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Mike Relm Q&A

Enter the Realm of Turntables, Tunes and íToons

There is a reason why Mike Relm doesnít include the DJ prefix before his name. His art transcends turntables into, uh, realms that are expanding turntablism into other disciplines such as film and cartoons. The San Francisco resident is providing the soundtrack for the animated version of Turntable Timmy, the character that was originally created for the award-winning childrenís book, and he is working on his first self-produced CD, which should be out in 2007.

He returns to his home turf Nov. 16 for a performance at the Fillmore. He spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from a gig in Washington.

SF Station (SFS): There is a quote at the top of your website that says, ďMike Relm is the architect for the future generations of hip hop culture.Ē That is a pretty heavy statement.

Mike Relm (MR): I guess with DJs, it is of kind our responsibility to explore the technology that is involved with hip hop. We all have the latest equipment and our laptops onstage -- whatever will make it easiest for us to get our point across.

SFS: Where do you think it will be five years from now?

MR: DJing is in a weird state. When you say DJ it means 30 different things now. It could be a person on the radio, someone that does parties -- they even have DJs at sports events now -- or it could be a performer like myself, DJ Clue, Mixmaster Mike, Cut Chemist and Koala.

I think the most growth is going to be in the performance side. There is going to be huge leaps because there are so many different things that allow us to present better shows that are more captivating.

SFS: You incorporate film into your sets now. How do you find footage?

MR: Itís a lot like digging for records. I watch movies just like I listen to songs. I pick them apart and figure out how they were created and produced. Itís pretty loose and organic. I donít have a strict way that I put the visuals together

Itís a lot more exciting to me than just music because when Iím onstage people can relate to the music as well as the visuals. I have little messages in my set and itís a lot easier to have it on the screen because Iím not really a talker or an MC.

SFS: Do you think Vinyl will become obsolete?

MR: I donít think it will ever be obsolete. After years and years of people trying to make CD players and MP3 controllers, nothing can really substitute the feel of vinyl. People said vinyl would be obsolete in the early 90s and itís still around.

Itís kind of magical in a way. The eight-track went away and cassettes are going away, but there is something about vinyl that is very beautiful.

SFS: Tell me about the Turntable Timmy project?

MR: Itís a cool book for kids that is like Curious George, but with hip hop, that we are making into an animated cartoon. Hip hop now is so disjointed and means so many different things. Turntable Timmy teaches kids the old school hip hop and how we learned about it. They can take it and learn it from there, instead of starting from what is popular at the moment. Itís not a homogenized version, itís a pure version.

SFS: It sounds like a fun project.

MR: Itís a cartoon so you can be really wacky. Weíre just having a good time.

Mike Relm performs at the Fillmore Nov. 16 with Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Motion Man, Bukue One, A-Plus and Psalm One. Tickets are $.25 Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 pm.