Friday, December 20, 2013

2000Down Exclusive: Interview with Montreal 3Style Champ and World Finalist Adam Doubleyou

If you haven't heard about Montreal's Adam Doubleyou - you're not paying attention.  
A turntablist turned party-rock professional, Adam Doubleyou never ceases to entertain and impress.  His set from this year's Redbull 3Style World Final is nothing short of amazing. 

Drawing off of global and generational vibes, he executes his mixes with precision and flavor.  I'm grateful to have had the pleasure of interviewing Adam for the blog, and he was kind enough to dap us with an exclusive edit pack - featuring several cuts from his 3Style routine!



Who are you, where are you from, what do you rep?
My name is Adam Doubleyou, I live in Québec City, I rep my damn self and music I like, haha.

Ideal gear set-up?
I still rock two Technics 1200s and a Rane 57, but there's lots of new gear out right now and I'm hoping to upgrade. I'm having a lot of fun with Maschine, but I'm also pumped about the new Pioneer DDJ-SP1, some really cool features on that thing.
What kind of mustache wax are you using? (#TeamFacialHair)
I'm going "au natural" these days, but I keep the Lucky Tiger and the Layrite on hand for special occasions.

who were you as a teenager?  How/When did you get into DJ'ing?
I was a sort of a lost b-boy in rural Quebec. My older brother was hanging out with DJs in the college town we both went to school, and he actually got me my first gear. I played for free drinks at the local bar, and raided their forgotten 12" stash. I spent more time scratching than studying in my senior year of high school, then moved to Montreal for a short music program, and bought more records. Since then I've done lots of stuff, but DJing was always something I was drawn back to.

What did you study during undergrad - and what made you go into law?  Are you still on school or are you practicing?
I took a sort of liberal arts "great books" program in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada's capital), but again, I spent most of that time DJing. Lots of my classmates went to law school after that, and after a lull in music, I decided to go that route. I've since moved from full time studies to part time, and have two more classes to go, but all of that has sort of taken a back seat to DJing. I'm still interested in intellectual property and entertainment law, and might still explore that that further down the road.

Student protests in Montreal - Were you involved?

I was not involved in the protests. The protest activity was actually relatively quiet in Québec City where I live. Lots people in Québec feel very strongly about the tuition hikes, but when you compare tuition in Québec to any other province in Canada, it's lower by a wide margin here, even with the increase that people were protesting.

In addition to spinning records and such, do you have any other hobbies?
I listen to far too many podcasts, I'm interested in how super busy people stay organized, and meditation (it's hard).

What do you listen to when you're not prepping for a gig?

I do soundtrack work for a bunch of restaurants and stores, so I'm always digging blogs, hype machine, etc. Personal listening is often on the chilled out side of things, and definitely more "songs" than "tracks". I like the new Blood Orange record a lot.
You're a vinyl head, right? Do you spin/collect 45s? Any notable jams in your collection?

I have a pretty limited vinyl collection compared to serious diggers, mostly obvious stuff and represses.  My 45 collection is even more sparse, but I love little records. I have a great Positive K 7" with Step up Front on the A side and "Put Your Leg Up" on the B (with acapella! Plus it plays at 33, weird)

Give me 5 of your favorite Northern Soul records

Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Famous last record played at Wigan Casino)
Gloria Jones - Tainted LoveMarvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Two Can Have A Party
Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher 
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators - Feeling Free (Modern Take on the sound)

and 5 of your favorite funk/soul breaks? 

Rhythm Heritage - Theme From S.W.A.T.
Esther Williams - Last Night Changed It All
Wood, Brass & Steel - Funkanova
Burning Spear - F.U.N.K.
LTD - Love To The World

Link me to the mixtape (or remix) you're most proud of.  Why?

"Diversify Yo' Bonds" is a mix i made in like 2007, but I keep it on my soundcloud cause it was one of the first times I'd been able to put a whole pile of different stuff in the mix and have it all make sense as a whole. It's pretty produced, but I'm still happy with how it turned out conceptually.

Link (or tell me) about a mixtape that really influenced you / you think is beyond dope:

DJ Neil Armstrong "Bittersweeet" This whole tape works so well musically and conceptually. DJs always talk about telling a story with music, but this mix really goes all the way with that idea, I don't think it's ever been done as well as this. It's just a masterpiece.

Is there a particular DJ whose edits always make it into your crates?
Isaac Jordan of course! Off the top, Hedspin, DJ Illo, DJ Pump, Nick Bike.

On Turntablism - you're skilled in the arts of fader manipulation.  What barriers were there when you started, and are there particular turntablists you emulate or are inspired by?

I am semi-competent scratch DJ at best, but that is where I started. A football accident in high school messed up my left index finger a bit, which prevents me from being as ambidextrous as I'd like to, but I still try to practice to make up for it. My favourite DJs can cut, juggle and party rock, and I would love to be strong in all of those departments as (no particular order) Jazzy Jeff, Scratch Bastid, A-Trak, Wristpect, DJ Scene, Enferno, JR-Flo, The Gaff, Hedspin, Four Color Zack, J.Rocc, Neil Armstrong… Really any DJ who can cut it up and keep the party momentum going is inspiring to me.

I love that you're so stylistically diverse - the fact you incorporate global sounds into your mixes and programming speaks volumes about your ear.  Is this a product of DJ'ing in a metropolitan city like Montreal?    

I've just always been curious about different kinds of music. I like diving in and really exploring different genres to figure out what they're about. As exciting as it is to get lost in all these different kinds of music though, it also leaves you with that much more to keep up with or research. But yeah, Montreal is certainly good for people with eclectic tastes, there are lots of healthy scenes for many different kinds of music.

When it comes to DJs - who do you look up to?  

Anyone who takes the craft seriously, and is consistent and innovative. But especially the well-rounded ones, the people who know their classics, but stay up on new stuff, can cut and juggle and, and keep their sets musical and diverse, but coherent (and still somehow find time to produce). The people I've mentioned already are great examples of these qualities. Other people like Cosmo Baker, DJ Illo, Z-Trip, Numark, Cut Chemist, Mat the Alien

What DJ (or DJs) from Canada should we be keeping an eye on, and what province are they from?

- In Montreal, my dudes Midas, Henward, New Money and Sagewondah are not to be F-ed with.

- You guys have already featured Nick Bike (Vancouver), who is really one to watch out for. Don't sleep on Thre3style host Dj Flipout! ( Vancouver). Lots of Vancouver dudes actually, The Freshest crew, Brendan Butter, and Rhek.

- Of course OGs like JR-Flow (Toronto) and Dj Pump (Calgary).

- Speaking of Calgary, everyone needs to get familiar with Smalltown DJs.

- In Toronto, look out for Dj SoundBwoy, Techtwelve and Big Jacks.

- Charly Hustle (Saskatoon) always kills it.

- In Ottawa, watch out for Kid SL, Magnificent, and Jon Deck.

Any working DJ knows that opening a room is far more difficult than prime-time, so if/when you're on for the entire evening how do you go about building that mood in the beginning of the night that allows you really take the crowd somewhere?

I like to start with catchy personal favourites that maybe aren't so widely known, stuff that everyone forgot they new, and super new stuff that I'm feeling, then build from there

=> Let's talk about your Thre3Style performances:


You're one of the competitors who excelled in incorporating a multitude of genres and moods into your sets - everything from 80's new-wave stuff like New Order to Funk, soul, and various electronic sub-genres - replete with refined turntablist technique.  I loved how your sets had mainstream appeal yet were not too 'top-40 heavy'.


How did you first go about creating your routines?  

I played at a bunch of very different weekly spots over the last year. I had been collecting idea stems for some time as I came across them in the club or at home, but didn't often put aside the time to develop them. When I got into the Montreal qualifier, I cleared my schedule and put time aside to refine those ideas and string them together, and fill in the gaps as necessary to make it all work.

You have a keen ear for wordplay - was this something you developed in preparation for Thre3style, or has this been an aspect of your mixing and performance for some time?

I had fun with wordplay mixes in my Thre3style sets because I live in Québec City where not many people speak english. If you come to Québec City with a wordplay heavy set, there's a good chance not many people are going to "get it." Like lots of the stuff that end up in my Thre3style sets, it's a case of using stuff that isn't really appropriate for my "normal" gigs, but I was still really excited about.

Who did your custom 'murder she wrote' dub?
Pliers himself! Big up my man Nate Vybz from Québec Gold sound for the link.

The 'Carried by 12' East Flatbush Toneplay was ill.  Everyone needs to peep that.  (that wasn't really a question....)
Glad you liked it man. I was extremely lucky to stumble on that one.

In Toronto - which DJs set/routine was your favorite?  any jaw-dropping moments?

Everybody did their thing, for real. In no particular order Oli Doboli from Croatia represented himself and his own taste, which I thought was great. Inferno from Jamaica had a super hype set that was perfect for Toronto (dancehall classics, heavy trap). Byte from Chile played an all around fun set, tight as hell, packed with great concepts. Trentino was technically flawless all around. I bugged out when Marquinos Espinoza from Brazil did his Keys 'n' Krates "Dum Dee Dum" routine, and when he started playing jungle classics. It was amazing to watch Shintaro just suck the whole room into his vibe almost immediately. Eskei83 from Germany got a crazy reaction with a really Toronto-centric drop he dug hard to get. Bazooka from Switzerland did a really complicated scratch routine blindfolded (!). I could go on forever, everyone deserves props, you should go listen to them all for yourselves.
Care to share any candid stories from the actual competition (or the after parties)?

I attended the best party of my life on the Sunday after the competition. It went from 12:00pm to 2:00am at the Drake Hotel. Everyone was coming down from a super intense week, and all of the DJs who had all been through the same journey to get to the finals just building and hanging out. All of this to an all 45 soundtrack from some of the best in the game (Maseo from De La Soul, Shortkut, Skratch Bastid, Cosmo Baker, Flipout, The Gaff). Caesars, Beamz™, bboys, black lights… Unforgettable.

Do you have plans to compete in the next year's Thre3Style competition?

I would love to, it's been an incredible experience every time I've entered, and as tough as it was, I'd love to take another crack at it.

You're practically a household name! Do you have a rider for touring / out of town gigs? Anything funny on it?  

Ummm…. Gear that works… Super nintendo, sega genesis, 50-inch screen, money green leather sofa, 2 rides + a limousine with a chauffeur, t-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and welch's grape. Plus 5 carrots (for my baby girl's ear).

5 songs you're feeling right now

Madeon - Technicolor (Grandtheft Edit)
Drake - From Time (Dj Illo Remix)
Thugli - We Run This
Sade - Lovers Rock (DJ Pump Footwork Mix)
Smalltown DJs and Grandtheft - Flying

2013 - good year for music? Top albums/releases?
Haim - Days are Gone 
Disclosure - Settle
 Anything Rustie put out this year 
Jessie Ware - Devotion
Kanye West - Yeezus

What are your thoughts on the festival scene? do you ever feel pressured to take your sound (or sets) in that direction?

I assume you're talking about "EDM" festivals here, but either way, playing for crowds of people who are up for it is always fun. There are plenty of records that get played on the North American festival circuit that I enjoy. But there are festivals for everybody the world over. For example I just found out about the Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival in the Philippines, and the lineup looks amazing, I would play there in a heartbeat! Who among us wouldn't want to play to thousands of people and give them a good time, especially if they came to see you do it your way.


What's the deal with DJ'ing today? Where do you see it heading as a craft, and as a profession?

DJing is so many different things to different groups of people, so it's hard to say really. But as technology makes it ever easier for people to present themselves to the world as DJs and get away with it, people are going to have to work harder to distinguish themselves from that crowd, and hopefully that will continue to separate the wheat from the chaff. Having said that, events like the Thre3style are more important than ever now - Thre3style features, celebrates, and rewards versatile DJs with a strong foundation in the fundamentals who also incorporate new technology. That's one thing I hope people continue to value in the future.

Do you even PLUR, Bro? (ie: "EDM" - Thoughts?)

(PLUR is a strong life motto, tho! You could do much worse!) I think it's great that such a huge number of people are excited about dance music these days. But much of the stuff getting featured  at these huge festivals is at times in danger of becoming a parody of itself. I hope all of this attention isn't creating a sort of bubble for electronic music, but that's just part of the way things go I suppose. I believe that the cream will always rise to the top, regardless of genre. No need to talk passively about this though, part of a DJs job is to represent the good stuff, so we all have a role to play in this.

If you were to do a 4 turntable set next Friday at a low-key spot in MTL for the fun of it, who would you invite to rock with you? What kind of stuff would you play?

Cheater answer, but I'd call my dudes from my old party Timekode in Ottawa, still one of the best parties in Canada. We'd play Timekode music, "all things funky, soulful and innovative."

What is your favorite city or cities to DJ in and is there one city that you've played that you just wanted to stay and call home?

I used to live and and DJ in Banff Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. It's beautiful there and people like to party to good music, can't really ask for better.

Given your skill and talent, you've been fortunate enough to hit some major milestones within DJ culture at a relatively early stage.  What's next for you?  

I've been at this for 10+ years on and off (mostly cause of school), but I'm still shocked at all that's happened over the past year. My real aspiration is to be as consistent and professional as the DJs that inspire me. I think only good things can happen if I focus on that. I'm also definitely going to be taking time to develop my production chops, and the live aspect of my shows.

Lastly - any shoutouts, PSAs, secret confessionals or final words?

Shoutouts to my DJ Senseis! Special cross-blog shoutout to DJ Huggs and his amazing blog East Van Disco, which everyone should check every day.
Big shout to Red Bull for everything they do for music and DJ culture, and to and everyone who works hard year after year to put on an event as amazing as Thre3style.
And of course shouts to 2000 Down for hooking the DJs up with the good stuff! Salute!

Mad love to Adam Doubleyou for taking the time to share his story, and for lacing us with this exclusive edit pack!


Say Thanks: Follow @AdamDoubleyou | @2000Down

INSTAGRAM (@adamdoubleyou )


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