vəˈräɡō/: a woman of strength or spirit; a female warrior.

Rude one talks to DJ A-SKI about the industry, jazz, hip hop & musical synesthesia

Nothing is more soulcrushing then watching my beloved Celtics lose to the Miami heat, but thankfully for me my other planned activity was chopping it up with Dj A-ski about hip hop, listening to Stevie Wonder as a kid and the alchemy that is synthesia. And like that…my rock ‘n’ roll heart was profoundly healed.

For those few of you not in the know, Dj A-ski is a turntabalist/musician/producer extraordinaire. A tireless Apostle for good vibes in an increasingly corporate Matrix that has become the ‘Music’ Industry. His list of collaborations is staggering, from Nikka Costa and Seal to New schoolers like Mayer Hawthorne and DJ Spinna to icons like George Clinton, Sly Stone and Marc Ford (Black Crowes). And believe me, I’m just naming a few. As I a man who’s rep is solely built on the sincere love of music, dance and atmosphere, when my boy Rob mentioned he knew this cat, I took it as a sign of the cosmos to get a chance to sit and hear what this brotha had to say. About? Well… everything.

RUDE_ONE: Hey man, I just wanna say how much I appreciate you taking the time to chop it up with me tonight man, good to talk to someone who truly isn’t about the bullshit especially when comes to Hip hop.

A-SKI: (Laughs) Thanks man. I knew your boy Rob for a while and we share the same views and vibes about music.

Hip hop has grown into so many different directions, to judge what’s good or bad is pretty much in the eye of the beholder. With the internet age people can decipher for themselves, but for me it’s pretty simple, either you’re dope or you’re wack.

RUDE_ONE: (Laughs) That’s funny. Can I use that as a quote?

A-Ski: (Laughs) Yes, you can.

RUDE_ONE: So here’s a standard question …what’s your process like when you create?

A-SKI: Hmmm…what’s my process? Well I always operate on a level of spontaneity, moving according to the vibe. If it’s summer, I make summer music. If it’s winter, it becomes a winter record.

RUDE_ONE: Go with the flow…

A-Ski: Yes, but there is also regiment, so spontaneity and regiment is my process.

RUDE_ONE: Damn. That’s pretty much Jazz..

A-SKi: Yeah, I’d go with that. Duke Ellington meets Sun Ra.

RUDE_ONE: I like that…

RUDE_ ONE: How old were you when you first got into music?

A-SKI: Well I first became involved around 2 years old. My brother played piano and when he wasn’t around I would bang on the keys and figure out the notes. By 5, I was on rhythm guitar and drums. I started making beats around 87-88.

RUDE_ONE: Aw, ’87-88. The beginning.

A-SKI: (Laughs) Yes, pretty much.

RUDE_ONE: Dude, I have monopolized enough of what little free time you have, but before I go, can you name an album that changed your life off the top of your head?

A-SKI: Just one?

RUDE_ONE: You can name five if its hard to narrow them down

A-SKI: Oh no, I got the one. It’s Innervisions by Stevie Wonder.

RUDE_ONE: Nice. And why is that?

A-SKI: Aw man, that record came out about ’73. I was 2. It was the first time I experienced musical synesthesia.

RUDE_ONE: Yup. Wait, what?

A-SKI: Synesthesia, seeing the music through colors.

RUDE_ONE: Damn, that’s deep.

A-SKI: I mean, I was 2 years old, so I didn’t know what Synesthesia was (laughs) but I knew what I felt. Now I can say it was spontaneous, futuristic and raw.

RUDE_ONE: Amazing album. Innervisions definitely helped create the rabid-rock-jazz fan and all the above in me as a kid.

A-SKI: It was where he was at at that time.

RUDE_ONE: Dude, thank you very much man. Glad you set aside some time to rap with a brotha tonight.

A-SKI: All good man. Great talking to you.

So please y’all, don’t sleep on A-ski’s new Album ‘Change the Mood’ off his label UNIQUE74, a massively soulful slice of sound landscapes made to move your body and heal your soul.


About P.Downes

A Los Angeles-based Bajan, rude boy from Boston, P. Downes (Writer/Film & Independent Music Editor) is a card-carrying music and comic book geek with dreams of making movies. He's a published comic book writer, most notably "Killer Ape and Other City Stories," a collaboration with Greg Moutafis about a black, punk band who comes of age on the night of the LA Riots. Rumor has it that he types his articles in Spider-man Underoos for good luck.
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