DJ Clockwork Talks Macadelic, Influences, Original Material, & More (VTT Interview)
At the Baltimore stop of the Macadelic tour, we sat down with resident spinner & Cincinatti native DJ Clockwork. Learn more about the dude in our talk below, and follow up w/him via twitter as the Most Dope crew is set to hit Europe come late May.
How’s the tour been so far, nice to be outside?
Super good, we we were just outside in Gainesville, FL, that shit was crazy, the outdoor shows are super cool. We’re doing a tour with Wiz in July and August (dates here), all our shows are gonna be outside so I’m excited for that
Good to be back in Baltimore as well?
Yah Baltimore is super ill, we played this same venue last year with Wiz too, and it was crazy tight then.
Well now it’s you guys doing these bigger stages on your own – how does it feel having that headline?
It’s crazy to me cuz i just remember performing in a garage, performing in like an outhouse in fucking Utah (whole room laughs)…some crazy shit! we performed in the most random spots that you could think of, and for us to be able to come from that to being able to perform at Roseland, selling out the Fillmore in Miami, and playing Pier 6 in Baltimore, for us to be able to do that is absolutely amazing. It still doesn’t really sink in with me of how many people we’re performing in front of, but it’s just amazing…
I wanna ask you about the The Come Up – you’ve been performing with them on tour, what can you tell us about them and your collaboration?
I really want people to hear this new album, called Change Of Plans, they’re about to put out – and they’re just an amazing group, lyrically, the beat selection is amazing, I love working with them every day and I want people to understand how influential they are for hip hop. And they’re from Pittsburgh, and they’re cool ass dudes.
In regards to your roots, your a Cincinnati dude, how was it coming up there and what were some of your influences growing up?
Cinci’s a soul city – Bootsy Collins is from Cincinnati, Zapp & Roger they’re from Cincinnati, a lot of soulful people come from there, so being able to come from Cincinnati and be able to represent that city, for me is great. I wear my town on my sleeve, every show, everywhere I go, so to be able to represent Cincinnati across the globe is fantastic. Also Hi-Tek is from Cinci, of all he’s gotta be my biggest influence growing up.
I’d imagine seeing Hi-Tek coming up with Kweli and their collaboration must have been inspiring.
I actually used to tour toured with Kweli and Hi-Tek as well, on their Reflection Eternal tour when they reunited for that one year.
How’d you come up as a DJ? prior to that experience and your linking up with Most Dope.
Started off when I was 15, just doing house parties, fraternity and college parties, graduated to clubs and shit, and then really started building my resume as a DJ. I met up with Mac and the whole Most Dope crew when he was like 17 or 18, and we did a 4-city Ohio / Kentucky tour. It was Lexington and Covington in KY, and Dayton and Columbus in OH.
Each show brought out 100-200, maybe 300 people max, and through that and the powers of the earth, we just connected. After those shows, we did an East Coast run which I was involved with, then did a West Coast run, and then a pretty official cross-nation tour.
Was that all pre-KIDS?
That was right when KIDS came out, ‘cuz we were still performing stuff from The High Life, stuff from Mackin’ Ain’t Easy, so we were still doing a lot of old material.
Beyond the immediate Most Dope crew, how is it touring with The Cool Kids and The Come Up, who by now you have a pretty solid relationship with.
It’’s crazy because I’ve had a relationship with Chuck Inglish well before we even toured. Chuck is my dude, I’ve known him for years – we did a DJ tour actually years ago, it was me Chuck and a female DJ out of NY, I love her to death – Jasmine Solano- and we did like a 4-5 city DJ tour. To be able to work with him in the past and now travelling with him, it’s just amazing, ‘cuz we all think alike, and we’re all cool with each other. With all of us, there are no egos like ‘i did that shit before’ or ‘i wore that shit before’, everybody’s just super cool, it’s just lovely.
Your main fan base today hasn’t grown up listening to the same material that’s most influential to you – do you think it’s important to deliver that sound?
Definitely, I’ve seen so many tweets, tumblr posts, facebook posts, etc from 16 or 17 yr old kids finding out about Tribe Called Quest for the first time – and they’re just like “oh my god this music is amazing, why haven’t I heard this before”, and for me it’s just like I grew up on that stuff.
That’s where I think Mac stands out as a star from other rappers, when it comes to influencing fans. Cuz the way that he educates his fans on old hip hop culture, so they know about it and they’re not oblivious to a Nas or De la Soul, or Big L record we might play, the kids aren’t lookin like “what the f*ck is this?” A lot of kids will actually know it, just because Mac’s filled ‘em in on it. The power that that guy has to influence his fans is really what separates him from others in the game out there.
The love that you guys get from these artists is great – they acknowledge that you’re doing justice in a way to their era of hip hop.
Exactly – “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza”- that’s a sample from Lord Finesse, “Hip 2 Da Game” which if you played the original, a lot of our fans may not even know who Lord Finesse is, but after listening and doing a little research, now they do. Once again, that shows his influential ability.
In regards to your solo material, tell us about your DJ’ing and any mixes you’ve got in the works.
Building off mixes and tapes in the past, I’m in many ways working towards crafting my own genre of music – working with alternative tools, instruments and sounds to do so. Before I met Mac I was already DJing at clubs, and was pretty well known playing venues in the Midwest and parts of the East, now i’m able to grow from the fans I’ve accumulated and share my music with them. On that end I’m trying to put out a full mix at least once a month.
On the tape note, not too many people put out good mixtapes anymore – anyone can put out a mixtape that has the hottest twelve records right now, you can blend some shit together, and you have a mixtape. I want my mixtapes to be like old ones, where if you wanna hear one song, you can’t skip to it, you’ve gotta take in the whole thing. When you used to make a mixtape for your girl in high school, you used to just smash songs together, I wanna bring that element back. Today DJing is the new superstar, everyone’s doing it, so you have to separate yourself – so in my tapes, my mixes, my live sets, I’m always trying to use the craziest shit mixed with the more popular shit.
What can we expect in the future – mixes, sets, and life with the crew.
Just dropped a mixtape called The Grow Op, released on 4/20, has over 20,000 downloads right now which is absolutely ridiculous, s/o to all the smokers and shit. And in the future I’ve got a mixtape coming out with my buddy Jimmy, Sweet James, Mac’s stylist, and we always compose music and shit – so there’s a tape from that coming out from our collaboration. It’s gonna be a double disc – (laughs) I’ve never even told anybody this, you’re the first to know – one side’s gonna be Morning Wood, and the alternate will be Sweet Dreams. On the team end, we’re going to Europe shortly, our tour with Wiz in the summer, and then the Macadelic tour again in the on the west coast. So, we’re moving, man…
…stay up with Clock at the links below!