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DJ Karizma Interview: Basement Beats

Author: Stuart Evans
Thursday, 25 August 2005
DJ Karizma is the American beast from the east. Stuart Evans finds out more.

To name yourself DJ Karizma you must be somewhat of an extrovert.
Having tinkered and remixed for Martin Solveig's someday, Bob Sinclar's Save Our Souls and Jocelyn Brown's Believe, DJ Karizma's pervasive presence cannot be argued.
Karizma, or Mr. Fantastic as he's commonly known, is the long time Baltimore DJ and former Basement Boy who gained respect with both the underground house scene and the commercial followers of the genre.
With the Basement Boys, Karizma and co. recorded a long list of widely recognised productions which graced turntables worldwide.
DJ Karizma is said to be captivating, creative and charismatic, all with a K, of course.
Removing the DJing aspect from the equation, Karizma says that he prefers to be called an artist, as opposed to throwing the title of DJ his way.
But it can be said that the title is justified. Apart from spinning his notorious house records, he has been a driving force in producing good, classy house music for years.
Moreover, he's produced for some of the most highly respected labels on the planet. From Defected to Subliminal; Nervous to Mousse T's Peppermint Jam; Azuli to Motown; his production credits read as an envious inventory.
Production wise, it wasn't until he teamed up with DJ Spen that things began to move rapidly. In fact, he says that he's "pregnant with energy."
After departing from the Basement Boyz to venture out on his own, he formed Kohesive Productions, re-inventing himself in the process and, borrowing heavily from a certain science fiction monologue, he says that he wants to "boldly go where no man has gone before.'"
He explains that he wanted to bridge the musical divide between generations and wants the new kids on the block to have exposure to house music.
His acclaimed necessary and Requiem mixed cd series continue to be in high demand.
His productions have appeared on numerous compilations, from Hed Kandi to Defected In The House, his sound is widespread.
Things have moved steadily forwards since his early production days, with a now impressive discography and remix resume to boot.
Karizma is certainly cohesive.
The travelling malarky that goes with the job is what he enjoys. He's taken his hard-hitting style of mixing from his hometown to all over the globe.
Mainstream hits in the vein of Jay-Z and Beyonce proved to be influence enough for Karizma's production ambitions.
But his ability to keep people on the dance floor is what Karizma's reputation is built on.
He doesn't neglect the floor, where a house record can be made or broken.
It's been said that he can hold people, against their will, on the dance floor and that he is constantly harassed by dancers pleading with him to let them and their sore feet go home.
Stuart Evans catches up with Karizma before his impending visit to find out more.

You're also known as Mr. Fantastic - why the high praise-
Actually, Mr. Fantastic came from a shirt I was wearing one night and a friend of mine called me that as a joke.

You say that you're Kaptivating and Kreative - can you give me some examples-
Well... when I play I like to keep you on the dance floor. And sometimes I will let you get a drink!

You like to describe yourself as an artist as opposed to a dj - How do you feel about djs who call themselves artists when they haven't produced a record of their own-
I think I'm one of the few people who can be a dj and producer, and that it works out fine for me to do both.
I don't necessarily think that you have to produce a record to be a dj, and some dj's are artists in their own right, but it takes creativity to move a crowd. Unfortunately, these days you have to do production to get overseas gigs.

You've produced records for some of the biggest record labels on the planet - do you feel there's still more to achieve-
There is always more
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