We’re thrilled to kick off a new Blast Radio interview series with none other than New York’s very own The Josh Craig. Taking a break from working on his new album and curating the recurring Sunday morning show Rare Grooves Positive Vibrations, The Josh Craig opened up about his path toward music and approach to DJing and production, and took time to wax about his favorite records.
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name's The Josh Craig. I'm a DJ, vocalist, and composer of electronic soul music, currently based in New York City.
What was your pathway to music?
In terms of DJing, inheriting my family’s vinyl collection started my path. As for original music, MCing in high school pushed me to make tracks, not war.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Both my parents were vocalists. At a very young age I'd listen to them sing and watch how their voices would move people and thought it was rather impressive.
When building out a DJ set, what drives your selections? Does narrative or legacy factor in?
My selections are extensions of self. I consider my legacy to be my narrative. I take this life very seriously as I do each DJ set. I want people to listen back and say, "that brother really knows sound and appreciates the art of music."
How does the music you listen to influence the physical art you create?
I listen to a ton of avant-garde albums while creating to add character to each piece. The work is minimalist, abstract and personal just like the music. Be it painting, book design, or sculpture, I make every piece as if I were designing the cover of vinyl.
What steps do you take to prepare for a broadcast?
First I clean all my record jackets of dust and residue the night before. Then make some tea 1hr before the show. Stretch. Alert social media. Throw on a fly fit even though nobody can see me. Make sure I have my cassette tapes rewound and export new music I composed for the show.
What has been your most memorable or impactful broadcast?
Rare Grooves Positive Vibrations is very special to me. Every show is an opportunity to give people 2-3 hrs of no stress, no hate, no fear, and much fun. My family tunes in. My colleagues tune in. It's so cool. Most impactful broadcast was episode 6. I DJed for 6+ hrs at times blending 5 tracks at once. Cried a little bit. I'll never forget that.
What’s your favorite piece of musical equipment (other than a Blast Box of course lol)?
Sure have a lot to choose from. The studio has about 32 pieces of gear. Lately I've been addicted to the Prophet Rev2 synthesizer, but I'm falling in love with sending CV from 303 back into model D filter contour out into ARP2600. Sounds pure and unpredictable. Analog is fun like that. Working on a new album has me writing songs a bunch so the microphone is a fav as well.
Sophie’s choice: Jazz or Techno?
Jazz to DJ. Techno to produce.
This is a trope-y question: at the time of this asking, what are your 5 desert island albums and what about them will help keep you grounded in this figurative isolation?
Billy Cobham - Inner Conflicts // That album does it for me in terms of listening for what's next. Something to look forward to with each passing beat. Desert islands need some surprises and that album has a bunch.
Kuniyuki Takahashi - Early Tape Works Vol. 2 // The intro alone could be my isolation soundtrack while sourcing herbs for tea. This album reminds me of summer mornings in the country being real relaxed.
Aquarian Dream - Fantasy // For times when I need some funk and grooves to get me going I play this. The voice of a sister can really give a brother life in isolation. This record is just that, LIFE.
Big Black - Message To The Ancestors // This is the sound of tribal nature recorded on vinyl. The drum is the heartbeat of each song. The tempos keep you aware while on the prowl at night sourcing wood for fires.
Camaron - Por Fandangos // The album that reminds me of home and being with family. The album where I knew there was more to music. Positive memories near the sea singing flamenco are my favorites.
Follow The Josh Craig, and tune in for Rare Grooves Positive Vibrations every Sunday from 11am - 2pm EST.