GrandMixer DXT (formerly known as GrandMixer D.ST) is widely known as a pioneer in DJ’ing and producing, having single handedly launched an entire generation of beat jugglers, scratch Dj’s & turntablists. You may know him from his contribution to the wildly popular 1983 Herbie Hancock hit ‘Rockit’. He’s also been featured in the 2001 documentary “Scratch” and in recognition of his contributions he’s been recently inducted into the RockWalk Hall of Fame on Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. MRC got the chance to sit down with this living legend and pick his brain about how it all got started, what inspired him to keep going and where he’s at these days. Read on..
Peace Grand Master DXT thanks for taking time out for our readers.. exactly what part of New York are you from? Neighborhood? Projects?
I was born and raised in Edenwald Projects, Bronx, NY
You used to go by the name D.ST. (Delancey St.) why the X now?
The X represents a change in my life. In 1988, I lost my brother through violence. The S in DST became an X which symbolized a crossroad for me.
Your first experience with turntables records and vinyl? How old where you?
Well first as a child growing up my mother owned a stereo set. She was an aspiring singer and my grandmother was a pianist and singer. Other family and friends were also musicians and singers. I grew up around music, but other than having a band play the only other way to hear music was on the stereo or radio.
Tell us what you brought to the table as a turntablist that people may not know about?
I don’t know how to really answer that. I guess B-Boying and DJing at the same time. More importantly, most people don’t know that I am the first person to play the turntable as an instrument while being a part of a live ensemble. What people referred to as “beat juggling”.
Did you have a mentors?
I had several mentors. The Garvin family, Rex and Audrey Gavin. Rex Garvin was a musician who appeared American Bandstand and had a few hit records in the 60’s. Gregory Brown, who was my biggest mentor from my neighborhood. My music teacher Mr. Pidio at John Phillip Sousa Jr. High School who inspired me by pointing out my lack of discipline causing me to recognized the importance of discipline in the stage performance environment.
Maybe some folks don’t know that you were also known as Infinity D…tell us about that…and your early days as a bboy?
Infinity D was my B-Boy name.
Your first official block jam or party as a DJ? Where? When?
My first official block party that I DJ’d was in Westchester, either Mount Vernon or New Rochelle NY. August 1977.
Can you elaborate on your participation with hip hop in NYCs downtown scene in clubs like Danceteria, Negril and the Roxy…also the 1982 NYC RAP TOUR in Europe and how it introduced hip hop to a new generation?
I was the 1st DJ at the Roxy. I lived down the street from the Roxy between 9th and 10th Avenue. My girlfriend and her sister would roller skate there every week. Everyone was spinning at Danceteria and it ended abruptly. I suggested spinning at the Roxy, and started spinning there with GrandWizard Theodore opening night …”Wheels of Steele Night”. I still have the flyer. I was the Main Roxy DJ, until I started traveling outside of New York City. P.H.A.S.E. 2 went to Europe with me on the 1st Hip Hop Tour ever.
How do you feel about the past and present documentation of hip hop and what’s being written from what your experience and knowledge is?
It’s an unfortunate misinterpretation of history. Because the journalists who asked the questions in the 1980’s asked the wrong people and the wrong questions. It’s now a romanticized myth.
What do you see different between hip hop back in its underground heyday and now?
What we’re calling hip hop today is not what we did between the early 70’s and 79. What most people do not understand if you were not in the Bronx or parts of Westchester during that time you have not witnessed the real deal.
What keeps you going who are your inspirations in music or life in general?
My batteries. I use energizers. Seriously though… My children and my desire to bring about positive change in the world and my desire to teach and awaken my people. My biggest music inspiration is my Mother who is the person who really inspired my appreciation for music. My Inspirations are Otis Reading, Earth Wind and Fire, James Brow, The Jackson Five, Ohio Player, Stevie Wonder, Miriam Makeba, Santana, Tito Puente, The Last Poets and of course Herbie Hancock to name a few.
Are you in the studio now? Where can we find more of your music?
I am in the studio now. You will be able to find my new music on my new up and coming label to be announced very soon.
Any tours or show coming up?
No. I’m working on all studio recording now. No shows are planned for now.
Last words or shouts?
There’s still cellular activity within me. I’m not dead yet. Holla!
Shout Out To: Rob The Gold / City Boy / Baby T / Little Quick / Baby Ace / Bingo Rock / Motel Dice / Koolaid The Master of Beats / Shaheim / Mike Nice / Kimba / Godfather K Rock / Booski / Jaheim / Rahiem / Rich Simmons / Kay Dee OutThere/HipStep / Lusaka
Grandmixer DXT – Facebook
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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Grandmixer DXT