Pedro Gonzalez Jr. has been fighting the good fight behind the decks for over two decades under his alias, DJ PriestTD. Although his roots are deepest in hip-hop, he is versatile in a variety of genres, like any veteran DJ.
Much of that versatility came from digging for the source samples found in classic hip-hop. In recent years, he's taken the dive into 45s as well. Gonzalez can be seen playing with the band Rebel Planet and rolling with the B-Boy Community by way of Soul Power and The Bronx Boys Rocking Crew.
For this week's mixtape, school is in session as Gonzalez drops lessons on left-field hip-hop and classic trip-hop into a master class of a DJ mix. This one is straight fire.
How did you get started DJing?
Hip-hop got me started. I’ve been listening to hip hop since 1984. I received a stack of classic hip-hop on vinyl from my cousin around '88. It included Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full, GrandMaster Flash and the Furious 5’s "The Message," Biz Markie’s Goin’ Off, Public Enemy's Yo Bum Rush the Show. I also messed around with my mom’s Sears turntable by simply scratching her records when she wasn’t looking.
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I didn’t get serious until 1997. I bought a mixer from Radio Shack and a belt-driven Sony turntable from Sears. I learned the hard way, finding out that the fader was so hard to turn when I tried scratching. Also, a belt-driven turntable was making it difficult to cue the record. But I still learned how to scratch with the phono/line switch. Shortly after, I bought a Technics and a Vestax mixer from Mars Music.
What is your relationship with B-Boy culture?
My brother started B-Boying at around the same time I started DJing. I also did a small stint in graffiti. My brother and I hung around the Jive Turkeys Crew, which eventually he became a member of in the early 2000s. People associated me with the Turkeys since I hung around them so much, even at their garage sessions with my brother practicing with them. I attended quite a few B-Boy jams, including Elements 99, Culture Shock 2, Ice Breaker 2000. I’ve DJ’d about at least roughly 100 B-Boy Jams the past 15 years, locally and out of state. I’ve also done MC battles.
Is there a connecting thread between the genres you like to explore?
Hip-hop actually opened me up to a plethora of genres, including jazz, psychedelic rock, Afro beat, electronic music. It is satisfying when I find that original sample on vinyl that an artist has used.
What is your relationship with production?
Around 2002, I got my hands on an MPC 2000xl. Started making beats out of my bedroom. I joined the Boondox around 2007 [or] '08. Produced a few tracks for them. I compiled about 20 beats within a span of five years that were experimental and released a project via download around 2007 called Exotik Toolz. Rereleased it again early last year on cassette through Wax Tooth Records.
How was this mix made? Was there a theme behind it?
Serato Scratch Live. (Yes, I still rock the first generation.) I wanted to go with a hip-hop/trip-hop theme.
What residencies do you have?
Served Sundays with Edgar Blue, Eli Flo and Manny No Envy.
Where do you like to dig for records?
I had a few digging spots back in the early 2000s. Elements (Big shout out to Lacy and Glen) and Tower Records, both now defunct. Now I go to Josey Records, Retroplex, Good Records, Forever Young (a bit pricey) and thrift stores. Shout out to Bryan Coonrod (my personal “dealer”).
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How did you get into 45s? Do you have any favorites?
I had a decent amount of 45s until Joel Salazar’s monthly event Fresh 45s inspired me to dig for 7-inch records. Now I’ve amassed about 500 of them … maybe more. I have a few favorites:
The Winstons — "Amen Brother" (doubles)
10cc — "The Worst Band in the World"
James Brown — "Soul Pride Pts. 1&2" (doubles)
Mongo Santamaria — "Cold Sweat" (doubles)
Aretha Franklin — "Rock Steady" (doubles)
The Turtles — "BuzzSaw"
Wilfrido Vargas — "El Africano" (doubles)
Selena — "Techno Cumbia" and "Amor Prohibido"
Aly-Us — "Follow Me"
Can — "Vitamin C"
Black Star — "Definiton" (flexi disc)
What is the most significant musical experience you have had in the last year?
Death Grips. I really can’t describe them, I can only suggest you listen to them. Shabazz Palaces, as well.
DJ PriestTD's Mix
1. DJ Shadow — What Does Your Soul Look Like?
2. Malik Abdul Rahmaan - Boats off Pulau Pinang
3. Oh No! — Look Alive (Instrumental)
4. Company Flow — Suzy Pulled a Pistol on Henry
5. Flying Lotus - Robo Tussin
6. Knxwledge — Hai [NyteMayrs]
7. Flying Lotus — "And the World Laughs With You" Featuring Thom Yorke
8. TokiMonsta — "Day Job"
9. Flying Lotus — "Never Catch Me" (instrumental)
10. Knxwledge — "My Life"
11. Samiyam — "Untitled"
12. Dolly — "Roberta Flack"
13. Dan The Automater — "417"
14. Portishead — "Pedestal"
15. Gorillaz — "Rock the House"
16. GonjaSufi — "Kowboyz and Inidians"
17. Poe — "Angry Johnny"
18. Sneaker Pimps — "6 Underground"
19. Tricky — "Christiansands"
20. Morcheeba — "Slow Down"
21. Gonjasufi — "Nickels and Dimes"
22. Gorillaz — "Double Bass"