DJ Rap celebrates 20 Years of Propa Talent

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As DJ Rap gears up for this Sunday’s ‘Kmag presents Fluid DnB’ night in Los Angeles we touch base to take a look back at the past twenty years of her Propa Talent imprint as well as revisit her own roots in the jungle / d&b scene.

It’s great to see you pulling the classics out of the vaults for some ‘propa’ remix treatment! First “Spiritual Aura,” then “Digable Bass,” and now a wicked EP of “Hardstep” remixes. Looking back over the past two decades, do you see the imprint as a reflection of your own evolution as an artist?
I have always maintained that true artistry knows no bounds and although many times I was criticized for mixing genres, especially when ‘Learning Curve’ was released [in 1999], I am happy to see that twenty years on DJs and producers are doing just that and it is being accepted. In class where I teach, the kids love all music – there’s none of this old school purist mentality, just a general love of bass/beat-driven music and an appreciation of how it evokes a feeling in us. That is where my head was at then, the same as it is now; I was on fire in the studio doing what I love and what was calling to me at the time.

That was and is my mindset to this day: to stand out, not to follow the crowd, and to bring something no one else could bring to those tracks: myself. The scene was at its zenith and producers like Goldie and Roni Size were constantly pushing the envelope with so much originality that you rarely see now.

To someone new to all this they probably think I am nuts for saying that but remember my first track was released in 1989 so I have been around to see all the changes and growth of this music I love! All I can say is I feel so lucky to have witnessed all that because you just cannot compare now to what we experienced then, but that is the beauty of time, it’s all just a series of fleeting happy moments that if we are lucky, we get to experience.

The best part about having these tunes re-mixed for 2014 is that it also serves as a gateway for educating new-school heads on where the music originally evolved from. Is that something that you were consciously aware of going in?
It was not conscious at all, it was instinctive. I don’t plan anything, I am a terrible planner, ask my boyfriend. I totally believe in living in the moment and following my gut, it’s got me this far so I trust myself and that inner voice.

Flash-forward to the present and you’ve been lining up a number of killer remixers. From Basher and Bladerunner & Saxxon on “Spiritual Aura” on through to T>I and Outsource on “Hardstep”; give us a sense of how you decided what and who gets the privilege of remix duties.
As you may or may not know I do a d&b show called ‘PROPA’. For this I host a Soundcloud competition to look for future bright stars and I applied the same tactics when looking for remixers. If you really want to kill it in this scene you have to produce as a DJ. You can play other peoples music but again it’s about the flavour you bring and people will come to see you and hear that special flavour they association with your productions.

With that in mind, some of the remixers are new members of the family and others I’ve worked with for over 10 years. Whether it’s Mark Campbell, Killin Time, and Outsource or my mates across the pond like Basher, Bladerunner, Saxxon, Silent Code, T>I, they are all astonishing producers.

We’re excited to have you headlining our second “Fluid” night in Los Angeles. Give us a sense of what kind of vibe we should be expecting.
Expect that I will destroy you on the dancefloor and you’ll go home ten pounds lighter from all the dancing! I bring energy!!!

This appearance seems to be part of a larger return to the dnb side of things on the decks for you – let us know what other dates you’ve got lined up and if we can be expecting you to return to the UK anytime soon?
People act like I died and went away. I never left, just continued making music and exploring other things which I think was the right thing for me though not everyone will understand that. Actually you will see me keeping my gigs to a minimum and being more productive in the studio as I’m tired of being on the road. Upcoming dates are on all my website especially as I have my hands full teaching at Dubspot which is soooo rewarding! With that said, I’m pretty sure I will tour England next year, we will see.

What other projects do you have cooking that we should be keeping an eye out for?
Well there is more music coming and I am working on a possible album/EP. I like albums and although they may seem like a thing of the past, I love the artwork and feel of a CD in your hand. I’m still acting so look out for a number of movies I’m in due out this year: ‘The Red Man,’ ‘The Principle’, ‘Rearview’ and some comedic webisodes as well. Other than that, Dubspot has my heart and focus and teaching the Ableton and DJ master course is amazing. I thank God daily for my life and the chance to pay it forward to make up for all my sins – haha.

Catch DJ Rap alongside Reid Speed, Genevieve, Outsource, and Kenny Ray at Fluid on 19 Oct at Zanzibar in Santa Monica, California. With the entire evening hosted by the inimitable Armanni Reign, this is sure to be one you don’t want to miss.

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