DJ/producer RJD2 says he got into the business because he enjoyed the sound of music looping in rap songs.
"I started out as a DJ (manipulating songs from a turntable) and decided that I wanted to start producing," RJ said by phone from his home in Philadelphia. "So I bought a sampler and went out to do just that."
What drew him to the rap scene was the ability to turn an existing song into something totally new. "I got into the scene without knowing what I was doing. But as time went on, I got more comfortable with it. I mean I didn't know the nuts and bolts of things, but I looked at those early days as a good learning experience."
RJD2 hooked up with rap artists Megahertz and Rawkus, before hitting the solo scene. "I found that I was more critical on myself, but producing myself is easier than producing someone else. I mean, I get down on myself hard, but I can basically do anything I want with the sounds that I come up with.
"When I'm working with other artists, we have to make compromises. I can give my ideas, and they can take it or leave it. Sometimes my thoughts are different than what they have in mind."
RJD2's new solo album "Since We Last Spoke" was a little different to make than his last critically acclaimed "Dead Ringer" album. "I broke down and worked with Pro Tools (a production program used to clean up sounds on a recording). I was so used to buying all these keyboards and samplers. So working with the new program was easier for me."
And he knew he had to make a better album than "Dead Ringer." "When 'Dead Ringer' came out, it was honored by people like ?uestlove from the Roots and the band Radiohead. That was an honor to me. They liked what I did. So this new album had to be better, at least in my ears."
People who have never heard of RJD2 may have heard his music on a 2002 Saturn commercial. He's also worked with Bubba Sparxx and has been gaining more popularity with each release. His own brand of hip-hop techno music has become widespread in dance clubs throughout the world.
"What I would like to be able to do in the future is follow my thoughts," RJD2 said. "I would love to do any type of music and not second-guess myself, or what the music listeners are thinking. I want to not worry about other people's expectations and do whatever I want."
If you go. . .
What: RJD2 and Hanger 18
When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
How much: $12