For Maryland’s Steve McDaniel, the 2019 DMC Washington DC DJ Battle & DMC Battle for United States Supremacy isn’t just an opportunity to win the crown as the nation’s best on the wheels of steel — it’s an opportunity to compete with the elite.
On Saturday, April 6, the battle for supremacy hits the District at Flash in Northwest.
“It’s going to be fun,” said McDaniel a U.S. postal worker by trade who’s been behind the ones and twos since he was a small child growing up in New York’s Queens borough.
The event, presented by Rane in association with Flash, kicks off 2 p.m. with performances by DJ Precision, the DMC World Supremacy champ out of the Big Apple, and DJ Nelson, the champ from France.
Performances are also expected by England champ DJ Rasp and several other. Several celebrity judges are expected to be on hand as well.
All DJs wishing to participate must register for the battle by answering several probing questions about their skills. Club Flash will not accept walk-ups and DJs can enter as many battles as they choose, regardless of age.
The live battles will put the art and skill of turntablism front and center. It’s expected that dozens of DJs will compete who can perform the most cleverly crafted routine using scratch techniques, beat juggling and body tricks.
The winner will represent the District at the national finals and, just maybe, the world championships in London in the fall.
A previous event in Las Vegas also featured a special showcase by D-Styles, a member of pioneering turntable groups Invisibl Skratch Piklz and Beat Junkies.
“You’re basically seeing the pyrotechnical aspect of DJing — all the fireworks, all the power moves,” DMC USA CEO Christie Z told Las Vegas Weekly.
Participants practice for months just to put on a dizzying showcase of turntable tricks — scratching records behind their backs or under their legs, doing spins and backflips between beats — to see who can draw the biggest response from the judges and crowd.
During last year’s competition, two turntablists blindfolded themselves in the middle of their performances.
“These guys and girls are extremely skilled,” Z said. “They’re using the turntable as a musical instrument. You don’t see that anymore. … It’s an art form that we’re dedicated to preserving and progressing.”
Anthony Lomayesva, aka DJ Kiddo Money, is one of turntable culture’s most ardent advocates.
Now a creative marketing designer, he competed in DMC tournaments in the early 2000s in New York City, Los Angeles, Denver and his home state of New Mexico before moving to Las Vegas 10 years ago.
It was his idea to bring the DMC to the desert last year., telling Las Vegas Weekly that it was redemption for a 2014 DMC battle held at the now-shuttered Boomer’s off the Strip.
“It didn’t have the production value. It didn’t resonate with the Vegas culture and vibe,” Lomayesva said. “If I was competing in Las Vegas, what would I like to experience when I get off the plane and pull up to the venue? What would make me feel like, wow, I made it?”
The answer: the Bellagio fountains.
“There’s nothing more iconic,” he said.
For McDaniel of Maryland, the District competition should bring out the best in everyone.
“I’m ready to just go do what I do and to have some fun,” he said.
For more information, go to www.flashdc.com.