We caught up with resident Kush Promotions disc jockey, Joe McMullen AKA DJ Minimal, after the Teesside native held down his biggest show to date at the O2 Academy Newcastle, with Brum-town grime star Jaykae.
How long have you DJ’d for?
I probably started around 18 months ago, but didn’t really take it seriously until the back end of 2017.
How did you get into it?
I’ve been a grime fan since 2009, and after a small stint of trying out being a MC in 2013, I realised that wasn’t for me. After some time later, I started taking more of an interest towards the DJs around the scene and decided to just give it a go with me having nothing to lose really, it was definitely the right choice for me.
How did you get your DJ name/why is it your name?
I actually produced a house track and named it ‘keeping it minimal’ due to the sound of what I put together, and after sending it round a few mates one of the lads used minimal with my surname as a play on words and I just liked the sound of it.
In your opinion what makes a good DJ?
To be interesting but smooth at the same time. I think good DJs can cut tunes in to keep an audience interested but have perfect beatmatching at the same time and know how to use a mixer properly.
Are there any DJ’s that you look up to/take inspiration from?
I proper rate DJ Spooky, he’s one of the best around in my opinion and is an under-rated DJ as well. Apart from that I’d have to also say Logan Sama, Big Mikee & Slimzee.
What’s been your highlight of 2018 so far?
Definitely getting on the Jaykae gig at the 02, that was a massive stage to perform on so early in my career.
What do you want to achieve by the end of the year?
I’m hoping to establish myself as a producer and work on a collaboration with a few MCs from the area.
What’s your involvement with Kush promotions?
I’m the resident DJ for Kush, and I am also Fungiferg’s official DJ.
How has Kush helped you with your music?
The team at Kush have put my music on a platform which would have taken me possibly years to achieve without their help. They are constantly offering advice and support to the content I’m putting out and also giving me the opportunities to work alongside talented artists from the region and the UK, I am really lucky to be given the chance with KUSH Promotions.
What’s your view on the current hip-hop and grime scene in the North East?
I feel like the NE scene as a whole Is the healthiest it’s ever been, I have said this to a couple of artists lately and explained that a few years ago there was only a handful of MCs I really rated and that the rest of the artists I felt obliged to listen to, because they were from the local area, that’s really not the case now.
The content which is being pushed out from all over the North East now has improved insanely, there’s loads of local talent now where I can just listen and enjoy their music as much as I would with artists from Birmingham or London etc. I really feel NE music, and Teesside especially, will be at the forefront of grime in the coming years.
What do you think it needs to elevate it to the next level?
I think the best routes to go down are to just carry on the buzz we are holding at the moment, quality productions with talented artists putting out the lyrics we can all relate to. That’s the authenticity of our music as it’s a true reflection of us.
I think this will be complimented by professional visuals as well, from there I’d like to see more artists making the journey down to London, Midlands etc to showcase NE talents and also start setting the groundwork for collaborations with other artists. At the end of the day, that’s where hip-hop and grime is buzzing the most and I feel there’s a space for our talent there.