DJ FLAGRANT INTERVIEW


Australian born / US raised Nate Flagrant began the pursuit of his hip hop career in the early 90’s starting out on a single Sony turntable, Flagrant spent many sleepless nights perfecting his sound to replicate the DMC flavor that had influenced him.

After returning to his hometown of Melbourne in 1999, it wasn’t long before Flagrant’s name became synonymous within Australia’s Hip-Hop music scene. Over the past decade Flagrant has been uniquely instrumental in the many components of the industry. Having not only DJ’d all over the world supporting artists such as Wu Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, DJ Shadow, Kanye West and DJ Premier, the exceptionally multifaceted talent has also put work in both the battle scene and club circuit.

Always at the forefront of DJ technology, Flagrant has been one of the first DJ’s in Australia to embrace video turntablism. With the help of video DJ software, Flagrant cuts, scratches and mashes music video’s, youtube videos and your favorite movies effortlessly and fluently before your very eyes. His video remixes on YouTube have gathered a lot of interest worldwide with his channel gathering over 390,000+ views and has led to work for countless corporate clients and some of the countries most renowned entertainment venues. Most recently, Flagrant was invited to compete in the new RedBull Thre3Style DJ competition where he blew away the competition at the Melbourne final, taking away first prize – solidifying his position as one of Melbourne’s top party rocking DJ’s.

Beyond his work as a DJ, Flagrant is equally well known for his work in the realm of artist management since 2004. Flagrant currently has three of Australia’s finest artists on his management roster; Phrase, The Funkoars & M-Phazes. It’s no wonder that his second to none work ethic and industry successes have lead to his candid nickname ‘DJ Flagrant – The Business Man’.

Who were your influences growing up?
I was massively influenced by DJ’s like Shortkut, Mista Sinista, Egon and Swamp. But growing up in Nashville meant there were little DJ’s to jam with or learn from so I used buy mail order DJ comps on VHS and study their hands and stuff..

What first got you into Hip Hop?
When I moved to Nashville in 1994, I was introduced to rap music which I got right into but it wasn’t until I went to a rave party and saw a Hip-Hop DJ called Alejan do a scratch/club set that I heard REAL Hip-Hop. I’ll never forget seeing all the crowd singing the words to the songs and being fixated on his handiwork on the decks. That night I went home to a friends place who had turntables and I just ripped into it. The rest as they say, is history…

You were raised in the States and came back to Australia in 1999 did you find it hard to adjust?
When I moved back to Australia I thought that people here would have no clue about what was goin on in Hip-Hop and assumed I would know-it-all. I was sorely mistaken.. People in Australia study the origins and art 10x harder than Americans do. Americans are very spoiled haha.

How did you get your name known in the local Hip Hop scene once you got back to Melbourne?
When I came back I layed back in the cut and watched what was goin on.. Then DMC came around in 2001 and I figured that would be the best chance to make a name for myself.. So I went in there – massively unprepared – and set my record on fire and scratched with it. Was massively gimmicky but did the trick.. Got my photo in the Age and a shit tonne of gigs off it.

What got you into artist management?
I started Djing for Phrase and he needed management. I had gathered a lot of connections over the years through Djing, putting on club nights and touring with legends like Reason and Brethren across Australia so I kind of just fell into the role. I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunities artists like Reason, Brethren and Phrase gave me.

You currently manage 3 of Australia’s biggest Hip Hop artists (Funkoars, Phrase & M-Phazes) how did you get to work with them and what does your job entail?
As I said prior, I was Phrase’s DJ and then began managing him. I came across M-Phazes on tour and instantly knew I needed to work with him. The Funkoars have been artists that I’ve admired for years and after touring with them I approached them to manage them. My job entails things such as co-ordinating marketing plans, co-ordinating tours (marketing, travel budgets etc etc), helping them secure record deals and sponsorship opportunities, scheduling music releases.. There really are so many jobs to do and it’s hard to list them all. Every day brings about a new challenge.

What is the biggest misconception of being an artist manager?
That it’s not as stressful as being the actual artist.

What do you look for in an artist when you are thinking about representing them?
A combination of the following:
– Talent first and foremost
– Can I work with this person on a day to day basis?
– Are they marketable?
– Do they have a strong work ethic?
– Are they self sufficient?
– Do we share a similar vision?
There are numerous other things but the above make a good start..

Any other artists we should be looking out for that are on your roster?
Keep your eyes fixated on up-n-coming producer Cam Bluff.

What advice would you give to all aspiring artists out there?
Put in those hard yards honing your craft and do the absolute best you can to make something of yourself. Play your position. If you get knocked down, pick yourself back up and try it all over again with a fresh approach.. Complacency is the Mother of mediocrity.

Having been a major part of the Australian Hip Hop scene what are your thoughts on it’s current popularity and where do you see it going from here?
I think it’s finally got it’s props and is respected as a “credible” genre in Australia. I see it integrating more with other genres and unfortunately it will most probably get watered down. But there will always been that raw shit that stays true and thrives in it’s own way. I have loved watching it grow over the past 13 years. It makes me very proud to have played my own little part in it.

What artists are currently getting your attention at them moment?
Mase N Mattic, All Day, Remi

You are one of the few DJ’s in Australia to have taken DJing to another level with video turntablism how much time and effort do you put into a set?
Man the video stuff takes FOREVER. It’s a very painstaking process but it reinvigorated my interest in Djing. I love making a video routine and performing it live for the first time.. It’s so much fun!

Recently you started the itsofficial.com.au Beat Battle with M-Phazes can you explain the format of the comp and what are your plans with it?
It’s an invitational head-to-head battle format where we put producer against producer in a knock out system until there is one DJ left standing. It’s judged by a strong variety of people (dj’s, producers, mc’s) so as to ensure it’s a well rounded decision on who’s beats reign supreme!

With so many job titles how do you manage to juggle them all and do it so competently?
My competancy is arguable but I do my damndest to keep up. I’m in the process of stripping things back to basics to ensure that I get the maximum output. My new ethos is: Pause, re-assess, refocus, GO.

Describe a typical day in the life of DJ Flagrant?
Wake up, deuce, coffee, potential second deuce, hit the office and smash out emails, do some meetings, back to the office and smash more emails, work the phone, listen to music, try and remember to eat, go back to the office and write more emails.

What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
I really, really, really get a kick out of seeing a plan come together and my artists (or people I work with) achieve their goals. Really is the best feeling.

What are your future plans??
I’m about to announce something big.. But for now my lips are sealed.

What’s your definition of Grindin’?
Sam Dutch. Hahaha.. But nah for real, it’s hard f*ckin work.. That’s what it is. Plain n simple.

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