DJ Fokus of
Magician Records Making beats, recording, mixing and putting out records in Australia.
DJ Fokus out of Australia, like many independent artists out there, is not waiting around for a record deal. His record label Magician Records has released (at the time of this writing) three albums and I've had the pleasure of mastering two of them. The tracks on this spotlight are from both of these records, Ben Caution's "The Melbourne Demon" and Anon Speak's "Conventional Emporium". One of the reasons why I asked DJ Fokus if he would be down for this spotlight was because I noticed that both of these albums sound different than hip hop records you listen to from artists in the U.S. and wanted to be able to share a little bit of this Melbourne flavor with you all. Another reason was because the quality of the recordings and mixes were very on point, and it shows that this cat is out to put out well-recorded and mixed records. Here's my convo with DJ Fokus:
Please talk a little bit about how you started Magician Records?
I started Magician in 2004 as a platform to release my projects through, not only as a label but as a name that distinguishes me as an artist.
Who are you collaborating and putting together projects with on your label?
Right now Im collaborating with a whole bunch of talented artists from all over the world. Aussie artists include Anon Speak, Oz Locos and Ben Caution. International artists include Doctor Scott, Chop Black and Ive also made exclusive songs with Kool Keith, Tim Dog, Chino XL, Twisted Insane, Smoov-E, Young Dru and many more which will be released on my compilation album coming soon.... as well as that theres a few other projects in the works..
Who produces the music for the artists on your label?
I produce, record and mix everything.
What's going on in the recording process, do you have a studio set up, or do you record at facilites?
I have my own home studio so I record and mix everything in house.
How long have you been at it? Do you remember what was the first thing you recorded?
Started DJing in 96 and Producing in 98 so give or take around 10 years. Not too sure about the first thing ever recorded.
What kind of gear are you working with?
I use a PC, Dual Core 2 @ 3.00Ghz, 3.25GB of RAM. ProTools DIGI002 Rack, MPC2000, MPC2500, Various Synths, Tube Pre Amps, Neumann Mics!
The Melbourne Demon
Did you build the PC DAW yourself?
Yeah, I slapped it together, there's not too much to it.
What challenges do you face as an independent artist/producer/label in Australia in terms of getting the music out?
Just like anywhere in the world its hard to get heard, getting it out there can be hard if you cant get gigs or radio play and especially if you dont conform to the typical standards, I dont put myself in any category, Im just making music with artists that wanna make good music. I guess you just have to persist and keep moving until you do get heard. Theres always hurdles and haters out there trying to hold you back but thats really just part of it.
Im just concentrating on working with great artists and getting my music heard internationally as opposed to just here in Australia.
Does the radio still play a role in good independent music out there?
We do have a few good local radio stations that play a small part in getting exposure, but there are radio stations out there that wont even touch your music, they wont even give it a go, unfortunately the scene in Melbourne is small compared to the rest of the world so some radio stations will play their favorites and alot of their mates music and stray from something that is foreign or new, theres alot of politics, its unfortunate that alot of the music here is based on posers and not on talent.
Thanks for taking the time to chop it up about your craft. What projects are on the horizon, and where can heads reach you and know more about you and Magician Records?