July 5, 2007

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Music loverís mash-up
DJ Sizzahandz pulls from everything
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Coming to The Amber Room, from New York City, is DJ Sizzahandz of the Crooklyn Clan, who gets his name from the fast cuts, remixes and mashups heís been known to throw down on the turntables.

Sizzahandz, who describes himself as a ďparty DJ,Ē has classical music as a ringback tone on his cell phone and says heís also a big fan of the í80s break dance and electronic music he grew up on.

Sizzahandz takes a moment to talk briefly about mashup music and other changes in todayís music world.

Whatís up with the classical music on your cell phone?
Well, Iím a music lover and I love all kinds of music and I also love classical. Sometimes, if I want to grab a glass of wine with my girl and relax, youíll catch me listening to classical ó if youíre able to get anywhere near me when Iím doing that. Iím not gonna go and throw a hip-hop ringtone on my phone when I hear those songs on the radio all the time. But how often do you get to hear classical music?

What other kind of music do you listen to in your down time?
My truthful preference is í80s music ícause Iím an í80s baby. Music is so broad. I can be in the mood for house or whatever music and enjoy myself that way. But generally I find myself in the mood for old-school í80s, you know like breakdance, old electronic music, anything that came from the í80s. You wonít really catch me listening to stuff they play on the radio 25 times a day.

Do you watch MTV, BET or VH-1?
Well, Iím just not much of a TV person in general. But, to be honest with you, I really just try to stay away from MTV and VH1 and all them. I donít feel like theyíre the same anymore. The way they are with all these reality TV shows. When the hell did that become music? Somebody tell me what happened, when did this change take place and where do I have to go for a good old-school Police video? Now itís just a bunch of washed-up actors beating each other up in somebodyís house that isnít even theirs. Iím just not into it.

So when youíre on the turntables, what kind of music do you play?
Itís actually music from the early í60s to now. I wouldnít play the whole night of í60s music but if youíre listening to my entire set, thereís a pretty good chance that Iíll drop ďStand By MeĒ or something like that. Itís a quick in-and-out crowd pleaser. A lot of records I donít play longer than 30 seconds. Itís just to give people the initial burst of energy and then on to the next song. I donít really have a hip-hop base, although I did for a long time. But music, or hip-hop, has really gone to hell and music has pretty much gone everywhere these days. Youíll catch me playing a pretty even amount of dance music, hip-hop, rock, classic, funky stuff, everything combined and doing a lot of live mashing.

Whatís your influence in the mashup DJ scene?
Iím one of the innovators of it, I would say. Making a complete project out of other projects and calling it a song and trying to get it accepted as a genre, Iíve been pushing that as hard as I could for as long as Iíve been doing it. But I donít want to take credit for that, though, not knowing who else is out there. I mean Iím sure thereís a DJ somewhere out there, like in Nebraska or someplace, who sat down and said, ĎLet me put these things together and see how they sound.í This thing has been going on since before I was born, and probably since before you were born.

What is the Crooklyn Clan?
CrooklynClan.net is the number one mashup Web site in the world right now. Weíre getting traffic above four million hits a month. I have DJ Spitaleri [resident DJ at The Amber Room on Thursday nights] and the Mash-Up Mafia. Crooklyn Clan is just myself and my partner, DJ Riz. Thatís the Crooklyn Clan in a nutshell. Weíve been the Crooklyn Clan since the early í90s, when we were putting records out with various labels and doing remixes for other artists. Weíre like the union for DJs, thatís how people are looking at us right now.

Notes from underground
What: underground hip-hop series
Who: Brycon from San Francisco, Calif.; iCON the Mic King from Philadelphia; Mouth of Madness and Joey Mousepad from Allston, Mass.
When: Thursday, June 28, starting at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $5.
Where: Penucheís Ale House, 16 Bicentennial Sq., Concord, 228-9833.
For more information: Go to myspace.com/funksoulproductions for more scheduled underground hip-hop performances.