Brad Winter did an interview with Brick City Club hero DJ Tameil! Really interesting interview about the beginning of ‘Brick City Club Music’, producing, Chicago Juke, Antrax Records and some about the history of club music.
So I read you were Redman’s neighbour?
Yeah, we’re sorta like cousins but not cousins, you know it was because we grew up together, his mother is like my grandmother’s sister, you know, it’s just like a big family thing, even though we’re not family. Pretty much taught me how to DJ before time, you know I was about 7 years old, and it was the first time that I was ever actually on the stage in front of a crowd, at my uncle’s wedding, and I played EU’s “Doin da Butt”.
How did that go, how did that track fly?
Ah, It went very good! You know it was like once I got the crowd response from that, it was just like in my mind, wow! you know I could actually be a DJ!
So you felt it then right?
Yeah I felt it.
Did you play more tracks that night?
No, actually that was my only one because my mother was one of those people where, you know, “you’re 7 years old, you touch that stuff and you break it, I’m not paying for it!” so, that was it! But they told me from here and there, you know my uncles had equipment at home and all of this stuff you know so that’s all I really payed attention to while everybody else was playing with toys, I had a battery operated turntable that I used to keep all the time, it was a Fisher-Price turntable! But I kept it with me everywhere.
You used to use tapes, you used to break the doors off right?
Oh yes, I could tell you a long story about that. I actually have somebody that’s outdone me, but yeah I used to break the tape doors off the radios and just slow the tapes down with my fingers so that I could get a good mix, and I would record the mix with another radio… it was just so much, man! I would end up with like three different radios just so I could get everything right. One to cue the records up, one to play and one to record.
So this is like DJing with tapes, like mixing a track from a tape with another tape right?
I never heard of anybody doing that!
Hey man, you gotta do what you gotta do!
So can you tell us about the Brick Bandits crew, what that’s all about?
Oh the Brick Bandits crew was.. OK I’ll give you a little history on that. Yeah, you know for a few years before that, you know I used to be the known guy around Jersey, you know when it came to Chicago Juke music, I was the man to go to, because you know I used to get all the records before everyone else, so they knew me to be the go-to guy and then I got introduced to some of the guys from Baltimore that was producing, and at the time I was young, so you know they weren’t really accepting me but I was buying all their records. After a while they saw that I was really serious, and I was producing Baltimore style tracks and bringing it to them, and they’d listen to it and they’d be like “OK you definitely got a different style, you add a little bit more to it” They gave me their blessings to bring it back to Jersey, and that’s when I created the Jersey side of it, which I call Brick City Club music, but it’s still Baltimore Club music, you know that’s where it came from. You know then after about a few years, I would say around maybe 2002, and I met these guys Tim Dolla, Mike V, Black Mike, and you know it was a couple of guys in the crew but actually what happened was I had the whole scene on lock and they knew that they had to come through me to get known by everybody else, so actually what happened was I had a vinyl that I pressed up myself, I had started my own label, Anthrax Records (credit jason). And to me, well I listen to it to this day, and this probably happens with everybody, I can’t stand those records! I can’t stand them, you know I listen to the way I produce now, and the way that I did then. My sound then was so flat! But I guess they saw that side of it, and they decided to attack it.
The Baltimore people you mean?
No no no, the Brick Bandits! So they’re also from Jersey. Ok, so what happened was they decided to attack that, and I had a lot of CDs out at the time, so they put out one CD, I guess it was like one or two guys that had stands that I actually bought from them, so I just happened to be blasting my music on my stand one day, and I heard a guy down the street, and all I heard was “eeexcluusiiive!” that was the Brick Bandits drop at the time! So after I heard that I turned mine down, and I’m listening, and I heard one of my records playing at first, and I was like “Oh cool!” you know, “Somebody else bought my record!” So all of a sudden you know it was just like a record scratching “rrrrrrip!” and then you heard some laughing and everything like that, so I was like “Wait a minute!” I went and got the CD, I was listening to it myself, so I called the number that was on the bottom of the CD. I was like “What the hell, that was supposed to be a diss towards my music?” And the guy on the phone… deep voice, he’s just like “YEAH! YEAH MOTHAFUCKA YEAH!” I’m like “What the hell?” That was Mike V of course! [laughs] Mike V is like Debo! Mike V actually reminds you of.. you ever seen Everybody Hates Chris, the father on it? The big guy! That’s who he looks like, and we crack on him about that all the time, but instead of us taking it to a level where, you know it would get like stupid and everything like that, because we had a lot of teenagers, and we still do these days. We try to look like big brothers and sisters to them, so you know it would be stupid for us to go back and forth and create a scene where they would think that it’s something more than it is, so we decided to put all of that aside, and come together as a team. You know, and to this day we just have a huge family. We don’t even really call it a team or anything like that anymore we just call it a family, because that’s actually what it is, you know, it’s a family.
So it started out with some conflict right? And then you kind of built up..
Yeah, it was a conflict on records, it wasn’t actually a street beef, but you know, the teenagers they don’t think about stuff like that these days, they think in a different direction so while we’re on thinking about record beef, they’re thinking about street beef, so we had to be adults and think about the situation like OK, well you know rather than this happen we’d rather get this out the way now, we’re just going to become a family, instead of.. you know, because they were hot! They were very hot, but you know me being the man at the moment, I’m like “Oh, no, you’re not gonna come at my throat with it! [laughs] And I’m not going to do anything about it” you know so the records went back and forth for a little while, and I was so powerful that everybody was just like… no we’re not messin’ with Brick Bandits!
So you were already highly respected because of the Chicago Juke thing?
Yeah, it was that first, and then it went on to the Baltimore stuff because you know I was producing that at the time, and I was the only guy doing it. Yeah I was the only guy doing the Baltimore sound, and that sound was growing at the time in Jersey you know because they were buying the records from the store down there, Music Liberated, which the guy Bernie (Rest in Peace, he died in a car accident) But he had everything. He was the man to go to just like they had Barnie’s records in Chicago that was putting out all of the juke music. He was the man for Baltimore Club because he was the man with the money that was putting out all of the vinyls like every week. So yeah, everybody was buying from this guy, and pretty much the scene was really growing in Jersey at the time, and being that I was the guy that was producing that everybody knew at the time, plus I had the Chicago side, it was just like, wow, I was just the man not to be messing with, and they knew that, that’s why they tried to come at me so that.. I would actually say their names and blow them up, but it went the opposite way, but we formed a family after that.
So you started Anthrax records right, are those still floating around?
Actually some people, some people sometimes still hit me up and they’ll be like, “yo I got that first record that you put out!” and I’m like wow… I hate that record! [laughs] But you know it’s a start, it’s a start. Actually that Anthrax thing, it started as a joke, because it was like right after 9/11, and we were actually downtown Newark when we were talking about the drug that was, like with their drugs and everything like that, we was like… you know they make up something out of everything, so we was like, you’d hear a drug dealer out here talking about “yo I got two for five on that anthrax!” So that just became a big joke and then it just went around to everybody. So then the kids from high school used to come to my stand everyday, you know to dance in front of my stand and listen to what I had new out, so they came back one day and was like “Yo we just made this new team called Anthrax! Like we gotta handshake and everything!” so I was like, OK as long as it’s not nothing.. you know like a gang or nothing like that, it’s cool. So it went so far as like… y’all around everyday… um.. I’m gonna make a record label out of this! You know? And it just took off from there, but this thing lasted maybe a year or two, you know I still got people running around that say it, you know, it’s still got the classic feel to it, it’s still fun becuase you know everybody wants that to still be around but, you know I went with so many other labels, you know from Baltimore to all over that just wanted tracks from me, so you know, everything just became reality.
I also picked something up, you’re about to work on something in Chicago called It’s About Time Records? [note: the label is now officially called “Ghettophiles”]
Yeah, actually there’s this guy in Chicago named Neema, he started this new record label, which is… actually this is a good thing because now that I met him, I ran into like a lot of the cats from Chicago that I used to look up to, and he introduced me to some of them, and some of them afterwards, after I just did this tour in Europe, and United Kingdom, I was with these two guys from Chicago named DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, and actually we’re about to work on a joint venture that will cross the two, and this is gonna be big, man, it’s gonna be big! [laughs]
Keep an eye out! Ghettophiles! So what was the biggest party you ever played?
Oh god, [laughs] I can cross this beat anywhere between parties and concerts, you know I think my first major concert that I did was a Kelly Price concert which included Jaheim, Changing Faces, Dave Hollister, there was so many artists in that, man, that show was huge, but then I did shows like Hampton University, Norfolk University, it was.. oh man, so many huge parties man.. so many.. I would have to say Hampton and Norfolk, you know the homecomings.
Yeah they know how to party right?
Yeah. yeah [laughs]
So what new music styles are you feeling now?
Oh, new music styles.. they might not be so new, but they’re new to me. Ok, I would have to say Electro for one… and Dubstep! Dubstep has grown on me and the past year and a half, like, I love it I can’t stay away from it now, and it’s funny because the area where I’m from, it used to be open, like when there was just the huger DJs’ names around, like there were ones before me, like Cool Lou and a few others, but at the time you know… I think this happens everywhere. I think it pretty much happens everywhere where nowadays you have DJs that just can’t DJ at all. And everybody wants to be a DJ just because they get their hands on a piece of equipment or a program and this and that, and you know they really can’t do anything! [laughs] But actually how that goes is.. my area is so stuck right now, to one or two styles of music, they don’t like to listen to anything outside of what they know, so when I’m riding down my street they see my BMW coming down the street and I got a loud system.. I got a loud system in my BMW! [laughs] So I came back from Texas the year before last playing dubstep, and I still do to this day, and people were lookin’ at me like “What the hell is that? That sounds like transformer music!” I’m like “Open your eyes, you don’t know. You don’t know about this stuff right here, it’s huge.” But I’m hooked on it now because I’ve seen great people play it, like I would say AC Slater.. AC Slater’s great! And I’ve seen DJ Craze play it, DJ Craze and DJ Klever, like, those were the most awesome sets to me. I think that was what turned me on to it right there, you know when I seen them play it, and then afterwards I just started to look up more tracks and it was just like.. it just blew my mind, man! Jakes, I met Jakes.. Jakes is one of the coolest guys ever man! [laughs]
So you played in Europe.. would you say that playing outside New Jersey is different then playing in your hometown?
Yes, I found that in a lot of these other cities, and overseas too, like they’re more susceptible to listening to other different types of music and I love it! I love when I can go outside of.. it’s like a no holds barred thing. That’s how I feel, you know I feel like I can just go on there and just.. release on, you know just let them hear all of the different styles that I like to play. Whereas around my area it’s just like I’m stuck to what they like to hear, it’s like if you play outside of that, you look like you’re the wack DJ, because you’re playing something they’re not used to, when it used to be… around you know the time when I was at my height in Jersey… well I’m still at my height I’m not gonna say it that way! But they’re so busy listening to the people who don’t know how to DJ right now, that it’s just crazy, like there’s those few styles and that’s all they know. So when you play outside of that it’s just like, what the hell is he playing?
So you found last night at Fortune you were able to play some interesting stuff?
Oh yeah, a lot of the times you know people’s eyes are open when they look at me it’s just like, they look at me and they see a certain type of music because they know that’s what I make, you know, I make Baltimore Club, Brick City Club Music and that’s what they expect to hear from me, so when they hear me go outside of it and I’m playing electro and dubstep and everything else like that… I can tell you one story, like what happened at SXSW this past year, I went down there and I was playing dubstep and everything like that, and I heard about it afterwards that everyone was on their Twitter like “OH Shit! Tameil is playing dubstep I can’t believe this” I’m like “man you really don’t know what I know!” So you know like I like to get out there in those areas where I can just open up and release, and just let them hear everything that I know.
Yeah, DJ Sega was here a couple weeks ago and he played the dopest RnB set!
Yeah, that’s like my brother there! [laughs] Sega is like my brother man, we’re together all the time! I take the ride down to Philly every monday, we do this thing down there called Mad Decent Mondays, it’s great. [laughs] Great!
Is that a club night in Philly?
Yeah it’s at a club named Fluid. It’s up and down in there you know, some weeks it’ll be like, a lot of people in there and you’d expect the same thing next weekend.. the next week is just.. crickets, it’s just us! But you know we still have fun, that’s the whole point!
Of course! Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to get into producing, any technical tips you can let us in on?
For producing? I would just say about my brand of music, but I’m gonna say for all brands of music right now. If you want to be involved in a certain style of music, please study it before you try to do any tracks because you… you actually hurt the people that have been there before you, you know you come out and you think you know what you’re doing, and don’t know anything about the history, so now you come out with all of these wack tracks and everything like that, and you’re flooding the internet, you’re flooding everywhere with it, so.. you’re putting out so much of that trash that when regular people who don’t know the difference between producers and everything like that, they hear that stuff, and they think that’s it is to it! Like OK, the top producers may put out maybe four tracks.. four or fives tracks within.. let’s even say monthly. But if every day.. you and about a thousand other DJs are putting out something of that style… every day! At least four or five times a day then it’s like… they don’t know the difference, so they’re listening to all of this stuff and the guy that’s putting out the stuff that.. you know the real stuff– I’m not really even going to diss a new producer like that, I’m just going to say, just study before you get into it. That’s really all I have to say about that. You know, because it’s been a big change in music lately where there’s just a lot of people that see the popularity.. they see that they can get popular from it, or make money from it or get girls that like them just because they do it, and they don’t know anything about the history at all, like I’ve heard a lot of false stories and you know a lot of this floats around the internet too! Like: “Perculator came from Baltimore.” No… Perculator came from Chicago! And you know it’s just a whole bunch of false information, I think that if people really want to know the history of a music they should go and study it. Find out who was there first. Find out the real facts, the real truth from the people who were there, the people who did it. Instead of just finding a bunch of information from places like Wikipedia or… you know Wikipedia can be changed by anybody! Anybody can just go on there, you know log in and.. “oh I think this information should be in there, let me add this!” And a lot of the times it’s false information, like sometimes they will change the whole thing and everything is false! And you know the regular people they don’t know any better, they just take that and they think that’s the real information, they just run with it! So yeah definitely do a lot of studying before you get into it, and if you get into it make sure your heart is into it. You know and this is what you really want to do and, you know, cross-reference the two, man, study… study what was there before you, who was there before you, and take that and if it’s really in your heart you know, go for it.
DJ Tameil says do your homework!
Do your homework, please! [laughs] Please, you know a lot of people these days think that it’s just that. You know you pick up an instrument, pick up a turntable, and I’ma speak on that too, because a lot of people, I don’t know where this came form, but they get it confused that just because you’re a DJ you’re a producer, and because you’re a producer, you’re a DJ… some people were just blessed with both. Some people can do both. A lot of people can’t do either. And a lot of people can just do one.
Dirty South Joe, Dj Sega, Dj TaMeiL, Tim Dolla, Momie, Gunz Garcia, Jimmy Jones, KW Griff, Booman, Dj Yahmeen (Brick Bandits meets DDK)
What would you consider yourself, more of a producer or more of a DJ?
I think I’m level on both, I think I’m pretty much level on both, because you know I’ve been DJing since seven. I wasn’t good around seven, but I got good maybe around sixteen years old, that’s when I really really really started to take it seriously.
So would you play like 3 or 4 times a week then, or what kind of things did you do?
Yeah, just about three of four times a week, or.. you know my practice was every day, daily. I would recommend that to everybody too you know if that’s what you really want to do, then practice it every day. I ate DJing, I slept DJing, I.. everything, you know.. DJing..
And your family too right?
Yeah, all of my uncles were DJs, you know, I don’t know why they gave up… [laughs]. You know I held on to it even though they gave it up, I was just telling, it’s funny I was just telling one of the old G producers that I look up to, from Baltimore, Technics. I was just telling him the other day that when my uncle, one of my main uncles that was DJing, he threw out all of his records, and put ’em on the side of the house. I maybe was around.. I probably was seven or eight years old at the time! But there was this one particular record, I knew the label of it, I just knew what it looked like. And when I seen those records out on the side of the house that day it kinda hurt me that he stopped, but I was like “I gotta look for that record!” It was Vaughan Mason’s “Bounce Rock Skate Roll”! I took that record out of the trash and I held onto it for.. I hid it under the couch, I [laughs] everything with that record, I just had to have it! You know I mean… DJing just meant so much to me, you know I just wanted to be a DJ so bad, you know so I went through life, I remember all of the first records that I had of my own that I used to play on my Fisher-Price turntable. Red Man’s mother actually gave me a copy of James Brown’s “Living in America”, and I had.. my mother bought me New Edition “Candy Girl”, I had Rebbie Jackson’s “Centipede”. Man, [laughs] I remember all of that stuff! And it’s funny I can remember all of that stuff when I was so young, but you can ask me about somebody I met last week and I’m like “who?” [laughs].