DJ Axel Interview

 

Conducted by JMcQ

How do you come up with all of the samples for the tracks on Breakin’ The Law? Do you plan out

a swarm of song ideas or how do you get the creative process going?

I always start with the beat. I hear a funky riff and start playing around with it on my turntables, mixing and mashing it with other songs to see what works.

What factors were there in your life to allow you to have such a diverse array of tastes?

I just love all music. When I was a kid my Dad always played Jazz or Classical music while I was playing drums in a Heavy Metal band in his basement. I embraced it all.

Why wasn’t Breakin’ The Law a $200 album, considering the amount of samples that were used? How do you get around copyright law, if you did, and what advice would you give to individuals that want to create music in the same vein as DJ Axel?

I’ve heard of copyright law, but I slept threw that class and cheated on the final. Getting mashups cleared is pretty difficult. My advice is to create your art and apologize later.

Have you been approached by any companies wanting to use your music? Who is the most famous or important person that you know that has listened to or likes your music?

I almost had a mashup licensed for a major motion picture, but it fell through because the rapper I sampled was getting sued for not clearing his samples…..oh the irony.

I had a residency at a swanky lounge / restaurant in Hollywood called The Falcon. George Clooney came through a few times and stopped by the DJ booth to compliment me on my tunes. However, any girls I was chatting up by the booth would immediately ditch me for him. Clooney was always throwin’ salt in my game.

Is Breakin’ The Law your first album? Will the next album you do be more of the same combination-creation of new music from old music, or do you have any other ideas for it?

Yes, Breakin’ The Law is my first album. I’m still working on a concept for my next album.

Do you consider the tracks on “Breakin’ The Law” to be original compositions and will there be any “traditionally”-conceived original compositions on future albums?

It’s hard to define “original composition”. Hip Hop has always featured samples and borrowed beats. But I hope to include some sample-free songs on my next album.   

Is there any purpose behind your music as DJ Axel? Do you operate with any political beliefs running through your track, or does your medium contain a philosophy about life?

There’s no political message in Breakin’ The Law. It’s all about packing dancefloors and having fun.

Do you go out on tour? If so, how do you manage things, do you scratch and layer over tracks or is this just a studio act?

Yes, I DJ for clubs and parties every week. I mix, scratch and mash live on 2 turntables.

Do you have any other projects that you are working on right now?

I’m working with New Line Records to develop a young R&B Artist named Elijah Kelley. He played the character Seaweed in the movie musical Hairspray….he’s a great singer/dancer/actor.

Do you have any acts besides those that in some form or another made it onto the disc that you are listening a lot to nowadays?

My tastes are so varied, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But as far as new artists I like Mylo, Calvin Harris, Wolfmother, Muse and LCD Soundsystem.

What was the impetus for naming the album Breakin’ The Law? Even more so, what was the purpose behind naming your act DJ Axel? While readers may be able to understand the “Breakin’ The Law” name of the album, the DJ Axel aspect feels much more nebulous.

My last name is Axelrad. ‘Axel’ has been my nickname since grade school.

The idea for the title “Breakin’ The Law” came to me when I was working on the Judas Priest mashup. Part of the allure of a bootleg CD is that it ‘breaks the law’.

What is your relationship with Holden Records?

I incorporated under the name Holden Records when I started pressing this album.

How can individuals, if they are interested, listen to your music? Can Breakin’ The Law be found in most major chain stores, or if not how can people get copies of the disc?

The Album is now available at over 40 indie record stores throughout the US. You can also buy the CD online from www.othermusic.com (keyword: dj axel).

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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