In the past couple years DJ IQ has been dominating the competitive scratch scene with an unparalleled level of success. Chopping up his competitors around the world with a wide array of styles, speed, and power. He has been raising the bar higher each year with resounding victories over some of the planet’s best scratch DJs. His scratch videos have gathered hundreds of thousands of views and have inspired countless DJs to get off their computers and go practice with the hopes of being 1/10th as skilled as he is. We are honored to have him answer a few questions for about competing, practicing, and parenting. Its time to get schooled by DJ IQ.
You have had an amazing run of scratch competition victories in the past couple years, tell us about the titles you have won.
2012 QSU Valedictorian
2012 Battle Ave Cut 2Cut LA
2013 IDA World Skratch Champion
2014 IDA World Skratch Champion
2014 Beat4Battle World Champion
2015 DMC US Skratch Battle Champion
2015 IDA World Skratch Champion
2016 DMC US Skratch Battle Champion
It kind of started when I won the QSU Valedictorian in 2012 and then it snowballed from there. I won the first Battle Ave Cut to Cut (or Dirtstyle Vinyl Challenge as it was called before) in LA, then I won the IDA World title 3 years in a row. I also won the only Beat4Battle World Cup which was in France. Additionally, I won 2 US DMC Skratch competitions in a row. I am very honored and blessed to have such a successful battle history.
What separates you from the other competitors? Speed, Technique, Funk?
I think its my combination of all three that you mentioned plus flow, jazz and power, I think I have a distinct style that blends the old school and new school skratches. I feel like my style sounds different than other skratch djs because my combinations are mostly spontaneous and usually based off of feel like a jazz musician.
You seem to generate a lot of speed from your record hand, how did you get it to that level?
I think I got it from just practicing a lot, a lot of repetition and since I’m right handed it’s my strong hand.
What is your go-to Scratch or Combo?
I think double-click flares(cause theres a lot of combinations and skratches that come from them) and stabs(depending on the beat) and different types of tears.
What is your current preferred setup?
2 techs and any mixer that you can skratch on, specifically the Vestax 06 for simplicity and rawness but I like all the Vestax PMC mixers as well as the Rane 62, Traktor Z2, DJTech mixers, Mixar mixers, etc.
I notice you use scratch vinyl instead of a DVS system, are you too fast for DVS?
Haha! I don’t think I’m too fast I just prefer the feel and immediate response because when it come to skratching every millisecond makes a difference. Which program do you feel is closest to keeping up with you? I heard Traktor is the tightest(closest to real vinyl regarding delay) but I’ve only used it a few times and don’t use it in my current setup. Since Serato is more standard I usually use Serato.
You are married to a talented scratcher, DJ Eri, how often do you session together?
As much as we can but right now with a new baby it’s hard to find the time, but I’d say whenever we have free time. Do you each have your own setup at the house, or do you share one? We have our own setups cause we like to use a different mixers so it’s easier than sharing a fixed setup.
People love the videos of you scratching with your baby, when does the official training begin?
Haha! Thanks everybody! The training already began when he was in her stomach listening to skratch music, lol, so it’s definitely already in progress.
Who are your biggest scratch influences?
DJ Premier, Daddy Rich of 3rd Bass, Aladdin, X-ecutioners, the DJ who did the skratches on the U.M.C.’s album(Kid Magic I think), Ned Hoddings, Beat Junkies, ISP, DJ Eri and my crew The Handroidz plus many more but those are just some off the top of my head.
Tell us about your practice habits?
I don’t practice anymore lol, just kidding I practice whenever I get time which is hardly ever nowadays but when I do it’s usually less than an hour and I just skratch to different tempos working on flow and techniques but mainly I just try to have fun, be musical, and express myself freely.
What tips do you have for people who want to improve their scratching?
Study the history, have a good knowledge and passion for it and love doing it, practice as much as possible, skratch with other people(who are better than you), have a teacher(or someone who inspires you to get better), learn fundamental concepts first(timing, hand control, flow, baby skratches, rhythm, counting bars) then learn techniques later, try to copy skratches(from professionals, top skratch djs, djs that you think are dope,etc.) then make them your own/incorporate your own flavor, record your skratches on audio or video and then listen and study those recordings to find flaws and to know what to improve on. Keep up on the latest technology, styles, skill levels to know where you’re at skill-wise and how to get better. Lastly, never stop being a student and never stop practicing!!! Thanks!!
Thank you DJ IQ for inspiring our imagination and showing us how far scratching has come. We are in awe of your speed, power and style, and we can’t wait to see more videos. Stay a cut above
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