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DJ Uri- Starting Young

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During our time with DJ Uri last week we were amazed not just at his vast experience and knowledge but more importantly his willingness to pass on all that he had learnt and share skills! We already had a long list of questions for him so we jumped right in.

Starting out at 13 and DJ. Uri’s first pair of Technics SL1210’s

“From a very young age my parents knew that this is what I wanted to do (and fully supported me). At that time in the UK, most Indian parents pushed their kids into education, so I was very lucky that mine bought me turntables for my 13th birthday. I felt so blessed that was their present to me, and I have never been off them since.” Though a little unnerved by our open mouthed, unblinking look of disbelief he continued. “Back in the mid 80’s, Hip Hop Culture was very big in the UK. At that time it was all about scratching and cutting records. There were no DJ schools, Youtube or any other forms of learning, apart from watching other djs from a distance, I used to listen to tapes and mixes of DJ Premier from the group ‘Gangstar’, and study his scratches and work out things for myself. I have kept up my practice for the last 23 years and always feel that I can learn something new every time I go on the decks.” So where was the boy prodigy’s first show? “It was at a friend’s house party, a hip hop jam back in 1987. It changed my life, this is what I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life!”

Working with kids and the ‘Start from Scratch’ academy

For some time now DJ Uri has been committed to sharing his experience with a younger generation of artists. He’s taught at the Leicester College and Regent College in the UK.He runs his own DJ & music production academy called ‘Start from Scratch’ originally in Leicester,UK now also in Mumbai. We asked Uri what he got out of it. “They keep you young too!” He said with a smile.“Working with kids, I get to experience first hand what the next generation of clubbers like and are into. Also I get to keep up with current trends and the street language.” Start with Scratch is known to work with school kids. The same age as when he started out. So does Uri think it matters what age you start out in this business?”It’s never too late” he said with a shrug “but I guess the earlier you start, the more experience you will have under your belt, and experience is vital in this game!” We asked him to tell us about his academy in Mumbai “I have started teaching turntablism and scratch to many DJs in Mumbai and with the resurgence of Vinyl users through Serato, more people want to learn the craft of the scratch DJ. Hence I have opened Start from Scratch India in Mumbai, offering all kinds of turntable training and courses on the history of hip hop and DJing.”

So what's Uri's favourite life lesson- “Don’t think you know it all! After 23 years I’m still learning new stuff, and always play for your audience, not for yourself.” In April 2011 DJ Uri will kick start his tour with a gig in UK and then continue on to Paris and eventually head back to India later in the year. So if you’d like to catch DJ Uri along with Suman Sridhar and the Bay Beat Collective (BBC) in India watch out for our LIVE show at The Park in Bangalore- Saturday 9th April 2011.

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