Born in El Salvador, Quest moved to the San Francisco bay area in 1982. He started out as a bedroom dj in 1987 and quickly began performing as a mobile dj. In the early nineties the second stage of his career took place when he began competing, producing and independently releasing turntable music. Quest is also known as one of the founding members of one of the original scratch crews in the bay area (Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters/Space Travelers). In 1992, at dj battle that was staged for the popular tv show Home Turf, Quest gave birth to the term "Hamster Style" which refers to the reverse set up of the turntables. Today the term remains popular and is recognized by djs worldwide. Quest and the BPSH produced "Hamster Breaks", the first record of its kind, designed specifically for scratch and battle djs. Since its release in 1993, hundreds of dj tool records have imitated the arrangement of this classic album. In late '96 Quest further expanded his musical horizons by teaming up with Albert Mathias (percussion) and Andrew Kushin (cotra bass) to form the experimental jazz/hip-hop group Live Human. In 2001 Quest won the SF Weeklys' "SF's Best Hip-Hop DJ" award.
Quest teamed up with DJ Shadow for the song "Holy Calamity (bear witness II)" with Handsome Boy Modeling School (Tommy Boy).
DJ Quest has performed at various festivals in Europe, including the "Montreux Jazz Festival" in Switzerland, the "Roskilde" festival in Denmark, and "Transmusicales Music Fest." in Renn, France to name a few. Quest has also traveled throughout Japan, Australia, and the U.S. performing with Latyrx, Live Human, Space Travelers, and solo. In addition to workshops, guest apperances on live and internet radio shows Quest has collaborated on many recordings by numerous artist including Dan the Automator, DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Rob Swift (X-ecutioners) and has appeared on many albums including ones by Peanut Butter Wolf, Blackalicious, Handsome Boy Modeling School, the Future Primitive Sound Collective's 12" (Black Hole) & Urban Revolutions comp, and the recent Variable Unit comp. to name a few. Quest who is featured in the Doug Pray directed documentary SCRATCH (palm pictures) is one of todays most talented and versatille turntable artist.
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to an excerpt from DJ Quest's mix cd Mutation Mann
INTERVIEW WITH DJ QUEST
interview/dj profile courtesy of Hip Hop Slam
The first record you ever bought?
"La di Da di" by Doug E. Fresh
The first record you ever owned?
one by the Beatles
Most influential records in your life?
"Push the Button" by Newcleus is my favorite jam. That shit is just so fucking dope. And just the fact that what he's talking about...computer age...all that shit is what's happening now...and that shit is twenty years old! It's got that electrofunk feel with some melodies. It's sort of what inspired me to get into this type of music.
When did you first DJ?
The first time I ever deejayed was a nightmare. I deejayed this party at my middle school. It was the last day of summer school. I had some borrowed equipment, and busted-ass speakers. I remember I was so fucking nervous that my hand was shaking. I couldn't even put the needle down on the record! That's the kind of shit that just makes me want to improve.
What made you want to be a DJ?
I just love music. I love playing music. When I first got into collecting music, I didn't even own records. I would just collect tapes of tracks I recorded off KPOO. I started compiling different types of music for my own listening pleasure. When I saw Beatstreet, and those old movies, that shit just blew my mind! I was so fascinated by that shit! Breaking came first, and then I tried rapping and failed at it completely. It was mostly 'cause I started DJing around the same time and it just took over. It was just fun. It wasn't a sport. I didn't start battling till the Nineties. I didn't give a shit. I just wanted to do it all!
What is most memorable performance of your DJ career?
Definitely the Live Human festivals in Europe. They were huge shows...almost like a dream. The Montreux Jazz Festival stands out as a clean show. In reality, a lot of these underground shows had moments that have just blown my mind as much. I might be playing with a group, and there's people dancing, there's all this energy happening, and the crowd just elevates with you. When that shit happens, it leaves you high for a couple days.
How do you transport your records and/or gear to gigs?
I use my son's skateboard. I put my records on the skateboard and I drag it. I also transport stuff on my bike. I have a Huffy 2000.
Do you play CDs ever at gigs?
Nah, I'm not saying that I never will, but the type of DJing that I do is not about playing CDs.
What Music do you spin?
I love playing things that have breaks...really pumped hip hop shit...that's got a lot of energy. I love playing electro.
In your opinion who is best DJ of all time?
DJ Quest. To some point, I just got to give myself credit. Only I know what I've gone through. I see DJs come up and go all the time. Although I never really broke through, I'm still here. Besides me, there's definitely Cash Money. The reason why I like Cash Money so much is because he was out doing the DMCs in '86-'87. Now in 2003, he's still got all his skills. He's still on top of his game. He can produce. He's got titles. Not to mention the fact that he's super funky and he's still doing it. The longevity of a person being here doing something is worth more than having 3 DMC titles for a couple years or whatever...
featured on various albums including ones by Sacred Hoop, Peanut Butter Wolf, Blackalicious, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Mi Selecta compilation, Kubiq, the Future Primitive Sound Collective's 12" (Black Hole) & Urban Revolutions comp, and the recent Variable Unit comp. Also Quest is on BPST's Hamster Breaks Volume 1, Space Travelers' Hamster Breaks 3 1/2, The Dark Ages BPSH 1996 mix-tape, Hip Hop Slam w/ Billy Jam mixtapes from 1995/96, Live Human Featuring DJ Quest 12" from 1997, Improvisessions Live Human 12" 1997, Cue's Hip Hop Shop Volume 1 (w/ Live Human & Space Travelers), 1998, Attack Of The Killer Cuts mix-tape, 1998 Space Traveling 101 mix-tape, 1998, Etchings of the Upper Dynamic Frequencies LP (w/ JWicked), 1999, Monostereosis: the new victrola method Live Human, 1999, Orange Bush 12" 1999, Elefish Jellyphant Live Human, 2000 Elephant's Bliss 12" Live Human, 2000, Cue's Hip Hop Shop Volume 2 (w/ DJ Cue), 2000, Turntables By The Bay Volume 1 (with Eddie Def), 2001 Built To Last Bullet Proof Space Travelers, 2001, Questside DJ Quest, 2001, Live Human Live (COD) 2002, Mutation Mann mix CD 2003.
QUEST DJ BATTLE HISTORY 1991-96:
1991: Sound & Sight, 1991: Manor Music, 1992: Club Inn, 1992: DJ Extravaganza, 1992: DJ Trixx Off, 1992/93: Dynamic Sound & Lighting, 1992: West Coast DMC, 1993: Communities in Harmony, 1993: West Coast DMC, 1994: New Music Seminar (Superman DJ Battle), 1994: West Coast DMC, 1995: Club 181, 1995: Vestax (USA), 1996: Music Systems
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