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Interview with IDA: International DJ Association

IDA logoI recently came into contact with the President of IDA Canada, Moe Dastranj. He reached out to us to promote their first ever online competition: the North American Scratch Battle. Anyone from North America can enter, but you need to register by May 31st. There's already a couple QSU students registered (Stevie-E & E-Na), and I hope to see more enter the battle soon. 

Since I actually didn't know a whole lot about IDA (besides that it's a huge international DJ battle spawned out of the now defuct ITF)I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Moe some questions and get educated. 

QSU: How did IDA begin? 

IDA 2006

MOE:  First I would like to say thanks for the interview.  As you know IDA [International DJ Association] derives directly from ITF [International Turntablist Federation].  In 2006 the ITF European championship was held and for the finals the name changed from ITF into IDA.  I was in close contact with the organizer Thomas Andreas Brödl who was hosting the European Championships in Austria, Vienna at the Arena.  2000 people were there and it was a great show and party.

The Judges were: DJ Babu, DJ Tigerstyle, DJ Kut Efffect and the ITF/IDA European representative.  Dilated Peoples performed as main act.  Winner was DJ Unkut from Germany. In regards to key players, I can say that it was a democratically voted move from the former ITF organizers worldwide.

I do not know exactly what went down in America but in Europe the change took place and it created a new identity for IDA competitors in the Show category, they introduce new tunes with the equipment that they bring along to compete. This enables IDA to be more creative and more innovative.

QSU: What is the main mission of IDA?

MOE: IDA is a big family, from the people that compete to the staff and all other chapters world wide ... and we all get along.  We are a true family.  We help each other where we can. This alone shows our mission, dedication and respect is the foundation of IDA and I think that each chapter influences each other.

QSU: How do the IDA battles compare to DMC?

MOE: Both are in the same industry and both are benefitting the Musicians/DJs/Producers.

QSU: What categories do you currently have battles for?

MOEWe have three categories, [but] before this year we only had the Show Category and the Technical.  After a meeting in 2013 all chapters agreed to bring in the Scratch category.  IDA Germany, IDA Portugal and IDA France were holding Scratch Battles but there was not World Final category. From now on Scratch Category will be an element of IDA along with Technical and Show. 

QSU: What is the difference between the Technical and Show Categories?

MOE: In the Technical category competitors can use cue point/dicers but producing music with them is not allowed. These are the official rules:

IDA Technical

Technical Category

To qualify, each DJ will present a 3 minute set demonstrating their beat juggling and scratching techniques. Four will proceed to the semi-finals.

Semi-Finals: Qualifying DJ’s battle 2×2 minutes rounds

Technical Battle format: Qualifying rounds – 1 round of 3 minute set; Semi finals – 2 rounds of 2 minute sets;  Finals – 2 rounds of 2 minute sets.

Allowed Equipment: Cue-Points are allowed, Effects are not allowed.

Show Category:

The Show Category is a different playground. I have witnessed from two turntables performing to a set of complicated setups with keyboards to drum-pads and MPC/Maschine involved. The rules are simple and clear, you can use what ever you like as an instrument but you must have a turntable involved in your set.  Striking music comes from this category and the World Champions from each year really show that there is, for years to come, enough space for innovation and creativity since there are no boundaries. Here are the rules:

Showcase Category: Each team or individual will be allowed to use turntables, drum machines, Music Instruments and effect tools to perform a six minute set to showcase their musical talents.

Showcase Battle Format: 6 minute set; Minimum of 1 turntable in the performance; No equipment limitation.

Allowed Equipment: No Limitation on Equipment; One Turntable must be involved in set.

QSU: Is the online battle related to the physical battle? Do many DJs enter both?

MOE: The North America Scratch Battle which is being held online would have a second stage. We are in talks now with some couple sponsors to see how we can translate easy into the next stage without complications.

QSU: How to people register for IDA?

MOE: Registration is simple and easy, visit and click registration.  Fill out the form and follow instruction.  After you have completed all steps, IDA will get in touch with you to reconfirm all data.  The next step would be that the artist goes to our SoundCloud page and selects his/her beat. We have 42 Beatz available and the competitors can choose.

QSU: How do people outside of North America get involved?

MOE: Same way as here, they sign up and show up at the Nationals and hopefully win.

QSU: How many counties have IDA Chapters? 

MOEAustralia, Belgium, Brasil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, UK

QSU: What if your country doesn't have an IDA Chapter?

MOE: People that have an interest can get in touch with the nearest IDA Chapter and ask for information or help. We do not have turndowns and we try to support the artists.

QSU: Who decides who goes to the World Finals?

MOE: The judges. We invite title holders and recognized artists to judge the Championships.

QSU: When are the World Finals this year?

MOE: 7th of December 2013 in Krakow, Poland. 

QSU: For this upcoming North America Scratch Battle, what are the judges looking for?

MOE: This year the judges are: D-Styles, Yogafrog, Kitty Kutz, DJ ND, Paul Skratch, Mike MSA, DJ Greem (C2C), Atom (C2C), DJ PFEL (C2C), and 20STYL (C2C). This is the Judging Criteria:

  • Musicality - Harmony of set, composition
  • Originality - Creativity, Innovation
  • Skills - Technical ability, Difficulty, Combos
  • Patterns - Structure of set, Arrangements
  • Style - Stage Presence, Composure, Overall Impression

QSU: What are the characteristics of a winning routine?IDA 2012 Winners

MOE: Depending on the scores from the judges on how they see the artists performance. They should have a clean set and also bring show performance.

QSU: How have DJ battles influenced turntablism? 

MOEThe increase of practise has pushed turntablism to a new level. 

QSU: How is the turntablist scene different outside of the US?

MOE:   That's a private point of view which is hard to answer because every country has its own vibe and culture. Turntablism ends with communication through scratching and beat juggling. I wouldn't say that it is different but then again it is in a way. 

QSU: Where do you see the future of DJ Battles headed?

MOE:   I see a bright future. Watching C2C inspired me so much that I think we have 150 awesome years ahead of us.  If you watch the Show Category from the IDA World finals, available on YouTube (search: IDA Show category), then you might also share the same opinion as I do.   

QSU: Will turntablism ever be embraced by the mainstream? 

MOE: Mainstream is strange territory for me, I don't know, but I do know that they took Hip Hop and they changed it.

QSU: Given the boom of controllers, will DJs continue to embrace traditional elements such as vinyl and needle dropping using stickers? 

MOE: Good question and hard to answer, perhaps if we would say that technology does take over tradition, wanted or not. Real folks like DJ DEZ Andres or Moodymann from Detroit still rock vinyl only.  I have a 3000+ vinyl collection.  I also believe that it is very important that techniques should be passed to the new era of upcoming DJs.  DJ Schools and training centres should have it in their program.

QSU:  Anything else to say to all the DJs out there?

MOE: Thanks for this opportunity, I would like to say that supporting the foundation of Deejaying and everything around it is important and beneficial.  Remember, every champion has lost once in his life before he/she became a champion.

IDA World Championships 2012 - Behind The Scenes

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