When you hear the term ‘quiet achiever’ thrown around you think someone who achieves things without putting themselves in the spotlight / they’re modest. This probably best sums up the artist known as DJCXL and probably why mainstream New Zealand hasn’t heard of him yet. DJCXL real name Peter Chambers career spans over 15 years and he’s achieved some remarkable feats over that time as a musician. Demand for DJCXL has him travelling throughout NZ & Australia (occasionally SE Asia) on a monthly basis at either clubs or festivals. Over the last two years he can be found passing on his knowledge as a tutor at the Music Audio Institute of NZ (MAINZ).
To jump straight into his career would be an injustice to understanding the person he is. Pete spent his early years growing up on the East Cape in a town called Tikitiki. It was here his first love of music started when he was exposed to reggae from an older sibling. He became so fixated with Bob Marley that he would find himself drawing the vinyl album covers. When he was 10 his father moved them to Auckland – during his formative years at St Peters College he started to expand his taste of music to Rock and Metal. From the likes of Def Leopard to Motley Crue, to Poison, Guns n Roses and Metallica. This eventually led to him being a drummer in his first band ‘Power Jelly’ and then ‘Callous’.
‘I was obsessed with this music. I would listen to their albums over and over, tuning in to the drumming patterns and by the end of it I would be knocking it out on anything I could make a noise with. My first drum kit was made out of pots and pans. It got to the point where my Dad had enough of me destroying the house that he decided to buy me my first drum kit. Once I had the kit set up in the garage I’d blast the albums and play along to it. Needless to say, I wasn’t the most popular kid on the block’.
You probably have mates that call themselves a DJ. A DJ is someone who just plays records. DJCXL is a turntablist. Turntablism is the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using turntables and a DJ mixer. He is the Jimi Hendrix of DJing. Over his career as a turntablist he’s racked up an impressive amount of metal
• 2003 New Zealand DMC Champion
• 2003 DMC Regional Champion
• Northern Regional ITF Champion from 2001 to 2003.
• He achieved a top twelve placing in the 2003 DMC World Finals (London).
In 2004 a NZ based software company Serato Audio Research revolutionized the world of DJing with it’s creation of ‘Scratch Live’. Scratch Live gave DJ’s freedom by allowing them the ability to play digital music such as mp3’s, wav. files etc using traditional vinyl turntables. Prior to this DJ’s had to lug around crates of records or CDs that contained their music. When Serato needed a DJ to demonstrate the versatility of ‘Scratch Live’ they went to none other than DJCXL to do this. If you go online there are over 4 million views of his demonstration.
There are only a handful of DJ’s that have been able to transcend the divide from turntablist to the realm of music production around the world and locally the only other being P Money. His foray into being a producer started when he joined the group Ill Semantics in 1998. The group gained a reputation for their high-energy live shows that their signatures became sought after by record companies, eventually they signed with Dawn Raid and were able to put out two albums.
‘On the first album [Theory of Meaning. 2001] with Ill Semantics all I really did was a few scratch breaks the majority of the production was done by Chong-Nee & P Money. So on the second album [Good Musik, 2006] I really wanted to contribute more, so taught myself how to make music on an MPC I borrowed from the guys at Red Bull. From there I applied the same dedication I did to drumming and DJing to the realm of production’.
In New Zealand he’s performed for some of the world’s biggest entertainers. 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Cyprus Hill, DMX, Chris Brown & Rihanna, LL Cool J, Nelly Furtardo, Ice Cube, Black Eye Peas to World renowned DJ’s Q-Bert, Craze, Jazzy J, DJ Rectangle. Perhaps one of the most memorable occasions was opening for Destiny’s Child in 2001. DJCXL had worked the crowd at Mt Smart’s Supertop into a frenzy, every track he dropped the crowd was going banana’s it even pulled Destiny’s Child dancers from their dressing rooms and onto the stage (unrehearsed). After the show, Tina Knowles (Beyonce’s mum) approached DJCXL and said she was so impressed – they had done shows all over the world and had never seen a DJ do what he did. So overwhelmed Mrs Knowles asked him to open for them at Wembley Stadium. Unsure if they were pulling his leg, Matthew Knowles who managed Destiny’s Child reiterated what his wife had just said. Unfortunately, at the time DJCXL had to decline due to other commitments.
In 2008, on a tour of Japan DJCXL got to play at a club in Yokohama where he met the owner of the club. Without knowing, the owner also managed a Major League Baseball player by the name of Marc Kroon (pitcher) of the Tokyo Giants. Now, the Tokyo Giants are what the Crusaders are to Super Rugby. In Japan, the stars of the teams come out to music, much like fighters do when they walk towards the ring. It was at this meeting that DJCXL heard a track that Marc Kroon entered the field with. So on his return to NZ he decided to make an anthem track for Kroon which features Mareko. They sent the track back to Kroon’s management who loved the track and it became his new anthem. In 2009 CXL was invited to the Baseball finals in which he witnessed the Tokyo Giants win the series and Marc Kroon was the deciding factor. In an interview after the game Kroon credited his great season to the anthem track CXL had created for him.
Over the last 2 years DJCXL has been working on his masterpiece. His solo album entitled ‘Represent’. The album as he puts it:
‘I called the album Represent because it is my life journey. It’s like a puzzle and when you put it together you get to understand who I am. I didn’t put the album together to focus on a particular demographic. I just wanted to create music that moved people. Represent is an album I could see my mum, kids and friends listening too’.
Represent is an eclectic album with an array of tracks that would work in both the clubs and on the charts. Radio would have a field day with so much quality content to satisfy aficionado’s of both urban radio as well as the likes of bFM and baseFM. From hard-hitting Hip-Hop Anthem ‘Represent’ and ‘You Got It’ to the social consciousness track ‘Make A Change’ featuring Ermehn. DJCXL explains ‘I wanted to highlight the issue and if it could change just one persons actions…. We [society] need to stand up and take notice rather than keep sweeping it under the carpet. I’m a parent and this is one of the things I really take seriously’.
Then there’s the feel good story telling tracks by Sabre (Nesian Mystic), Scribe and Hazaduz all of which give their account of their connection to DJ’s. Sprinkled throughout the album are the heat seekers, Natural, Number One and My Love which became the #No.4 most played urban song of 2010. But it doesn’t stop there the lead single going into the albums release is ‘Stuck On You’ featuring label mates J Williams, K.One & Tyson Tyler and you know with an incredible line-up like this it’s got to be something special. DJCXL adds the finishing touches with a scratch track to remind those in true Hip-Hop fashion who really is the best.
Represent the debut album from DJCXL debuted on the NZ album charts at #4 (March 2012).
All singles have cracked the Top 10 on radioscope
NZTOP40 Album – debuted at #No.26
#5 Most Played Urban Record in 2010 for ‘My Love’