Recently DJ Trauma took time of his hectic schedule to catch up with Flavour Magazine to talk about his recent mixtape with international star, Estelle. The mixtape featuring cameos from stars like Maino, Nas and John Legend has generated a lot of buzz in anticipation for Estelle’s upcoming album. Trauma, a former New Yorker now operating out of Atlanta, spoke about what projects he’s working on next, his plans to work abroad and how #Ialmostmadeamixtape (released earlier this month) came to be.
FM: How did you get your start as a DJ?
Trauma: I had some friends in high school that were DJs and growing up in New York, I always liked to listen to people like Red Alert and Mr. Magic, that whole pioneering DJ team. But I never thought to do it myself until I had some friends that were into it and told me ‘well if you get some equipment, you could be a DJ too.’ So that’s pretty much how it started. I started mostly in New York, I did a couple of high school parties,. It wasn’t until I left NY to go start college at Clark Atlanta that I really took to DJing as a career.
FM: Who else have you worked with?
I’ve worked with Verse Simmons on his Sextape Chronicles , I’ve been on tour with Ciara, Monica, done some production for Lloyd, Bobby Valentino, and right now I’m on the road with Sean Garrett,
FM: How did you hook up with Estelle?
Well we met at a meet and greet, over 2 years ago right when she first came out with ‘American Boy,’ on her promo run. At the time I was coming to the UK, and I told her that we should get up. I didn’t actually expect for it to happen, but when I went out there she took me out to some spots, and to some shows. Since then we’ve kept in touch and we’ve become really good friends. Anytime that I’m in New York I’ll hit her up and we’ll hang out, and whenever she’s in Atlanta she’ll do the same thing. It was maybe like last fall I suggested that she do a mixtape, and she was excited. It took a while for it to actually come together because she was working on her album. Vocally we laid all of those parts in like December. Then over the last couple of months I’ve been adding a few things here, a few things there.
FM: What were you trying to get across in the mixtape?
This project we wanted to make a transcending bridge between where she’s come from in the UK, what she’s done already and to where she’s going in the US and with future projects. When she first blew up, she had a mixtape album that got a lot of buzz, so it was sorta like going back to her roots. She wanted to kind of mix flavors. Anybody’s that’s been to her show knows that she’s very musical and soulful. Her music embodies everything that I like: soul music, a little bit of pop, and some reggae And I’ve done another mixtape with her, an R&B mixtape which she hosted so our taste of music is real similar. I always vibe with her music. She didn’t want to do an entire album again, so I added a lot of the remakes, and gave her a lot of ideas for what kind of instrumentals she could use. I would throw out a couple ideas, and she would give me a bunch of songs to pick from for the mixtape.
FM: What other UK talent would you really like to do a mixtape with?
Right now actually I’m working with this artist Nathan. I’m in the process of working on a R&B mixtape with him. Been to Nigeria and South Africa, and a lot of the UK music is very big over there. So I’m really trying to work that in more.
FM: What’s next for you?
I started doing this midday internet radio show on beeHIVE fm as a personality and I do a mix every Friday, I’m still on the road with Sean garret, and I manage some producers called the Beat Knockers, and they’ve been working with Verse Simmons on his next track, pretty excited about that. Also, I just started working on about to do D. Woods next mixtape, and she’s really excited about that.
To keep taps on Trauma and find out where he’ll be spinning next follow him at: DJTrauma.net
Interview by Julia Hiue-Martin