October 22, 2014

Cassette Deck Scratch DJ: WTF?

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Raise your hand if you remember cassette decks. We don’t, but we understand they existed before Serato, during the television era, in the days of wireless Marconi and the horse car.

DJ Ruthless Ramsey remembers the cassette deck. In fact, the Arizona DJ can tear ‘em up during his sets. We caught up with him and asked: WTF?

Hi Ruthless. We got turned on to your mad cassette skills, and it occurred to us, WTF?: I was inspired by my Uncle (DJ Lawrence Farah) at the age of 3, and by the time I was 7 I started to view the Old School Pioneers on TV, DJs such as Jam Master Jay, Grand Master Flash, and Mix Master Ice, which remains to be one of the most influential DJs in my career.

Cool, as a kid you’re into Old School, but this, like, WTF?: The thought occurred to me—well if you can mix with two turntables, why not mix with a double cassette player—if they’re mixed at the same time. The only thing is that this unit didn’t have a pitch control—which was kind of good because it keeps you from doing stupid mixes from odd BPM’s. I was 7 at the time and would listen to Phoenix area mix shows on the radio. I would record all the mix shows and go back the next morning and concentrate on blend mixing those same mixes on my cassette player. About a year later, I finally got a flange—from a tape player—in the same way that a DJ does it with two turntables. I later discovered that I could also scratch and beat juggle with cassette decks exactly like I would on two turntables. I had no idea at the time where that was going to lead.

So you’re scratching with these cassette decks, everyone else is using vinyl, so, like, WTF? Cassette decks clearly give me the advantage because, no one else is doing it. Most importantly, I can perform on any DJ equipment from the cassette decks to digital decks and anything in between. Having this knowledge and experience allows me to teach these skills to others.

When you’re loading in equipment, like, WTF?: Two Lenoxx Sound Dual Cassette Players, Pioneer DJM 909 professional mixer (2-channel battle board), Maxell or TDK cassette tapes, and American Audio surround sound headphones.

W(where) TF? I perform at various venues across the city with the Record Breaker DJs, such as, Throw Back Sundays & Supah Fly Saturdays at Fuegos in Avondale, AZ. I also perform with the Persuit Crew DJs bimonthly on Saturdays at AF Studios in Phoenix.

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