We have known DJ Grouch since his days at CHRY, servicing him some dope underground hip hop records. While back in 1998 him and his crew, Turnstylez, defeated our home team family, The Allies (DJ Craze, Dj Infamous, DVLP and A-Trak), we cannot deny the talent bestowed with DJ Grouch. Very few DJs posses technical skills and even few can also rock a party like our Toronto Mayor can. Better yet, he is an ambassador for the Toronto DJ scene as he is the first non-US DJ we feature on Get To Know. The Beat Junkies beat us to this, but still… Peep the interview.
What gear are you DJing with?
2 Technic SL1200s, a Rane 62 Mixer with Serato DJ/Scratch Live
What do you personally consider as your career highlight thus far?
There’s been many, but here’s some recent ones: DJing for Maestro Fresh Wes at Halftime during the Eastern Conference Playoffs (Raptors Vs Cavs). Opening up for the Roots during the Pan Am Games last year.
How do you balance your relationship with giving the listeners what they want and putting them on to music they need to be exposed to?
It gets tricky when playing in commercial Top 40 clubs but I always try to sneak in something new or old that I feel will get them dancing. Once that momentum is going you can take them on a musical journey.
DJs are the original record breakers, so what local/regional artist do you currently support?
Los Poetas, King Reign, Theo3, Tona, Rich Kidd, Maestro, Kardinal, Drake to name a few.
Pass the torch. What DJ should MyWayDJ interview next and why?
STF aka Sweet Touch Foundation (DJ Riccachet & DJ Thera-P). They’re brothers. They’re are some of the best all round DJs (Club, Radio, Shows, Party Rocking & turntablism), they play all genres & are humble & professional.
About DJ Grouch
Born in Panama, Central America, the Toronto Native has always been around music. His love for Hip Hop started at the early age of 10, b-boying outside with his neighborhood friends. Realizing he wasn’t going to be the next member of the Rock Steady crew, he began to focus more on the art of deejaying.
Drawing influences from the likes of Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, DJ Scratch, DJ Aladdin and Richie Rich, Grouch would practice every chance he could on his Pop’s record player. He eventually got his first Technics 1200 in 1990. From there he started doing house parties which eventually led him to a gig on CHRY 105.5 FM doing fill-in shows. In 1993, Grouch landed his own time slot (Strait Frum Da Undaground with host K-9) and volunteered at the station for over 15 years. The show changed into the GQ Wake Up Show (with hosts Que and Contagious) in 1995 and into the SoundCheck Show (with host Contagious and Public and DJ Fingrprintz) in 1999-2008. Grouch was also part of the Project Bounce team from 2005-2008.
The exposure on the airwaves, lead Grouch to compete in numerous deejay competitions. In 1995 he won both the Energy108 battle and the Zulu Nation Canadian battle in the same weekend. This was also the year Turnstylez was born. Grouch and his rival D-Scratch realized they both had much in common, so along with Scratch’s cousin Lil’ Jaz, formed Turnstylez and it’s been on ever since. Individually and as team they have acquired numerous titles, but it is the latter that got them the notoriety. In 1998, Grouch along with Turnstylez won the 1998 ITF Western Hemisphere Team Category in New York defeating The Allies (DJ Craze and A-Trak’s crew) and the STA’s (Mike Relm’s crew) among others. They represented Canada in the ITF world finals that year in Amsterdam, competing against the defending champs the Beat Junkies (Babu, Melo D, Rhettmatic), placing third.
DJ Grouch has definitely left his mark in Hip Hop. He has performed with various Canadian and International Hip Hop stars, traveling across North America (Canada and the U.S.A) and Europe. He has played in almost every club and venue in Toronto. His razor sharp scratches can be heard on numerous Canadian classics such as Saukrates “Father Time rmx” (1995), Elemental “Living Under Water” (1995), Grassroots f/ Arcee “Thematics” (1999) Nautilus “Twelve/Record Making Manual” (2001) and DL Incognito “Rugged Raw” (2003) and was featured on 3 tracks off the Moss produced Special Reserve (2009) by Obie Trice among the many. In 2003 DJ Grouch, along with his partner Contagious Theory, released their own wax under the moniker Pherenziks. He has also deejayed for many home grown and international Artists including Jully Black, Melanie Durrant, King Reign, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Thrust, Citizen Kane, Slum Village, Pharoahe Monch, Black Milk and currently djing for Maestro Fresh Wes, Los Poetas and Fito Blanko. As of late his main focus has been on his production skills, releasing various edits, remixes and original tracks of different genres.
Grouch is currently teaches at Trebas Institute, Remix Project, DAIS, Regent Park School of Music, Play De Record and is a mainstay in Toronto’s nightlife.
Turnstylez, Beat Junkies (Canada Ambassador)