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Waajeed Lifts the Lid on his 'Dirt Tech Reck' Beatport Sounds pack
18 May '2023
Waajeed discusses 1990s Detroit, and the sounds of his genre-defying Beatport Sounds pack.
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“I wanted to be a B-Boy, but I sucked,” says Detroit native Waajeed (aka Robert O’Bryant) about his former ambitions for his career. “I wanted to be a rapper, but I'm dyslexic. So the natural next step was to think about DJing and production. It captured my interest; it was a space that I could use some of my artistic values inside of – it just made more sense than any other pillar of hip hop at that time.”

 

“My first influence in terms of music was probably Amp Fiddler. His house is very near my high school, and we used to see his tour bus drive by our parking lot when we were out there shooting dice. We would see this tour bus driving through the hood and it was almost like a UFO.”

 

 

Amp Fiddler would later invite Waajeed, J Dilla and several other youth in the community. If his tour bus was a UFO, Fiddler’s collection of drum machines, including an MPC 60 and an MPC 3000, were advanced alien sonic weapons, and it was here that Waajeed learned to wield this advanced musical technology.

 

So who better to bring the ultimate influences behind 90s Detroit to Loopmasters? Waajeed’s new sample pack, Dirt Tech Reck, is available now to buy on Loopcloud.

 

 

Creating the pack

With this pack for Loopcloud, it's very possible to have overthought this whole thing. It's a pack that is very near and dear to my process. My process is to not belong to any ‘cool kids club’. My process is to belong to your own club, and the celebration of oneself.

 

 

 

When I was making the pack, I had some people coming to the studio and some of them multiple times said, “Wow, you're gonna put that in the pack? Why don't you keep that for yourself?” But that's not my approach. On the East side of Detroit, people are not just hustling to win, but they're hustling to survive. And very rarely are you in a situation where the act of kindness is a natural part of the construct. So what I believe I offer with this pack is that I'm totally emptying my hand – I'm giving my best loops, I'm giving my best drums, I'm prepared to talk about all my secrets, I'm prepared to teach people how to build the pyramids, and I hope that we can't just have three, that we could have 3000.

 

The difference between producing and DJing

I can't do production and DJing simultaneously. As a producer, I'm always reaching for what's new. I'm always looking to concoct sounds or arrange and produce things in a way that has not been heard. But as a DJ, I’m always looking to connect. So one is ‘disconnected’ and the other is ‘connect’. It's very difficult for me to even think about them in the same space.

 

 

And even on the DJ side, when I'm making music, I'm producing music with my blinders: I don't know what's going on. I don't know who's doing what, I don't know what's hot. I have no clue. I'm really just focused on what comes from the ether. But when I'm DJing, I'm very much focused on the crowd. They're telling me what to do, they're telling me what feels good, they're telling me what's next. I'm listening and watching and reacting to what they do. 

 

They both inform one another, right? Because when you leave a club, you have a better sense of what's not there. And then my job in the studio is to create what's not there. And it's all 360 degrees.

 

Notes from Waajeed's latest album, Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz

Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz is a collection of not just my experiences in Detroit, but my experiences all over the world. I was playing with my mentor and OG Carl Craig, somewhere in France where he invited me to do an opening DJ set for him. It was very much like any other day, you're just chopping it up. 

 

I'm talking to Carl, and he's talking about Techno. And he's like, “Techno is the black man's version of jazz.” I thought about what he said, and then I went up on stage to start my set. His words echoed in my head over and over.  I’m thinking...there's something there about what he said – the connection between jazz and the connection between house and all of these things.

 

 

Rick Rubin says 'The best way to address or serve your fan base is to not think about them at all'. So the best way for me to meet some of my heroes, some of my OGs, is to not think about them whatsoever. This is my journey, it all comes back to those things that Amp Fiddler taught us in that basement: that you cannot fraud the public – the best you can do to them is bring your most natural self and celebrate your own history and your own journey. 

 

"I've walked in so many circles, and I've spent my life walking through the cracks; not quite a part of this or not enough to be that, being friends and confidants amongst giants. Being a giant myself. That's the core of Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz: acknowledging that space, and acknowledging that it's not enough to just be there, or be close to this space, but to make it my own."

 

Inside of Memoirs, you can hit up Jazz, you can do Hip Hop, you can hear Techno, you can hit Funk. You know, it's really just the bastard of all styles, which is what my style is.  You can get Dirt Tech Reck now on Loopcloud.