, , ,

[rock the dub Interview]: DJ Wally Pish Posh

Being a weird-ass teenager, I was always looking for some subversive shit to get my mind wrapped around. Without a drug habit in my high school years, my main escape was music. I'd read articles in magazines and then scour the mom & pops in my area, feeding the beast. This is how I stumbled upon DJ Wally. I actually discovered him on Soulslinger's Don't Believe album, and once I heard he had his own album dropping (Genetic Flaw), I was all over it. Quirky sense of humor, tough beats, ill(bient) intellect and just a keen ear for melody, this CD is a staple of my collection, and something I always delve into every few years, for old times sake. I've since followed Wally's career, from his Jungle turn was Pish Posh back in the Rawkuts days to his more experimental excursions following that. He's a gifted DJ, a talented music maker, and a ganja enthusiast. So, on this, the global cannabis holiday, it's only right to bring you this interview with Wally that I've had on my thumb drive for a minute...

khal: You’ve been creating music for a while, it seems. When did you first start producing? Was there one particular thing that made you decide to try your hand at beat making? And when did you realize that you were onto something?

DJ Wally: I think I first starting making tracks back in 1990, and it would have been something I thought about for a bunch of years prior. I used to listen to the weekend radio shows on WBLS with Mr. Magic & Marley Marl and Kiss FM with DJ Red Alert or Chuck Chillout here in NY, and I would buy all the 12"s them guys were spinning on the shows and try to imitate their mixes. I would later recognize the music from the tracks was sampled from previously recorded songs and that’s when I knew I wanted to make Hip-Hop beats.

khal: Who are some of your influences, musically, and just in general?

DJ Wally: Well, obviously the usual suspects: Kool Herc, Bam, Red Alert, Marley, Pete, Premier, Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Beatles, Bob Marley, The Police… the list goes on and on musically; outside of music, I would have to say Rodney Dangerfield and David Icke.

khal: How does your writing process differ from when you first started, if it differs at all? Do you approach, say, a Hip-Hop track differently than you would a DnB tune?

DJ Wally: When I write Hip-Hop tunes, the bulk of what I’m creating is usually hammered out in less than 20 minutes, and I still make Hip-Hop the same way I made it back in 1990... ha-ha, if it ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it. With DnB, I will usually start out with some layered drum patterns then work out some bass and then some strings etc., and go on to creating different sequences of the same sounds to keep it progressive.

khal: What’s your setup like these days? Do you use both software and hardware to create music, and if so, do you have any preferences in terms of programs, instruments, etc.?

DJ Wally: Mostly all software these days. I fire up my MPC2000 when I make some some vintage Hip-Hop. I’m a Reason and Cubase user for the most part, but I have all of the hot shit and use all different sequencers from time to time just to stay current. Some favorite VST's include: Slayer2, z3TA, Predator, Korg Legacy, wavs, plug-ins, etc. - although my tools have changed somewhat, my approach is still the same.

khal: Now I, like many other heads, first heard your music around 1997, which culminated with your awesome Genetic Flaw album. Can you take us to your mind state back then – were you trying to make a statement, or was this just a compilation of tracks you were making at the time?

DJ Wally: It was a weird time in NY... experimental Hip-Hop was new and fresh. There were lots of parties all week long; there were a bunch of us playing these parties: DJ Spooky, DJ Olive, DJ Smash, DJ Chillfreez, DJ Swingsett - my mind state back then was very “DJ”; I was spinning most nights and making tracks during the day, but I was hearing people talking about Trip-Hop, and I thought that sounded wack; then I would hear the so-called "Trip-Hop" tracks, and they were more or less instrumental Hip-Hop tracks, so I thought they should sound sillier/crazier and more memorable. As far as Genetic Flaw, it was definitely a concept album like all my CDs: pure silliness.

khal: 1998 followed suit with two full-length releases from you: Stoned Ranger Rides Again and the first Pish Posh CD, Up Jumps The Boogie. Noticeably, your output was getting crazy love at the time. Was it a conscious effort to drop more Jungle at the time, or were you just going with the flow?

DJ Wally: Jungle was just part of the package in NY at the time. The experimental parties were Dub, Jungle, Ambient and Trip-Hop, all on the same night, usually split up on 2-3 different sound systems in 2-3 different rooms. I was constantly getting my fill of Jungle all the time even though I was not spinning or buying Jungle records. Eventually, I just wanted to create more of an energetic vibe so I began experimenting with Jungle production which later turned into Drum & Bass.

khal: How did the Rawkuts deal come about, and why did it seem to fold as fast as it came up? Were there any tracks that didn’t get to see the light of day during that period that you’d wish had come out?

DJ Wally: I signed to Rawkus in ’97; they were not the Hip-Hop giant they became at this point. They were a small outfit with an endless bank account to play with – essentially the American Dream. Their taste in music was all over the place, from Hip-Hop to experimental Dance and Rock, so eventually they wound up becoming a Hip-Hop label after big success with Mos Def and Pharoahe Monch; Rawkuts was created to keep things separated for marketing purposes and to just give the label its own identity.

khal: Speaking of Rawkuts, I remember you did remixes of both Reflection Eternal AND Blackstar tunes. Has Kweli and Mos heard your remixes? Were they receptive? How “into” DnB was Rawkus at that time?

DJ Wally: At this point in time, Rawkus was into DnB and those remixes both got rave reviews from the label and from Kweli & Mos.

khal: Out of all of the DJ Wally/Pish Posh CDs you’ve released, which would you say is your most complete release, and why? On the flip to that question, which project do you wish you could go back in and take another crack at?

DJ Wally: I think I would have to say Emulatory Whoredom, because I created that just after 9/11 and it was a crazy time in NY (as well as everywhere else in the world). I think, when I listen back to that CD, I can feel the tension and uneasiness that I felt back in Sept. of 2001. As far as going back to any album, I could go back to any of them and find things I would have done differently...

khal: With DJ Seen and Chris Thomas, you three linked up and became the Burner Brothers. You guys have been staples in the NYC DnB, as well as a force to be reckoned with in American DnB. How did you three get together, and what is it about you guys that clicks the way it does?

DJ Wally: We are just really tight friends, with all of us being into all the same things, so obviously we just click with making tunes.

khal: Rumblings have been going around within the last year or two about the Burner Brothers in some way, shape or form getting back into the studio and banging out some new material. Has this ever gone down?

DJ Wally: We have a few DnB things in the works... myself and Chris Thomas are constantly working together in the advertisement industry making music for all the cable and major networks.

khal: Only those who follow your discography will see how deep your remix game is, with you doing work for artists like Hive, Nina Simone, George Michael, Alicia Keys and Afrika Bambataa, among others. Are you being presented with these opportunities, or do you create the remixes then shop them to the labels? Also, what would you consider to have been your best remix?

DJ Wally: Remixes are usually presented to me and are exciting opportunities to really put your unique twist on something, especially if it happens to be a song you really like. I think my favorite remix would have to be Nina Simone. She is timeless and unforgettable.

khal: Aside from the Burner Brothers, you’ve also collaborated with artists like Swingsett, Soulslinger, Willie Ross and others. Do you have any artists that you have not worked with yet that you’d like to?

DJ Wally: All of the above mentioned are friends of mine. As far as collaborating with other artists, I am always open to new ideas. I could create a list that goes on forever of artists I would like to work with.

khal: What’s going on with Proximity Minds? Are you guys still bangin’ out tracks?

DJ Wally: It has been a minute, but we are definitely gonna get back on that real soon.

khal: Currently, what are you working on? Is that your beat on that Ice T track for the Gangland TV show? What about “Hamburger Hill”? Is there anything else we can look out for from you in the near future?

DJ Wally: Yes, that’s my track featuring Ice-T for The History Channel’s Gangland series. Look out for my man Big Pep - he's one of my main projects I’m working on: he's fiya!! Trust me!!! I’m also working on some more biz from Mental Sharp and Shannon Swain.

khal: Are you still actively DJing? Where can heads see you spin in the coming months? Do you have a current top10 of tracks you’re feeling?

DJ Wally: Currently, I am not spinning out much any longer. I will spin for friends at private parties or larger corporate/celebrity parties. I just got washed out on the whole DJ thing: I was spinning every weekend, Fridays and Saturdays all over the country from like ‘98-2001, then I started to slow down and only play the real worthwhile shows. 9/11 killed the party scene: promoters were afraid to throw large events; they still are.

khal: Outside of making music, how do you spend your time?

DJ Wally: Raising my 7 year old daughter with my wife, living on the beach and enjoying life.

khal: Do you have any final comments/advice/etc. for the heads?

DJ Wally: Don’t pee in the pool... Only users lose drugs... A friend with weed is a friend indeed.

As a special 4/20 mix, I have re-upped and am now sharing Wally's Whole Car Top 2 Bottom mix. This thing is a 30 minute excursion that's heavy on the basics, drawing from a plethora of sample sources, found bits and other gems, in a special Wally style. Make sure you take two hits, take two more, then throw this jammy on. Shouts to Wally for sorting that to me, and for rocking the interview!


No comments: