‘I’m doing about 60 shows in New Zealand, we’ll be playing at people’s houses, caravan parks, retirement villages. They might get one record each, but hey, it’s a show right. You know how it is, I do about 80 press-ups every morning when I wake up, so I must be doing about 80 shows?’

J Star is a funny guy, a not so typical geezer from the UK with a joke for every occasion. You wouldn’t expect any less though from a man who forged his musical reputation through bootleg records and DJ sets that blend all the best elements of classic hip hop and early rockers reggae into an explosive cocktail of good vibe party times.

‘I dunno man, I like that kinda sound, old reggae, funk, jungle, hip hop, reggae with cornflakes, reggae for toothpaste, reggae with TV and I made some big party records people really like. I think as fans of reggae and hip-hop we love seeing those two worlds collide’, he says.

Renowned as one of the best working remix producers in the UK, J Star was thrust into the international spotlight (or mp3 bloggers circle as some call it) when he released a now iconic blend of Blackstreet’s No Diggity and the world famous ‘Real Rock’ reggae riddim. ‘No Diggity and Real Rock was the one that hit it on the head, both songs are famous classics and the combination was just right, sometimes things work like that’, he chuckles.

Since then J-Star has expanded beyond bootleg 7-inch remixes to do official remix work for the likes of Mark Ronson, Black Grass, DJ Vadim, Sway and Dynamite MC or, as I prefer to refer to them, the cream de la creme of sophisticated urban artists. The co-sign of support from some of the world’s best DJs such as Grandmaster Flash, Norman Jay and Giles Peterson isn’t hurting his progress either.

During February J-Star will be making his New Zealand debut at a series of nightclub events co-ordinated across the country by Sandy Bay Social Club, The Splore Festival and Radioactive 89fm’s One Love Waitangi Day festival.

This of course leads to my generic ‘what are you looking forward to about touring New Zealand question’?  Like the rest of J Star’s answers, the response is hilarious.

‘I’ve just got to get away from England man, I’m desperate, I owe a lot of people money and need to lie low for awhile.

All jokes aside for once, I live in the middle of London and I just want to clear my lungs out and party with new people. I hear your country is big on reggae. I’ve heard, what’s their name? Black Seed? They’re pretty good and Freddies, Sola Rosa, much respect Sola Rosa, I’ve definitely gotta do some remixes for that guy. You’ve got some cool hip hop as well, all sorts of stuff.’

Playing at Bob Marley’s birthday party (One Love) will be big. I’ll drop a classic reggae set and if some good MCs are in the place we’ll break out the instrumentals. I actually get quite nervous about DJing, most of the time they have to blindfold me until we get to the event‘, he laughs.

Finally, J Star’s parting words for the readers – ‘I’d like to remix The Pope, Mussolini and R Kelly, hahahah.

See J-Star Live:
Fri 1 Feb, Galatos, Auckland
Sat 2 Feb, Sandy Bay, Tutukaka Coast
Tue 5 Feb, San Francisco Bath House, Wellington
Wed 6 Feb, One Love, Wellington
Fri 8 Feb, Subculture, Queenstown
Sat 9 Feb, Splore, Auckland

Martyn Pepperell