DJ Smallz is undoubtedly one of the hottest DJ’s on the planet right now, with a string of successful mixtapes under his belt and various other business ventures keeping him busy we decided it was time to catch up with the Japan born DJ to see what has been happening over the last 12 months.
Hey Smallz, thanks for taking the time out to do this interview with us, let me get right to it and ask how did the DJ Smallz / Southern Smoke brand get to the status it is at?
DJ Smallz: Well my head was really into school. I got a scholarship to college and everything. I was DJing as a hobby ever since middle school and I was ready to get my club game poppin in high school. The first southern smoke CD was really a demo for me to get into clubs. It was the hottest southern music put together, mixed by me. People passed the CD around in high school and clubs, word of mouth spread and one thing led to another. That's how the southern smoke movement really began.
You work hard and constantly push out new Mixtapes, what is the biggest accomplishment of your career so far?
DJ Smallz: Touring overseas and really getting a chance to see my fans up close. Last year I DJed parties in Canada, Germany, Japan & Switzerland and it was crazy! I just came back from Japan as a matter of fact, I did 4 shows there over Labor Day weekend. Wait until you see the footage we got for Southern Smoke TV that will be debuting on our YouTube channel next month (SouthernSmokeTV.com). It's the 2nd time I went on tour in Japan… I was there last summer for several shows in Tokyo. This year I went over there and smashed shows in four major cities in Japan – Osaka, Tokyo, Fukouka and Okinawa. "It's Southern Smoke you bastards!!!"
Tell us about the College Tour CD, I hear you are pressing up 25,000 just to give away?
DJ Smallz: Yes, the first annual Southern Smoke College Tour is incredible. We're hitting up 9 major homecomings throughout the South, primarily in Florida and we are adding on more dates as we speak. It's the first street brand with its own tour, and its been in the planning stages for the last 9 months. We are breaking artists on every tour date! Flo-Rida (Poe Boy / Atlantic), Kinfolk Kia Shine (Universal Records) and Foxx (Trill Ent / Asylum) are the headlining acts this year, and it's hosted by Delicious & Tango (of "Flavor of Love" & "I Love NY" on VH1) as well as the cast of "College Hill" from BET last season. In addition to breaking new artists on the tour, we are also breaking new talent with 25,000 CDs I put together just to give away! I started the contest a month ago and received hundreds and hundreds of songs from new talent across the South. Throughout this overwhelming process we found 20 records we are really excited about! You can download the Tour CD for free on djsmallz.com October 20th.
You have had the benefit of working with some of today’s hottest artists, who inspires you within the music world?
DJ Smallz: Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew inspired me in entrepreneurial ways as he is always promoting a new product or investing into another endeavour. Young Jeezy inspired me by the way he marketed himself incredibly in the streets and how he invested his money wisely to do so. Lil' Wayne has inspired me as of late, with his constant grind and using his incredible talent to open doors for his own team (cash money records). These are just a few examples of many.
Did you always want to be a DJ from a young age?
DJ Smallz: Yes, from about middle school forward. I was actually into the percussion side of things early on in my career. I can play a 12 piece drum set like Travis Barker (laughing). Honestly though, I can tune by ear and read music notes. I've been into music from the very beginning as long as I can remember.
For those who are no familiar, you were actually born in Japan. When did your family move to the USA?
DJ Smallz: I was born on a Navy base in Japan where my father was stationed when he was serving our armed forces, I moved to Florida when I was 3 years old and been here ever since – hurricanes and all!!! (Laughing)
You recently released a track featuring 30 artists, what was that all about? Is there going to be an album to go with it?
DJ Smallz: It was really hard to keep a record of this magnitude from leaking in the streets and making this a real industry surprise. This record is amazing, I'm even gonna go all in and call this record a street symphony!!! I recorded over 60 different verses for this record from 60 different artists across the state, and I only released 30 of them so far… the record took 2 months to create and I produced the track myself! It was great to see it finally release during the Ozone awards in Miami this year. I'm representing every hood, county and artist on the grind that’s the "Future of Florida"… matter of fact, two artists that were on the Gunshine State record signed to major deals after we released the record the very next week! Treal from Orlando, FL signed to Universal Republic and Haitian Fresh from Daytona Beach, FL signed to Wyclef Jean's new venture with Universal called Sak Pase Records… I'm really working right now Florida!!!
If given the chance to work with alongside anyone within the music world who would you chose and why?
DJ Smallz: I have two artists that come to mind… Andre 3000 and Scarface. These guys are legends, its only right that we get together and make history at some point.
You recently created a link with Underground Promotion UK, tell us about this? How did the link come about?
DJ Smallz: It was an easy link, especially when I saw Underground Promotion UK doing its thing from day one, its only right that the #1 DJ in the South got with the #1 UK Promotional Company in the UK!!!
What can we expect from you in the future?
DJ Smallz: Expect the unexpected!!! (Laughing)… Look out for the "Southern Smoke College Tour" this fall… as well as "Southern Smoke TV" with QD3 (creator of the "Beef" series" at the top of the year… and of course the "Southern Smoke" album summer of 2008, with the first single featuring your favourite rappers leaking very soon. Also be on the lookout for my production game… I'm shopping beats to a lot of major artists from Ludacris to Young Dro… so be on the lookout for that as well.
Any shout out’s?
DJ Smallz: Don't forget to check out the official website DJSmallz.com. I love breaking new artists and new music. If you need a CD hosted or you need me to DJ your party or event, please send me a message through DJSmallz.com. Big shout to British Hip Hop for holding me down always!!!
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.