Interview with DJ Center (2010)

DJ Center’s new album, “Everything in Time,” has been getting rave reviews all over the place – remaining highly popular on LA radio and scoring a “91” on Next Friday, April 16th, Center puts it down at his NYC release party (info below – myself and several other djs are opening).

Center and I go way back, from digging records, eating pizza in the Village, and checkin classic shows in the late 90s. It’s great to see him finally drop his long-awaited album – and watch people dig it. I thought I’d ask him a couple questions about the process and where he’s at right now.

ian: i know you’re a tea connessiur. what’s your favorite and why? did you make a lot of tea in the lab while making the album?

dj center: Well, I do love a good cup of tea. Hands down the tea for me while making the LP was gun powder green tea. I’d mix some mint in with it for freshness. I’m not a coffee drinker. Something about the gun powder tea was giving me the necessary boost of energy I needed, without the nervousness that coffee can bring when drinking in large doses. Green tea is focus!

ian: if it was ’96 and you were pressing a 12-inch off the album, what songs would be on it? what would the cover look like?

dj center: If it were ’96. I’d probably be releasing the record I did with Oddisee  (“Leave the City Outside”) as a 12”. It’d have a nice remix and a simple dope photo based cover, with a real clean label. Maybe “Center’s Groove” would be there as bonus, or maybe there’d be “The Rain” as an interlude in between tracks- I used to love beat interludes on independent 12”s. One of my favorites has to be the first Natural Resource 12” from 1996. That interlude beat was so nice.

ian: when it was 96, what’s a classic record you copped doubles of at fat beats?

dj center: Natural Resource’s 12”, the green label DJ Krush “Meiso” 12” w. “Only The Strong Survive” on the flip,  J-Live’s “Braggin’ Writes” w. the Spinna remix…the list goes on. That was an incredible time for independent Hip Hop.

ian: now it’s 2010, age of serato. are there any cds / mp3s that you wish there was a vinyl version of? why or why not?

dj center: Yes, of course. Whenever I truly love a track, I crave the 12” release. I’m about sound quality in music. I love well recorded joints that sound warm. Listening to vinyl was always like listening to music and having an imaginary fireplace going at the same time. You’d hear the slight vinyl crackle, like wood burning and the warmth from the sound of the wax made you feel good. I’ll never stop loving and supporting the analog.

At the moment, I wish I had vinyl for Silhouette Brown’s “Constant Questions”, Ocote Soul Sounds “Vendende Saude Y Fe” and Zaki Ibrahim’s “Eclectica….” EP.

ian: call out a favorite moment in making the album.

dj center: It’s hard to pick one moment because how each track came together was incredible in it’s own rite. But a special moment was connecting with Njimole from the Bay area. It was a blind date in the studio.  No expectations or egos and we had a ball in the session. By accident we left the window open while recording, but it was perfect. It was one of those bugged out Spring type days in late January. I feel like the weather was recorded onto that one.

ian: drop any shout outs, random facts or things people should know.

dj center: Shouts to for being OG purveyors of dopeness. I feel blessed to have been able to complete a full album project and have this time documented. Please listen to it as an album front to back. I hope the music provides therapy for you where ever you are. Enjoy it, we certainly did when making it. My movements-

All love.

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