LIVING HISTORY: It all started back in 2000, when Slipwax (right, with Ness and Emoh) was working with Sav the Illfinga at a debt-collection agency.
Now that every annoyingly extroverted hipster dude and chick with implants, long legs, and Serato has a club residency downtown, it's become increasingly important for real hip-hop DJs to mix together. For that reason, and because they're a bunch of junkies who can't kick the needle, New England's premier DJ squad, the Deck Demons, are getting themselves back in gear.
Currently comprising Slipwax, Illogix, Eliot Ness, and newcomer Emoh, the crew have catching up to do. After the departure of JayCeeOh for New York this past year, they lost considerable steam, rarely practicing and only sometimes rocking gigs together. But this setback is hardly unprecedented — the Deck Demons franchise has for years kept the revolving door open for top local talent.
"This all started back in 2000, when I was working with Sav the Illfinga at a debt-collection agency," Slipwax says over the phone from Beverly. "He was on 88.9@Night [on Emerson's WERS] at the time, and we just started scratching together after work for fun. Then Sav introduced me to JayCeeOh, and from there we started calling ourselves the Deck Demons. DJ Lazyboy was with us back then too."
Even though Ness and Illogix hail from New Hampshire and Slipwax has Beverly roots, the Deck Demons have long been the most feared DJ crew in Boston, and in the past few years they've also splashed heavy on the national circuit. As solo battle contestants, they're known to advance through brackets until, inevitably, they face one another. Most memorably at Roc Raida's First Annual Gong DJ Battle for World Supremacy in 2006, where Slipwax and Illogix sparred in the quarterfinals.
"It was weird because he won, but we kind of planned it that way backstage," says Slipwax. "By the time I made it that far, I was pretty much out of routines, but Illogix still had a lot more to deliver in the next round. I wouldn't say that I threw it, but I definitely didn't come with the thunder."
Although they're all aggressive individuals, the Deck Demons have clocked their biggest props together. In 2006 they placed second at the DMC World DJ Championship in Chicago, where they lost the crew competition to Cincinnati's Animal Crackers by one point. "They were good and all, but it was still bullshit that we lost," says Slipwax. "Those guys are from out there — the whole crowd was filled with their fans."
With the addition of Emoh — which was made official at this past week's Devin the Dude show at the Middle East, where the former Soular Winds DJ cranked a mesmerizing freestyle set alongside Ness and Slipwax — the Deck Demons are on course to resharpen their competitive edge. (They come to the Western Front next Thursday for Emoh's birthday bash.) According to Slipwax, four is the magic number, and they've finally found a wax fondler to fill JayCeeOh's Adidases. "Four members works the best because one can do the bass, one can do the drums, one can play the melody, and somebody can scratch over everything. At first we all thought Emoh was a really weird kid, but then I got to know him. Still, even when I saw that he was a good DJ, the other crew members weren't willing to give him a chance. But he killed that Devin the Dude show, so now we're giving him a shot."