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DJ Moneyshot


One of  Perth International Arts Festival’s coups is Caught In The Middle Of A 3-Way Mix – a tribute to the Beastie Boys’ legendary 1989 album Paul’s Boutique by UK DJs Moneyshot, Food and Cheeba, which has previously only been performed in Paris and London. JOSHUA HAYES chats to Roy Spencer aka DJ Moneyshot ahead of the show on Tuesday, February 18 at Chevron Festival Gardens. 

Paul’s Boutique was unlike anything else when it was released 25 years ago. The Beastie Boys and Dust Brothers drew samples from across the musical spectrum – from traditional funk staples to classic rock to the notoriously lawsuit-happy Beatles, to produce a psychedelic soundscape. Public Enemy’s Chuck D later remarked it was a dirty secret in hip hop that Paul’s Boutique had the genre’s best beats.

“I just remember it being unlike anything else,” Spencer says of the album. “The things (Beastie Boys) were messing around with, from the topics to their clothes to the samples and their style, it was almost like they were incubating it away from centralised hip hop. It just looked so personal, and like they didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought.”

The project has its origins in a DJ mix of samples from the Beastie’s 1992 album Check Your Head, which Spencer released through Ninja Tune’s webcast Solid Steel in 2009. “You start thinking about ‘what other album would you like to do?’” Spencer says. “And of course it would be Paul’s Boutique, the kind of high water mark in the magpie approach to sampling.”

A few emails later, DJs Moneyshot, Food and Cheeba were working on Caught In The Middle Of A 3-Way Mix, a 60 minute mix of samples used on Paul’s Boutique, with a collage of Beastie Boys a capellas and interviews thrown in. Each DJ worked on their own 20 minute routine, focusing on one third of the album, before bringing them together and working them into a single cohesive mix.

Halfway through working on the project, Beastie Boys’ Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch passed away after a battle with cancer. “It had an effect on the mood of (the mix), I think… it ends on a kind of sober tone” Spencer says. “The success (of the mix) is probably down to the tragedy of him dying and people looking for a fitting way to commemorate and celebrate, and this mix is a good way of looking at all the fun and frolics, goofiness and essentially Beastie Boys-ian elements in a way that respects them.”

The trio first performed the mix live in late 2013 at Paris and London shows celebrating Solid Steel’s 25th anniversary. The live show runs on a four turntable setup, with each DJ performing their third of the mix on two decks in the middle of the stage, as the other two DJs throw in additional samples, scratches and a capellas.

“It was meant as a mixtape with no possible idea of transferring it to a live set, so we spent a lot of time just thinking, ‘How the fuck do we get this section where there’s 15 things happening and turn it into a four deck routine?’” Spencer says, before adding that they figured it out. “Everything’s pretty much nailed… The whole set is regimented and airtight.”

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