald's Wednesday night on his "Extraterrestrium Guided Space Tour." He graciously took some time to speak with us before the show.
Rocks Off: Hola sir! Thanks for your time. What's your impression of Houston and Texas? DJ Qbert: The art scene [here] is incredible, and throughout the whole tour, I have the most friends that I personally know [who] live here! My guest list in this city was the longest, ha!
Several local DJs are entering the 2015 Red Bull Thre3style World DJ Competition. What advice can you extend to them, especially those who are entering for the first time? Practice, practice, then practice again! Be gentle on your body, massage your arms, gently stretch, have fun, and make things new and that have never been done before. Get plenty of rest for speed and a clear mind. Learn about eating healthy so you can continue to make others happy for a very long time. Invent your own rules, and make sure your stage character is perfected.
Study all the past competitors and out-do them. Above all... be yourself, be original, have patience and you will be rewarded. Most importantly: "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but that you hone your skills."
Qbert is the master of this instrument.
Without worrying about space, time, or the laws of physics, what would be the ultimate gig to play, and why? Going to the center of the galaxy and being a representative of skratching for Planet Earth and performing for the council of healing sounds... Then asking them if I can have one of them futuristic pocket devices that turn your crap into little rocks! (I read somewhere that they are so advanced, they don't need toilets no more, cuz of those lil gadgets!)
What will be written on the plaque beneath the giant statue future generations erect in your honor? "The ultimate happiness is in giving and the ultimate evil is selfishness"
Oh... and an added donation box in the front where the proceeds would go to a good cause. I saw that in front of this giant Buddha statue on Maui and thought that was very nice for the needy.
Reppin' his crew: The Invisibl Skratch Piklz.
If you could canonize another musician, who would it be, and of what would they be the patron saint? Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, who invented "Binaural Beats", which are the healing sounds I listen to when I sleep or meditate. (They even got a gang of these binaural beat apps for your iPhone now!) He would be The Patron Saint of Healing Sounds.
What is the best song in the world? Nature... birds, waves, waterfalls. Shit like that, you know. But if I had to pick a best song, it's gotta a jazz song by Miles Davis called "Autumn Leaves", and a classical song by Franz Liszt called "Liebestraum (Love Dream)."
What is the worst song in the world? Noises that are furthest away from anything aligning your atomic structure with sacred geometry. Besides construction noises and unnatural city street sounds, I pretty much don't like a bunch of commercial electronic crap that I be hearing fools playing just because everybody else likes it.
It's really just noise [and] that hurts! Then there's popular music that companies put on the radio and they all sound the same with no creative imagination in the production. Normally, if I hear something, I wanna hear what's next and something newer and more evolved than that last thing. I like music to be a mental and physical vibrational massage.
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DJ Qbert on the one's and two's!
Someone throws a beer bottle at you onstage. What do you do? Dodge it like George W. Bush, then ask the bouncers to kindly get rid of the negative person for everyone's safety. But I'd keep the music going like nothin' happened. Then do a skratch solo telling a story about what just happened as I send him a prayer that the bouncers don't kick his ass too bad.
I'm saying this because this incident actually happened in the past and the bouncers threw the drunk down a gigantic flight of stairs and whooped him even more after he got to the bottom. I think some bouncers really love fighting and when they get a chance, sometimes they excessively go overboard like a bad cop.
What would you buy with a million dollars? A whole lot of things for the needy, then some gear to make make my art better to help people that need us as musicians and all that.
What would you buy with your last dollar? Something that would help someone more in need of it than myself. I know all I gotta do is make some one happy and that karma would come right back to me. I learned at an early age that money is just an illusion and the real money is karma...so it's just all energy, and what we all should be really doing is making the world a better place with our god-given talents. Then from there, all things get taken care of.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens towards the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @MarcoFromHouston.
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