Skratch Bastid

Since Red Bull Thre3Style went regional in Canada three years ago, the 27 year old Skratch Bastid has been a consistent judge and headlining DJ for the event. Hailing from Halifax and now based in Montreal, the Bastid has become one of Canada’s most sought after and hardest working party-rocking DJs. He’s competed in the DMCs, ITV and has won Cincinnati’s legendary Scribble Jam three times. In many ways his style of DJing best represents the essence of the competition. This combined with his experience and humility make him the quintessential Red Bull Thre3Style judge. 

Firstly give us a quick lowdown on your history as a DJ.

I started DJing when I was 15. It grew out of an obsession with hip-hop music and wanting to play good music that people weren't hearing on video stations. I got into scratching shortly after I became hooked on DJing and wanted to figure everything out about it.

I came up in the world as a battle DJ and competed in many of the top competitions When I came up in 1998 to 2005 it was when DJ battles and scratch battles were really popular and I became known as one of the guys who was good at that style.

But at that time I was also mixing and Djing in the clubs, initially in Halifax and then around Canada. A lot of the competition based routines I used for the DJ / scratch battles were high-powered three to five minute sets that weren’t enough for a full show. So I kind of gained a name, when touring around, for combining that technical stuff with just classic party rocking and I built a pretty good circuit in Canada off of that.

And your history with Red Bull Thre3Style?

Kenny MacIntyre, Red Bull Culture Manager for Canada, started Red Bull Thre3Style about three years ago and he had me judge and host a few of them and also provide some input as to how the competition should be run and its direction. It was nothing at all official but as a friend and confidant he asked me about my experiences because my style is, I guess what they’re kinda looking for in the competition, I guess. A little bit of the technical stuff along with knowing how to play music for the right dancefloor.

Can you talk a little about the essence of the competition, about how it takes into account both the technical aspects of Djing and the aspect of entertainment?

Well if you come up and you’re brilliantly technical but you don’t turn the party over you’re gonna get penalised as much as someone that comes up and rocks it without even really mixing their tracks. Its weighed out pretty equally within the competition so that it stays with that essence of people just having a good time.

And although its about rocking the crowd the technical stuff is also very important. The more we see you doing things and the harder we see you do them, counts for a lot. We’re all DJs, we’re gonna know if you’re slacking off and just up there to get drunk.

Why is it that three genres of music must be played in every set?

I guess the reason why we start with that is that we want this to be open to everybody, we want any DJ of any type to be able to say, “I can rock this crowd the hardest.” So that was kind of the start of it. Then everyone has to step out of their element to do something different. That’s the challenge there, its an incentive to the DJs and rewarding for the people. There’s an art to mixing genres together, I’m sure you’ve heard some bad mashups in your life. Doing a mashup with class and finesse is a difficult thing.

Can you give any examples of really great Red Bull Thre3Style sets?

The best sets I’ve heard are when they tell a bit of a story. That and when a DJ figures out two songs that you never thought would mix together and just magically do. You know those light-bulb moments when you think “Oh snap I cant believe he thought of mixing that with that.” Its disproving musical boundaries right in front of your eyes. Those are the moments we’re looking for.

What do you think the benefits of competing in Red Bull Thre3Style are, aside from obviously winning the competition?

It makes a lot of DJs who might only have one style step out of their comfort zone and discover a love for other kinds of music. And that’s important in the modern world of music fans. We used to have people that were just rock fans, or rap fans or house fans but all the genres are really mixing right now, everyone likes a bit of everything and I think that’s kind of how the world works now. We have less and less people that like one genre of music.

Also it gives DJs a title to hold onto and people a point of reference. To be able to say I competed in Red Bull Thre3Style for 2010 will be something that people will recognize. It gives your DJ name some cred.

Lastly what advice or tip would you give DJs who will be competing this year.

Take chances. If you go out on a limb and do something and it works you’re gonna stand out more than someone that was really tight with everything that we expected them to do. If you come with something that tells me you’ve figured something out that other people have never come across, that creativity will take you a long way. With three different styles you can get really creative so think outside the box because it will go a long way in your recognition and the pay off is bigger. If you can take two things that are remotely different from each other, like Pavarotti with Lil Jon, and you can somehow make it work, its really gonna go down.

For more info on Skratch Bastid check out his website at


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