A few weeks ago I saw A.SKILLZ post a note on his Facebook page that he’s heading to Winnipeg as part of a three-date Canadian tour. To say I was excited was a huge understatement. The last time he was in town he blew my mind – also an understatement. Technically, his mixes were so precise, and the flow he maintained was like a banana milkshake. Smooth. Winnipeg, you’re in for a treat. Again.
I was also lucky enough to toss a few questions to A.Skillz. Hit the jump to what he had to say below.
Date: Thursday, November 21
Location: Greenroom (108 Osborne)
Tickets: $10 (at the door)
Full event details here.
Local club favourite, HOLLYWOOD HYPE, will light things up for A.Skillz. And in a very fortunate turn of events, I’ll be opening the night as half of THE SHAKE with co-beat captain, LOTEK.
Here’s A.Skillz’ latest mix, for free download.
…and a bit of an oldie, but definitely a Manalogue favourite, also for free download.
Q+A w/ A.Skillz
Manalogue: Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
A.Skillz: Adam Mills AKA A.Skillz I offen get thrown in the “Breaks” Category but really it’s mixture of things. Funk and Soul are at the heart of it but i do play a lot of different styles.
Manalogue: When did you start djing? Was there a person or moment that made you want to do it?
A.Skillz: I think I started around the age of 16. I played drums in a band and just got into djing for fun. One of the things that sparked my interest was watching the film “juice”, it’s got some really cool dj battle scenes and a great oldskool hip hop soundtrack, I was hooked after that!
Manalogue: How has djing for you personally changed since then?
A.Skillz: Things have moved on a lot from the early days. It was all about digging for the best records, and cutting up double copies. The art form is still there but it’s the way we acquire records which has changed. nothing is “rare” anymore so dj producers make vip edits and exclusives to stay one step ahead.
Manalogue: Your sets consist of a tonne of custom edits, which is quite ground-breaking really. How’d you get started doing this? How much work goes into these?
A.Skillz: I have some edits that are just re-arrangements of existing records with different vocals or crowd hype bits or what ever. These I make quite quickly just for my dj sets and then there are edits that are more “remixes” really where I’ve really gone to town tracking down the original samples, rebuilding the drums, bass, everything. These are the ones that I usually end up putting up on soundcloud for download. I don’t like giving out the more “throw away” edits to the masses as it seems more disrespectful to the original artists if not a lot has been done change it from the original version.
M: How much prep goes into a set? Do you just wing it, or do you have a plan going into every gig?
A.Skillz: Depending on the gig I normally have around 50% worked out, I know generally where I’m going but I’ll throw in random stuff along the way. I’ve done sets where it’s 100% planned but I find myself getting a bit board when I do that. it’s like going on auto pilot.
Manalogue: It’s been a while since you played Winnipeg. That show blew my mind by the way. What can we expect this time around?
A.Skillz: I’m really exited to play Winnipeg again, I’ll be putting together a nice selection of fresh beats for the show!
Manalogue: You’re on a bit of a crazy tour right now too. Romania to Hungary to Switzerland to China to Winnipeg and beyond. How’s it going?
A.Skillz: It’s going really well, I’m just about to board my flight from Hong Kong back to london, then I have one night at home before I head over to see you guys. I might need a can of red bull before the show!
Manalogue: What do your days look like when you’re on a tour like this?
A.Skillz: Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.
Manalogue: Do you have any new material coming out in the next little while? (What is it?)
A.Skillz: Yeah I’ve got an EP that is coming out around February that’s been a little held up by a sample clearance issue but I think we are on track with that schedule now.
Manalogue: Any guilty pleasures we should know about?
A.Skillz: Backstreet Boys- “Everybody” And don’t pretend you don’t all love it too! ;-)
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