DJ Q-Bert: True Master
The True Master knows that if he had a God he could understand, he would never hold him to be God. – Andrew Davidson
If there were an intergalactic council of DJ’s, Q-Bert would sit at the head of the table. He is the global ambassador of Djing and no individual has done more to introduce the world to the possibilities of using the turntable as an instrument. Widely considered to be the best DJ of all time, he is credited with having innovated well over 100 different scratch techniques influencing nearly every DJ who’s scratched a record in the last 30 years. As a founding member of the DJ crew Invisbl Skratch Piklz he is a three time DMC world champion, was inducted into the DJ Hall of Fame and received the coveted title of Grand Mixer, a title only reserved for legends. Through his partner Yogafrog and company Thud Rumble, Q-Bert has been able to expand his influence in the culture; designing and releasing innovative DJ products, collaborating with the most successful DJ companies in the industry seeking his stamp of approval, teaching on his online school Q-Bert Skratch University, appearances in various video games including DJ Hero 2 and doing post production for the animated feature Turbo.
When I made my Mount Rushmore list of who I’ve always
wanted to interview, Q-Bert’s name was at the top. Part mystic, part
alien, part genius and part octopus, Q was the perfect person to talk to
about subjects that seem out of place in a conversation about djing.
He’s delightfully bizarre and I knew talking with him would make for
some great conversation. For me, interviewing him was a form of deity
practice (how do you talk to a God about being God?) and I am genuinely
appreciative for him allowing me to see through his eyes for a minute.
Ascience Gnown: You’re probably best known for your scratching abilities and taking turntablism further than anyone thought possible but how has your growth as a DJ helped you to grow as a person?
Q-Bert: It has taught me to create and make the world a better place with our skills and that’s pretty much what we do. You know the strongest power is creation. And we are blessed enough to be able to make the world a better place with our field. So it is a constant learning process as well.
And has it been an evolution for you in terms of your growth as a DJ, being able to do more in terms of either being a benefit to other people, being a benefit to the world – has that grown since you started?
Q-Bert: Oh yeah. Always it will never stop growing. It is like nature. It just blossoms. The universe just keeps blossoming into you know more beautiful things. And that is what we do. We just keep making things more beautiful. And if you stop, everything dissolves and everything goes haywire. So you have to keep going pushing the beauty forward.
What happens to you when you DJ? Are you able to notice anything that actually – is there a difference? Is there is a shift when you’re actually engaged in the practice itself?
Q-Bert: Well if I am having a good time, it shows through. You know, because our purpose is to be healers. We are healers, you know, making music. And if we are not healing people because we haven’t practiced or anything, then it is not really healthy for us either. So there is a constant, you know, behind the scenes. It’s a lot of practice and a lot of experimenting and we are in the lab literally constantly going through stuff and learning about how to heal the world with our music.
Are there any practices, as you said, kind of outside the lab or outside of when you are performing for other people, are there any practices that you engage in that are grounding for you, that are healing for you or transformative for you?
Q-Bert: I think they all are, you know? Like everything – every part of life is a learning lesson. You know there is a book called The Children of the Law of One that has taught me a lot about, like, outer space and spirituality and how other planets live their spiritual life and how other civilizations on advanced worlds are – what they know about life. And so that book has helped me a lot, and learning about all these other star systems and their cultures as well and incorporating that into earth life.
As a DJ, what is most important to you?
Q-Bert: Definitely to make the world a better place, to make the world a better place. Yeah. And to create new things that have never been created before.
What if anything can you say about the connection between the creation and what actually – what makes the world better? You know, what is the connection between those two things?
Q-Bert: Well, what I’ve learned so far is that we’re pretty much enslaved in this money magic system on this planet to be enslaved in a positive way because positively – if you look at a negative, yes we are slaves. But if you look at it positively, we are actually creating a new culture on the planet so that when we do engage with our star brothers and our star sisters out there, we will have our own culture. Imagine if this planet was super advanced from the get go we would be the same as whatever planet had visited us. Now being here and we don’t know shit, and we are learning and making up all of these new things, by the time we get out there, we will have new food to offer, new clothing, fashion, music, art, dance, culture – our planet will be unique among our star brothers and we will have (unintelligible). That is perfect for our blindness to the truth out there.