Artist Interview: CAPITAL J for SpinzCycle

SpinzCycle Interviews Capital J

With over two decades in the music industry, Capital J has always been a name to look out for on flyers across the globe. Caps started winning scratch battles from the ripe age of 13 and hasn’t let up since.

When he moved from London, Ontario to Toronto in 1997, he quickly gained recognition and was crowned the DJ of the Month by TRIBE Magazine. Since then he has shared the stage with artists such as Carl Cox, Andy C, Q-bert, Kenny Ken, Krafty Kuts, Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, and many more. Capital J isn’t just a talented DJ, but also a well established producer with over 80 releases on several labels including Food for Thought. His own labels VIP Dubz and Caps Inc has put out classics such as ‘The Throwdown’, ‘Niagara Falls’ feat. MC Fats, and ‘Bumbaclot’.

With a vast range of musical influences from hip hop to fidget house infused with drum and bass in the mix, he brings unparalleled energy to his performances and is guaranteed to entertain. His homegrown talent has made an international splash and made our country proud. Catch Capital J with Freaky Flow and DJ Spinz at “Legends United – Maple Glazed Bass tour” on November 7th!

SARAH:  You have a long and impressive musical history, is there still someone on your list that you would like to collaborate with?

CAPITAL J:  There has always been a long list of producers I’ve wanted to kidnap for some sessions, Dj Hazard being Number One on the list. Others are: Spaow, Young Ax, Netsky, Original Sin, Tantrum Desire, Audio, Bass Brothers, Damage Report, MachineCode, LowRIDERz, Task Horizon, Diplo, Danny Byrd, Nu:Tone, Datsik, Funtcase, Serial Killaz and Danny Brown!

I think if I went to Kickstarter to bankroll “The Super Group”, we could take over the music industry for a minute. This could be a thing… Bigger than Potato Salad.

SARAH:  Have you ever had an “I made it” moment? Give us the details!

CAPITAL J:  I’ve really had too many to count, my whole life has been full of them since I started out at 13 years old. When I finally moved to Toronto from London it seemed like every weekend was an “I MADE IT!” moment. Even though I’d already achieved major label status, music videos, a live performance on Much Music and cross Canada tours; after all that I was still on my own so climbing my way to success as a solo teen was scary, exciting and extremely tough. All I had really was hopes that I would make it some day, nothing to fall back on. Then the explosion came.

I started seeing my name move from the bottom of flyers to the top, the venues got bigger, the locations got further away until I was out of the country, standing front and centre over a sea of heads chanting my name, in countries I didn’t think knew who I was. They were spelling my name out with signs in the crowd, hauling my releases to the show for me to autograph, they had my face on their credit card, MTV camera crew up inside the venue waiting to ask me  “How’d you get so Awesome?”. Being spotted and pulled out of the crowd at an MMA fight in Asia to flex my DJ skills for the crowd then having all the fighters tell me that was the greatest thing they’d ever seen! These are some of the “I made it” moments I’ve had.

Even when I’m not on stage, people come up to me in the streets to tell me I was the first DJ they had seen at a party, or the reason why they went to parties, or their favourite DJ, or I influenced them to DJ or produce, or just enjoy music. One time I was underwear shopping in the mall and was mobbed by a group of screaming girls and their parents wanting pics and autographs; it still felt like an I made it moment, despite not being up in a club but being caught off guard with briefs in my hand.

It never gets old. After almost 25 yrs in the music industry, its keen to have those reminders that you are a part of world wide music history. Hard work pays off I guess!

SARAH:  You’ve been around the globe in your career, do you have a favourite place to visit on tour? Tell us about your favourite moment there.

CAPITAL J:  Honestly anywhere away from home is my favourite place to play haha. When you’re being flown out of your city to a proper event, you know you’re in for good time. You’re obviously headlining; sucks if a promoter flew you to a show to open.

For real though, I’d say Europe is my favourite. I’ve gone from Germany to Austria, to Belgium to Russia, to Ukraine in one week, all packed insane shows. Everyone there loves bass culture, and has such a deep appreciation of all music, they also have so much pride in their home country, they know their history, from food to landmarks, everyone has stories to tell, and have so much fun teaching me about their city and background. I come back from Europe tours thankful I was given the opportunity to have that learning experience from all the awesome people I met, and being able to learn first hand what life is like outside of my backyard, its all a learning experience that makes you a better person.

Most tour DJs are always in and out, go go go, but sometimes you gotta take time to smell the flowers, speak to the people, and let the people speak to you. Even when they don’t speak your language.

SARAH:  With the growing popularity of technically advanced DJ equipment, do you think the art of turntablism has been lost? Where do you see it going?

CAPITAL J:  It’s only lost to those hoax DJs that fake turntablism in a bikini on youtube to gain hits, and shame on people for supporting that mess. For the rest of the world, turntablism has learned to evolve with the advancement of technology. There’s no use crying over who’s using decks, or who’s using CDJs, or a laptop; it’s about what you’re doing with any of those.

I’ve seen DJs before beat juggling on CDJs, and a guy on turntables who couldn’t mix 2 records together to save his life in a packed party. Everything is all at your finger tips now, there’s absolutely no reason why any DJ shouldn’t be able to rock a crowd like a pro. Those who take the time and practice to learn the tricks of the trade, thats basically the new form of turntablism.

People love a DJ that knows what they’re doing. People loved me for what I brought to the game, some called it cockiness but it wasn’t, it was confidence. Girls love seeing a confident energetic DJ on stage chugging a beer while scratching with his elbow. That’s not something you try to pull off unless you were absolutely sure you wouldn’t spill your drink. Confidence sells, And maybe a little bit of balls. Either way nobody wants to pay $70 for a ticket to see a DJ who’s not quite sure about what he’s doing. Unless thats gonna be a new thing soon, then i’m S.O.L.

SARAH:  Your discography is definitely vast, is there a track that seems to always resonate more with fans when they talk to you?

CAPITAL J:  Every section of the globe has their faves, around Toronto people are stuck on “New Improved” (The Verve Remix). That was like my second record release ever in 1996, shits almost 18yrs old now but they still love it. Brings back memories of when they first started seeing me at parties, or when they started partying. It was a simpler time back then, everyone wore baggy pants and hadn’t met Molly yet.

Over in America the hits were “Uppin the Ante”, “Dis Da Program”, or any of the hip hop remixes. Those were the riot starters. People like DJ Craze were telling me that those choons brought the house down at every show, I wasn’t believing it ‘til I got there and dropped the dubs myself. In LA there was the biggest Jungle moshpit i’d ever seen, there were shoes and glow sticks flying everywhere, it was epic.

In the UK it was “Evil Streets”. When I was in London UK, I was at MC Krayze B’s flat and he was telling me how huge that track was there, he was blown away that I was clueless. He set out to prove it right there and then in one simple shot. He pulled out an 8 tape pack from a massive One Nation dnb event the month before and shouted “EVERY BLOKE RINSES YOUR CHOON MATE!” He kicks in the first tape, Nicky Blackmarket intros with Evil Streets, reloads and comes again. Next tape, DJ SS intros with Evil Streets! Reloaded and dropped again! Next tape, Dillinja intros with Evil Streets, reloaded and dropped again! Next tape, Friction intros with Evil Streets!, reloaded and dropped again! Tape after tape, DJ after DJ, all in the same party. Then it gets down to the final tape, Andy C. Nothing on side one, almost done side two, I was about to jump up and yell “Ah Ha!” … “LAST CHOON FOR THE ANDY C!” Then all of a sudden “EVIL STREETS!” comes ripping through the speakers, then an Andy C pull up followed by 5 mins of straight screaming and whistles and air horns from the massive crowd in the venue. Then Andy C drops it again, double drops another choon into it then Puuuull Up! Then more yelling, then Andy C drops it again, double drops it with another choon then PUUULLL UP! I think I blacked out after the 4th reload, anyway, UK heads always big me up for that one and let me know how big of an impact it had over there and how they still have it in their record collection.

In Europe it’s all about the mashup hits, any ragga mashup tune of mine or anything that got released, they know it word for word and go nuts when it’s dropped. The Belgium heads are champs, they have the biggest knowledge of my whole discography; it blew me away when they started naming off all my tunes one after the other in the middle of the party, even the ones that weren’t released. Out of every city, these guys know their shit. They know my tunes better than I do. Good on them.

SARAH:  For the Toronto leg of the Maple Glazed Bass tour you are playing with both Freaky Flow and DJ Spinz back 2 back in one set. That’s a lot of skill for one set! What excites you the most about this team up?

CAPITAL J:  I guess the part I’m looking forward to the most is throwing down with some old friends. Spinz and I have had our share of B2B, no holds barred sessions back in the day, and Flow and I have had a few 4-way jungle scratch sessions with America’s finest, so it’ll be cool to get the A-Team back together for a first time ever powerhouse session with all three of us and MC JD. You never know what’s gonna happen, it’s all off the dome so anything goes! It will be Legendary …

Check out Capital J on Friday November 7th in a special B2B2B with Freaky Flow and DJ Spinz. $10 Adv @ Round Venue 152a Augusta Ave Toronto.

– Interview by Sarah Alexys Y –

Sarah Alexys Y

OCT.07 – EVENT INFO – SpinzCycle & Soul In Motion present LEGENDS UNITED
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Nov 7th - Legends United

Nov 7th - Legends United

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