In the world of turntablism, Dave Cuasito aka D-Styles is widely known and hugely respected for his unique scratching skills and his smooth style. He’s a low key character who expresses himself on his turntables. Growing up, it was Dave’s babysitters that provided the soundtrack to inspire him.
"My Parents weren't really into music, I'd have different babysitters and they would be playing the music. R&B by The Gap Band and Rick James, and then Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa. It just kind of blew my mind. That’s when I really, really got into music."
Like many young DJs, D-Styles started out with a humble set up. Natural talent is rare and for Dave, this was never more apparent than when he was scratching.
"I had to beg my Mom if she could buy me a DJ mixer. I used my dads home turntable and that's kinda how I learned to scratch. I was just using whatever records I could find. I would copy, I would emulate what I would hear on records and I found it easy to do... I would try to play piano, I would try to play guitar and it didn't feel comfortable, it wasn't natural. Scratching for some reason, it just felt natural to me."
The next step for Dave was making beats but long before Ableton Live and Pro Tools, it was all about hardware. D-Styles maintains a healthy relationship between DJing and making beats, recognizing that each discipline inspires the other.
"I got into music production in High School, I started collecting drum machines and I got my first sampler. I would scratch, I would DJ and then I would start making beats. You gain your ear from being a selector and a DJ and then you wanna make beats and you kind of already have an idea of how you want to sound."
Not one to hide away from the world, it wasn’t until D-Styles started DJing with crews such as the Invisible Skratch Piklz and The World Famous Beat Junkies, that he finally had a platform to share his gift with the world.
"When I joined the Beat Junkies and The Scratch Pickles it was great. Now instead of being a sort of bedroom DJ, I had an outlet... It was just like a whole new world, you know, opening up. It's like everything that was going on in my head musically, I was able to try live. You know, it was like a dream come true.
"When you play by yourself all the attention is on you and you know, you have to constantly be doing something. With a band, you can relax, you can listen, you can take your time... To me that's just way more fun. Especially with the right people and the right chemistry it brings out you know, sort of the best in you that you probably never thought you had."
Today, D-Styles holds down a residency at The Low End Theory in Los Angeles alongside artists such as The Gaslamp Killer and Daddy Kev. It’s a new platform for D, somewhere he can master his craft, experience new sounds and play the music that he loves.
"I've always been in to like weird different beats and I never really had an outlet to play that type of stuff until I started DJing at Low End. It a crazy outlet to have these days."
For D-Styles, it’s always been about turntable music. Making beats, Scratching, DJing and it’s what he lives for and something he doesn’t take for granted. As far as he’s concerned he’s still improving with absolutely no fear of the future, just an incredible passion to keep pushing forward.
"I think what makes a good DJ is selection, their ability to read the crowd and how creatively they can mix different genres. I'm actually surprised that I'm still here. I'm very grateful for it, but I never would have thought that I'd be here today Djing, scratching and making music.
"You know there's still a lot of improvements that can always be made. I don't want to forget that... You can't get too ummm... Comfortable."