A 25 year veteran of the underground Hip-Hop scene and Turntablist community, Montreal-born DJ Killa-Jewel has changed her style and evolved at a constant pace to encapsulate the essence of a modern artist. In 2014, she produced her first full-length album, Saudade, followed by her EP, Reckless in 2020, featuring collaborations with Nate Husser, Wasiu, Ras Kass and Sereni-T. In 2021, DJ Killa-Jewel signed to Hydrophonik Records (mother company Indica Records) releasing her most recent EP, Sagittarius, via Universal Music Canada.
DJ Killa-Jewel’s Sagittarius EP brings together two distinct genres of music; Turntablism and Electronica. On it, she marries an old-school sound with more of a modern approach to sampling and music composition. The source of the sample material is no longer from a record, but from a library of electronic style loops. These loops are then used as the backbone for layering of original melodies, stemming from electronic synthesizers and other virtual instruments and effects using Ableton Live as her DAW.
As her fan base is deep-rooted in turntablist culture, it has always been DJ Killa-Jewel’s goal to carry the artform forward and to propel Turntablism and turntablist production into new and uncharted territory. Having long been passionate about promoting the turntable as both a rhythmic and a melodic instrument, her collaboration with visual artist Mourad Bncr further elevates her performance by using the turntable, and essentially her own movements on the record, as a way to control the visuals on the screen. With the financial support from Canada Council for the Arts, they have created a specific software and a specifically-designed remote to capture the turntable rotation data (from DJ Killa-Jewel’s scratching movements) and wirelessly transmit it to a receiver that creates these visuals in real time.
The Sagittarius Live Show:
DJ Killa-Jewel’s aim was to produce a piece of music that is constantly changing and evolving, keeping the listener continually engaged, and creating the same sense of wonder we feel when looking up at the stars. Her Sagittarius EP was inspired by the cosmos and the idea that life does, in fact, exist beyond our own universe. The performance begins with a dreamy, inviting introduction, while the scratches act as the main narrator. Much of the live performance is focused on live looping sounds, vocals and synth loops, often building the song live, from scratch. By combining dreamy, bass-heavy, electronic Hip-Hop beats with classic, old-school Hip-Hop-style scratching, she attempts to marry two different acoustic worlds and to bridge the gap between two different cultures; one for the hardcore turntablist fans who enjoy a range of different scratch techniques executed over the course of an album’s length, and the other for those whose ears are more attune to the time signature and electronically-synthesized sounds of modern-day Trap music and House style vocals. The hope is not only for the visuals to help elevate the musical element, but that the music and associated visuals enable the viewer to feel more immersed in the show, as if they are part of the experience.