DJ Brace Explores Chinese Culture Through Turntablism

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DJ Brace
DJ Brace on the cut at Mu’s Mansion in Lijiang, China. (credit: Caroline Dejeneffe)

DJ Brace, the 2016 DMC Online World Champion, recently traveled to China to explore its culture. However, unlike most tourists, the Canadian native brought along his portable turntable and scratched his way through the country.

During the two-week journey, Brace recorded sounds from the cities he visited and made beats out of them. He then filmed himself scratching over the instrumentals.

However, despite receiving offers to perform live, Brace stuck to his plan and continued to explore the country and search for sounds.

Check out all of his videos and commentary below, and download his China EP on Bandcamp, which contains the beats he made while in the country.

The Great Wall of China

“The Great Wall was our first stop the morning after landing in Beijing. When we arrived, I started to imagine what it would be like to guard China and look out for the Mongols who tried to invade. That was the inspiration behind my cuts. The view was amazing, and it was very inspiring to scratch there.”

The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

“The people in the surrounding park on our way to the Temple of Heaven were singing, dancing, doing Tai Chi, and playing cards even though it was cold. The place had a strong vibe, and the people watching me were so respectful of my space while I was recording. They hit me up for selfies afterward.”

Seven Star Park, Guilin

“When we first arrived at Seven Star Park, two monks were watching me scratch. You could tell by how they looked at me they knew I was playing with sounds from their culture. It’s amazing how the energy from an audience of only two people can pump you up to do your best. Believe it or not, the baby in this video was the third one to approach me while filming the routine. I let each one of them do some baby scratches. Later, after we finished shooting, we climbed the mountain in the background and ran into some monkeys who ended up chasing us. We found a family of three who were playing music together. I recorded them for the next routine. These are such good memories. Real connections were made to people without a single word. I’ll never forget our time in Guilin.”

Mu’s Mansion, Lijiang

“I already had a beat ready for Mu’s Mansion that was made up of sounds from Seven Star Park, but we still went out on our first night in Lijiang to get samples. After a fun night of exploring and recording in the Old Town, we visited Mu’s Mansion. I had a lot of recordings to go through to make this beat, and it all came together nicely. There were so many dope spots at Mu’s Mansion (or Mufu, as the locals call it).”

Old Town of Lijiang

“I heard a Na-Xi tribal song all over the Old Town of Lijiang and had to sample it. We thought we were done shooting for the day, but then some dancers invited me to play with them.”

Black Dragon Pool, Lijiang

“This park was immense, and every part of it had some calming name like ‘The Moon Embracing Pavilion.’ So with that vibe around us, I decided to pull out a flute freestyle I’d been saving.”

Related: Watch DJ Brace’s Mini Mix for Daily Mail