World DMC Vice Champion, current NZ Champ, and World online number #3, DJ Spell is well-known in hip hop circles. But he’s also a viral video star with his series of #kupuhou videos. Yadana Saw meets with the expert battle DJ and crash zoom artist.
Over an incredibly off-topic Facebook thread, DJ Spell and I concoct a plan that involves a fast-food mission, a bit of rakuraku and a korero about his viral and vinyl successes. Social media is his native home, but getting some kanohi ki te kanohi is trickier as he gets ready for turntable tournament season.
Much like our Rio-bound Olympians, Spell is about to commence some intense pre-competition training, which takes months and months of preparation.
“I hate it, it’s hard. The weeks leading up are really full on,” he says.
Spell’s preparation ideally begins a year out as he carefully constructs his battle routine. First up, he’ll select sounds and music that he will chop, change, manipulate and “flip” in order to show off his rhythmic skills with turntables and a mixer.
The world of pro turntablism is a specialised form of DJing where practitioners show off their technical abilities to beat-juggle, scratch and mix songs. It’s a world away from the club DJ playing your favourite tunes to get down on the dance-floor to.
LISTEN: Yadana Saw checks in with DJ Spell.