Capital FM’s DJ Joe recently won the 2010 Pilsner Mfalme Hottest Media DJ. In 2009, he got the second prize for the inaugural Pilsner Mfalme Hottest DJ competition.
The 22-year-old go-getter says he knew he wanted to be a Deejay when he was in Class 4 after he listened to DJ Pinye. In this one-on-one with Capital Lifestyle DJ Joe, (whose real name is Joseph Mwenda) talks about his challenges, success and future plans.
Why did you enter this year’s Pilsner Mfalme Hottest Media DJ competition?
I just thought I would try it. It is a media thing and I am in media so I thought why not? Last year I entered the Pilsner Mfalme DJ Competition. I came out number one in Nairobi and Number 2 in Kenya. DJ Crowbar was number one. There was a lot of competition then. However, I am not going to compete in this year’s Pilsner Mfalme Hottest DJ Competition. I know I will be part of it but I am waiting to hear the full strategy from EABL.
What do you think made you win?
It is all about creativity and practice. Lots of practice from 2009. Day-by-day, I gained something new.
How did you get into Deejaying?
I got an interest in Form 2. During the holidays, I used to hepa home after church and go for Jam Sessions where I would do my practice. As I got better I started getting paid for it. I used to go back to school with a lot of money.
How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be a DJ?
I did not tell them. I grew up in Meru and after high school, I moved to Nairobi to take a course in 3D Animation and Design. On the weekends, I went for practice and with time, I started getting gigs. I realised I had a talent and there was money to be made. I joined DJ Roba around 2007 and he started teaching me. Then I linked up with DJ Kev and he showed me more and he started taking me out for gigs. In 2008, I went for auditions at Capital FM and in September, I joined the Capital FM Mixx Masters.
Did you always want to be a DJ?
Yes. Since class four. DJ Pinye inspired me. I used to admire him. The first time I met him I told him I decided to be a DJ because of the stuff he was doing. We got to know each other and ended up doing a gig together in South Africa. We also did the MTV Africa Music Awards media launch gig together; I played at his birthday last year. These partnerships have really boosted me. I have also had a lot of support from DJ Adrian. DJ Nijo and Space from M.O.B and DJ Kev of True Blaq.
When do you play on Capital FM?
I have a Dancehall show on Thursday 8-9pm called The Takeover. I also have Radio Active 2-3pm every Tuesday. I also perform at different Capital FM events.
What is the value add of working for a radio station vis a vis being a resident DJ at a club?
For me working for a radio is a great value add because of the airtime. When you play on air, many different people get to hear you, especially new listeners. For me I have gotten a whole lot more exposure and more gigs.
Where have you had gigs?
I have performed in different parts of Kenya. Internationally in Dubai and in South Africa during the 2009 Labour Day. This year I will be doing a seven-week tour in Dallas for the Memorial. Later, I will be going down to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup where I will tour Durban, Jo’burg, and Cape Town.
What do you feel is your greatest strength especially with your fans?
I do not know how to answer that but… the only thing that separates me from other DJs is perhaps my age. I just turned 22. I do not know yet if this is a strength. Sometimes people can discriminate you because you perhaps look too young. At the end of the day, when they see the stuff that you do on stage they are like yea.
In an interview with DJ Adrian he said, “It seems like nowadays everyone wants to be a DJ without really having the passion for it.” Do you feel the same?
Yea, very true. Deejaying is more than fun. You have to know music first. For me I practice everyday for six hours. One hour I do beat mixes, another finding new music, so different things, different hours.
Which musicians inspire you?
Mostly dancehall artists like Vybz Cartel, Ding Dong, definitely Shaggy and Sean Paul. In hip-hop, I like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Jay Z. In Kenya Wyre and Red San. Red San is on point you cannot compare him to a normal Kenyan artist.
What would you advice aspiring DJs
Know your music. Deejaying is about knowing your music. I did not go to any Deejaying academy, but if you can get a good DJ academy with good teachers go ahead.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the short term, I hope to have my own sound. Give it to clubs and make some money. In five years, I will be far, that is my dream. I want to travel the world. I want to have my own home.