Modern Fix

JEL – interview by tyson

back to hip hop home home

A paper American flag was hanging from the back stage wall. In the place where the stars should be, images ranging from breasts to Jesus were being projected. It was definitely an Anticon show.

Doseone was intense and focused. Beatmaker Jel was relaxed. A few people started to move toward the stage, Doseone acknowledged Costa Mesa and the show began. Themselves had a healthy sized crowd waving their hands and head nodding. As if Doses chaotic rhyming and stage theatrics weren’t entertaining enough, Jel even stepped out from behind his S12 machine and spit a verse or two. After the hour and a half show concluded, I had a few words with the man that has played a huge part in giving Anticon their distinctive sound.

How is your record collection doing these days?
Jel: I got literally a room full at my dads house. Well over 4,000. I think theyre starting to take up a little too much room. Ill probably need to move them soon.

Who came up with Themselves?

Well me and Dose both had the idea, but at first we were constantly worried because there was a rock group around at the time called Them, but they eventually fell off.

What do you think about Anticon getting offers from big labels?
Yeah we do and its like when will these people stop trying. Weve been doing it the way we like to do it for a while now and the whole idea of Anticon is to set a platform. We want to have something to keep for ourselves and be able to build it up without anyone elses control. People are just trying to get us to do shit we dont want to do. We get offers to do shows with major bands and were like fuck no. Weve turned down million dollar opportunities because thats not what were all about.

Would you turn down a two million dollar contract?
(laughing) Now that might be a different story.

What made you want to become a DJ?
Basically in Jr. High I had two other friends who wanted to DJ, so we just started messing around with equipment. Started listening to hip hop when I was 11 and 12. Run DMC and the Beastie Boys were some of the artist I had access to. Then I met a DJ friend of my moms who would make me mix tapes and I would always wonder how he did that. He kind of became my mentor and taught me a lot that I know about music. I also got the chance to help out at the Northwestern radio station in Illinois where I grew up.

Is it an adjustment living in the Bay area?

Oakland isnt so bad. People think its really shitty but I feel pretty comfortable there. Its isnt the greatest place in the world, but its a place where we can get stuff done without a huge spotlighht.

So Pedestrian is your roomate. Ive heard hes kinda MIA lately… is that true?
Yeah me and Pedestrian share a place together. Hes been around I guess. Hes just really tries to focus and do his own thing at times. Sometimes he can get really weird and not want to have anything to do with anyone. Hell lock himself in his room and stay in there all day. Hes not doing too bad though. He should have some new stuff coming out next year.

Pedestrian isnt suicidal is he?
Nah, dont think so. Hes actually really starting to get into school. Hes going to start going to school at Cal Berkeley. He said he wants to get a degree in History.

What should we expect in the future and how much longer is the touring going to continue?
Well why? Just finished up his tour and me and Dose will be done in November and then it will probably be back to Oakland for a little break.b Im just working on the Greenball 2 album and got something planned for a collaboration with Mike Patton further down the road.