Once again the creative minds of PLSTK bring you the fifth installment of our mix series that showcases the finest producers and music selectors from around the way. This volume has been curated by DJ Nerstylist, who is no stranger to the dancefloor. He is heralded for his eclectic take on dance music, from the depths of bass music to the soulful spirituals of House and Funk. In his latest mix “Grey Areas 2″ Nerstylist is continuing his take on what UK Bass means to him by digging into the deepest tunes from the unknown and making them present in the people.
What intrigued you about music/vinyl culture when you were first exposed to it?
Nerstylist: To be honest, when I first started deejaying in ’98 I was completely fascinated by what DJ Q-Bert and the Skratch Piklz were doing so I made it a priority to learn the ways of the battle DJ. During those early years, digging and selecting took a backseat while most of my energy was spent on learning how to scratch and party-rock. I remember frequenting my local Rasputin’s religiously and keeping up with all the Turntable TV’s, DMC battles, and ITF videos when the battle scene was at its peak. Musically, I’d collect all the Lethal Weapons, Crazy Toons, and whatever tracks were moving the clubs. The Backpacker hip-hop scene (if that’s what you call it) was also largely influential to me during those early days. I remember some of the earliest records I copped were doubles of Rasco’s “The Unassisted” and East Flatbush Project’s “Tried by 12″ and I’d practice trick-mixing with them.
It wasn’t until after college (roughly ’04) that I really took the digging/musical aspect of deejaying seriously. Like everyone else at that time, I began looking for hip-hop samples and learned the ins and outs of digging. I also fell in love with neo-soul, jazzy hip-hop; basically all things soulful. During that time, I was obsessed with indie soul artists like Adriana Evans, Amel Larrieux, or Eric Roberson. On the hip-hop side, I was totally floored by the records that cats like the Sound Providers or Jazz Liberatorz were putting out. As a result of all the producers & artists I discovered, I was inspired enough to put out my first mixtape entitled “Quiet Time”.
I think it was in ’05 that I first started listening to Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Show. For the longest time, I thought I had this music thing figured out, but listening to GP forever changed my perception. Prior to discovering him, I had always believed that tuning into college radio, attending live shows, and word of mouth were my only sources of discovering the latest and greatest. But as I started listening to more of Gilles’ shows, I realized that there was this entire universe of underground music culture that went way beyond any local scene I’d experienced. My previous way of thinking was that the underground could have its own separate “scene” each with their respective followers, but Worldwide taught me that all of these “scenes” can actually connect to each other (or as Gilles says “joining the dots”). Thanks to him, my love for music increased exponentially and its been my lifelong obsession to continuously explore and seek out the best of what music has to offer regardless of what genre or medium it is.
The current musical lines have been blended and blurred at an alarming rate. Does it even matter to try and categorize every new genre/sub-genre?
Nerstylist: I absolutely love the direction that music is going. With the emergence of the internet with regards to music culture, we can now freely choose where we’d like to start our musical journeys and no longer have to depend on mainstream media to choose them for us. We can easily share our creations with each other, influence each other, and ultimately inspire each other without having to worry about any outside forces interfering. There is no format, template, or status quo that we’re forced to follow and because of this I feel like a lot of what’s come out the past few years has sounded very original. There’s a new generation of young producers/artists that are taking music into entirely new directions, and I’m excited to see what they’ll bring to the table.
At this point, I think having general categories is fine but trying to narrow them down into sub-categories could prove to be quite difficult. The concept I had for my “Grey Areas” mix was that some music is “genreless” and nearly impossible to categorize. Sure, some forms of music have their defining characteristics like four on the floor house or the boom-bap of hip-hop, but having to break those genres down even further, especially with today’s music, might not be worth the trouble.
What countries are you currently focusing on when it comes to finding new tunes? Who are some of your influences when it comes to being a selector?
Nerstylist: I’ve always felt that the UK has been at the forefront of what’s cutting edge. Whether it’s jungle, broken beat, dubstep, funky, garage, or bass, I’ve always had the impression that the UK was always forward-thinking. Don’t get me wrong though, I have an insane appreciation of music from all over the world. It’s just these past few years that my attention has shifted towards the UK.
My influences have always changed depending on who I’m listening to at the time. Gilles Peterson pushed me to dig deeper, while Benji B helped me to discover how to get out of my comfort zone. Both have played a substantial role in shaping and developing my sound as it is today. As far as current influences go, they would include Mosca, Julio Bashmore, George Fitzgerald, and Jacques Greene just to name a few.