DJ Format is a British funk-fueled hip hop DJ and producer. Packed with infectious beats and lyrical prowess, his debut album, Music For The Mature B-Boy, was one of the most successful debut artist albums from the UK's alternative scene in 2003, despite a quiet reception from mainstream media. The album's success saw him opening for the notorious Jurassic 5, and, later playing at the prestigious Reading and Leads festival to a packed crowd before embarking on his own world tour.

DJ Format will be playing a strictly vinyl set in collaboration with the Beirut Groove Collective on May 31 at Yukunkun. caught up with the DJ ahead of his performance.

(Image via Intergalagtic Music) When did you start DJing, and who were your early influences?

DJ Format: I started in late 1989 and my early influences were Mr. Mixx, Jam Master Jay, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, Jazzy Jay and many more! How do you prepare for a set?

DJ Format: I like to have some records prepared so that I know the mixes will be good and the musical transitions will work well. I also like to bring some random records so that I can play some stuff that I haven’t already planned. That keeps it more fun for me. Can you remember your first gig?

DJ Format: I will never forget my first gig because I was in a UK rap group called Suspect. I joined them after their original DJ decided to quit. They already had a small following so they were offered gigs in the UK and Europe. The first gig that I played with them was in Bristol in 1995 and I was VERY nervous! I told one of the MC’s not to draw any attention to me while I was scratching in the choruses of the songs because of my nerves. So on the very first song when I started scratching he announced to the crowd “look at DJ Big Nose... he’s shitting himself!!” and I was totally relaxed after that because everyone was laughing and it broke the ice perfectly. How, in your opinion, does music change in the hands of a DJ?

DJ Format: In the hands of a proper Hip Hop DJ, music can change completely! Hip Hop was born because DJs like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash wanted to extend the most exciting parts of the records they were playing... sometimes those records were Soul, Funk, Disco, Latin and even Rock records. So you can take a mediocre record with a short section that is really interesting and cut two copies together and make something completely different. That is Hip Hop in its purest form. What’s the philosophy behind your dismissal of new technologies, such as CDs and MP3s, for strictly vinyl sets?

DJ Format: It’s just a personal choice, nothing more than that. I have always loved collecting vinyl and I want to continue playing vinyl and keeping the culture of Hip Hop DJing alive. I still respect other DJs that use other technology if they do it well. How would you describe the DJ Format sound to people unfamiliar with your work?

DJ Format: I guess my sound is usually described as Hip Hop/Funk but it’s very hard to be specific because everyone has their own idea of what Hip Hop is. I think it’s the same thing with Funk, it comes down to personal interpretation. I just do my thing and try not to worry about labeling it. What was your favorite track of 2013?

DJ Format: Can’t Won’t Don’t Stop by Jorun-PMC (Jorun Bombay and Phill Most Chill) What made you settle on DJ Format as your name?

DJ Format: My name is Matt J Ford and one of my oldest friends figured out that you can create the anagram DJ Format by dropping a "t." I like DJ names that relate to people’s real names so I’m very grateful that my friend came up with that for me. There’s a a rising trend of interest in 45s and vinyl records in general. What do you think has brought back this interest?

DJ Format: Yes there’s definitely been a massive surge in 45 collecting in recent times but I have no idea why! I have quite a few friends that switched to Serato years ago and have now gone back to vinyl... mostly 45s... but I’m not sure why. I personally prefer 45s because I travel a lot and they are much easier to carry. Also 45s are usually pressed much louder than LPs so the sound is better when you play them in clubs. How do you believe the internet has affected the ‘digging game?’

DJ Format: It has changed things completely but it can be good and bad, you just have to focus on the advantages and use them to help build your collection. Sometimes the prices for certain records can get over-inflated online but a record is only worth whatever someone is willing to actually pay for it. Sometimes you can find records that used to sell for high prices, selling really cheap online because they are not as rare as was previously believed. Also, the internet makes it 1,000 times easier to have instant access to records, record dealers and collectors all over the world, so that has to be a good thing! What kind of tracks do you like to play during your sets?

DJ Format: I usually like to play records with really heavy drums, preferably with nice big open drum breaks. I also quite like playing obscure cover versions of famous songs so that most people are happy to hear the tune they already know.. .but the more open-minded listeners will enjoy the unknown/new version and get more enjoyment from that.

Be sure to check out DJ Format in Beirut on May 31 for Funk Ain't Noise Pollution at Yukunkun.

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