May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Straight outta Montreal, DJ Sixtoo raises the bar

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
IN MEXICO HE IS KNOWN ONLY AS DJ SEIS DOS. DJ Sixtoo gets ready to rock Call the Office this Saturday night using many, many instruments and, of course, his trusty megaphone.

Straight out of Montreal, by way of Toronto and Halifax, Sixtoo is a man of several names. These include his given name, Vaughn Robert Squire, and Ghettoblaster Rob — the infamous MC and DJ alias he went by when he lived and rhymed on the East Coast.

For someone with so many names, it makes sense that he also wears several different musical hats: DJ, producer, MC and musician among them.

He answers the phone with a soft cough, admits he’s “a little under the weather” and gets down to the business he really wants to discuss: his brand new record Chewing on Glass & Other Miracle Cures.

As a DJ and MC who’s been on the scene for decades, Sixtoo freely admits he’s become jaded with the current state of music, especially his first love: hip-hop.

“The era that I got into hip-hop — the late ’80s and early ’90s —sampled music was all there was. It was all less commercial back then too and that really appealed to me as a former punk rock kid. If I was just getting into [hip-hop] today, I don’t know if I’d be into it.”

He does somewhat sheepishly admit to a penchant for Jay-Z and that he digs the new Kanye West record, but is quick to point out that his musical tastes have changed in the last few years and that this directly affected the sound of Chewing on Glass.

He says this time around he was “a lot more concerned with learning the language of instruments,” although hip-hop remains an influence on him throughout his sonic adventures.

“I listen primarily to music from the ’60s and ’70s — music that doesn’t exist anymore at all but that I [still] listen to. I wanted to recall a specific era, sound and players. It’s still a hip-hop record, but not exclusively,” he insists. “I’ve been producing music — hip-hop music specifically — for a really long time and everything that I am doing today came out of that. I don’t think I could have made the kind of record that I’ve made if I didn’t have that experience.”

The new album was a huge undertaking for Sixtoo, who (with a small group of trusted friends) recorded live music in his apartment and used these recordings as the sampling material for the 17 tracks on Chewing.

“I don’t think it’s revolutionary at all,” he says modestly of the record. “That’s a pretty bold statement to make. It’s empowering to me as an artist because reinventing my sound is a big part of my musical philosophy. I have to re-evaluate my process in order to stay creative. I think I will be working this way for quite some time.”

Now that the record is complete, Sixtoo’s latest challenge is to figure out how to duplicate the varied sounds of the recording on his upcoming cross-Canada tour.

“The DJ format of live shows is tired to me, but I do realize that it’s important to give people something that’s visually stimulating as well,” he enthuses. “I know there’ll be some rap, live PA, sampler, laptop, turntable, live bass, keys and drum kit.”

Sixtoo shows off his musical prowess this Saturday at Call the Office. Tickets are $9 in advance at Speed City Records. Doors open at 9 p.m.

 

 

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