With Party On The Green one week away, buzz is growing around campus about this year’s headlining performers, DJ RJD2 and neo-soul band Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves. Most people knew “Party Like A Rock Star” by last year’s act, The Shop Boyz.
But RJD2, born Ramble John Khron, has three albums, multiple well-known songs, and a considerable fan base.
Here, the Columbus-raised DJ talks to me about music, Ohio, and his recent projects:
PH: You got your start DJing in Columbus, Ohio. Was it harder to attract the attention of recording company execs than it would be in New York or L.A.?
RJD2: It was, but if you send out enough demos and bug the hell out of people, sooner or later you’ll get results.
PH: What first attracted you to DJing?
RJD2: Record collecting led to DJing. I fell into it by accident really. I was always intrigued by how rap records sounded. That’s what drew me to it.
PH: Do you have a certain method for choosing tracks?
RJD2: With samples, it’s an “anything I can get my hands on” approach.
If you are looking for sounds to fit a particular purpose, you don’t have to look at specific genres.
A guitar sound is just a guitar sound, if you will.
PH: For your recently released third album, The Third Hand, you left the Def Jux label and signed with XL Recordings. What was the reason for the switch?
RJD2: I just wanted the record to be on a label that had experience working with different kinds of music.
PH: The Third Hand is also unique in that it features you singing and playing the instruments on most every track. What brought about this new method of creation?
RJD2: Several things: I couldn’t use samples anymore, couldn’t find vocalists to work with, finally built out a studio.
PH: You have often worked with and produced albums for independent rappers such as Soul Position and Cage, do you have any upcoming productions that we should know about?
RJD2: I’ve been laying low on that stuff lately. I did a cover of one of the Nightmare Before Christmas themes for a compilation, does that count?
PH: What do you see in the near future for your own recording career?
RJD2: I just started on another solo album. I may do another soul position album at some point. I just take each day as it comes.