TF Archives

DJ Khalil

Author: Andrez
Friday, February 4, 2000
Breaking The Beats - DJ Khalil is one of those names that always appears on the bills of the more inventive parties, the ones where a mix of styles is encouraged rather than purged; he's as likely to drop a cool electro track you've never heard before as he is a deep house record or a catchment of breaks. This guy's supported Coldcut, Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Laidback, Freestylers and the Wiseguys; he's likely to turn up behind the decks at record company Christmas functions and, this weekend, he's set to play alongside Ben Sims at Rotation 5, then at the Big Day Out. High time, methinks, that we learned more about the man behind the breaks.

So, how did you get started and what keeps you inspired- "I started playing records about six years ago - my friends had started up a live trip hop/acid jazz type outfit which was pretty cool. We had live drums, bass, guitar, flute, an MC, and they needed someone to drop in samples and scratches, so I hauled out everything from the soundtrack to Paris, Texas and Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs, to plain beats and breaks records. The project didn't last long, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted and it always reminds me of how important collaboration is in making music. After that, I hauled myself around town doing lots of small breaks clubs and private parties, trying to get a name for myself. Phil Ransom gave me my first good break into clubs by putting me on at Purveyors, and he kept me on as a regular after that. My experiences in clubs since then have been good and hilarious; my favourite request was for That's What I Like About You by The Romantics when I was doing my residency at Uptop Bar with DJ Chewy. She was a truly great person to work with and is a great DJ; doing a Sunday residency with Kano at Revolver was fantastic, also - because of his long association with music culture in Melbourne, he has such a deep knowledge of what's going on. The same goes for DJs such as Ransom, J'nett, Jim K, Krystal and Nigel Last . . . if anyone out there hasn't heard sets by any of these people, I suggest that you go have a long listen. This is what keeps me inspired: people and their love of music and, conversely, music and how it affects people. While I may have played at some great parties and supported some internationals - Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, The Wiseguys, Laidback, Freestylers and Coldcut - forming relationships with the locals has been the greatest experience of all."

What was the Coldcut experience like for you, personally- "It was truly amazing. I was fortunate enough to have a triple-A pass, so found a spot next to the lighting guy on the balcony. I could see and hear everything. I stayed up there for two hours and blissed out. I think Coldcut was much more important as an artistic and cultural event than as a party; considering that they've played at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and write their own software, they stand out from the usual DJs/producers. I was honoured to play alongside them and relieved that there was finally a large party devoted to breaks."

How would you define your DJing style right now- "This is a tough one . . . possibly nu-skool-jazz-funk-house-breaks- It is currently, and always has been, very eclectic, but it is consistently funky and dancefloor-friendly. I would say 'imagine hip hop meeting Latin, disco and house in the middle of a dancefloor, and getting them to gradually work together in a deep, sensual and rhythmic way until everyone in the room is doing freestyle jazz solos and breakdancing at the same time' . . . [expect to hear] German producers Jazzanova, house label Naked Music NYC, hip hop producers Cut-Chemist and DJ Spinna, San Fran label Ubiquity, breaks/house producers Swayzak, and all the usuals such as Kenny Dixon Jnr [Moodymann], Derrick Carter, Tom Middleton, Tummy Touch Records, Tim Lee, etcetera."

Given your experiences playing alongside a plethora of internationals, do you think<