it really is about time we caught up with this hugely talented DJ/Producer.
He has been hustling hard for years. Mixtape after mixtape has been
put out and fortunately for anyone with good taste in music, he
got signed to Breakin Bread in the middle of last year. His track
‘You Never Change’ was released toward the end of 2007.
Let’s get you started with an exclusive. Although his skills lie
in scratching and producing beats, Para’s tune selection is also
not to be tested. When I approached him about doing a BITS! mix
he brought it to my attention that if he was going to do it properly,
it would take him at least 6 months. Instead he’s put together a
compilation of some of his favourite tracks, no mixing, no scratches,
just dope tunes…
The DJ Para Compilation Tracklisting:
Para - Intro
Freestyle Fellowship - My Fantasy
Larry Coryell - Morning Sickness
Dynametrix - I’m not a weakling
John Klemmer - Free Soul
Organized Konfusion - Releasing hypnotical gases
The Shocking Blue - Love Buzz
Pip Skid - These colors don’t run
Jacques Lousier - Pulsion
Q Bert - Scroll of the Wrist Beam
Eyedea - Powdered Water
Of Mexican Descent - Money is Meaningless
PD3 - Rehearsing live at the Jumbo
RJD2 - The Chicken bone circuit
4 Hero - Third Stream
Now for the interview:
Right, first stop, can you introduce yourself to the masses -
What are you first and foremost, Scratch DJ or Producer of dope
I guess firstly I would be considered a scratch dj. I got into production
at a later date but now I probably spend the same amount of time
making music as I do practising scratching. I know that you spent
some time in the United States – can you tell us a little more about
that experience and how it affected you? The first time I went out
was in 1999 to San Diego. Within 1 day I had hooked up with a crew
out there called the Creatures and moved from my motel into one
of their houses. It was surreal to say the least, the whole crew
was kind of living there, everyone had their own room with set ups
to make beats.
Everyday something was being recorded. That’s also where I met ‘Tenshun’
probably my favourite scratch dj I heard to date. We would practice
a lot together, it opened up my mind considerably, he was like a
Jazz scratch Musician. I went out to San Francisco a year later
and again stayed with Destin; he had moved up by then and was working
at Amoebas record shop. I loved every minute of both trips, came
back with a truck load of records and a lot of inspiration.
What was the name of your first mixtape and is it still available?
The first mix tape I put out was called ‘Complete Paranoia‘ I think
I put out around 100 copies or so I know a few are still floating
about somewhere but its definitely not available anymore.
You are Swindon born and bred. What was it like growing up as
a hiphop head in that town?
I wasn’t actually born in Swindon but definitely bred there. I was
born in Bournemouth then moved to Wales for a few years then moved
to Swindon around 1986. The hip hop scene in Swindon always was
and still is pretty hardcore. I was taught from the very beginning
about every element of the culture and the importance of knowing
the history. I grew up with a lot of people I genuinely looked up
I was also given ‘tough love’, I remember when I first started writing
I had my torch pen stamped on for being too much of a toy to use
one. Another friend got slapped for peering into a crate of records
that wasn’t his, haha. It was brilliant it was like being in the
military every day you would get challenged on something. The hip
hop scene was intense, really intense; we never had any backing
from clubs or bars so it would literally be lino’s in the park for
the b-boys and street cyphers for the mc’s.
I know that for myself and the other members of Hiphopalypse,
we took a lot of inspiration from yourselves and the scene in Swindon.
How did you find playing out in Oxford as opposed to Swindon?
Well when you play in Swindon a lot of time the music you play is
falling on deaf ears. It’s a very fast growing town but it still
frustrates me with its attitude towards music policies in clubs
and bars. I have had countless run ins and arguments with club/bar
owners who try to get to involved with the music instead of running
They still have dress codes! Nuff said. When I play in Oxford I’m
usually playing to a crowd where the majority are there for the
music itself. Oxford has shown loads of support for me personally
and I always love playing there. Hiphopalypse also gave Baila and
me the chance to support some cool artists so word up for that.
My first memory of you was going to see NoMoHo at Riffs Bar back
in 2001. How did find playing in that band?
It was consistently funny, every single time we played together
we had fun and I think that’s was the main reason we became popular.
We were essentially an improvised hip hop/funk band. At one point
we were playing once or twice a week every week for about 2 years.
The crazy thing was the band never rehearsed, I honestly think in
the 4 years we were together the band rehearsed about 5 times no
Still to this day I get people asking if they can book The No More
Horses, sometimes I wish we took it more seriously and worked on
material, especially nowadays considering the amount of funk/hip
hop bands that have had success since.
One of my favourite releases from you and Baila was the Saxton Collection.
It really seemed like that release was the one that set you on your
way – Yeah you’re probably right, that was hard work though. Baila
would come to mine in the morning and we would work on that mix
till about 5 or 6 in the eve and probably get about 30 seconds done.
We would put a lot of thought into each section and argue every
step of the way on best ways to flip drums or where the scratches
should go and so on. This would be followed by fits of laughter
and a quick game of darts. This became the daily routine. That and
Baila always arriving with some kind of cake to eat. We really wanted
to make it as detailed and musical as possible. I’m still really
pleased with that mix.
What has been your favourite project/release to date?
The one I’m working on right now…Until I start the next one.
You and Baila played NYE for Breakin Bread, how was it?
Yeah it was really cool. Thanks to everyone that came. We had a
full dance floor to play to which always helps as well as Stig of
the Dump hosting and getting the crowd lively. Thanks as well to
Skeg for putting on the night and putting us up.
Favourite meal? Roast.
Worst item of clothing? Polo necks (destroy them all)
Made any NY’s resolutions? None whatsoever.
You are obviously making moves and I expect to see you continue
in your ascendancy this year. What releases have you got lined up
The fifth battle weapon should be out any day now; I’m hoping I
can get another 3 or 4 out this year. Also I have been working on
a solo album for a while and looking to get that wrapped up this
year, the first release from this was the Breakin Bread 7?, and
hopefully there will be another 7 dropping soon. I just finished
another cut and paste style mix and plan to start working on something
with Baila and Acme later this year (look out for that!)
Right, people who haven’t heard any of your material need the
knowledge. Aside from checking your beats on LMFLH’s Vol.1+2, where
can we hear your stuff?
Most of my earlier releases are now only available through my web
site (djpara.com). Everything else you can get hold of via online
stores or independent record shops.
Boombox Distribution carries most of my releases.
Where are you next playing out?
Oxford at The Cellar for The Dugout. That should be a good night.
Fancy, coming down to Brighton and playing a set at Blunted?
Lastly, have you got any shout-outs/thank you’s?
Yes… But because once I mention a few a very long list will appear
so I’ll leave it at “Thanks to everyone”.