continued from part one . . .
Where is your family from?
Guyana. It’s actually South America, but they still call it the “West Indies.”
Yeah. Culturally speaking, they are more connected, so that makes sense. What kind of music did you grow up listening to in your household?
Reggae, calypso, old school, disco . . . thanks to my parents. My father even had vinyl. He wasn’t a DJ, but he had vinyl.
Did you ever play any of that music out?
Oh absolutely! I was a reggae DJ before I started spinning anything [else]. I used to DJ my friends’ and family’s parties, and we’re all West Indian. So it was all about bringing out the speakers and spinning for a block party. It changed, though, when I started having more of an interest in music.
Does anyone beyond you in your family DJ or work in the music industry or are you the only one?
Not professionally. I’m pretty much the only one.
Do you remember your first professional gig, and can you tell us a little bit about it?
Oh man. That’s like a million gigs ago. [laughs] I started when I was 14, and my first professional gig was probably when I was about 18. I was spinning at Culture Club. That was probably my first real gig. I was still an amateur to the club [scene], so I was pretty nervous back then because I was used to pretty much just spinning for my friends and I know what they like. That was challenging, but eventually I just thought about it and realized that this was the direction I wanted to go. What’s the point of being a DJ if you know what the people like? It’s better when you walk into a packed room, with people from 20 different nationalities, and you don’t know anyone there . . . then you just kill it. I think that’s what makes you good.
Do you have any bad experiences from DJing?
Yeah, a lot of things happen, you know? People get drunk and throw alcohol (which has sometimes gotten on the turntables). Mainly stuff like that, but that’s pretty much it.
What about really wild experiences in a good way?
I think ALL the parties are crazy! There are a whole lot of wild nights in China 1. That’s probably the craziest of the parties I DJ. It’s good crazy—they like to have a good time. Flute has a bit more of an upscale crowd and it’s more chill. I like it because it creates a nice balance for me.
How’s crowd interaction been for you?
My thing is body language. When I see people moving, it puts in a direction where I should go with the style and genre of the music. If I start playing some Madonna, and I see that the ladies like it, I go in that direction. If I play some Jay-Z and I see that the crowd loves it, the set goes hip hop. So my thing is body language. I don’t knock DJs who stick to their set. If you have enough sets, it’s not a problem. You can spin for any crowd. It’s just that most DJs don’t have enough sets.
You have to every genre down pat. If you see my playlist, you’ll see I have hundreds of sets. Everyone can’t freestyle for 6 hours, so you need to be organized.
Do you ever take requests?
Yeah, I do—if it’s good!
What makes a good request vs. a bad request?
Let’s say I’m playing from Jay-Z. The crowd’s feeling it and everybody’s having a good time, and some girl comes up and requests some crybaby Mary J. song. How am I gonna mix this hype song with a crybaby song? I mean, maybe I play it towards the end of the night, when everyone’s tired and ready to go home. But a lot of people ask for requests, and some of the requests are horrible. They would make me look bad. I took requests before and literally saw the crowd leave. So I don’t really take requests. I think DJs should know whether to take requests or not.
Sometimes, people make requests, and I was just about to play the song. That’s a good request. It has to make sense. If I’m playing Lady Gaga and everyone’s loving it, don’t ask for some old school R&B song. It’s not gonna go.
check back later for part three, the photoshoot, and the mix!