She’s young, talented, cute, and smart. Serious about what she does, no ego, respects the roots of the music she loves. In short, she’s amazing, and sepia loves her.
Seriously, though, it’s hard to hate DJ Kayper. She’s just too amazing. We squeed back in September, when Abhi blogged about her gig at the House of Blues in Houston. Taz and the rest of the beantown mutineers tried to catch her Boston show a few days later as the final touch on an fabulous night. Her skills are ridiculous, her taste is excellent, and she’s so low-key it’s always sort of exciting to get to know anything about her.
So of course I tried to get to know all about her. Recently fired off a batch of unconscionably inquisitive questions…and to my immeasurable delight, she answered them all! Even about being a DJ with breasteses!!
So let’s start with the obvious question — how did an Indian girl from Croydon get into hiphop?
I grew up during the golden era of hip hop and was influenced a lot by what my older brother was listening to. He listened to all types of music but in the early ’90s everyone was a fan of hip hop so that’s really how it all started for me.How old were you when you started DJing? What drew you to it?
I started djing properly when I was 12 years old. I had two older cousins that were successful dj’s in the early ’90s and whenever I would go to their houses, I’d always go through their records and watch them mess around on the turntables. I had a fascination with djs and turntables and I really wanted to learn but nobody had the time to teach me so I had to figure it out on my own.
I guess when I started djing, I was very young and had a lot of free time on my hands so I would come home from school everyday and practice for about 3 hours and about 10 hours a day on the weekends. But back then it didn’t really feel like practice, it was just something I did without even thinking. Djing has turned into a full time job for me now so the only times I really get to practice is when I do mixtapes and mixes for my radio show every week which turn into practice sessions when I’m trying new things out.
I read somewhere that you started as drummer before DJing, and also that you can’t swim, and wanted to be an actress and/or a wrestler. Squash/verify these internet rumors, please! Seriously — wrestling?
I did play the drums for about 4 years in high school but because I didn’t have a drum kit at home, I was never able to practice as much as I should have so I was a bit of a crap drummer! Luckily djing took over. I developed a bit of a phobia of water when I had to take swimming lessons in primary school. I hated going in the deep end because it was 11 meters deep but my teacher would always throw me in and then put a stick in the water for me to grab onto. He was harsh!
So I can swim a little but not well enough to not have someone by my side in case I drown. I’ve always wanted to act – maybe someday I will go for it. I never wanted to be a wrestler but I did play wrestling with my brother when I was a kid. It was basically an excuse for him to try out wrestling moves that he saw watching WWF!
On your BBC Asian Network radio show you’ve interviewed some fascinating and high-profile musicians. Who was your favorite guest? Any good behind-the-scenes stories?
One guest that sticks out in my mind is Xzibit. Before I went in the studio to interview him, the record label people told me he was feeling tired and a bit grumpy! He actually turned out to be one of the funniest guys I’ve met. He is exactly what he’s like on Pimp My Ride. I showed him a picture of my beat up VW Polo which was my first car at the time. He looked at it and said “damn! WTF is that, how many times have you crashed?”Then laughed at me hysterically for about a minute.
I’m a great driver!
Very few people get the chance to meet, let alone get to know, their childhood idols. And now you’ve got DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier on your speed-dial. Is it weird?
The weirdest and coolest thing for me is the fact that they know my name and know that I exist in the world. That’s all I wanted.
What’s your strategy for dealing with people who can’t get over the fact that you’re a DJ who happens to have breasteses? Ever punch anyone for being annoying about it?
Lol – Breasteses! No – I’ve never punched anyone for anything actually. Narrow minded people have always made me want to be a better DJ because I’m a very competitive person and always like proving people wrong.
We love that your previous mixtape was called Bring Back Yo! MTV Raps! I remember staying up late with friends to watch the show. If MTV, um, had another music video show — what would you like to see on it?
To be honest, I don’t think another music video show would work on MTV anymore. Music videos back in the day used to be iconic but these days, record labels don’t want to put the kind of money they used to put in for videos, hence the reason why there’s not a lot of music videos that stick out anymore. So now we have a new generation of kids that are growing up with a lack of appreciation for music, music videos and more of an interest in reality TV.
Read the full interview (15 questions) here for more rumor verification, the best songs to get a crowd moving, city/club recommendations, ASIMO the humanoid robot, Kayper’s next heist (harhar) and more.
EXTRA: DJ Kayper’s top 5 non hiphop music video picks! Very surprising, some of these. She danced on the couch to Prefab Sprout. (??!!!) There, I just gave it away.