Sunday, 3 February 2008

Tim Westwood

Tim Westood interview (in full)...

You won another MOBO, does it still mean something winning awards?
Oh yeah, I can’t remember how many I’ve got now, I thought it was three but somebody said to me it’s four. It’s a beautiful thing man. In this scene there’s not much proper celebration or recognition. A lot of people are quick to have an opinion on MOBOs but then a lot of people are quick to have an opinion on me.

There were obviously a few boo’s…
Yo, there’s a lot of DJs who ain’t won man and if I was them I’d boo me too. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s fair to say you are to hip hop what John Peel was to rock, would you agree?
That’s a beautiful title man. I met John up at Radio 1 and he was one of the coolest guys. I’ve got a lot of love for John. It’s such a blessed life, It’s been such a blessing being on radio, I’ve had a tremendous time.

Some people think you’re a comedy genius, is it intentional, are you playing up to the stereotype people have of you?
Nah, it’s a lot of fun. Some people don’t understand and that’s their loss. We’re up there having fun. People that ride for us, listen and support, that come to the parties, buy the albums or whatever, it’s all love. It’s entertainment not a news show. It’s some of the most powerful, dynamic music in the world and you want to marry that with a style that’s fun, entertaining and reflecting how people live their lives. It’s not a documentary man.

How do you feel about the move to 1Xtra?
Ah it’s a beautiful thing, there’s so much energy up there.

You seem to be playing more grime…
You see on Radio 1 there’s a big audience, you can get a million people listening on a Saturday so you have to reflect and cater for those people chilling in the crib, or going out in their cars. With 1Xtra you can just do the show you want to do... On Radio 1 on a Saturday night you might not want to hear that (freestyling for 45 minutes) but on 1Xtra on a Sunday you can do that. The shows 80% freestyle. On the first one with Boy Better Know I was so amped to be there. I’m very happy.

How did you get involved with Dubplate Drama?
It’s the hottest street TV out there, really creative, a lot of people are playing themselves or roles they can relate to so it’s a real natural thing. They got me in to do what I do, one scene I’m on radio presenting a clash, then a gun gets produced… it’s not really acting, I’m just being me. There’s another scene, like a spoof of Pimp My Ride where it all goes wrong, there’s a lot of comedy there.

I do remember you reversing some girls car into the garage on Pimp My Ride…
To be honest, I did wreck a few cars. I’ve got the spoofs on, my own situation All the radio shows up there.

I just heard Mike Skinner got a deal for Beats TV, is that a road you might go down?
We’re doing it because we have no TV outlet, some of our stuff has 400,000 hits and the channels had 2 million hits. In this new media world you just have to go and do it, you can’t sit around hoping to get a TV deal.

If someone came to you with a proposal would you be up for it?
I’d love that man, we used to do that on Channel U back in the day, we had the grimy, gritty how we lived our lives which I thought was tremendous. Channel U got crazy and when I started on MTV with Pimp My Ride they let me go, which was a shame cause I thought we were doing hot stuff. MTV were cool with it it was Channel U who acted up.

Best memory from filming for Dubplate?
I was just happy to be involved. I really liked those people, it was nice to spend time with them. They were so focused, a lot of artists showed serious commitment and I think it’s great on TV.

It’s quite unusual cause it’s interactive, is that the future of TV?
I mean I like that but to be honest I don’t see it as necessary cause it’s so strong you don’t need to do that. That’s just a clever twist. Dubplate Drama in it’s own right is hot.

Would you like to do more acting, maybe a movie?
I’d love to, no one’s asking I’m just being real with you. People love Russell Brand, the big celebrity types, no one’s giving me scripts to read. I’m just a small local DJ.

But you’re not. Kids, men, women… you’ve got a wide fanbase…
And I think that fanbase is bigger now than ever. With Pimp My Ride, kids the age of 6-12 who I wouldn’t normally have access to cause they’re too young to listen to radio or go to the clubs, they know me through that show. A lot of parents watch it with them, like family viewing. It’s different for me out there.

Is there a new series of Pimp My Ride?
It’s been a massive success over here but they’re not making anymore in the states so I don’t know. It’s a shame cause that was such a beautiful thing to do, so much fun.

If you could be in any show what would it be?
I’m the greatest fan of The Sopranos so it would have to be that. I like that real stuff.

What else are you working on?
The youtube situation is a beautiful look, so we’re paying attention to that. We’re always on tour, we’ve got a situation with Durex where we’re giving away free condoms…

Hang on, you’re not part of that bootlegging outfit that’s going on in London?
Nah we’ve got the official Durex Westwood condoms which say ‘strap it up before you slap it up’. It’s all safe baby!

Does it make you feel weird that loads of people are having sex with Westwood?
I’m missing out on a lot of things there, but that safe sex thing is important cause there’s a lot of people getting drunk in the club having fun. You need to pay attention to what’s going on and we do it in a really cool way. We’ve given away 100,000 this year, we feel good about that.

Do you think you’ll go on forever?
I’m not married, I don’t have a family, this is my life, this is what I do I love work.

Don’t you ever get broody?
Nah I don’t think I would have survived with all that additional stuff. I wake up, go to work, come home at night, go to bed, get up… it’s all I do, it’s how I define myself. I live for it. This is me, it’s all I’ve got. As long as I keep connected and stay relevant. You see for DJs it’s different to artists, DJs can grow in this game and every years been better for me. This year Pimp My Ride has been on Channel 5 every Friday night at 7.30pm, it’s a beautiful thing, it doesn’t stop for us. It’s a blessing, I’ve lived such a blessed life.

Don’t you ever want a quiet life?
Nah, I’ve struggled for so long and hard the fact that I’ve made it now I need to celebrate it.

Is it harder to stay there then get there?
I think in this changing world, when you start to achieve, it’s a new set of struggles from when you’re the underdog. I feel really positive about things, it’s definitely a gift.

How would you describe yourself in a lonely hearts column?
The big dawg wants to pimp your ride.

What are you listening to right now?
Jay-Z is dropping a new album, I’m really happy about that. But where hip hop’s at at the moment, Atlanta is making great music for the clubs. My favourite record is Soulja Boy ‘Crank That’, that’s the biggest for me. But UK artists are on fire at the moment; Boy Better Know, Roll Deep, Chipmunk is mind blowing… we filmed him when he came to the show and that’s had 200,000 hits on youtube. There’s a lot of creativity going on.

Have you heard much of that ‘Juke’ music?
I’ve got some which I think is cool but I don’t mess with it. What’s mad with it is that it’s fast like a house beat, but it gets played in gritty clubs, not white house clubs. It’s for the hardcore, ghetto spots. That’s there but I’m trying to embrace the UK as best I can.

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