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22 Jan 2009

Industry News

Dj Tittsworth Interview

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With a fair dinkum surname like Tittsworth, finding the perfect DJ name was never going to be a major problem. After hanging up his raver MC Hammer pants and Telly Tubby backpack for the more reputable street beats of hip hop, Titties (Jesse, to his mum) has suckled his way to a juicy career that has seen him remix and work alongside heavy hitters like Kanye West, Pitbull, Kid Sister and , to name a few. After his last visit to Australia where we introduced him to the nutsack of our national emblem, the kinky bug-eater is back to annihilate the skinny jean crowd. We caught up with the titmaster blaster on the eve of his Melbourne show, and whipped out the dirty dozen questions...

Yo Titties, welcome back to Australia man…what did you love most about your last tour down under?
A certain special somebody was nice enough to tourist shop with me. So naturally the highlight was this very special, one of a kind, super high-class souvenir, a big hairy kangaroo scrotum key chain! Also for the last half of the tour A-Trak asked me to be Kid Sister's hype man. Not really something I was used to but it was a lot of fun! Despite getting a cold and losing my voice, it was exactly what I needed to help conquer my mic fright!

With one of the best names associated with a DJ, tell our readers how you came about 'Tittsworth aka Titties'…or are you really just a perv at heart!
Ha, it's actually my surname. A lot of folks don't believe me, so I’ve been thinking about getting an ODB style t-shirt made with my driver's license. It wouldn't be much of a stretch because I look like a convicted felon on that joint. Tittsworth is from my pops, who is from Alabama (deep south) but I think the name is old English. Tit = bird, or so I've been told.

Let’s talk music for a second. What is with this rave music trend you DJs are bringing hard to our shores these days? Is it an extension of bringing back the old school, like with the boom of ‘90s hip hop that was so rife last year?
I grew up listening to a lot of different types of music. I was into ‘90s rave just as much as ‘90s hip-hop. So I'm thrilled to hear some of those sounds creep back, but even more excited that the production value is even higher. It's an exciting time for music because it seems all my favorite types of music are all mixing together with each other!

What do you remember from that particular era?

Hahaha, I was a huge raver but don't tell anyone! There are apparently pics of me in my Telly Tubby backpack with shiny pants big enough to smuggle a small village. I really dig that early Baltimore Club era too where there were a lot of intersecting genres and records. You might hear a UK hardcore song, a Chicago house song, a hip-house song and Baltimore all in the same set.

You became a massive part of the Baltimore Club boom early last year and continue to annihilate the genre in your sets. Does it still get a massive reaction from the crowds?
Oh yeah, there are cities where they won't let me leave until I bring the Baltimore, and hard. It's good to see it get so much love and good to see it grow both musically and regionally.

You recently released your first official album ’12 Steps’ through Plant Music. Why did you settle on Plant as the place to hold the honour of Titties first full-length wax?
Actually it was Plant's idea for me to do the album. They came to me and challenged me with the concept. Stretch Armstrong approached me and at first I didn't even believe him. It was like, wait, the cat who blew up the Wu Tang and MOP wants to put me out?  Nah, I bet it's a joke! Plant Music co-owner and Plant Bar owner Dominique from the Glass is also an NY legend!!

It could be bit of a head-scratcher for a DJ to release an album, banging out tracks already laid down by other artists and mixed with said DJ’s signature stylings, but all your tracks are original productions, laid under a bevy of A-List vocals from Pitbull to Nina Sky to Kid Sister, right? How long was the process and how has it sparked your musicality as a DJ?
Some of these tracks are three years old, I think. Putting out an album was extremely challenging but it's taught me a lot of valuable lessons. These are my first attempts at proper song writing. I wanted to test my own limitations and that of the genre to move beyond sample-based DJ tools. It's opened a whole floodgate of creativity for me! I don't think I have ever been so motivated about production actually and very much look forward to subsequent releases.

Tell us how you lined up all the artists on ’12 Steps’
The whole thing was put together on a shoestring budget so you'd be surprised how much of it was luck plus hook-ups. For example, after sending a track to A-Trak, he recommended Nina Sky. Benzi liked it and got Pitbull added on. Same with Nick Catchdubs and The Federation. Fools Gold have been huge supporters and inspirations at the same time. Others just made more sense, like us going after DJ Assault's humor.

You’ve worked with so many dope people on the road and travel consistently. How do you keep grounded surrounded by such creativity and monotony all at the same time?
For me I guess it's a combination of keeping good company and trying to stay focused on the bigger picture of things. At the end of the day we all should be so lucky that we're able to pay bills with music, or art in general. And I continue to be thrilled that somebody would pay for me to come from the other side of the world!

Can we round out by talking fashion for a minute? Have you seen a massive shift from fluoro streetwear cats to a more sophisticated look at your gigs, and how has your own style progressed since last we met? Is style important to you?
Ha, are you mocking the increasing tightness of my jeans?  Haha, truth be told, part of it is that I have lost about 80-90 pounds in the last few years. I guess I have also been paying better attention to what I feel fits naturally and what doesn't. Style is important to me, but at the end of the day so is comfort as a touring DJ. I really enjoy a lot of what fashion has taught me. I enjoy observing its relationship to musical trends. A lot of it inspires me; some of it does not....

Please tell us you haven’t stopped rocking sneakers though! What are you feelings towards footwear at the moment?
Ha, I remember early on I was so gung-ho about traveling with footwear, messing up so many hotel towels trying to keep them spotless. Now I'm out for black on black low maintenance kicks. I just put really weird animal print laces in all my black Reebok classics.

You have a penchant for eating the old bug here or there! We’ve caught many a glimpse of you rocking something foreign in your mouth! What is the most outrageous creature to have hit your stomach?
My stomach is sort of like a Noah's Ark. Dick, balls, liver, snake, bugs, urchins, raw whale, horse, you name it, I've had it. I think my favorite might have been scorpion.  Tastes like soft-shell crab!  Yum!

Delicious! Thanks Titties.

Hit the link HERE for a special Titties Mix!

22 Jan 2009

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