Huge congrats Smallimus! Well done for sticking with the process and for the progress you have made!
You can follow Smallimus here: instagram.com/smallimus/ to see all of his 100 day videos.
I asked Smallimus some questions to help those of you who are considering doing the project.
Can you give us some background on your interest in music and scratching?
I’ve always had a love for music and played various instruments but never to any high skill level, just bits and pieces. Then at Uni I discovered mixing and it blew my mind wide open. Blending and weaving beats together was just all I wanted to do, and I thought that was the apex that was my thing. But then I saw Kid Koala do Drunk Trumpet and I literally wanted to burn him at the stake for being some sort of witch – it was incredible. So I did my research and watched routines and found out more about the different scratches and juggles etc, but never really got anywhere in my own practise.
Long story short, I took a few years off mixing, had some kids and focused on my wonderful family (Love you triple M!), but then last year I bought a controller and decided to just focus on learning to scratch. I just said to myself ‘you’ve always wanted to do this, so why haven’t you?’
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge?
It seemed like a good challenge, I thought it would help me cultivate the discipline I needed to make sure I was practising every day. There’s a nice little bit of pressure there, when you’ve declared to your 8 Instagram followers (think that’s how many I had at the time) and yourself that you’re committed to doing this thing consecutively, it keeps you going.
What was your approach?
For me it was all about showing the work, showing my drills, showing my mistakes, my first attempts and my success and everything along the way towards developing some skill. I’m right at the beginning of my scratch training so I knew I wouldn’t be producing dope little routines on the regs. So I just took it easy, sharing drills – even if it was the same drill over and over again to the same beat – I understand that for some people that can be boring to watch, but I just wanted to show the reality of what it takes to try and get somewhere.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
I record the video on my phone and the audio goes straight into Serato using the built in recording. Then I upload the video to my Mac via Google Drive (have a scratch and make a brew while I wait), stitch the sound and audio together and render (another scratch). Transfer the new video to my phone via Google Drive again (Scratch anna’ brew) and post to Instagram.
Top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
I use Videopad to stitch the video and audio together. It’s a really good (but basic) video editing tool for Macs, it’s free for non-commercial use only.
What did you learn?
Loads of stuff! Looking at my freestyle on day 1 and the one on day 100, I can safely say that I’ve learnt loads about scratching – still loads to learn but I’ve made definite progress.
Beyond that I’ve learned a lot about cultivating discipline, maintaining focus and the importance of sharing progress.
What were some of the highlights for you?
A real highlight was learning that you can inspire others no matter your skill level or experience. In the grand scheme of scratching I’m an absolute beginner, but I found that other people were inspired to practise more because of what I was posting, and that was incredibly rewarding.
It just hit me one day. You don’t have to be Qbert to inspire people, sometimes just showing the work is enough.
Also, Day 100, Day 92, Day 86 (some people got upset with me for balancing tea on my controller), Day 80, Day 67, Day 50. Those days are pretty dope (even if I say so myself).
What helped you on your way?
Definitely the community on Instagram. If it wasn’t for everyone on there sharing scratches and supporting each other I would not have finished 100 days. It’s great logging on and seeing people going through the process with you, inspiring you and pushing each other forward.
Special shout out to @scotty_skratches, @thomascolinet, @yes_imcrystal, @hana.nbm, @andrewrivasdj, @byrone1983 and @djtjbeats – some super talented and lovely people that I personally drew inspiration from on a daily basis.
What didn’t work?
Overthinking it. I remember on Day 50 I put loads of pressure on myself to come up with something super dope to celebrate being halfway through. So I had this beat and I was trying to pull together a routine that incorporated everything I’d learnt and I was there for about 2 hours trying to pull this thing together and record it and just kept messing it up until I ran out of time. I needed to go and do fatherly duties so I just said screw it, threw on a classic Tribe joint and freestyled a pretty good minute.
So yeah, just let go of your thoughts sometimes and just do it. Use the Force Luke.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
For me the most challenging part is before I’m at the turntables. I’ve got a day job and two kids so I don’t even look at my controller until 9pm at the earliest, and that’s when I’m tired and I wanna just get into bed and welcome some sweet, sweet REM sleep. So it was about making sure I get there. Pushing myself to go and turn the controller on and boot up Serato, and once that’s done it’s instinctive to start drilling – then before you know it 2 hours have passed.
So I just focused on making it easy for myself to do. My daily goal was to ensure I made a cuppa, turned my controller on and stood in front of it. I thought if I can manage that, I’m fried gold.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
Get your recording workflow sorted! Getting your audio and video into the same device at the same time is the secret sauce here. It cuts down your admin time, meaning you can focus on your Autobahns, and it makes it easier to record daily.
Also, take it one day at a time. Don’t think about your 10,000 hours or where you are on the mastery scale or how many days you’ve missed because you’re ill. Just think about today, and how you’re going to make sure you get time to practise today.
Eventually all those days will stack, and you’ll level up.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
I am doing it again, right now! I’m an addict. In terms of my process, not much (apart from the Audio/video thing). But I’ve got inklings of doing it again and changing my focus – I’d like to focus in on juggles and on my weaker side – so you might see me popping up again doing those!
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school experience been like?
My experience has been great. I love the community aspect, the challenges, achievements and all of the resources. You’ve got a lot of really interesting stuff on their about motivation and being deliberate that really go beyond scratching, practises that I find myself applying to other interests as well. So it’s been really good. For anyone considering joining the school I would just say “get in here!”, join up, be prepared to work hard and you’ll get to where you want to be. Everyone in the school is so welcoming and supportive that it’s a no brainer for me. SOS 4LIFE!
What is next for you?
I’m focused on getting through my 200 days for now, I’ll see where I am after that.
Where can we find you online?
Anything else you want to add?
Keep showing up! Peace!
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Smallimus! SO inspiring! Thank you for sharing with us.
Well done again for taking part and completing this challenge! Looking forward to seeing your continued posts and progress! Let’s go 200 Days of Scratching!
About 100 Days of Scratching
100 Days of Scratching is a project I started and completed (see here) and have been encouraging my students to do the same – as a way to get in the habit of daily practice, documenting progress and connecting with others.
Wanna take part in the 100 Days of Scratching Project?
You can take part in the 100 Days of Scratching project and join our group of supportive DJs here:
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E