I caught up with three of the current core members of Clan of the Cave Macks, aka the best fucking DJ crew in Portland: Venom 3, Soil, and Jammotron, along with Seoul Brother #1, a partner in their alter-ego DJ crew, The Fantastic Four. I was lucky to catch them all on a rare foray from their cave. We settled into a smelly old town shelter stoop--within a stone's toss of a record store, of course.
As we started, an overzealous and hairy Mack fan in a half-shirt and hot shorts meandered over. "Have you seen Desiree?" he asked. "She's tall and pregnant." We thought hard about all the tall, pregnant women around and told him we didn't know where Desiree was. "Oh, I thought you might." He was obviously feeling the mysterious allure and wisdom of the Macks: the Best Fucking DJ crew in Portland!
How does it feel to be the best fucking DJ crew in Portland?
Soil: It feels good, but a lot of people hate it; it's one of those things people won't understand until later, but hopefully they'll just figure it out now, so we don't have to wait.
What's with the name, how'd you come up with it?
Venom 3: From the book Clan of the Cave Bear. Good movie, too; Daryl Hannah was great. "Mack" is a manipulation of music.
Soil: Vinyl Pimpin'! It's all really conceptual.
What advice do you have for the aspiring DJ?
Soil: Being an aspiring DJ myself, I'd have to say that time on the turntables is crucial; many years listening to music, knowing your shit, and taking time to find little things. Usually if you like something, people will like it, too. If they don't, you can try it again another time.
Jammotron: I've been all around, checked out a lot of scenes. It's good to see good people still out there representing the old customs of what being a DJ is all about. It's hard to find DJs like that.
What are the Clan's objectives?
Soil: The whole concept of Cave Mack is taking people back to the essence everybody coming out on the street together and having a party, like a block party, your neighbors and shit. You gotta group up, 'cuz community's the only way.
Venom 3: We're the only crew that plays every style of music; we're not just turntabalists, house, or hiphop. We all come from different styles of music, and we bring those together. We're musical DJs.
As the best fucking DJ crew, do you stay on top of your game by singing your scratch sounds?
Venom 3: Sometimes when I'm really high I do, sometimes I play the air guitar when I DJ.
Seoul Brother #1: I play the air harmonica.
Soil: It can help you remember stuff. Sometimes you'll hear someone do a scratch and recognize it, then you'll discover how they made that sound, you might find a break right there, and that's what it's all about.
Do you have any essential records?
CCM: We can't disclose that shit! Quasimoto, MF Doom, and Bob James are all you can print.