Growing up in the Bay Area during the golden days of KMEL radio, DJ Tapan Munshi, aka Tap.10, still remembers the one moment that inspired the start of his musical career. "I was listening to Club 106 mix show when DJ Apollo seamlessly mixed Nas' "One Love" into the Heath Brothers original break, back into the Nas record. I never heard a DJ mix like that, and it piqued my interest in discovering the original samples for a lot of the records I loved, too." Soon, he began bouncing music ideas off of some high school friends at Youth Radio. Today, those friends are better known as the collaborative Honor Roll Crew, for whom he is the resident DJ. We spoke with Tap.10 about hanging with the Honor Roll Crew, where he finds new music, and his Valentine's Day Tender Knock mix. He DJs this Friday at The Legionnaire with host Trackademicks to celebrate the release of Tender Knock.
What was the biggest challenge for you when you were learning how to DJ?
The biggest challenge in the beginning was learning how to DJ for an audience! I was buying all kinds of soul, funk, jazz, electro, and break records and a lot of independent, underground records like Rawkus, ABB, and Stones Throw, but none of that music went over well when I started to DJ high school and middle school functions. It took a few gigs for me to learn that I wasn't going to be able to spin anywhere in Oakland, Richmond, or El Cerrito if I wasn't playing Lil' Wayne's "The Block Is Hot" and other select cuts from the Cash Money catalog. It didn't take long for me to fully embrace it after seeing kids giggin' to the music.
How did you become the resident DJ for the HNRL?
I met most of the guys in high school through an after school program called Youth Radio. This was way before we even contemplated linking up as a crew. We all had a love for music and remained friends. Once things started happening for Trackademicks, it was only natural for me to become his DJ. Even more than being a DJ, I try to help wherever I'm needed. I love being in the studio to initiate song concepts/ideas for future HNRL classics!
What has been the funniest moment so far with your Honor Roll Crew?
Usually anytime we're all kicking it, no matter when or where. It doesn't have to be a show or event. There's always going to be some deep conversation, plenty laughs, and playful whorides!
Where do you go to find songs to put in your mixes, like your latest Hoodrat Tendencies mix? Where is the best place to discover music for you?
I check different music blogs, online magazines, and Soundcloud regularly. Everything is out there for folks to consume at the same time, there's no delay at all anymore -- so it sucks that many DJs are so late or lazy to play new music! Even with everyone having access to the music at the same time (no record pools, promotional advance copies), you rarely hear a whole set of new music in the club.
Tell us a little about your upcoming Champagne Room album with Trackademicks. What direction is the album going in?
The Champagne Room is an R&B/soul compilation album entirely produced by Trackademicks. The sound is future soul and progressive R&B music, but it also references what we call 'Champagne Soul', the early-to-mid '80s soundscapes from the likes of Loose Ends, SOS Band, Mtume, etc. The album features many of our previous collaborators, including Teedra Moses, Phonte, Joyo Velarde, Polyester The Saint, and of course HNRL's own, 1-O.A.K.
How do you guys keep beats unique and original?
It's important to maintain your own sound and not follow trends. I consume a lot of music from all over, but I love what Track and 1-O.A.K. can create. That is their own, [and] will still compete with today's sounds.
Who is one person you've wanted to work with but haven't yet?
I'm always seeking out other producers, remixers, artists for collaboration. A lot of stuff is in progress, but I'm on the HNRL wave.
If there's one song you could have added to your Tender Knock mix that came out this year, what would it be and why?
I really wouldn't include any newer joints to that particular mix. I wanted to keep it to all the original joints with the Tender Knock sound with a few surprises. Some newer joints that are influenced by that sound would probably be Daft Punk's "Doin it Right" and Miguel's "How Many Drinks".
What's your gift of choice for Valentine's Day?
I like eating any good cuisine, right now it's Burmese.