DJ Semtex Can't Live Without His... | Skip to main content

DJ Semtex Can't Live Without His...

DJ Semtex Can't Live Without His...

DJ Semtex ramps it up into 2008 with Dizzee Rascal and the DVJ-1000s

BBC 1Xtra's DJ Semtex is back mixing it up with hip-hop champ Dizzee Rascal, kickstarting the beefiest beats for their UK tour with Babyshambles. They've been blasting tracks from Dizzee's last three albums (Boy in da Corner, Showtime and Maths + English). And although it's more of an indie crowd than the guys are used to, they're bringing their own blend of hip-hop and grime, and the crowds have most definitely been bang into it – as we saw when we caught up with Semtex at the huge MEN arena in Manchester.

'Being on the road with Dizzee is always a brilliant experience,' explains Semtex. 'I used to watch Public Enemy and Run DMC, and since I was a kid I've always wanted to be that guy up on stage mixing records. Now I'm doing it. There are a lot of misconceptions about MCs but Dizzee's the biggest hip-hop artist in the UK. He's taking it global – and he's nothing but professional.'

Semtex has long worked alongside the biggest names in the game, including Beyonce, Kayne West and Jay-Z, and he regularly DJs with Dizzee. But on this particular tour, supporting Babyshambles, he's not only mixing up audio but also mashing up video, cutting and scratching footage for all the tracks that Dizzee performs live using Pioneer's DVJ-1000 DVD decks. This is the first time that Semtex has used video in this way and it's already going so well that they're going to be doing it for the whole of 2008 with all their upcoming tour dates, and big time at the festivals, from Australia to America.

'It's basically another way of taking the artform of DJing to the next level, so it's only right that we do it with Dizzee Rascal,' enthuses Semtex. 'To the show it brings another angle visually, but it's also about pushing the boundaries from a DJ perspective. We've gone from vinyl to CDs to MP3s, and so with the visual aspect I just think it's right that you go even further. It's a full package for the punters, for the people who come to your raves.'

Manchester-born Semtex holds a degree in Human Communication and started DJing in the early 90s. A master of many skills he quickly became submerged in all aspects of the scene from pirate radio and putting on jams to helping out record companies and new artists. From there he bagged a top job at Sony, setting up a Street Team in 1998, and his career has flourished ever since with non-stop DJ gigs, promotions and an A&R role for Def Jam UK. He's worked as a consultant for EMI and XL Recordings, and even helped Mariah Carey launch her perfume in the UK; the end result being Semtex's A&R and marketing company SemtexMedia. Not really surprising for such an entrepreneurial maestro who believes there's nothing stopping him from being Prime Minister tomorrow – if that's what he wanted.

Unfortunately for us the steely-minded Semtex doesn't want to be Prime Minister, just yet. However, with a reservoir of innovative ideas at his disposal, 2007 will see him unleash the first 'digital mix tape' in the UK courtesy of Nokia. He's also got a massive social networking project lined up for 2008 and proposes to post his video mixes online, so stay tuned.

'In 2008 I can guarantee that I'll be upping the levels,' he says with determination and a smile. 'My main aim is always to outdo what I did the year before. So as you do that, it gets a little harder every year.'

You can catch Semtex's radio show on 1Xtra every Friday and Sunday, plus he's just started a new Radio 1 show that takes place every six weeks on a Saturday night.