Interview in The Source Weekly
Volume 8. Issue 30. July 23rd, 2004

By Melissa Bearns

Despite the fact that he'd been up most of the night spinning at the Domino Room and said he was tired, DJ Wicked ordered not coffee but vitamin-filled orange juice at the Westside Bakery Saturday morning. He looks the part of a hip hop DJ. That morning he was wearing a DC baseball hat and t-shirt with Portland across the front, both black.

Meeting him in person, you're immediately struck by the disparity between the friendly, kind of quiet, almost shy guy in front of you and the image.

"He's easily Oregon's top hip hop DJ," said Chris Lohrey, a co-owner at the Grove where DJ Wicked spins one Thursday a month. "He's incredibly creative. His mix tapes are always full of really cool, weird stuff. But yeah, if you look at his recorded stuff, he comes across as super-hyped, with that image of a party animal."

Actually, DJ Wicked doesn't even drink. Growing up in northeast Portland, he started spinning in 1992. Two years later he moved to San Francisco, at the time when spinning, or turntablism, was just taking off. Two years later he made his way back to Portland and now opens for almost every major hip hop show that comes to Oregon, including Eminem a few years back.

In person, at least on an early morning after a late night, he's subdued. But he's got a playful sense of humor that comes out after he gets to know you a little and in his music. Six months ago, he quit his day job to DJ full-time and just released a new CD, Got Milf?, a play on the "Got Milk" commercials, milk mustache picture and everything.

So where'd the name come from?

Actually it's an old graffiti name I used to use. It kind of stuck with me when I started DJ'ing.

Tell me about Got Milf? It's kind of different from what you usually do.

I really went out there with that one. It's got all these songs from the 80s and 90s. It's the first time I did a project where I strayed away from hip hop. The way I put it together is the way DJ's put hip hop music together, with the scratching, but it's not hip hop.

Do you like coming to Bend and spinning at the Grove?

I love the Grove. It's probably one of my favorite places to play. In Portland it's hard to.I don't know if it's because people are too cool or what but it's hard to get people to dance. But in Bend the crowd is super into it and they're really responsive. I look forward to it every month.

What was it like growing up in Portland?

To me it feels like a small town. I feel like it's still behind as far as the music scene goes. [In San Francisco] I met a lot of people that really inspired me. After being down there for a couple of years, I came back to Portland and that's when I really starting pushing, started gigging out a lot.

What's kept you in it, passionate about it?

Just the music itself, it's so much a part of my everyday life. The whole thing, especially with turntablism, being able to create music as opposed to just play stuff other people have done.

What do you mean by turntablism?

That's probably the hardest thing to explain to people. It's just manipulating records to create new sounds. Like on Got Milf?, there's a hidden track at the end that's entirely turntablism. It's its own music, using records to create a song.

How have people reacted to Got Milf? It's kind of playful and funny.

I've already caught a lot of flack for it.

Like what?

(At that point he grinned and looked away)

Um, I'd really rather not say. The CD is so silly. I just wanted to have a good time with it. All those songs are old enough that people in their 30s would know them. The whole thing is all good fun.

What's in your CD player right now?

DJ D Styles. He's really dark and technical, a scratch DJ.

Do you have anyone you really admire, any idols?

A few. Mr. Dibbs, MixMaster Mike. Who else.there's so many people. D Styles, Q Bert.

Wasn't that a game from like the 80s?

Yeah I think so, he was like a little Rubix cube or something.

What do you do for fun?

I shop for records. That's a fun outing for me, I could spend all day in a record store.

Where do you hang out?

I work in the bars so much I try to stay out of them when I'm not.

Do you have any crazy stories, like nights when something's just gone totally wrong?

(Laughing) Oh man, so many nights. One night this girl came up and flipped my whole table over. That was pretty disastrous.

You're pretty successful at this point in an industry where there's a lot of competition. Did you ever get a big break?

No. I'm still waiting for it.