Interview: DJ Scartat

Known for his distinctive fusion of heavy metal and dark drum’n’bass and jungle – which he half-jokingly calls “mungle” – Scartat has long been a pioneer in the Toronto rave community. Having learned to DJ in the days of vinyl records and Technic turntables, Scartat was an early adopter of the digital era, moving on rapidly to CDJs and from there to a diverse selection of performance gear, including an APC40 controlling Ableton Live, NI Machine, a Korg Electribe SX and Access Virus Classic.

Beyond performing, Scartat is also, as he puts it, “head loser” at Earth Defense Records, a free digital label. The first release on EDR is due in September.

I had a chance to ask Scartat a few questions about his music, his interests, and his life.

Tell me about yourself and your background:

I was raised in Toronto, where I have spent the majority of my life. After high school, I was introduced to the rave scene and a couple of years later, I started trying my hand at the whole DJ thing.

I had a bit of success with DJing over the years and met many wonderful people because of it, but recently I have been pulling away from traditional DJing to go more towards a full live performance. There’s much more to the story of me, but I think this works for now

How long have you been performing?

My first performance was in September 2004.

How did you get into this music?

When I was growing up, quite a few of my friends were interested in electronic music. They introduced me to the early tapes, brought me to my first parties and even put me on the decks for the first time.

Gear nerd time – tell me about the equipment you use.

I use a variety of gear. For performance, the main bits would be an APC40 controlling Ableton Live, NI Machine, a Korg Electribe SX and Access Virus Classic. I find it gives me a nice mix of old and new and gives me the most artistic freedom.

In the studio, I use everything listed above, but do most of my mixdown and edit work in Pro Tools. I also monitor through M-Audio CX-8s and have a couple of other outboard bits of gear

Do you have any heroes? If so, who and why?

Fexomat and The Panacea. They continue to blow my mind with what they do and continuously push the boundaries of music.

What’s your favourite on-stage memory?

This changes a lot, but one that sticks out is playing a set and hearing someone yell out from the crowd “you’re the reason I started raving.” That was pretty amazing.

How have you evolved over the years, as an artist? What, if any, were the catalysts of that evolution?

I think I’ve developed into a more “complete” artist. I can confidently play my own music, DJ others’ music, create my own on-the-fly music for people, or all of the above.

What other interests outside of music do you have?

Like many other “nerds” I enjoy video games, lounging around watching movies/tv, comic books and just hangouts in general.

Where can you usually be found performing?

All around Toronto and anywhere else that’ll have me.

Tell me about Earth Defense Records.

We are an internet based organization putting out free music that celebrates all things nerd. Our first release, Enter the Defenders, will be released in September 2012 and features tracks by Fexomat, Locked, Saiyan, JePh and myself. This one focuses on one of my favourite art forms in the world, comic books! We give tribute to characters such as Deadpool, Iron Man and more. Also, Cyclops is in there. Stay tuned for the details on the quest that will bring you to this album

What makes a song stand out for you?

The arm hair test. If a track makes the hairs on my arms stand up, it’s a must-have.

Obligatory question: favourite song?

Obligatory answer: Rave Music Resurrected

Where can people find your music?

soundcloud.com/scartat

tscumrecords.com

google.com