Skratch Bastid takes to the tables and talks shop with size? Canada, for our first ever size?sessions — mix #001
If you like classic vinyls, deep cuts and good times — and you’ve spent any time in Canada between the ‘90s and today – well, chances are you’re already down with Skratch Bastid.
If you managed to get by until now without catching a show from the Halifax-born, Toronto-based viral icon… Let us take you on a journey as Skratch Bastid spins nothing but vinyl 45s, in an absolutely WILD live set to kick off our weekend.
Listen to the live mix while you read the interview below!
So, let's get started! Introduce yourself, tell us what you do and what your shoe size is?
"My name is Paul, professionally known as Skratch Bastid. I'm a size 10.5 which is the same as Jay-Z, or at least he said so in a rap."
Can you tell us what it was like growing up, and how that influenced your style as a DJ and a creative?
"I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My parents both like music, I think that's where my passion for music started. When I was young, I would see them get excited about a song and I wanted to feel that way about a song. My dad has a wide range of interests, sometimes unpredictable; still to this day he asks me if I've heard certain songs and I'm always amused by what he picks as it always comes from a place of true interest and enjoyment, and it could be from any genre or era.
My mom is kind of similar in the sense that she just seems to know a lot of music, or at least know how to get down with it. Something will come on the radio, any station, and she just starts whistling to it or singing it or just grooving with it. Also she's from Trinidad, so there was always calypso or soca played at our family gatherings which taught me about fun music and moving your hips and double entendres. All of the above influenced my musical style from an early age."
Now that you call Toronto home, tell us what sets Toronto apart from other Canadian cities? What do you think makes it unique?
"People always talk about the diverse population in Toronto, and it's almost cliché to choose that as an answer, but it is truly one of it's most special features. The majority of the population here has a story connected to another part of the world, and I love talking to people about their family history and experience, interests that are inspired by it, and more. As a DJ here, I know I can play a wide variety of music from around the world and have the possibility that someone will come up and relate to it. Caribbean of course, UK and the rest of Europe, South & Central America, Africa, Asia — I can think of so many instances that I've played something and had someone come running up so happy to hear something they connected to and might not have expected to hear."
It’s very obvious from your wall(s) of records, that you’re no stranger to collecting. Outside of vinyl, do you collect anything else? Sneakers? Hockey Cards? Hot Sauce?
"Man... not really. I'm interested in other things but records have taken up all the free space in my life. I like a good pair of sneakers, but I'm not a collector of anything in any way close to how I collect records."
Speaking of Hot Sauce (super casual segway here), for those who don't know, you have your own premium line of Bastid’s Hot Sauce. Tell us how that came to be, and what inspired you to get into the Hot Sauce game? (Let's not forget the incredible Jerk Sauce!)
"Well since you brought it up... they are not just any hot sauces.... they are my favourite hot sauces in the world, and I ain't just saying that! Bastid's No.1 "OG", Bastid's No. 2 "Garlic", and Bastid's Jerk Sauce. I run live "food & music" events called Bastid's BBQ, and through that I met a local Caribbean Canadian family in Toronto who bottled & sold hot sauce and when I tasted the realness engrained deep in my DNA, I knew we had to work on something. We came up with a line of 3 flavours, and I sell them at my BBQs, at my other live shows, and online. I love to cook and I seriously use them in half of my dishes. They are diverse, don't punish you with heat, put have a spice that takes anything to the next level."
History and countless memories have been made for those who’ve been fortunate enough to attend Bastid’s BBQ events. Tell us more about Bastid’s BBQ and some of the past guests. Any personal moments from one of the events that you’ll never forget?
"Bastid's BBQ! It started as an alternative to the club shows I was playing 3-4 nights a week in the early 2000s. I had all this great new & older music that didn't feel properly appreciated in the bangin' club hip-hop scene at the time, so I decided to try changing the setting. They started off pretty casual; the first couple were more just pre-parties to my club nights, but shortly after I moved to Toronto in '09, the timing felt right to try and make them fully promoted, stand-alone events, with guest DJs as well as live performers.
Over the 10 years we've done them, we've had guests like DJ Premier, Biz Markie, Nice & Smooth, The Beatnuts, Masta Ace, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kid Capri, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Magic Mike, Tony Touch, DJ Maseo from De La Soul, Brother Ali, Cartel Madras, Del The Funky Homosapien, Bahamadia, Freeway, Pete Rock, Smif-N-Wessun, DJ Nu-Mark... I'm running out of space... and there are so many "local" and "smaller" names that truly make it what it is, so it's just unfair to keep going because I'm bound to leave someone out. It's a community event and about spending time at a gathering with people in your city & surrounding area. We've done them in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia It has truly been a dream come true to see it grow to what it is now.
One moment I'll never forget is Toronto '17 - Nice & Smooth performing "DWYCK" with DJ Premier behind the decks and the crowd chanting Guru's verse as some light rain fell from the sky... if I have to explain that further... well then I'd tell you another unforgettable moment in person. Many, many fantastic memories."
Now for the question you've been waiting on — Propane or Charcoal?
"People are going to rake me over the coals... but I cook with propane at home. Mostly out of convenience. We have direct gas to our BBQ and I can't be bothered to get another BBQ. I know charcoal is better in most situations, but if you know how to cook with gas, you can still make magic happen. And I've got lots of practice. COME AT ME!"
Picture this: you’ve been asked to DJ a 45 min set with only three LP records. What selections do you bring to the tables?
"Prince 'Sign Of The Times', Stevie Wonder 'Songs In The Key Of Life', Outkast 'Speakerboxx/The Love Below'. Not only are they all double LPs, but the range of songs on them should handle any situation. You haven't told me the conditions of the set! Where is it? What time? What season? These records have songs for it all. 5 stars each. Legends. Let's go."
Ok let's get serious, only a couple questions left. This past year has had quite an impact on live shows, clubs, and especially DJs. How have you adapted, and what positive things (if any) have come from this unpredicted adventure?
"This is a whole 'nother interview. It has been a very challenging year, in so many regards. But spending the bulk of my time with my wife and 3 year old daughter has been truly special. Musically, the most rewarding thing has been streaming. It has given me the opportunity to share my record & digital music collection, deeply. I have broadcasted over 300 hours of sets over the last year, and through that have met music lovers from all over the world. We've done special events like Bastid's BBQ, Crunkmas, my year end mix with Cosmo Baker, and many other formats of online shows, and it has amazed me to see how music has connected people in such a disjointed time for the entire world. Well, it shouldn't amaze me. If anything can do that, music can. And it has. So shout out to music. And come see me stream sometime: http://www.twitch.tv/skratchbastid "
Last but not least, what's your go-to pair of sneakers, and what do you like about them?
"In true 'dad' fashion, I'm a big New Balance fan. 997 are my faves. I like the 997s, and though they have their fair share of bad colourways, they feel magical on my feet. But any pair in the 997 series, really. Great sneakers."
Keep it locked to our blog, socials and emails for plenty more size?sessions to come!