Note: Thanks to
the these two DJs for blessing the World
Family with an interview! The Illvibe
is always busy so to get together for
this interview was something special!
Hey Statik and Phillee Blunt of the Illvibe
Collective thanks for the interview! Can
you guys start off with giving The World
Family your top 5 favorite LP's individually?
Welcome 2 Detroit - Jay Dee, Hard 2 Earn
- Gang Starr, Tunin Up & Cosignin
- NDambi, Mamas Gun - Erykah Badu, Songs
in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder
Illmatic – Nas, Like Water for Chocolate
- Common Do You Want More? - The Roots,
Fantastic Volume 2 - Slum Village, Wax
Poetic - Wax Poetic
Where does the team come from and where
is home right now? What makes home special?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia
but currently I can be found anywhere
between Philly and New York on a daily
basis. Most of my regular gigs are in
New York these days. Philly had such a
vibrant and exciting music scene at one
point but things can't last forever. It
will come back around at some point. What
makes being in New York so special is
that there is something fun happening
at all times. On top of that, where else
can you get a falafel and a car wash 24
hrs a day?
I grew up in North Jersey, just outside
of NYC. Moved to Philly when I went to
college in 96 and stayed after graduation.
That's where I met Panek and Statik, in
that order. Everything started taking
off within Illvibe as a crew, so I decided
that was the best place for me. I would
be living in Philly now, but I had to
move back home to North Jersey due to
some family issues. But I still get down
to Philly as often as possible. I'm slowing
starting to make my way into the New York
scene. It's very competitive, probably
the most difficult market to break into
as a DJ, but that's what makes my new
home special. If we can make it here,
we'll be well on our way to achieving
How long have you guys been together and
where did you get the Illvibe Collective
We've been playing together since 1998
at college parties, house parties, small
club gigs, and doing radio shows. In 2000
we decided to make the crew official meaning
we would consider ourselves an official
team instead of just friends that DJ together
here and there. And the name came from
DJ Phillee Blunts underground hip-hop
college radio show named Ill Vibe. We
all dug the name and decided to roll with
I challenged Statik and Panek to a battle
at the college talent show...and they
both defeated me effortlessly. As the
loser, I had to carry their crates for
the next 3 years while wearing a jester
hat. Eventually they accepted me as part
of the crew and now I have to carry their
laptops. It's much better. Technology
How long have you guys been spinning individually
and do you guys have any specialties and
what do you love doing on wax?
I've been Djing since 1992. Did my first
party in 1994 and rocked it, I might add
(Ha ha!). Did my first out of town gig
in 1997. Did radio for the first time
in 1998. First club gig in 1999 and started
my first club residency in 2000. Played
out of the country for the first time
in 2001 and realized this was what I needed
to continue living for. As far as specialties
go, I just try to remain versatile. I
can go anywhere from hip-hop to drum & bass to house to samba and keep the vibe
consistent throughout the night. I can
flex skills on some turntablist ish too.
I also work as the stage show DJ for several
acts. I love it all equally.
I got my first mixer in August of 1991.
It ended up being the same ATUS mixer
from the movie JUICE, but that movie didn't
come out until after I got it...I SWEAR!
Since then I've done everything from school
dances to sweet 16's, mixtapes, weddings,
clubs, etc. You name it. I like to be
as versatile as possible as far as genre's
go, but my strong points are Golden Era
Hip Hop and dancehall reggae (not so much
roots and lovers). I have the utmost respect
for turntablism, and practice scratching
when I can, but I've never considered
myself a true turntablist and entered
battles. Maybe I will do that someday,
but not right now. My current goal is
to improve my abilities at playing any
style of music at the drop of a hat.
Where do you guys spin on the regular?
Any special events coming soon?
Of course, we have our monthly residency,
The BODYROCK that has been running for
5 years +. You can catch us at Moodswing
@ North on a weekly basis rotating each
night. We always try to keep it quality
and refreshing so we tend to bring in
new energy from DJs from all over.
Skipmode and Lil' Dave also have residencies
in Philly. You can also catch us 24/7
on our site at Illvibe Radio.
Best and worse experiences about being
a DJ? Any special meetings or events you
Man, being a DJ can be the best shit in
the world or the absolute worst depending
on a number of variables. There are gigs
that make you feel like you're on top
of the world. There are those events that
make you feel like it gets no better.
The money is proper, the energy from the
crowd is just right, there are no technical
difficulties with equipment, I introduce
new music to a fully receptive crowd and
I leave feeling like I've created the
spark that will change the universe. And
then there are those gigs that happen
the other 90% of the time. Those being
the exact opposite of everything I just
stated. And the uncertainty of which kind
of night you're going to have makes DJing
terms of good experiences, I recently
finished a tour as Bahamadia's DJ with
James Brown, The Breakestra, Talib Kweli,
Z-Trip, Supernatural, Lady Kier (Dee-Lite),
and over a dozen other acts in Australia.
Throughout my time during this trip, I
felt like a million bucks. Then I came
back to the states and DJed in Miami for
people that didn't understand old school
Hip Hop. It can be such a dramatic change
from one gig to the next.
there is always the issue of working with
promoters that don't know how to promote
a party. Either they cant identify the
market that works for you, they aren't
aware that the market they already have
locked down isn't your market, or they
don't promote at all. Then they apologize
to you about your money at the end of
best experience - spinning a whole night/set
to a full-capacity venue and not a person
asking/telling you what to play...they
just love it all. The worst experience
- having to deal with people that request/demand
you to play certain songs, especially
when they don't make sense...like for
example reggaeton at a funk and soul party.
Why isn't more unity in Hip Hop?
Because of two main factors: money and
fame. It seems to me that people are so
preoccupied with obtaining one or both,
emphasis is now placed on that goal instead
of creating change through art, or just
creating art, and most importantly having
fun while you're at it. But to answer
in a more specific way, the average person
will step on another to get a beneficial
opportunity before the next man because
hip-hop has a ridiculously saturated market
and not enough opportunities of significance
to feed it. Now people will unify based
upon industry connections instead of being
likeminded artists which is why you see
so much of the same thing in hip-hop and
why so many artists change their vision
after years of waiting for the audience
to get it. If you cant beat the system,
Any thoughts on forming a DJ/Artists union?
Well there is always the DJ Collective
in New York City, which is a structure
of DJs with the common goal of making
sure DJs understand the things necessary
to maintain in the business and not continue
to get taken advantage of. I think that's
a good network to be apart of if you are
serious about growing as a career DJ.
Others have attempted that in the past
and I think it would work as long as there
is a dedicated staff. Just like any other
organization, it requires the full attention
of those that run it. As long as there
are people who are not trying to work
for that organization just to take advantage
of secure DJ opportunities for themselves,
it will succeed.
Besides the spinning what else is Illvibe
about and rundown some of your past current
and future products?
Well we've been taking our DJ experience
and sensitive ears and using them more
frequently for our production. We've been
having our music featured here and there
on original projects and for remixes as
well. I was fortunate to be asked to work
as the Music Supervisor for the documentary
about Philadelphia women in hip-hop, entitled
Scene Not Heard. That gave me the opportunity
to showcase some of my own production
and my crews in a way that I never expected.
I've also submitted remixes for a couple
artists and hopefully one of them will
get used for up and coming remix projects.
Other than that, I've been working with
Schoolz of Thought on ideas for their
junior album and making beats with a couple
different artists albums in mind.
We're just like anyone else. We're all
about fun, comedy, movies, food, family,
etc and how to apply those things to what
we do. We wouldn't play the music we play,
in the fashion that we play it without
the experiences that shape and mold our
perspectives. We would eventually like
to put together a DVD series, form a record
label, release an official clothing line
and just continue to brand ourselves in
more innovative ways as we gain momentum.
Whom do you do this for and why do you
guys continue to work together? What do
you love about each other's work?
I do this for progressive thinkers. I
refuse to allow myself to take an easy
route and dumb it down to gain a broader
audience. I feel like the picture is so
much bigger than parties and entertainment
and I enjoy working with a group of people
who all feel the same way about it, DJs
and vocalists alike. I mean, Illvibe has
seen the best nights and the worst nights
in various cities throughout the world
but something inside of us makes us continue
to believe in it and each other.
enjoy hearing Lil' Dave pull gems from
the oddest places and blow people away.
To me, Skipmode is a DJ that can consistently
inspire me to test my bounds with an audience.
Simply put, he can rock any party no matter
the situation. Phillee Blunt pays attention
to detail and I admire his ability to
approach most things from a technical
standpoint. A guy like him is necessary
on any successful team. And Panek is the
dude I like to listen to, to hear what
mix he gonna come with that I may not
have thought of. He digs for joints that
I wont always think of. And he's the illest
graphic designer I know. It is amazing
to be able to convey a feeling to people
through graphics and he has mastered it.
I love these dudes!
Simply put, we do what we do for the people
who truly "give a shit" about
their music, their culture, their community.
Music, especially Hip Hop, is one of the
most binding forces of any community.
It's an extension of your personality,
your morals and ideals. It's like a billboard
that's always sitting above your head
and announces: "this is the kind
of person I am". It's as significant
as the friends you keep, the movies you
watch, the books you read...and ultimately
the life you live. By that standard, I
continue to be a part of this collective.
We all bring something meaningful to the
group, and if we never reach the multi-platinum
status or become famous international
super-stars... it doesn't matter.
What can you guys say about working as
an unit and its advantages? Are there
any noticeable disadvantages?
Working as a unit enables us to never
forget any detail. At least most of the
time, anyway. Also, we can be in several
countries representing the same entity
in the same way and changing people around
the world simultaneously. However, the
more people you have, the more people
need to get paid. Also, sometimes we don't
all agree on issues, which can make things
hairy but what group doesn't deal with
Being part of a group can be a great thing
when it's your birthday. And it sucks
when it's someone else's. But seriously,
it's great to know that you're not alone
in the struggle. If you need something,
there's a core circle of people to depend
on. One thing that is a disadvantage and
is out of our hands most of the time is
that there aren't enough opportunities
for everyone to be working all the time.
Gigs have to be divided up as fairly as
possible. We always discuss that ahead
of time, but learning your group's way
of dealing with those types of situations
is difficult. It takes time and patience.
What do you think of change (think of
GeoClan.com's slogan of Uploading Change?
Change is constant. It's simply a matter
of what type of change will come about.
I think being apart of change that will
ultimately help people is not easy so
folks need to be ready for struggle and
sacrifice for the greater accomplishment.
Uploading Change: I can dig that slogan
considering were in a new age. Now most
things are right at your fingertips with
the click of a mouse so its important
to keep evolution as part of the grand
Change is necessary. Improvement is change,
just like problems are a change from how
things should work normally. Like Statik
said, it's all about the type of change
that happens since it must happen anyway.
What we all have to realize is that positive
change is the result of people working
together, while negative change is the
result of negligence.
any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org