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Drastic Heat

By Mark Devlin | 16 July 2010
Black Sheep Mag gets to conversate with one of the US's hardest-working DJs and industry big dogs, The Untouchable DJ Drastic, straight out of the big bad city.

BlackSheepMag: For those unfamiliar, let the readers know who DJ Drastic is; more commonly known as, The Untouchable DJ Drastic

Untouchable DJ Drastic: The Untouchable DJ Drastic is Daniel Michael Johnson. Daniel Michael Johnson is The Untouchable DJ Drastic A.K.A. DJ Drastic A.K.A. New York City’s Heat! I have been in the business for quite some time and on the scene, even longer. I’ve pretty much done it all up until this point as my future holds great promise. I’ve done radio on every level (commercial, satellite, college, mobile, etc.). I’ve toured with world-renowned acts and on my own. I’ve founded a record label, collective, company, and serve as one of the most influential Urban disc jockeys and music industry professionals to come out of New York in the past decade. The list goes on. 

BlackSheepMag: I understand that the foundation of your career began as a Hip Hop DJ. How has this helped you evolve into who you are today? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: I’ll always be a Hip Hop head until my last day on this planet. I love all music. I think that Hip Hop is something that no one can destroy. It’s a culture. It’s important for the new generations to continue to be educated on the four elements, etc. Hip Hop is a very competitive world that unless you come from within it, it’s difficult to understand at times. Hip Hop gave me a feeling of purpose in a world where I might not have had one otherwise. I can’t say that I would have been doing well at all if it wasn’t for my love of Hip Hop. I think that a lot of folks mistake their contribution for being the greatest contribution. Hip Hop as our culture didn’t survive or evolve because of any one man or woman. We all contribute and/or have contributed to its growth, to date. I learned a lot about life being in the business because I am good at applying life experience to all components of my existence. 

BlackSheepMag: How do you feel about Hip Hop and music in general coming from New York versus Hip Hop and music in general coming from outside of the United States? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: New York is the most competitive place in the world, especially for Hip Hop. In New York, everyone has an ego and unless there’s a co-sign it’s rare that new acts break through in that market. This is why major record labels look to the southern regions, etc. for Hip Hop acts. The way that the business works is, If one label has a gritty-thug type of rapper then the next label will have their version. If one label has a Caribbean beauty then the next label will have their version. I believe that New York needs a lot more unity. When I say unity, I mean genuinely helping one another in the business. It’s gotten better in recent years although for the most part it’s extremely clique’ish. This trickles down to the DJ side where certain artists may never gain commercial exposure once they lose and/or have negative ties to disc jockeys. This is why I always advise new artists to look, step, and work outside of the box. 

BlackSheepMag: Sean “P. Diddy” Combs (in a recent interview) put a lot of blame on the DJ for the current slump in Hip Hop, etc. It was as if he implied that, “The DJ Killed Hip Hop.” What are your opinions on such a statement? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: I have a lot of respect for Sean and his contributions. At the end of the day, that’s his opinion as we’re all entitled to one. The DJ can never kill Hip Hop because the DJ is the reason that Hip Hop exists. The DJ is number one. The DJ has always been & always will be number one. I think a lot of the time people misperceive DJs that aren’t on radio or aren’t always in a media atmosphere to be insignificant. At the same time, a lot of DJs don’t take their career seriously. I look at it as something that happens in any profession. I’ll give you the most basic example being a person who works at a fast-food restaurant. Some folks will spit in your food and others will work to become the general manager. It’s to each their own. I believe such a statement is liable to be taken out of context. I respect all DJs. I respect the passion for the craft but at the same time, an incredible amount of DJs need to be educated on their roles within the business. Artists often talk about their sales, etc. Even if the DJ was to support them unconditionally, think about how many artists have turned their backs on the DJs over the years. Most radio DJs aren’t sanctioned to support certain records as per their PDs (program directors) & MDs (music directors). Also, you can’t expect much from new-generation DJs that aren’t genuinely built for the game because they lack the cultural education. 

BlackSheepMag: What are your opinions on nightlife in this day & age? Do you feel that the DJ should be the promoter or that the terms DJ and promoter even exist individually anymore? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: Well, it’s tricky because there’s a thin line. I believe that in nightlife, the DJ should be the DJ and the promoter should be the promoter. It all comes down to independence. I’m a strong believer that you can’t rely on many individuals. As a society, we hope for the best but we can’t rely on many people. You have to make sure that you’re multifaceted enough as a professional to wear all the hats; while being efficient at the same time. This enables DJs to evolve as entrepreneurs. I know that when I work in a nightclub atmosphere, it’s either going to be a contractual agreement as an act or I’m going to run the space as the promotional director or organizer. I don’t pass the blame because it’s all part of the game. We can either work together or we cannot work together. I wish everyone the best either way within nightlife.

BlackSheepMag: I’ve come across some other DJ Drastic on the Internet. You’ve also expressed yourself via Twitter.com in regards to there being imitators using your professional likeness. Can you explain a bit further? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: I honestly never paid attention to it at all. Before DJ Drastic, I am Daniel M. Johnson. I make sure that name is the one of importance to me, priority. I’ve had some DJs come at me asking to battle. I’ve observed some DJs claiming to be, The Real DJ Drastic. It’s all a joke to me. As they say, Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I’ve even come across a DJ in New York City which is my home-town; claiming to be The Real DJ Drastic. I don’t know if these individuals live in a box or are just plain ignorant. My only concern is that I do not want any artists, industry professionals, and/or promoters to book a DJ Drastic act under the impression that it’s me. I want to put it out there that there’s only one, world-renowned Untouchable DJ Drastic. Eventually, I will simply hit each of these individuals with their own lawsuit. It makes me laugh. I could go around saying that my name is Liberace. It doesn’t mean that I am Liberace. I could also spell it differently but you’re still going to know who inspired that name. You also have to keep in mind that I have years in the field. It’s not something that I woke up one day & cared to dispute from my living room. I have plaques from corporations and impressions all over the planet as a multifaceted industry professional. It’s simple. Untouchable DJ Drastic is the real deal. I hope that this clarifies things a little bit for the people. 

BlackSheepMag: What have you been working on in recent months and what is on the horizon for you? 

UntouchableDJDrastic: I’ve been fortunate enough to have earned my status in life. I feel that I went through enough misfortune to truly appreciate the finer things. I’ve been on the road for a while now. I’ve just been doing different arena and club dates all over the world. Of course there’s radio, I’ve been doing different spots internationally. I just put it down for Hot 103.5FM over our Independence Day weekend in the states, etc. I am working on two albums right now. One of them is a Hip Hop compilation type of project & the other, a House/Pop genre album. I am in the studio three or four times a week. I am heading back to New York before making my way over to the West Coast to embrace a few professional obligations on that side of the country. I will tell y’all one thing about me, I am always working on something that’s liable to be productive. At this stage of the game, I’ve learned to work smarter not harder. I advise others to do the same. Family is also important to me at this stage in my life. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my loved ones where as years ago, I neglected those priorities. 

BlackSheepMag: Is there anything else that you want to share with the readers? 

I just want to thank all of the fans for the support! I have a brand new website in the works (www.TheUntouchableDJDrastic.com) which will be up soon. You can also follow me on Twitter (@DJDrastic). I tweet a lot! I don’t really communicate too much but I’m getting better in doing that therefore don’t take it personal if I don’t answer back right away. I use the platform more to check-in. I’ll get there y’all! R.I.P. to my brothers, Conol & Hani Hasweh! R.I.P. to all of those lost! DJ Wits, DJ Hideo, etc. Y’all are with me. Stay positive! Shouts to the BSDJz! Coalition! The new American Kings are in the building! Bless up.

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