DJ Junior is one of the most humble and well rounded artists that you will meet. Not only is he a DJ and radio host, but as the founder and curator of the highly regarded RecordBreakin’ Music he’s also a tastemaker. As the owner of an independent, boutique label, DJ Junior has introduced many artists such as Kissey Asplund and Coultrain to our ears free of politics or bureaucracy with only his good taste and integrity as a guide. At just five years old, DJ Junior’s label has earned more respect in a short period of time than it’s peers and shows no signs of stopping. DJ Rahdu of BamaLoveSoul takes you behind the curtain to meet the man with the master plan
BamaLoveSoul: How did you get started with music? We know that you’re a well regarded DJ. Did you play an instrument, sing in the choir, etc?
DJ Junior: One of my uncles put me up on tunes. He used to make me mixtapes and school me on artist when i was in elementary & jr high. At that same time was when i learned a bit of steel pan from another uncle
BamaLoveSoul: Steel pan, so that’s the Jamaican heritage coming through…
DJ Junior: Yup, that uncle was in Trinidad for a bit and came back to Jamaica. When i was down there one summer he taught me a few things. From then i really got into lots of different styles of music. Things took off from there
BamaLoveSoul: Philadelphia has bred a veritable who’s who of DJs. How did you get started?
DJ Junior: I started djing in college. I had my own radio show and got asked to dj alot of different college parties. After graduation I moved out of the country and stopped djing. When I returned to the US I moved to Philly for grad school. That same semester Footworks opened; A record store, sneaker, art boutique owned by Rich Medina & Bobbito Garcia. I started collecting heavy again and started djing again.
BamaLoveSoul: Were u ever into the turntablism culture that Philadelphia is popular for?
DJ Junior: I appreciate it but was never into it
BamaLoveSoul: We know that you have varied musical tastes. Please tell us about RecordBreakin, where the name comes from and why you started it.
DJ Junior: At the time I was djing and had my second college radio show Eavesdrop radio. I was making mixes for friends and came up with using the logo I use now on them. Saying it was a Record Breakin’ production. When Philly started shutting down shops for illegal mixtapes I thought it would make sense to actually put out music officially. I was getting tons of music from artist to play on the radio show so why not ask about putting it out. That is how the 1st 2 compilations came about. I thought I was breaking in new and underground artist. Since then that goal hasn’t changed, so the name sounds fitting.
BamaLoveSoul: As a popular DJ with a boutique record label, what is your selection process for artists that will appear on your label. Im sure you must get many submissions and offers
DJ Junior: Well, let me say I’m not a popular dj but thanks. A lot of time artist just submit material. I also have a group of friends that are artists, journalists, & tastemakers that have really served as my A&R. They have brought projects to me for consideration. Other times I see an artist perform or hear about them and approach them myself
BamaLoveSoul: Congratulations on RecordBreakin reaching 5 years as an indie label. Aside from that what is your proudest achievement with the label?
DJ Junior: Thanks, honestly I think still standing. It’s just me running the label. No interns, quiet investors, partners nada. So still being able to do what I set out to do with the label is a blessing. It has grown each year and I look forward to the future
BamaLoveSoul: Understood. What challenges do you face operating an indie label?
DJ Junior: File sharing, coming up with my own funds to finance the projects, an industry with a dwindling craving of physical products
BamaLoveSoul: What is your motivation to continue in the face of these adversities?
DJ Junior: There is AMAZING music that talented artist continue to make that NEEDS to be heard and supported. Plus I love doing my part to spread the message of honest, soulful music in ALL its forms.
BamaLoveSoul: I’m going to play Devil’s advocate and also move on to one of your other endeavors. Why continue with RecordBreakin’ when you also have Eavesdrop Radio as an avenue to break artists and have their music heard?
DJ Junior: Honestly, I think if you have the opportunity to use multiple resources in your life for something you believe in why wouldn’t you? Think of the dj that spins, produces, promotes shows, etc. That plan applies to people even outside of the music industry. If you are passionate about it, you will strive to continue and build the cause
BamaLoveSoul: So exactly how long have you been broadcasting Eavesdrop Radio?
DJ Junior: Good question, I’m not sure. I know i started Eavesdrop radio myself at a different time slot for about 2 years. Then lil’ Dave and I decided to do the show together and I believe that has been about 7 or 8 years. Every week and we rarely miss a show…RARELY lol
BamaLoveSoul: You keep a steady rotation of great and really diverse tunes in your programming. How do you stay plugged in while focusing on Recordbreakin’ as well?
DJ Junior: I don’t sleep and have successfully cloned myself
BamaLoveSoul: Lol, that’s what you should be selling vs. music then, (laughs). Seriously though, do you split selection duties w/Lil Dave?
DJ Junior: Well for the show we have no rules. We just look at it as 3 hours to play what we like and that’s what we do. I think that is how the diversity pours out. We just play joints we like and want others to hear. For the label it’s what I like and what I think others should hear. For both the label and the show there is no politics. If we like we like, nobody forces us to play stuff. For the label my focus has been there are talented artist out there that i think should get some shine
BamaLoveSoul: No rules, just good music and no politics? Understood. Lil Dave also recently did a mix for RB5. That’s quite an accomplishment for an indie, congratulations once agin. What should the people expect on the release?
DJ Junior: Thanks. The RBM 5 year compilation is a selection of tracks I handpicked from the past 5 years that I think is a good introduction and representation of the label. There is one track that is a re-edit of a Coultrain track that I collaborated with Souled from the UK and folks that heard it in its ruff stage were begging me to release it. Dave’s mix is a collection of tracks he likes from the label as well as upcoming tunes that will come out in the future on RBM
BamaLoveSoul: A celebration of achievement is a wonderful way to begin a year. What else can we expect from Record Breakin’ in 2011?
DJ Junior: So much, lets see: We just released Dotmatic – Lullabies for Winter, upcoming is Dotmatic – It’s Yours (EP), Vicelounge – Canned Goods was also just released. We have two SXSW showcases in Austin. Then in no particular order be on the lookout for: Record Breakin’ Ensemble, J1 the Deer, I, Ced, Hot Peas & Butta, DJ Stylus (ft. Ty, Lyric L, Motet), much more from Dotmatic, Vicelounge, Spinnerty, lil’ dave, LP (Lisa Preston), Anthony Valadez, Sir Froderick…there are others but I have to leave some surprises right?
BamaLoveSoul: True indeed, and that list is more than enough to set me and many others to saving money! Now how can people tune into EavesDrop Radio and get more info on RecordBreakin releases?
DJ Junior: Yeah save money cause the releases are physical and digital. Keep vinyl alive!
DJs Junior & Lil’ Dave
Listen every Friday
WKDU 91.7FM in Philadelphia
or Listen world wide on-line at www.wkdu.org
For Record Breakin’ Music
BamaLoveSoul: Thank you so much for setting some time aside for us and sharing this info. We look forward to all the future releases, RBM5 is in stores now. Keep Vinyl Alive (Record Store Day is Apr.16 2011, By the way) and make sure to support RecordBreakin at SXSW!
DJ Junior: Appreciate all that you do to inform the good people of the wonderful music that does exist.
BamaLoveSoul: Thank you, same to you. We have to keep “Good” Music alive