ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
Last Friday, the top six “party rockin’” DJs battled to be named the “best on the decks in the U.S.” at LURE in Los Angeles for the Red Bull Thre3Style National Championship. Trentino of Chicago beat out DJ Scene, DJ Phish, Konflikt, A-Rock and Donnie Dee, who were judged on both their technical ability and crowd response. Trentino said he was naturally stoked about the win, and proud to rep the U.S. in the World FInals, held this November in Toronto.
DJ Jazzy Jeff closed the night, but during the judge’s deliberation, Grammy award-winner Mark Ronson moved the audience, with guest party rocker A-Trak. We caught up with Ronson before the battle at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, where he let us know just how momentous this occasion was, and that nerves never go away, even after working with legends like Paul McCartney.
So you’re performing, not judging tonight?
Mark Ronson I’m DJing along with A-Trak, who’s fantastic, and then Jazzy Jeff, who’s still just as good as, if not better than when I started worshipping him 25 years ago. So, yeah, I’m really quite excited and incredibly nervous because when you’re on a bill with people at that level of talent, it’s just like, it just sucks. I know I’m not as good as either of those guys technically so I just kind of have to kill it.
I can’t believe you still get nervous!
MR Oh yeah, I’m not saying it to be cute. I get terribly, terribly nervous. It doesn’t matter if I play to like, 250 people or 10,000 people, that first five minutes is the most nerve-racking. And the hour beforehand… My wife won’t be anywhere around me because I’m so unpleasant. I’m just like this withered shaky thing. I’m just so in my own neurotic world that I can’t really function or talk; it’s like I go into Rain Man mode.
I find that shocking, actually.
MR My friend Ricky used to sing in this English band Kaiser Chiefs; I remember before I met him I went to a lot of their shows because I really liked them and he was always running around the stage like crazy: climbing scaffolding. He was just the most gregarious performer. And I met him, and he seemed like a sweet high school art teacher. I was like, “You must throw up every night before you go on stage!” He was like, “Yeah I absolutely do.” So yeah, I think it’s pretty normal.
What have you been working on lately?
MR My own record… And kind of a bunch of shit, with Cee Lo a bit, and with this English rapper Giggs, he’s on XL, and I worked with Paul McCartney on his stuff…
I’m sure you were nervous before that, right?
MR That was nervous on a whole new level.
When is that coming out?
MR I really don’t know. I’m not trying to be coy, it’s not like it’s a secret, like tomorrow it’ll be on the internet, like David Bowie. Maybe it will be—I don’t know.
What do you want to tell V readers?
MR I don’t know who they are!
MR I would consider myself a V reader, but other than that, I don’t.