After you did the remix, did you hang out at the studio and meet the band?
Well, not exactly. I caught a flight down there and visited the offices with Tick, but the closest I got to
them was AD Rock's SP1200 and those silly yellow suits they wore in one of
their videos. Which were given to some charity I forgot the name of. Oh, but I did come home with a collectors
item - an uncut record sleeve of the Paul's Boutique gatefold.
Were you told prior to taking on the remix that it would be used as a download to support Kosovo relief
No, I was only told about that after they decided to use the Prince Paul and Automator remixes for the 12". I
think my name wasn't big enough for the 12". But when I heard the news that it was going down like that I was
Your remix (and the Instrumental and Accapella versions of it) were never officially released on CD or Vinyl.
Was that disappointing for you?
Yeah. I felt my remix was a lot funkier than a lot of the other ones out there. I mean, I don't want to sound
egotistical, but the song was different. I sampled it from a Christian rock record that I bought from some
speed freak on Haight St. for five dollars. I made the song and Peanut Butter Wolf helped with the arrangement
and the scratch duties. And when it was finished, we both had these big smiles on our faces. And then it
didn't make it onto vinyl. Disappointing is an understatement.
Although it was only really available through download, do you think the remix brought you any exposure?
I don't know if it did. Because the song was really only ever put out that way, I'm pretty sure not too many
people got to even hear it. I sort of like it that way, though. It's only known by the few folks who tried to
seek it out.
What do you think about downloading songs from the internet?
I think it's cool. I listen to snippets online, but to tell the truth I'm not that savvy, I can't even find
those music sites people download from.
You've released stuff on a number of different labels (ABB Records, Insiduous Urban, Stones Throw) and now
you're on Look Records. Would you be opposed to signing to a major label if the money came knocking?
Well, I think the major label idea is not always the smartest move you can make these days. The industry's in
such a mess right now that if your music isn't going to sell as well as Big Tymers, it might be wiser to sign
to a solid indie like Stonethrow or ABB. You have to recognize your niche and cultivate it at a grassroots
level. Oh, and hold onto your publishing!
At first glance, you've got that whole UK mod thing happening - not your usual clich'd hip-hop getup. Do you
get inspiration from that scene at all?
I get pigeon holed a lot. But it works to my advantage mostly. People usually say "It was you that made that
beat?". I've always been a fan of that Manchester scene stuff. I was big into the Stone Roses, Charlatans, The
Smiths, My Bloody Valentine and so on. It's great music, but it's hard to get inspired to make a rap song
after hearing "Girlfriend In A Coma". There is one band, though, that is far from hip hop but still completely
inspiring for the chaos of it all - that would have to be Huggy Bear.
Oh yeah totally. My music background is definately biased towards the UK scene with an emphasis on Manchester.
Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays... Actually both Morrissey and New Order toured down this way last
year, now that was great. Did you see the "24 Hour Party People" movie based on Factory Records and the
Yeah, it was great. I think the guy who played Ian Curtis should re-form Joy Division and show all these wanna
be's who's runnin' thangs.
So if someone was to do a movie with DJ Design as a character, who would you want to play yourself?
Uh, maybe Jessica Alba. Or my friend DJ Flip who just won the ITF world DJ competition yesterday. He's just a
great kid and deserves his kudos!
So do you put "International DJ" as your job description on your income tax return these days?
"International Loafer" would be a better description.
Why start DJing? For the girls? the money? the fame? The rumor is that your father had a mad record
Choosing to DJ came from seeing the movie Beat Street back in the Eighties. After that I just wanted to
scratch. I loved the sound of it. My family are all music fans, and two of my brothers used to play congas in
the garage along to Earth Wind & Fire songs. My sister Lisa introduced me to the B-52's in 1982 and that sort
of opened things up for me. But yes, all along my dad had the goods right there, The Meters, The Winstons, Sly
and the Family Stone, James Brown, Hot Chocolate, Jimmy Cliff - you name it, he knew it. He was a DJ in
Vietnam too. He played records over the airwaves and got to do a bunch of interviews with artists that came
over to support. He has a great knowledge of how good certain bands were live too. He always said Rare Earth
were probably the best band in the world at their peak.
The most embarrassing record in your collection?
I don't think any records are embarrassing. I do have a thing for Christian rock records from the 70's.
Anything from Word Records, Tempo, all the stuff from Waco Texas is the shit! To tell the truth, in some weird
way, having my own records in my collection is probably the most embarrassing thing, because I'm still always
a little self-conscious about my music.
Everyone goes through a few handles before they find the one they like. What were yours before coming up with
There first was DJ KGB (1988), then Side A (1991), then I put "Design by Keith" on a 12" I produced for Rasco
(What It's All About), who was on Stonesthrow at the time. I used to design record covers for Stonesthrow - I
did the PB Wolf record "My Vinyl Weighs A Ton" (I came up with that '60s logo by biting the Cadet Concept
label). Chris is a 60's psyche fan and the cover reflected that. I also created the Quasimoto character and
logo design for for Madlib. It was for a 12" called "Microphone Mathematics". So I guess I was designing a lot
of stuff and the name stuck.
Foreign Legion always seem to be having so much fun. I don't expect we'll be seeing Foreign Legion packing and
starting feuds with other crews any time soon?
I think the only beefs we have are with each other. We're always clownin' and are best friends, but in the
studio it's a different story. It's a lot like Pro Wrestling.
How does a Foreign Legion track come together? Who starts it off?
I always make a beat CD and then Prozack and Marc Stretch gel with it for a while and pick the beats they'd
like to rap over.
What's in the water over there in San Francisco? There is some amazing talent based there.
There really is. Actually a lot of the talent is from San Jose. Or at least just south of SF and Oakland.
Christmas is coming up way too quickly at the moment, what's on your x-mas list?
Just world peace.
Any plans for New Years Eve?
I enjoy staying in on all major holidays. I'm a bit of a people-phobe.
How has 2003 been for you, turning 30 and all?
It's been an especially awful year for violence across the world. I feel some stress from that. But being
thirty is actually like turning twenty these days. My mother already had her 6th kid (me!) by the time she was
Finally, a little birdie told me a story involving you, some roadkill and a cafe. Would you like to explain
No thanks. That's crazy. I knew that would come back to haunt me!