Party on the Green 2008 Headliner RJD2 Opens Up

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.