Exclusive Interview/Photo Shoot with DJ FM of The Psycho Realm

DJ FM of The Psycho Realm Location: downtown Los Angeles | Photography by Sal Rojas

Tell us about yourself and how you got to this point in your musical career?

DJFM: I started DJing parties in the b-boy era and eventually graduated to night clubs and radio, and started traveling back and forth from Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. Through these methods I met many MC's and musicians among them B-Real from Cypress Hill who introduced me to Big Duke and Sick Jacken of The Psycho Realm. Since then I've produced music & DJ'ed for Psycho Realm as well as other musicians world-wide.

How long have you been down with Psycho Realm?

DJFM: I met them in late '95 and joined the group in '96.

As one of the members of The Drug Lab, who's in the Collective?

DJFM: The Drug Lab is a production team made up of several Sick Symphonies members; Big Duke, Sick Jacken, Cynic, Crow, St. Louis, and myself.

DJ FM of The Psycho Realm Location: downtown Los Angeles | Photography by Sal Rojas

How do you guys create your signature sound?

DJFM: We just make whatever feels right. I think the only consistent quality we subconsciously apply is "Don't follow anyone, Do your own thing." The great thing is that we've found a team of Soldiers that think along the same lines. In the end it's that chemistry that keeps it together and gives it that sound.

Do you guys all use the same equipment?

DJFM: No, actually it varies. We all use Akai's MPCs as samplers, but we have several different models. We all use various keyboards and programs also. It really varies between each member. We have such different equipment; I'm surprised it does have a signature sound. I guess that's just proof that we do have great chemistry in the lab.

What's the creative process like from producing the beats to coming up with the conceptual albums?

DJFM: As you know being that our albums are concept based, we have to create a mood for each subject and title. No matter which comes first when creating It. Ultimately you have to be able to project an atmosphere even before the vocals kick in so that listener can feel what's coming. It's like watching a movie; the music must reflect the scene. When making a good song the lyrics must reflect the music & vice versa. It's an intense process that proves classick in the end.

You are the mysterious one of the clique? Why do you always wear a mask during performances and photo shoots?

DJFM: I never knew or cared whether we would be famous or not, but I knew I never wanted to be a celebrity. When I'm off the stage I like my privacy and being able to chill with my family in a safe and peaceful environment. Plus, although we don't preach revolution in our music or claim to be righteous, we do have a soldier mentality so it seemed only right to rock the gasmask, or the ski mask.

The Sick Symphonies has been releasing classic albums since 1997, what made you decide to create your own Sick Symphonies mix-tape CD?

DJFM: Well as you know Sick Jacken and Big Duke started the Sick Symphonies label as a method to release our own music. In the past it was purely a platform for The Psycho Realm and Street Platoon. We had also reached a point where we all wanted to flex our individual skills and separate ourselves from this limited mentality that we only have one sound. This is why Sick Jacken and Cynic released "The Terror Tapes mix-tape CD". They rapped over other producers tracks proving that they were diverse MC's that can hang with the best of them. At that point it was only natural that I put it down too, so I released the "S.S. Street Mixes Vol 1." from the DJ's perspective.

You have some of my all-time favorite emcees on there from Sick Jacken, Immortal Techniqe, Ill-Bill, and Brooklyn's Q-Unique. How was it working from different people from outside your camp and what made you reach out to the people you have featured?

DJFM: It was cool; I had never made a mix-tape CD before so at first I didn't know where to start. I figured that the MC's needed to be people who we had something in common with. I couldn't just get anybody. All of these MC's featured on the "Street Mixes" are MC's I've wanted to work with as well. Don't ask me how I tracked them down, but over the course of eight months I got them all on there and the experience was incredible as much as it was inspiring.

You guys are always ahead of the game from the secret code message on Psycho Realm's first album (check out the lyrics of R.U. EXPERIENCED for the hidden message), and now I hear you created this album to be played as a soundtrack to a classic war movie?

DJFM: I know that's such a great element to have especially right now when our rights to creative expression are being taken away more and more everyday. I decided to follow in the footsteps of Pink Floyd and tie a movie to the "Street Mixes" so you can enjoy a visual with the audio. I made it so they sync up.

Why Apocalypse Now the REDUX Version? How does it work? What can people expect if they try this at home?

DJFM: The way to make it work is... You have to start the movie on mute while the CD is paused and ready. When your DVD reaches 14 seconds into the movie you hit play on your CD and begin the experience. You can expect to hear certain sound effects in the CD that are happening on the screen. Also certain topics spoken by the MC's are manifesting on the screen as they rap about it and many visuals are accented by instruments in the music. The main reason why I chose Apocalypse Now (Redux) is because we've been connected to this movie since the first album. For example, when Big Duke flips a quote on Psycho City Blocks that Dennis Hopper made famous in the movie that goes "Clear in the Mind, but my SOUL is Mad." Also it's a war movie and we have released albums with titles like, "A War Story, Book 1 & 2" so I found it only right to use this flick.

DJ FM of The Psycho Realm Location: downtown Los Angeles | Photography by Sal Rojas

What did you have planned for with the "S.S. Street Mixes Vol.2"? Who's going to be featured on Vol.2?

DJFM: Actually, I've put vol. 2 on hold till 2008, for now I've got other tricks up my sleeve.

2007, was a busy year for the S.S. camp with your "S.S. Street Mixes Vol. 1", "The Terror Tapes", and now the DJ Muggs Versus Sick Jacken collaboration album, what do you guys have planned for 2008 for all the soldiers on the frontlines?

DJFM: Personally, I will be releasing some limited edition vinyl pieces for DJ's featuring scratches and instrumentals I've used on our past albums. I'm also gonna release a collaboration album featuring singers and MC's on my production/beats. Sick Jack will be releasing a Spanish album for sure. All the other projects are confidential at this point until given further authorization by the General "Big Duke" himself. It's best to keep checking our web sources like PsychoRealmOnline.com and all our myspaces like myspace.com/sicksymphonies for information. Go there and get all the links to all the other members for the latest updates on shows and events.

Thanks homie for your time and the sick flicks as well! Any last words?

Thanks for having me and Much Love to all the Soldiers world-wide for supporting the Movement. See you at the next show. Peace! - DJFM

Interview and Photography by Sal Rojas | Check out myspace.com/salrojas for more exclusive photos and be sure to add me as a friend.

1.Interrogation � DJ FM
2.Apocalypse Now � Sick Jacken,Ill Bill & Q-Unique
3.Fuck Tony Montana � La Coka Nostra
4.Bulls on Parade � Rage Against the Machine
5.La Revolucion � DJ FM
6.Confessions of a Drug Addict Remix � Psycho Realm
7.Dwell in the Dark � Cynic,Sick Jacken & B-Real
8.Angels & Demons � Killah Priest,Sick Jacken,Bacardi Riam,Frank Black
9.Mind Control (interlude)
10.Follow the Leader remix � Eric B & Rakim
11.Order Through Chaos � The Psycho Realm
12.Prophets of Rage � Public Enemy
13.Gunz Blazin � Kool G Rap vs. DJ Shadow
14.Crisis � Cynic & Chace Infinite
15.Undead � Crow Soto
16.Overkill � Ill Bill feat.Sick Jacken
17.Watchout � Street Platoon
18.Mind of A Martyr � Sick Jacken & Cynic
19.Kings in the Game � Sick Jacken feat.B-Real
20.Spit Game � Evidence & The Alchemist
21.Last Wish � DJ FM
22.C.I.A. Murder Me Remix � Sick Symphonies feat.Immortal Technique

CLICK HERE to Order DJ FM's Street Mixes Vol.1

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