Mama the French Bulldog is the undisputed world champion dog DJ. She earned this prestigious title when her owner, the San Diego-raised and now Long Beach-residing DJ Greyboy, uploaded footage to YouTube of Mama using her right paw to rhythmically scratch a vinyl record.
Viral-spreading shenanigans ensue,d and now Mama is something of a star, renowned not just for her pioneering paw work on the turntables but for her endorsement sideline fronting up a campaign to help alleviate canine atopic dermatitis. (Apparently the scratch-related slogan wrote itself.)
Mama just celebrated her eighth birthday, so we checked in with her owner to talk about her backstory, her DJ dexterity, and whether she’ll ever enter into a sound-system showdown with Greyboy’s roommate’s cat.
Dogster: When did you adopt Mama?
DJ Greyboy: I’ve always liked French Bulldogs, and one day I was speaking to a girl and she said that she knew someone who had some for adoption through a breeder. I literally adopted Mama from her photo.
What’s Mama’s personality like?
Her personality is very laid-back and docile. I don’t know how to explain it without you meeting her, but she’s kinda not bothered by anything — except if it involves food. That’s her thing: food. Otherwise she’s very tolerant.
When did you first realize Mama might have a talent for music?
I realized her talent for music when we made the first video. It was put together from an idea me and another DJ had. She seemed to really take to it. She definitely has rhythm.
Before that video, did she ever react when you were making music or DJing at home yourself?
She always sits at my feet when I’m practicing DJing or making music. And she likes to watch when I cook.
What sort of set-up does Mama use when she’s scratching records?
She uses Vestax QFO turntables, which are very rare and unique turntables. They are at an angle and they have a mixer built into them, so they’re very compact.
Do you think they’re the best turntables for a dog to use?
Yes, definitely. I really think they are, because the dogs don’t have long arms and their paws are short, so they’re at a good angle for them.
You’ve uploaded a series of videos of Mama scratching. Which one do you think is the most impressive?
I think the first video, the one where she’s copying what I do and not just scratching on her own. That shows a more advanced side to her talent.
Has Mama ever been challenged to a DJ battle by another animal? If that happened, how do you think she’d handle it, what with you saying she has a very laid-back personality?
No, she’s never been challenged. Yeah, I think she would have the appetite for a battle — as long as there was food at the end of it.
You posted up a picture of Charlie the Cat on your Twitter. Who’s that?
Charlie the Cat is my roommate’s cat. He’s very energetic and curious. He’s kind of the opposite of Mama.
Has Charlie ever followed Mama’s lead and shown any musical inclination?
No, Charlie has not yet showed any musical talent at all.
When scratching, Mama always uses vinyl, right?
Yes, it’s always vinyl when she’s performing her routines. She respects history like that.
Do her claws ever mess up the records?
No, because the needles on the turntable are specially made to protect the vinyl. So whatever she’s done when she’s scratching has never impacted a record badly or made it unplayable. She knows what she’s doing.
Some people have used the comments section of YouTube to claim that Mama is being assisted off-camera when she’s scratching records. What do you say to that?
Absolutely not! Not at all.
Which real-life scratch DJs would you say Mama most resembles in terms of her style?
I’d say maybe Q-Bert, from the Invisibl Skratch Picklz. Or D-Styles, he’s another scratch DJ. [Pauses] She could be a member of the Invisibl Skratch Picklz!
Do any of those guys who mentioned also have dogs?
D-Styles is a huge fan of Pugs. He has two great Pugs. We’re in the same dog circle, the same dog crew.
If someone suspects their dog might have some musical talent, how would you advise them to nurture it?
I’d say keep an open mind about what they can do, and expose them to music. You might be surprised.
Mama’s also been involved in endorsing an ad campaign for Atopica, right?
Yeah, she’s a spokesperson. They had the scratch-related slogan for the campaign. I’m kinda amazed they used it. She’s a celebrity in the dog world now. We went to this convention and people would stop us as they recognized her and not me. She’s already eclipsed what I’ve done in 20 years in the DJ world! She’s really cool with it. I think she definitely has fun when she’s involved in that scene.
What would be the ultimate endorsement for Mama?
I think something DJ-related. But they’re really hard to get, even for DJs — not many of them get offered endorsements.
Finally, you posted up a picture of a dog called Frankie with Mama. Who’s that?
Frankie is Mama’s real-life cousin. She was adopted by an ex-girlfriend when she was a puppy, so that’s a real relationship she has. They’re good dogs.
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