CASTRO has been a revered DJ in Singapore since 2000, rinsing out Jungle/DnB music in nightspots such as Zouk, Home, Centro, Blu Jaz, Liquid Room, Insomnia, Eden, Nox & dbl O, along with a couple of unforgettable bashes in Thailand. Til this day CASTRO is a strong purveyor of music on wax, especially when he plays out. +65 DnB resident NEZ plays the interrogator and catches up with CASTRO and his waxy tendencies, and brings out some truth to the grooves.
+65 DnB: Hi CASTRO, how are you doing? Thanks for taking time off to do this little interview.
CASTRO: All good. Thanks for having me.
+65 DnB: Tell me, what were your first experiences with listening to music through the vinyl format?
CASTRO: As a matter of fact, it was at a mall. I was just loitering about after school and i heard music blaring out of a shop in one of the aisles and I came across these guys scratching and mixing records on some turntables.
+65 DnB: How did DJing and playing out at clubs make itself available to you in the beginning, and how has your journey been as a DJ?
CASTRO: Studio Fusion, that's the name of the shop in Far East Plaza. Coincidentally a friend had already started taking up DJ lessons there around '98, but I had no way to pay for a course so I started buying records instead. I used to buy anything and everything that sounded remotely good or bizarre to me. You know sometimes they say knowledge is poison; so not knowing what i was buying nurtured a "good" ear of sorts. I just bought more and more records, until I had enough cash to get some turntables and learned everything on my own. I used to beat match using my mouth. I would play like a 4 x 4 house beat and then mimic the sound of break beats to match the tempo. From this I knew what the main drum pattern was like, and how I could later mix a track in. I have met some of my best mates through my experiences as a DJ. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
+65 DnB: What are some fond memories of playing music out on vinyl?
CASTRO: I can be a complete drunk at times, so I have had some bad memories of losing records or accidentally smashing them. As for some of the good memories, I would mix 45's sometimes. Once, I was playing at a festival where Funkstorung's (K7) Chris De Luca came through just about when I was mixing and mashing up some 45's, like weird carnival and polka stuff with pitched down drum and bass records. I was opening for them and I think they appreciated the novelty.
+65 DnB: Have you ever toyed with the idea of changing your DJ set up to something like playing WAV files on a CDJ?
CASTRO: I would if i could mix better on CDJs. I prefer the setup and textural feel of turntables. Picking up a record and then disappearing behind the booth to look for another record to play is a pleasure. I hate staring at screens, I do it almost every time all my life, thus vinyls are just better for me. The only drawback is lugging them around to gigs…
+65 DnB: I believe, your core sound/genre when you have played out over the years is Jungle music, for those that may have not been exposed to that music when it was birthed or flourishing, tell me, what makes Jungle so special? As we have seen in recent days, it has kind of made a renaissance in new forms of music in the Footwork Jungle genre.
CASTRO: It is the raw energy that speaks to many. Some of the ‘crass’ or ‘raw’ sounding production appeals to those who just like that sort of thing. To me Jungle is all cyclical, the loop of life.
+65 DnB: I also assume, that you have not made the switch to a DVS like Serato?
CASTRO: Not true, I did use Serato when it was initially released. I don't have anything against digital formats. I'd try it at least once and if it suits what i want to do, then I would probably use it.
+65 DnB: Everybody who loves the sound of vinyl, refer to the nuances and character of its sound output to a set of speakers. Though, most working DJs still prefer playing a 'stable' format like the CDJ? Why is that? Do you think there are cons rather than pros to playing vinyl out at clubs nowadays?
CASTRO: Again not entirely true, despite some peeps raving about the sound quality of vinyl, I have had the misfortune of picking up badly pressed/mastered or produced records. It is all really subjective. I am not a purist in any way, I don’t think, but I believe that as an individual in any artform or craft, you just got to do what suits you best.
+65 DnB: Doing a Jungle set on wax, what kind of preparations do you do to ensure you tear the roof off in the club?
CASTRO: No special preparations, just going through the crates and picking out stuff that "screams" at you. The odd classic tunes have to be represented, so I always keep that in mind.
+65 DnB: Lastly, when are u gonna tear the roof of next, with your deep vinyl crates of Jungle?
CASTRO: I'll be playing this Saturday 28th Sepember at Singapore’s monthly Drum & Bass night, +65 at Home Club. On the bill are residents Nez and RozakMC, along with S-Tactics and Nuance. Come out n get mashed like potatoes!
+65 DnB: Wicked mate, thanks again for your time.
Event listing: https://www.facebook.com/events/1414478232096997 +65 Drum & Bass happens this Saturday 28 September from 10pm Home Club. 20 Upper Circular Road, The Riverwalk B1-01/06, Singapore 058416 Entry is $15 with one drink.