At the outset of 2015, DJ Premier made a huge announcement. The iconic producer, DJ, and one half of Gang Starr had formed a new five-piece band. With Preemo’s new Queens , New York HeadQcourterz studio came a yet-unnamed (the collective is now named DJ Premier & his live band) collective that reverberated the walls with pulsating sounds from live instruments. “When we put the band together, the key to any relationship is that you vibe together in a way that you can make magic happen,” explains Premier. “That’s what happened with me and Guru, that’s what must continue with anybody I connect with.”
Days later, Brady Watt (Bass), Lenny “The Ox” Reece (Drums), Takuya Kuroda (Horns/Keys), and Mark Williams (Trombone/Keys) hit Japan to do a national tour, playing twice a day, for four days straight. With DJ Premier behind the turntables, mixer, and laptop, the band jammed out grooves, ranging from more obscure Preemo productions (Ill Bill, Skyzoo & Torae) to rarely performed relics (Jeru The Damaja, Lord Finesse), to hip-hop influencers (Curtis Mayfield). Now, that same energy, chemistry, and historic extension of DJ Premier’s career hits the States.
“Put us against anybody, we’re a problem,” touts the DJ, who brings the bravado, competitiveness, and desire from excellence from the 1980s hip-hop climate into his tour outfit. The five-piece band improvises, often providing some nuances that may vary a set from night to night. Preemo confirms that currently, he has been crafting an homage to Gang Starr and M.O.P.’s rare 1998 soundtrack cut, “½ & ½.” Having the band not only affords Premier the ability to honor cult-championed songs, but he showcases the musicality of Rap. “My addiction is turntables, drum machines, guitars, amps, and a lot of speakers,” he admits. “I have fun doing a whole bunch of different styles with the band, because they fall into place so well, with everything that we’ve brought into the picture, no matter what it is.” The band uses its range effectively. In the Japan dates, Premier would live-sample (“chop” as he calls it) the elements of Gang Starr’s “Moment Of Truth.” On cue, the band would join in with the arrangement, honoring the evocative title track from Gang Starr’s gold-certified LP.
Gang Starr is a backbone to the show. Honoring his longtime partner Guru, DJ Premier continues to wave the flag. “I miss that dude so much, and we have a long and undeniable track record,” says Premier. This tour allows the band to play deeper cuts from the legendary duo, including the poignant Hard To Earn gem “Mostly The Voice.” While hits are woven in, the sets allow deeper consideration. “I get to do rare Gang Starr records, not just ‘Mass Appeal,’ and it works.”
Approaching 30 years crafting hip-hop’s soundtrack, DJ Premier is invigorated through his band-mates. “I have to still preserve the sound of the city. Especially coming from Texas , that was my goal to gain acceptance in New York City , and I did that before money or tours.”
As Year Round Records readies a completely DJ Premier-produced NYGz LP, MC Eiht’s Which Way Iz West, his work on upcoming projects ranging from PRhyme, Miguel to Ed Sheeran, scoring a new VH1 original-movie, The Breaks, and his own blockbuster debut album, Preemo hints the band may translate chemistry from the road to the studio. Either way, this band “has got to be the sure-shot.”
DJ Premier and his live band will depart for a 15-date European tour staring in September and will be headlining a show at the Brooklyn Bowl this Saturday June 13th in New York City .
Check out the XXLmag.com News Premiere With European Tour Dates Included: http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/06/dj-premier-live-band-announce-european-tour/