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article imageDJ Cummerbund talks plans for 2020, digital age, influences, fans Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 18, 2020 in Music
DJ Cummerbund, affectionately known as the "King of Mashups" chatted with Digital Journal about his plans for 2020, his influences and being an artist in the digital age.
On his plans for 2020, he said, "Like I always say, Imma keep mashin' and bashin' because that's what DJ Cummerbund (DJC) does best. I have hundreds of unfinished mixes in the works and I am constantly coming up with new ideas when I'm walking through the forest, eating my breakfast, and doing my Taekwondo exercises."
"There are a few big projects and collaborations on the horizon this year which will be revealed as the universe allows it. I would also like to mix it up in the squared circle again as my doctor told me I'm 100 percent healed up from my injuries suffered when I was assaulted by pro wrestler Bull James in the ring at an event in Freeport, NY. Lately, I've been encouraged to get involved in politics but I've held off thus far - I consider myself to be a more spiritual being and I'm not sure I want to risk tarnishing my reputation and influence as a guide or prophet," he said.
He listed Randy "Macho Man" Savage his greatest influence growing up. "His talents are showcased in his 2003 hip-hop album Be A Man. I studied a variety of wrestling theme songs and the works of the iconic Jim Johnston (who penned a wide variety of music for the WWF in the '90s). Otherwise, I enjoyed listening to other great artists such as The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Prince, and 2Pac. The list could go on forever. I've tried to absorb as much material as I can since my birth (which, side note, I'm told took almost an entire week)."
On his musical inspirations, he said, "I'm not sure if you can call it inspiration exactly, but I have a neurological condition that causes me to hear and feel melodies and frequencies where most cannot (in the wind, the soil, celestial bodies, etc.) This ultimately causes me to constantly hear songs on top of other songs to the point of extreme frustration and the only way to subdue that is to actually create what I'm hearing in my head. It's almost therapeutic for me, and I was even told I could die if I don't continue to create my works. It's definitely like a curse sometimes but can also be a blessing as my music seems to bring a great deal of joy to millions of people."
He acknowledged that it's certainly an "interesting time" to be an artist in the digital age. "On one hand, the playing field has been leveled a great deal, and the gatekeepers of old (record labels, etc.) have become irrelevant. You can find and reach an audience instantly and frequently, and fans of the arts can easily and freely discover what resonates with them without having things force-fed to them," he said.
DJ Cummerbund continued, "This also allows the cream to rise to the top in a more organic fashion than ever before. With that, however, comes the frustration of the overwhelming amount of 'noise' that is out there. Any person with $100 and some drive can produce and share their art within hours of its inception, which means you have to sift through a lot of nonsense before you can discover truly great and inspiring art. Political discussions shine a bright light on the negative aspects of this as well, as we continue to see the spread of ignorance and the rise of anti-intellectualism. The Earth is flat!"
Regarding the impact of streaming services on the music and entertainment business, he said, "Streaming services certainly provide listeners and viewers quick and cheap access to content. This is great from that standpoint and was pretty much an inevitability; however, artists and rights-holders have absolutely lost a significant revenue stream as we all know that sites like YouTube and Spotify do not compensate songwriters in a fair and balanced manner. Hopefully, some of this will be rectified as innovative competition emerges in the form of new platforms."
On his proudest professional moments over the years, he noted that he is always excited and proud when he receives feedback from the artists that he samples. "I would say about 95 percent of the time they enjoy what I do, and that really means the world to me. This past summer, the B-52s used one of my videos on tour as part of a montage they would play for concert attendees. I was invited to a show in Central Park and got to see my work up on this tremendous screen being used by one of my favorite bands of all time and it was just surreal," he said.
For and aspiring musicians and entertainers, he said, "My advice is pretty generic but it's timeless. Just do what makes you happy. Don't be afraid to be different or weird. Don't worry about whether you will upset someone or break any laws, just give it your all and don't look back. There are no rules. Rules are for pigeons baby."
When asked what the best advice he was ever given was, DJ Cummerbund respond, "That would have to be what Lanny 'The Genius' Poffo (legendary wrestler and brother of the late Randy Savage) said to me when I had the pleasure of meeting him: 'Do your best and forget the rest!' Simple and to the point, and I try to live my life every day by it."
For his fans and supporters, he said, "I just want to say a big thank you to anyone who takes the time to experience my creations. I don't make money doing this and it is merely a passion project, so positive feedback is really all I get in return for the time I put into this. I do have a Patreon page where some of my most loyal followers contribute a few dollars that I then put toward new gear that helps me challenge myself and improve my craft."
To learn more about DJ Cummerbund, check out his CelebVideoMessages page, his Patreon page, and his YouTube channel.
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