Dj Innovation is always in the house, this guy is everywhere in the Saint Louis scene and beyond. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve been to and been like “damn, Inno’s in this band too” from Jam bands to Rock bands to hardcore Hip-Hop acts, he always lays it down. It never gets old because he absorbs whatever the vibe is and adapts accordingly like a chameleon with a record collection. When he’s on stage, you know it, he’s loud as fuck, accordingly, and razor-sharp, always. He pushes tracks and live shows to their fullest potential and brings out the best in artist because they know he’s gonna enhance their show.
When he’s not onstage, you can find him in the crowd enjoying life with the rest of us. You would never know that he quietly put a lot of those shows together. I would also say he has transcended the term DJ into the hallowed realm of a Turntablist, like a samurai among ninjas and expendable foot soldiers. I’ve been hearing his name as of late even more than usual so I hit him up to see what’s crackin.
Hensley: Your recent collabos with silly j skills are like a match to gasoline. What do you guys have in store for us?
Dj Innovation: “I was introduced to his music the first time I heard Tucker Booth’s radio show. My friend Heavyset told me about it, I checked it out, heard J-skills, and was instantly drawn to his flow. I then was so impressed by the show that I decided to call Tucker and talk to him about me doing a segment on the air talking about artists and playing their music. He agreed obviously and it was on to my first show the next week where I featured J-skills music. I didn’t know anything about him other than the music on his soundcloud and what Tucker had played on air. That didn’t matter I found myself able to feel comfortable enough to let random listeners know a lot about J-skills from the way his music made me feel.”
“I called Skills out on the air and said I wanted to re-edit some of his tracks with scratches. He emailed me and the next weekend I took it to my studio and recorded a re-edit of “I can Feel It.” It turned out great and since then I have decided to work towards an album with him. We are currently working on 2 songs as of now. The first is a track from my homie in Australia skitzo productions titled “No Front ft Tucker booth.” The other one is a beat I have held close to my heart for about 5 yrs from my homie Dj Be in the Uk. It’s not titled yet but it will ft. Scrub and Silly j skills. I look forward to creating more music with J skills, scrub, Ma Double, and the whole 9 ball crew hopefully. I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite albums I have ever worked on. The talent level is so high with J Skills it just forces me to step my game up with every new track.”
Silly j -skills recently said about the collaborations. “Yeah man after I mailed him a physical copy of the C.D. that Bustrip and I put out last May “Formats,Formulas and other F-words“ and he evidently enjoyed it. Inno immediately offered to, as he put it, “Merc the shit out some of the tracks” from the album. The first result is an amazing new version of the song, “I Can Feel It”, where once there were no cuts; now there are….The song was good before that, but he really made it whole. Sons of Hip Hop next? After that, Inno and I are in discussions to release a full on “Skills and Innovation” collaborative record in 2014.”
H: Inno , tell me about your new radio segment on the Tucker Booth needs a job show on Killradio in L.A.
DJI: “I am now involved with the anti corporate Internet radio station. I found out about the show and instantly wanted to be apart of it. It works out perfect I get to do exactly what I did in clubs for years but, from my house now. I get to promote and feature artists to groups of people at a time each week. I break new exclusive music and play artists catalogs on air. I have mainly featured artists that I know and have worked with from the St. Louis area so far but, as the show is growing I find myself meeting artists and hearing all kinds of new music from around the world. I have brought some Australian hip hop to the awareness of listeners recently as well on the show. I am a fan of music always in all ways.”
“I usually fill the listeners in to some background info about the artist and kind of give my point of view on their music before we play their tracks. Me being a Dj for the past 15 yrs in St. Louis I have come across many a hip hop group so I have a lot of background insight and personal experiences with most of the artists so the words flow easily. I enjoy still working for emcees promoting their projects and adding my vibe to their projects. It’s a way for me to stay connected to the scene and my love of hip hop without lugging my equipment everywhere and playing for hours. I enjoy meeting new artists and getting exposed to their music and exposing their music to the public. It’s also fun to fuck with Tucker and Not So Shy John his co-host on the show. It’s nice to reconnect with Tucker and rebuild a friendship and create new music. I feel my love for music and to have fun is reflected in every show I do live or streaming over the Internet. It’s easy doing what ya love.”
DJI: “I would have to say one of the best events I have ever been apart of is It all started out when my homie Rodd Zilch (Dj Sever aka sidewalk chalk) brought home a flyer from a hip hop show he went to in Minnesota. It had 2 microphones with boxing gloves on it and that got us talking how it would be dope to see some battles in St. Louis. I brought the idea up to John Harrington (BC) from the Midwest avengers and he took it to a whole new reality of an amazing hip hop night ft. 2 floors of hip hop. Djs rocking upstairs and performances/ some of the most legendary battles ever to go down it the Lou downstairs. That’s where I established my spot in the scene I guess. Or should I say people got to know of me.”
“From there I went on to book shows for groups I was apart of in St. Louis. Most were local shows but every once in awhile I would get us spots opening up for national artists. ( Gift of gab, Kool Keith, Buck 65, Planet Asia, M80, Blueprint) I have opened for a Cardinals vs Cubs game at Bush Stadium as well. I have been fortunate enough to align myself with a lot of extremely talented individuals over the years in which has opened many doors for myself and others around me. I have been in many many different groups in St. Louis so I was thoroughly involved in the scene. I got to know a lot of club owners and promoters so finding a venue or someone with a venue wasn’t hard to pull off. I have been fortunate in booking and or being apart of great shows many times in my career. I’m motivated by the past and challenged by the future”
H: How many bands have you been in?
DJI: “I have been in many groups and scratched live for many groups. Midwest Avengers, Mr. I, Wik Affiliation, Madahoochi, I Toured with Lojic and Earthworms, Dallas, The Elements, 12-6 movement, The Committee, Underated, The Frozen Section, Kama, Mathias, Jonezy, Hears kra-z, Red Zero, Pryme Prolific, Aylo Staxx, So n so, Recharge MC, Scrips n Screws, Tef Poe, Corey black, Lyfestyle, Doh Boi, Tucker booth, Lk, Toddy Darko, Farout, J skills and Scrub once he records this song. Just to name a few haha. I have also been involved in many exclusives from national artist Canibus, Pete Rock, Styles P as well as beats from producers from around the world Germany, Australia,the Uk, and Puerto Rico.”
Here’s my favorite album cover from just one of DJ Innovation’s many groups Panderlerium.
You can check them out and all things innovation here.
Rock N fuckin Roll ~ Hensley