WORDS: Alex Caslano
With over 20 years in the industry Tunde Adams aka DJ Caspa has earned his stripes. A committed and passionate music lover, he quite literally lives for the dancefloor, spending hours each week hunting down tunes to play in the club. He’s the true definition of a DJ, tirelessly searching for that perfect mix. “I still get that buzz for new music as if I had just started, especially when you get those special ones through” he tells us. Having spent most of his youth working and searching through East London record shops, his passion stems from music and nothing else, with early stints on pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM providing the catalyst for his career.
“DJs really made their name through their shows and what music they had” reflects Caspa. “It was always a risk taking a big bag of your freshest music to a studio/swat and it was always a cat and mouse game between the DTi and stations.” Having built his reputation on radio, club gigs became more frequent and he had his first international date in Munich in 1999. Since then he’s continued doing what he loves, recording regular mixes, touring clubs and sharing his discoveries, with his ‘Upfront N Personal’ series showcasing his exceptional mixing skills to the world. With boundless energy and with his eyes now set on production, DJ Caspa is about to take it next level.
Ahead of DJ Caspa’s appearance at For The Record in Glasgow this Friday, we took the opportunity to dig through the crates and ask him more about his early pirate radio days and what keeps him excited. You can also check out a couple of his recent mixes too:
SG: You’ve been involved with club culture and electronic music for over two decades, but you seem as energised and productive as ever. What drives your passion and keeps you excited?
DJ Caspa: I would have to say it's a different generation of producers as well as the well known ones that keep me driven and also excited about the music that's coming out. There are so many different cross genres which help me in a big way as I like to create different mixtapes - all under the house umbrella of course, but some can be deep and musical then some can be really hard and banging. Also, being connected to so many producers on the scene really helps to keep me fresh with what's going on; I still get that buzz for new music as if I had just started, especially when you get those special ones through.
SG: You were once quite heavily involved with pirate radio and Rinse FM in particular; can you describe what it was like being part of the pirate scene during the 90s?
DJ Caspa: I’ve had a few good stints on Rinse FM, firstly when they were a pirate station. I was playing jungle music which was also focused on the MCs and different to the scene I’m in today. Pirate radio in the 90's…I gotta say, those were some of the best times in my radio career. It was always a risk taking a big bag of your freshest music to a studio/swat and it was always a cat and mouse game between the DTi and stations. Luckily enough I wasn't someone who lost my music. DJ's really made their name through their shows and what music they had; of course, it was only vinyl and took hours of your life away being in record shops just to have that fresh white label for your show…kinda miss those days.
SG: Late 90s London must have been an exciting place to be in general at that time; what were some of the clubs like that you used to visit and what DJs influenced you most?
DJ Caspa: The 90's were a really amazing time for house and garage music; there were so many DJs I looked up to and wanted to be where they were. The main one I was so so inspired by really had to be Karl Tuffenuff Brown; in some ways he was my hero. He used to have the most dubplates I have ever heard from a DJ and most of the tunes never ever came out. I was doing quite ok in those days - picked up my first international gig in Munich, Germany in 1999 and that was an experience I will never forget. I was also doing lots of clubs on the London scene through my pirate radio days...that was a really great time in my career.
SG: Scanning your Soundcloud, there’s a wealth of mixes up there including your ‘Upfront & Personal’ series; how long do you spend digging through music a week and where do you usually find your favourite new releases?
DJ Caspa: Over the last two years I have really focused on networking as much as I can with producers, labels and mail out companies; on a weekly basis I get a really healthy amount of music to play, giving me the chance to create the ‘Upfront & Personal’ mixtapes. The main objective with those is to promote and push the new or unsigned music that is coming out. I put in a lot of hours each week into listening to music and find what I’m gonna use for the tapes. I also use my internet show to test out my new music to see what the listeners think.
SG: You also produce music and had a release out earlier this year with Mike Millrain. Would you describe DJ’ing as your main focus and how do you usually divide your time? Can it be difficult to stay on top of things?
DJ Caspa: I have been collaborating on some tracks with Mike Millrain, Krywald and Spike O'Connell and I’m trying to put a bit more time into the studio at the moment...I’m building a new one at home. I would say DJ’ing is currently my main focus for now, but that is gonna change as the year moves on. I really plan to give a lot more time to production.
SG: We’re certainly hyped to catch you at For The Record this weekend where you’ll be playing one of Glasgow’s most intimate basement clubs, La Cheetah. Have you played up here before? And what track has been getting the biggest reaction in your set recently?
DJ Caspa: I’m really hyped about coming to Glasgow. I have really fond memories of coming over to Perth to play last year; the hospitality I received was second to none and I had my first experience of Buckfast. The promoters even bought me a St Johnstone's football shirt with DJ Caspa on the back! I promised to wear it at La Cheetah and I’m sure it's gonna be a night to remember. So much music in my bag doing damage from the real hard bangers to the more garage influenced ones. I would say the new one from Brame & Hamo on Heist recordings is something I will be playing for sure on the night.