The legendary DJ Skeme Richards of Philly joins us to give a quick breakdown. His career has inspired many DJs, so expect to see more in depth interviews and video clips with Skeme Richards.
What gear are you DJing with?
I’m still all about the basics, two Technics 1200 turntables, a mixer (Pioneer 900 preferably) and a combination of actual records and Serato (for certain genres). Less is more in my opinion so I don’t need all of the bells, whistles and bright lights of equipment that distracts from actually doing the job you were hired to do and that’s rock a party.
What do you personally consider as your career highlight thus far?
I honestly don’t know if I even have a highlight yet. I’ve played around the globe and just when I say wow this is the most amazing thing ever, something else comes along that’s just as special. There was a time when I really wanted to DJ in Japan, now I go once, sometimes twice a year and have been doing so since 2008. I’ve played festivals in Dubai on stage at a marina with all of the yachts docked and everyone on their boats partying. I’ve played festivals with some of the biggest names in the DJ and Hip Hop world but then the following night I’ll play the intimate venue that holds 150 people and the energy will be just as, if not more of a heartfelt experience than the previous.
How do you balance your relationship with giving the listeners what they want and feeding them new music?
I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living being a “tastemaker” of sorts and have the luxury of picking and choosing what gigs I want to do. I play tons of new music in my sets but it’s more in the realm of Funk, Soul, House, Disco and non-commercial Hip Hop that hasn’t hit the mainstream. But it’s all music that I know the listener will enjoy because I’ve built a certain trust factor with them. I won’t play music just based on the fact that it’s new, on the radio or because every other DJ is playing it because at the end of the day it has to be good. The DJ’s job is to break new music and I still get serviced tons of promo vinyl from labels before other DJ’s and before they hit the shops. That’s what separated the great DJ’s from others in the late 70’s, 80’s and 90s because they were setting the trend and if you wanted to hear a certain song, you had to go to their party to hear it. But in the rare occasion that I take on a gig where people have been conditioned by other DJ’s just feeding them the hits, I live by the motto “give the people a little of what the want and a lot of what they need”.
DJs are the original record breakers, so what local/regional artist do you currently support?
There have definitely been quite a few artists that I’ve broken before others got hipped. A funk band from the UK called Funkshone, I played them here in the states before anyone even knew of them and even did a big interview in an Australian magazine on them. The same goes for Budos Band (from Brooklyn), I did a mix CD back in 2005 and shortly after, their single became an anthem on the scene. There’s also Yosuke Tominaga from Japan, yet another one that no one outside of Japan knew about but I hipped people to him. We hosted the movie premier and soundtrack release party for the film Black Dynamite at the Tribeca Film Fest which was the first time anyone had even heard the music composed by Adrian Younge or seen the film. There’s a MC / producer named LF Daze from Philly who people might not know about but he’s got some nice credits under his belt producing for Lil Kim to EA Sports NBA Live 15. I’ve been playing his joints when they were coming straight out of the studio right after he recorded vocals and before I would head out on tour. Also I’m a writer and have a site called Hot Peas & Butta where we do reviews on new Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, Disco and Jazz records being pressed by independent labels so in addition to me actually spinning these records, we’re breaking them to a larger audience via social media. We’re doing what magazines like The Source and Rap Pagers were doing when they were breaking new artists.
Pass the torch. What DJ should MyWayDJ interview next and why?
Straight up, you should interview Seattle’s OG, Mr. Supreme aka Supreme La Rock. Dude is a legend for many reasons and still fresher and more knowledgeable of music than your favorite DJ’s favorite DJ.
About Skeme Richards
Hailing from Philadelphia a city known for producing internationally known DJ’s such as Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money and King Brit, Skeme Richards has put in nearly 25 years of DJing and producing. Diggin and spinning everything from Funk & Soul, Classics, Hip Hop, Breaks and all things funky he continuously strives to seperate himself from the pack. Recently focusing heavily on the bboy scene, Skeme has brought a new edge and sound with rocking more raw funk 45’s than the traditional breaks. Since becoming a DJ for the world famous Rock Steady Crew, Skeme has had the opportunity to play jams and be heard across the globe. Not limiting himself to bboy events only, he is also a first-class party DJ that keeps the attention of even the trendiest crowds. Skeme has mastered the art of keeping dance floors packed by setting the tone early, and reading his crowd properly. In addition to DJing, Skeme has also been producing since the late 80’s and along with his partner Fredy Blast make up the team, Sesion31. The duo has worked with artists such as MF Doom, Bahamadia, DJ Cash Money, and Steph Pockets who has both a #1 single and album in Japan.
Rock Steady Crew and Hot Peas & Butta (www.hotpeasandbutta.com)