You may have seen DJ Know Skillz around Houston putting in work with CHOPS and Lt. Dan and their It's Going Down mixtape series. He is known for producing remixes and is always seen with his video camera capturing footage for his DVD releases. Not only that he heads up a DJ crew which is now over 50 DJs Deep! Danielle caught up with Damian to find out whats up. Read on…
Tell us about the Real DJ’s crew?
Damian Holman: I’ve been doing what I do for a while, and I've been in a bunch of DJ crews, and none really seemed to be what they could be or should be. I believed I could do it the right way, so I started a crew.
You are also a DJ yeah? Have you had any mix-tape releases? If so what response did you get from these?
Damian Holman: Yup, and I've released a bunch of projects, I'm more of a DVD guy though, I felt the mixtape market was crowded when I got to it so I took the DVD route. I’ve always gotten a great response from everyone that’s bought my products in stores or online, and I'm a REAL people person, so its never been a problem for me to just walk right up to someone and sell them my products either. My last 2 projects were both nominated for Southern Entertainment Awards "Mixed DVD Of The Year Award" (01. DJ kNOw SKILLz & Paul Wall – Mash Mode DVD + 02. OG RON C & DJ kNOw SKILLz – F-Action DVD), so I guess that says something about what kind of response I was getting.
How many DJ’s do you have on your books now?
Damian Holman: There are 46 DJs in the crew now.
You also do graphic design, photography, filming and more… a real jack of all trades, why did you decide to try your hand at so many things?
Damian Holman: Long story short, I used to go by DJ NO SKILLZ just being goofy, I had a group of guys who I considered best friends, they rapped, I worked extremely hard for these guys trying to help them make it, I had all the faith in the world in these guys, the feeling wasn't mutual. One day, one of these guys asked me something like, "So when the labels come and sign us what are you going to do? They wouldn't need you because you have NO SKILLZ" (like my name).
Needless to say, me working with those guys didn't last too much longer, I was young and dumb until that point, but then my eyes really opened up, and I saw everything for what it really was. Not long after that comment, I decided to change my name to DJ kNOw SKILLz and learn to do everything a musician could possibly need. That single statement could very well be the most motivational thing that was ever said to me (it was the way it was said too, and who said it). Where I came from is definitely my motivation.
You have worked with the likes of Paul Wall and Tum Tum, tell us about those projects?
Damian Holman: Paul Wall was the first artist to REALLY give me a break in this industry, I used to bug him all the time. I'd chase him around with my camcorder for interviews and drops. He saw me everywhere he went and saw that I was a hard worker so when he started his own DJ crew, I was one of the first to be invited to join. When I hooked up with him, that’s when everything changed for me. I've done 4 projects with him, an all original instrumental CD, another CD that we put out for free (that one was crazy, people love free!!!), and two DVDs.
About 6 months ago I started working with Tum Tum. He saw me running around chasing people down with my camera on the set of some video shoot and could tell I was a really hard worker. Tum Tum told me that Rob G was telling him about me on a flight out to Denver. That’s what really got me that first chance (THANKS ROB). My DJ crew has dropped one mixtape with Tum Tum called Monsta Music. It was our DJ crews first mixtape and it ended up getting mentioned in the October Edition of Ozone Magazine. That one went so well that were doing his next mixtape. I'm also promoting for him now, producing, filming, doing photography, and a bunch of other things.
Where do you aim to be within the music industry? I mean you work on so many different things but what is true to who you are?
Damian Holman: I love music. I'm not sure exactly what my calling is just yet, but whatever it is, expect the word "mogul" to follow.
Tell us about the comedy venture?
Damian Holman: I'm in a position where I can really help new comedians launch successful careers now, so I'm going to. I'm still looking for the right comedians to push, I'd like to find one male and one female, and really get behind their careers.
You also have your own models right? What’s that all about?
Damian Holman: I'm in a position where I can really help new models launch successful careers now, so I'm doing that. What musician doesn’t want beautiful women around him, right?
Who gives you inspiration to do what you do? I mean even the best have someone they look up to.
Damian Holman: My Mom inspires me most, she’s why I work so hard to make it to the top. I find inspiration everywhere though. Paul Wall inspired me lots, I still remember when he got his first Bentley (I'm not sure how many he's had now). I remember just standing there next to the car the first time I saw it. I was talking to him while he was gobbling down taco cabana hahaha. Seeing him do what he did was very inspirational.
Tum Tum really inspires me, too. He took me and showed me a new side of life, the side that I had only seen on TV. He really lives like a rockstar. It's one thing to see things from the outside looking in, its very different when you’re on the inside though. I'm more motivated than I've ever been in my life right now because of what Tum Tum's shown me. Jay – Z, Diddy, and Russell Simmons are all very inspirational to me also.
Your motto is, “I don’t wait for things to happen, I go out and make them happen”, tell us how you do this?
Damian Holman: I mean that literally. Like if there’s someone I want to work with, I'll go make it happen one way or another.
What projects do you have planned for 2008?
Damian Holman: It might be more accurate to ask what I DON’T have planned! My crew’s going to be dropping a bunch of mixtapes, DVDs and an indie album later in the year. Those are the “for sures”, and there are a lot of maybes, so MAYBE we'll have some surprises for everyone.
Damian Holman: Shouts out to Underground PR (who set this interview up), my whole REAL Team, TBG'Z, my sponsors Urban Complex, Twenty Below, and Liqourish, and everyone that’s ever helped me and / or is helping me, they know who they are.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.