Music

Eye on Nottingham – Switched On

Three British DJ Championships, two World Championships and one appearance on Blue Peter: this is the exciting world of DJ Switch, Nottingham University’s very own ‘party rocking’ scratch DJ.

Hailing from Birmingham, DJ Switch (real name Tony Culverwell) combines his studies in Design Manufacturing with a globe-trotting career that has seen him play shows all over Britain, as well as in China, Macedonia, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria, Greece and, of course, Nottingham. He pumps out an diverse mix of tunes, always aiming to keep the crowd happy. “I love it when the whole crowd or even just one group of people react crazily to a track,” he grins. “That’s what it’s all about.”

His British and World Championships, however, were not won purely on the merit of entertaining the fans. These came in the form of a DJ ‘Battle for Supremacy.’ This format comprises a knock out system of ‘Battles’ between DJs, during which a panel of judges decide which DJ has been more successful in ‘dissing’ their opponent. Taking it in turns to perform, the DJs intersperse their tracks with samples of put-downs from film and television, intended to insult the opposition. “It’s no holds barred,” apparently.

Scratch DJing forms a major part of DJ Switch’s performances, and he admits that it is the hardest skill to master. The style originated in the 1980s in the United States, where the imaginatively named Grand Wizard Theodore was fascinated by the sound made when he stopped his record and moved it slightly with his hand. The style grew in popularity and soon, the Disco Mix Club (DMC) became the overseeing body to award the coveted British and World Championships.

DJ Switch’s success in these competitions and his reputation as a club-night DJ has naturally led to some media interest in his abilities. A couple of years ago, he received a call from the DMC’s top brass to gauge his interest in appearing on the children’s show Blue Peter to help teach presenter Gethin Jones how to scratch. “It was fun” he said, although he stopped short of detailing exactly how bad Jones was, preferring to direct people to the YouTube video. Believe me, it’s well worth a watch.

DJ Switch is currently playing in and around Nottingham on a regular basis. Keep an eye on Stealth’s set lists to see him for yourself, otherwise you can catch him at the launch of Cappo’s new album at Brownes on November 13th.

Richard Dale

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