R.I.P. – Interview with DJ Mehdi

The interview was originally produced Jesse Ship & Marsha Casselman, & posted on September 11th, 2009. Our thoughts & prayers go out to Mehdi’s friends & family.

French-Tunisian DJ-producer Mehdi is a connoisseur of all that is urban, from hip hop to house to jazz and the mash-up of anything in-between. His seminal work starts in the 90’s with French rap group Ideal J. Later on, this hubby of French street artist Fafi moved onto electro after joining forces with Busy P. of French house mainstay label Ed Banger. From J Dilla to Daft Punk, he sways. The highly in-demand remixer is understandably a bit blunt and jaded with his stance on music, and like any vet, always one step ahead of the rest of us.

” I want my music to have the largest scope of emotions possible. Some to party to, some to sleep to, some to fight to, some to make love to.”

Format: How did you become associated with the Ed. Banger Crew?
DJ Mehdi: I’ve been a friend of Pedro’s since 1997, and he’s been my manager since 1999. It was only natural for me to jump in.

Format: Why do people come to you for remixes? What is the Mehdi sound they want so bad?
DJ Mehdi: This is not something I really could answer myself. I always try to do my best. For the rest, please ask them.

Format: Do you feel that remixing is becoming more cross-promotion than creating unique mash-ups, as in rappers making appearances on other rapper’s albums?
DJ Mehdi: Remixing is beatmaking and having fun.

Format: What music did you love when you were a kid? Any you would like to bring back in your productions?
DJ Mehdi: As a kid, I loved Hip-Hop, I loved Michael Jackson, Madonna, James Brown, Cheb Khaled, and I loved the Beatles. I’d love to say I bring them back in my productions but, yo, let’s be real for a minute. (Although I did work with Khaled in 2000, I produced a song for him on his 4th album)

Format: Is it important for you to make music that’s dance club-ready, or will you do bedroom tunes as well?
DJ Mehdi: I want my music to have the largest scope of emotions possible. Some to party to, some to sleep to, some to fight to, some to make love to.

Format: When DJing, what is your most crowd-pleasing tune right now?
DJ Mehdi: La Gasolina by Daddy Yankee.

Format: Does your wife Fafi influence your music ? Do you influence her art?
DJ Mehdi: I wake up at night to re-paint over all her canvases, but please don’t tell her.

Format: What takes up most of your time these days?
DJ Mehdi: Waiting, eating, playing, sleeping.

Format: Can you tell us when Ed Rec. 4 is coming out?
DJ Mehdi: No plans yet, as far as I know.

Format: Do you still rinse out your old hip hop tracks?
DJ Mehdi: Hip-hop is dead, haven’t you heard?

Marsha Casselman

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