Battle of turntablists promises tricks, treats, tough competition
By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
This weekend marks the third consecutive year of a Honolulu-based preliminary for the DMC/Technics American Battleground DJ Championship. DMC (or "Dance Music Community") is a respected international multimedia company that has encouraged and supported DJ and club culture for more than 20 years.
Local DMC competition organizer DJ G-Spot called the organization's annual Honolulu sojourn a tribute to the growth of DJ culture here, and to the caliber of international turntablists who've spun at Honolulu clubs in recent years. Among the 13 cities hosting preliminaries for the Aug. 9 American Battleground finals are Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.
"The talent from one year to the next has gotten remarkably better," G-Spot said of the Honolulu DMC competition. "The increase in talent and skills last year was dramatic. Scratching, beat-juggling and things of that nature had really progressed."
DJ Solution from the Nocturnal Sound Krew collective took top local honors in 2001 and 2002. The competition drew about 12 turntablists its first year and 22 in 2002. G-Spot said entries for this year's contest would be accepted through tomorrow night.
"We're pretty much one of the only regionals that takes walk-ups, for the simple fact that we're in the middle of the Pacific ... and the DMC doesn't have an office here," said G-Spot. "I'd say maybe 60 percent of the pool signs up ahead of time, and the rest are walk-ups."
Competitors come from all over Hawai'i, the Pacific Rim and even the Mainland. The contest, however, is restricted to vinyl turntablists only. Hip-hop is the encouraged musical genre.
Competition generally begins with an elimination round where based on two-minute spins each turntablists are winnowed down to about 10 finalists by a DMC official. A second elimination round is judged by a panel composed of Honolulu DJ culture representatives DJs, record store owners, promoters. The six-minute spins of these finalists are judged on four criteria: technical skills and tricks, creation of beat-juggles, originality and stage presence. A final battle pitting the evening's top two DJs determines the winner.
"Competition is tough," said G-Spot. "Nocturnal swept last year, but there was so much talent there that I was surprised that they did. I thought a lot of the people were really excellent."
The winner of August's championship will represent the United States at the 2003 World DJ Championships in London Sept. 14. For more information on the competition and DMC, check out www.double-o-spot.com.