Let’s face it, the term DJ is very subjective – and that’s probably the Internet’s fault. But let’s be clear when you’re in the presence of a true turntablist, the difference becomes crystal clear. Kind of like drinking freshly squeezed orange juice. Real Mixtapes, by real DJs, were – back in the day – audio adventures that took the listener on a journey. Every nuance, including the track list, was laboured over, and the products stood the test of time. Kind of like classics by DJs like Rectangle, Shadow, or pretty much the entire Beat Junkies crew, just to name a few.
Needless to say, I’m a sucker for a well thought out, and seamlessly executed mix.
One DJ who I’ve up on for a while now is Eric The Tutor. He’s in every sense of the word a You-Tube, celebrity DJ. Why do I say that? Well, his mixes have earned him over 64,000 subscribers, and over 15 million views. His themed ‘best of’ mixes, such as his Biggie, Tupac, D’Angelo tapes, and his epic 8-hour long old school hip-hop mixes have made him something of legend online.
I reached out to Eric to learn a little bit more about his background in the DJ game, his influences – and how he feels about his You-Tube success.
How did you get into DJ’ing?
I always wanted to be a DJ. Ever since I was a little kid. I think from the moment I first heard hip-hop and reggae in the early nineties I was hooked! I never looked into though until years later. I was busy running a tutoring company (hence how I got my DJ name), and one of my students’ parents owned a DJ equipment distribution company. They were nice and hooked me up with some equipment, so I started practicing.
Who were some of your influences?
It’s hard to be from Montreal trying to become a DJ and not be influenced by whatever A-Trak is doing. He’s such a force in the DJ/music community. I always loved scratching, one of my first mentors was MTL DMC champ DJ mana – he was/is beyond technically skilled. I like to listen to everyone to get a feel for what they’re doing, the direction they’re going in, etc.
What was your reaction to the attention you started getting on You-Tube?
The You-Tube success wasn’t overnight, It was more of a steady grind; but, of course, it’s great that so many people listen now. I think one of the most important goals of music (and why I got into DJ’ing) is to share it with as many people as possible. I get tons of people messaging me saying how they enjoy the music – and sometimes I get amazing, personal, inspirational thank you messages. Those are always the most gratifying. It’s also given me a platform to connect with amazing people from around the world that I would never connect with otherwise, and I get to meet them when I travel, so it’s great.
Of all your mixes, do you have a favourite mix?
I don’t think I have a favourite mix. I listen to a bunch of my mixes, is that narcissistic? I listen to the D’Angelo mix a lot, though, he’s my favourite artist, so I’m probably biased.
Who are your fave artists out right now?
My current favorite artist is the Weeknd; I love the new take on r&b. J Cole raps a mean bar too – he’s got a nice old school flow, but it sounds fresh. Oh, and that Jamie XX, Young Thug & Popcaan track Good Times has been on repeat for a minute!