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Judge DJ Cavia Talks about China's Biggest DJ Battle, Happening Saturday

Aug 5, 2016 | 17:49 Fri
Back in 1989, Chicago DJ Bad Boy Bill pulled out his member and scratched a record at the end of his set in the Disco Mix Club (DMC) Championship, the world's biggest competition for battle DJs. He got third place. If anyone was going to do something that brazen at Saturday's 2016 China DMC Championship, it would be DJ Cavia. But he's not competing, he's judging. He already won the event in 2008. We spoke with the man who calls himself "your mom's favorite doom metal DJ" about what's going down at the event at the Kerry Hotel in Pudong.

What up. Can you give us a little intro to the contest tomorrow (how many people, what the rounds are like, what judges are looking for)?

DJ Cavia: We have 15 contestants tomorrow, coming from all over China. We've already had four pre-games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shanghai, and these 15 are the best out of 40. They only get one round, each with a six minute routine, judged mostly on their skills and their taste in music.

When you won the championship in 2008, what were you playing? Would your set still hold up in 2016?

DJ Cavia: Yep I think my beat juggling in the 2008 set is still the most complicated, and I haven't seen anyone who can do that kinda trick. They simply don't know how to. I was juggling a sample of Bobby Byrd's "I Know You Got Soul" and that helped me win. Even Shortkut came up to me and said he never saw anyone did that before. And I played mostly funk a a bit of drum n bass. I was practicing 10 hours a day for three months before the China final. After I won, two girls were standing by my prize -- a Rane 57 mixer. I met so many different people that night and I don't remember anything about the two weeks after that except partying. Just felt like the world had opened the gate for me.

Besides glory, long-term, what does the winner get? Will they get booked more? Higher DJ fees?

DJ Cavia: They have the chance to compete in London for the DMC World Final. Also, if they are willing to, DMC China will manage them for more shows and tours. Usually, if you win the national champion, everything will be easier for you after.

When you won, they flew you out to London, right?

DJ Cavia: Yeah that was my first time out of China, feeling fresh especially after three months in my bedroom. I met the Japanese champions at London airport and play asalato with them. Good times. London had that weird good sunny days in the late September, and temperature was just perfect. Gary [Wang, a.k.a. V-Nutz, from Shelter and The Grumpy Pig] showed me London's record shops and I dug some John Coltrane and Iggy Pop. Cashmere Cat battled that year too. He was called DJ Final and won 4th place.

The DMC is really technical, right? Is it just DJs doing nerdy stuff, or are you also looking at who can rock a crowd at a party?

DJ Cavia: Yes, it's really technical, but if one can do crazy skills and rock a crowd, he's the winner. [And] not only for the competition.

Are you still putting stickers on your groupies and taking pictures of them? What's up with that? Has anyone accused you of being sexist or tacky?

DJ Cavia: Yeah, I'll show you the latest one. Got more and more girls asking for it, just need some quality control. And I will print a shitty pixelated book after vol.100. As for complaints, not yet. Maybe they won't say it in front of me, or they simply block my WeChat. But I already got people reporting me to Tencent and asking them to delete my photos.


The 2016 China DMC Finals happen Saturday from 3-6pm at the Kerry Hotel in Pudong. It's free entry. Following that is an after-party at Arkham, which has DJ Kentaro, Kid Fresh, Cavia, DJ L-J, DJ EDI, and a special guest. Cover for that is 100rmb.


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