Right now, the format is strictly on the radio, but I hope that I can use the format for a media production. In any case, I’m a graphic designer, which is what I live from, and what I joyfully spend most of my time with. The radio is a good way to evade myself and to show my passion for music, but I consider it an extra.
What is the concept/ structure of your show? Do you have guests, playlists, etc?
The first thing that sprouted was the name. It popped into my head, “Allschool R.A.D.I.O.”. I liked the concept that the name expressed, and that it sounded something like Oldschool (an era of Hip Hop that I am passionate about, and that I owe my life to). On the other hand, that left me room to include any kind of music related to hip hop in the show…
Regarding the program’s general structure, the two hours are divided into three parts: Freshquiísimo, Crates, and The Guest. We usually start with Freshquisimo, where Dj Ofus brings us the fresh releases that have come out in the last week. He is an old friend of mine, and even though he got started in underground music back in the 90’s, he has an incredible ability to find that beat or track that has something special, and also the hard to find stuff: white labels, bootlegs, releases that aren’t even out for sale yet… He is a passionate digger like no other, and in a short space in time he has built a very personal and plural style. I admire him as a selector, and the truth is that the vitality in his section is one of the strong points in the show.
We continue with the Crates, the section based on sampling culture, where I try to reveal sampled people and samplers. We pair the topics up: first I highlight and comment on the sampler’s track, and then I follow with the sampled original, providing as much data as I can. I think it is a section where new users can gain some culture, and veterans can enjoy remembering some of their favorite tunes, while they both simply enjoy music.
To finish off, we usually have a guest artist in The Guest. We usually start with an interview, and then we usually have a session (recorded or live, depending on what they want). In the case of the bands or artists that are not in the Dj sphere, we usually have a good chat while we review some of their tracks.
Basically, this is the frame that the program follows every week, although it is completely open to variations, you can check it out in any of the podcasts placed in MySpace.
How long have you been doing the “All School Radio” show?
We will celebrate our first anniversary in the summertime… and I hope that there are as many as possible to come, since the radio offers a format that I’m very comfortable with. The station is growing, but I don’t want to get ahead of things, hehe.
What kind of artists or music do you try to broadcast?
We look for people or artists that have real proposals, and feel what they are doing, not people obsessed with fame or wanting to become richer than they deserve as true artists. We don’t close the doors on anyone; the only requirement is that the proposal is somehow linked to black music. We want artists that feel their music so much as to sacrifice a certain degree of economical benefit to keep their product real. If the proposal is worth it, and is based on real grounds, it is welcome.
For example, we have had 100% turntable DJ’s, more eclectic sessions, bands that are impossible to label, a singer from Senegal, producers… That’s Allschool R.A.D.I.O. A humble platform that aims to give voice and maximum broadcasting power that our radio station can provide for these artists to broadcast their works. In the end, it is what these artists want when they edit, they want people to listen to them, financial issues aside.
It’s incredible, and I say nothing new if I claim that the progress in communication and information technologies in the past decade has created a massive amount of some very musically interesting proposals. People who, putting a lot of effort, and with the aid that new technologies offer in terms of fairly “house-made” productions, generate very interesting works that stay at a very local level, and don’t obtain the recognition they deserve. Only a few are lucky enough to publish and broadcast their works in companies… and it is often due to investing an amount of money out of most people’s reach, or “trimming” the authenticity of their works. The former are the ones we want to offer our bit of support.
What is your opinion of the hip hop scene in Barcelona, and Spain?
Hip Hop has grown so much that this popularity has been negative in many cases, but also very positive in others. It’s obvious that the popularity has yielded that wherever you look you can see seven photocopies of The Game in miniature, all because we follow the American standards. Here, we drink Ballantine’s, or Cardhú if we’re lucky. Here, Tony Montana is Juan Antonio Roca or Julian Muñoz, and our gangsters are real estate agents, and other lobbies that work silently, like all good gangsters.
Not very long ago, I read a very interesting description about hip hop: “Hip hop is like a library, you come in, and have a huge selection of books to choose from: about politics, society, pure lyrics, hardcore… even best-sellers, if you wish. You call it. Come in, and pick what you like”. This description helped me to calm down my rage against the new generations. The house grows, and everyone goes their way… I don’t want to be known as hater susio…
On the other hand, through this popularity, loads of very talented people who are consequent with themselves are doing very real things. It’s a matter of time before we see a rapper, real or not, in the pop charts, like it has happened in the US, it’s happening in France, and it will happen here. In my case, I’m more in touch with the veterans because of my age, my ideas, and my quality standards. With them, you know you’ll be finding consequent pieces.
In my opinion, hip hop’s evolution in this country has been very similar to France’s. We started later, so the process has been very similar, only we’re a bit behind… Now we are starting to identify a certain “old school”, although we’re still up and running. Later on, in the 90’s, things became established with rough cuts and so on, and now I feel that the current popularity will yield many things in the future… rap bubble gum that mainstream audience won’t be able to chew on… and also loads of new material, true and authentic, that will take over its place.
My opinion on current Spanish hip hop? Basically the same as everywhere else. Real hip hop, with its 5 elements, its culture, its respectable scene, is growing strong and in good shape. Now, if you include commercial rap as hip hop, then I’ll tell you that hip hop is very, very sick… I don’t know if I make myself clear, it all depends of putting things where they belong.
How long have you been involved in hip hop, how did you get started? Are you also a DJ?
My first contact with hip hop was around 1988. A friend of mine took me to a Bboys concert, who danced in Sintasol, and I totally flipped out… Later on, I discovered rap with P.E.’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions”, and I was equally astonished. A year later, I realized that that broken dance was necessarily linked to rap… then I discovered graff, DJing, and I got hooked, both in the activity, in the philosophy, and in the artistic expression. The rest is part of Barcelona’s hip hop history: meetings in Plaza Universidad, a regular in night clubs like Soweto, San Francisco, Train Club, the old Jams… and later on Jamboree, in 1993. I recall those years as the best, because there weren’t many of us, and we lived with our philosophy in a much more intense and exclusive way. Not much later, around 1995 or 1996, everything broke apart a bit with the boom of techno music and all the pill lovers. I can also imagine that the Bboys grew up and had to choose between being more active with hip hop or following more favorable tendencies. I started looking into new rhythms like reggae and dub, and also funk, soul, or jazz at a lower level. I also experimented with close relatives of hip hop like the trip hop or breakbeat that could be listened to back then, although hip hop took a big part of my interests. From 2000 on, maybe the sense of community is not as intense, but it’s obvious that every little group did their thing aside from mainstream tendencies, and they brought out quality material and professional works.
Am I a DJ? Well, it’s very cool and brave to say that you’re a DJ if you just play a tune after the other. You might be able to have some musical criteria, but if you just play music, I don’t consider that you can call yourself one. I’m sick of hearing: “I’m DJ so-and-so, and y play this-and-that”, and then you realize that it’s none of the above… They play upstart selections because it’s terribly easy to download things from the internet, but they don’t even have good technique making the cuts. In this sense, I think Internet has been very harmful.
On the other hand, I love and praise those who say “I play music here or there”. I think that’s a fairer statement, it says something positive about this person, and it makes the work of the true DJ’s more valuable. I can only say that, in terms of me, I think that the experience and the downtempo of the old times might have given me a plus in terms of selecting different schools and styles, and be able to tell the things that have a bit of authenticity and consistency from those who don’t. My level of technique is the one I have achieved with time, and the one I find useful, a proper baby or military, clean cuts, and so on. That’s what I need for the time being, since I am more fascinated by the tunes itself: production, rhymes… the culture as a whole, I mean.
Anything to add?
I just want to say a big THANK YOU. Thanks to all the ones who started this movement, here and at the other side of the Atlantic. I respect the people who started this culture with their events, both in Barcelona and the rest of Spain. And, especially, thanks to those who do what they believe in against all odds. And, especially, thank you from the bottom of my heart to the program’s audience, team, and guests from Allschool R.A.D.I.O… Cheers!