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DJ Alibi
10 from 1
In 2005, Alibi sent a CD to Thes One (of P.U.T.S.) who immediately realized the talent in his production which defied post Hip-Hop labeling. The ensuing record deal resulted in his recently released full length..

Born outside of Moscow, Russia in1986, Alibi has been steeped in music his whole life. At four, he picked up a violin, then a piano, a trumpet, a bass, a guitar, and so on. At the age of 12, Alibi's family moved to Toronto and within six months of living in his new hometown, Alibi had already made his first beat using turntables and samplers.

In 2005, the then 19-year old producer sent a CD to Thes One (of People Under The Stairs) who immediately realized the talent in Alibi's production which defied post Hip-Hop labeling. The ensuing record deal resulted in his recently released full length, nearly completely instrumental album, One Day.

Here, DJ Alibi offers a quick vinyl dime drop, and speaks about working with Tres, why he's a better fit for L.A., and Russian records you'll never own...

Being born in Russia and moving over to Canada, where did you find the bulk of your musical inspiration and where did American music fit into the picture?

I grew up listening to a lot of Russian rock bands that borrowed heavily from The Clash and Pink Floyd and stuff, so I always, either directly or indirectly, was influenced by Western music. I was a huge Beatles fan since maybe age 7, so that definitely threw me into listening to more and more British and American classic rock and blues.

What prompted you to send a CD to Thes One? Was he the only one you sent one to or did you distribute them all over?

I had a bunch of press kits done and was about to start sending demos to all kinds of labels, but the Tres hook-up happened pretty much off luck.

I was on a PUTS message board and Thes One checked it out from time to time, so I messaged him, linking my website. He listened to the beats on there and liked them enough to sign me to the label he was on.

How has working with Thes and the cats over at Tres Records changed your mentality on how the music business works?

Well, I don't particularly involve myself with the business aspect of the label, so I can't fully speak on that. Being on the label simply shows you how much work is put into promotion and distribution, and, most importantly, how much money goes into running a tight ship. The music industry is a hard one to make money off, so I'm lucky I got a team of dedicated folks to help me make something out of my music.

Canada doesn't seem to get as much props as it should in the music scene, are you going into this with a particular mindset of putting Canada on the Hip-Hop map?

Not particularly. I make music that I like, and to tell you the truth - my music sounds very different from the stuff out of Toronto. People always said I would fit in better with the LA scene, for example. However, Canada is full of incredible artists, so I do feel proud representing the scene here.

If you had to be buried with one record, which one would it be? That's not really fair, let's make it two.

Hmmm... That's a hard one. I guess I would choose a compilation record by Soviet artists singing to the poetry of Rasul Gamzatov, a southern Russian poet. It's a beautiful record that I took a few samples off. Another one would be by a Soviet band called Melodia, which was a back-up band to a lot of Soviet Pop artists. They released a record in the early seventies which was basically Funk covers of children songs and movie soundtracks. Its one of the grittiest, best-mixed records I got.

Check out DJ Alibi at his various homes online: Myspace & his Artist Website

The Beatles
(Capitol) 1966

This record was rooted in simple Rock'n Roll, but the Beatles mixed a traditional format with a new, innovative approach. Beginnings of their Psychedelic stage were evident, but the record didn't go off on a tangent, it still maintained the short-song format and was very even. That's the feel I try to go for in my music - It's rooted in classic Hip-Hop with touches of experimentation.

The Specials
Self Titled
(2 Tone) 1979

The best Ska record ever made. The songs were short, to the point, and extremely funky. The mixing on that record blew me away. All the levels are perfect, every delay and reverb effect was right where it should have been. Full, bouncy basslines and crispy guitars. I'm trying to achieve that sound quality on my tracks.

Moment of Truth
(Noo Trybe) 1998

The perfect Hip-Hop record, in terms of drums. DJ Premier always killed it with his drums and this record is the epitome of Primo's genius. Crispy, loud, and the compression is just perfect. "You Know My Steez" would stand out as a perfect example of that.

A Tribe Called Quest
Midnight Marauders
(Jive) 1993

My favorite album from the Native Tongues movement. New York's mid 90s, Jazz-influenced Hip-Hop was embodied in this album. Ali Shaheed Muhammad flipped his samples perfectly on that record, and MM influenced me in layering my samples. Aside from Mecca and the Soul Brother, no other rap record incorporated Jazz loops so well.

People Under the Stairs
Question in a Form of an Answer
(Om Records) 2000

This album maintained the boom-bap format, but broke ground with many innovations in Hip-Hop production. A track called "Stay Home" struck me, because it did not have a drum track, apart from the drums in the sample. That showed me that a beat does not have to follow a traditional mid-90s format in order to maintain that classic boom-bap feel.

The Roots
Things Fall Apart
(Geffen) 1999

Best live band in Hip-Hop with their best work. Everything about this record struck me - the mixing, the scarce incorporation of instruments, Questlove's drumming etc… This record influenced me to incorporate instruments into my beats. To add a little guitar or organ lick, for example, might add a lot to the soundscape of the beat. "Aint Nothin New" is a stand out track. Those guitar chords kill me every time.

Cypress Hill
Black Sunday
(Ruff House) 1993

Muggs really perfected his signature bouncy style on this record. Fast drum loops, filtered basslines and horn squeals dominated this record and the beats' chemistry with B-Real's voice was unbelievable. With "Insane in the Brain," Muggs showed producers how to make a party beat that people can move to, but was still grimey and raw.

Black Moon
Enta Da Stage
(Nervous) 1993

I use a lot of filtered bass on my beats, and Enta Da Stage was a huge inspiration in that aspect of my production. The drums were loud and punchy and lo-fi, and, coupled with the deep bass, really highlighted Black Moon's dark lyrical content. This record, with its scarce samples and minimalism, showed that sometimes, less is more.

Main Source
Breaking Atoms
(Wild Pitch) 1991

"Looking at the Front Door" is one of those timeless tracks that one can play over and over and still wonder about how the main sample was flipped. I'm sure it was chopped somehow, but it's done so well, it's hard to figure out what Large Pro actually did. The track made me realize that chopping samples does not have to sound like Primo all the time, but you also can create organic, natural sounding loops using this technique.

Slum Village
The Fantastic Vol. 2
(Good Vibe) 2000

Many things have been said about Dilla, that I don't need to repeat. The bottom line is, he revolutionized Hip-Hop production and brought many new elements into the game, such as adding swing to the drums, or using the filtering effects differently. This record was my first introduction to J Dilla, and it's still my favorite work of his. "Players" is my track - the sample manipulation and the drums were crazy. The result almost put you in a trance-like state.

-- Jeff Min

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