I encourage young DJs to come forward. It's one of my reasons for being a part of the DJing arena so that young people who may be less fortunate than myself can say well he's a police officer and he's DJing so I can try it and become successful too.
DJ Deany: My earlier days as a DJ were rather interesting. I started out using my computer and had a program called Virtual DJ, and a good friend of mine motivated me when he said, "Yo Deany, you are the cleanest person I heard mixing from a computer." As a result, I started pushing myself and involving myself with other DJs. As a Vincentian, I was mainly into dancehall music and a little bit of soca. I was driven, and because of the different nationals in Anguilla, I built my name as a dancehall DJ and pretty much started out with a bang. It appears as though that in itself was needed in Anguilla so as I started to DJ, I found myself rising right to the big league and since then, I've tried to keep it that way.
You're not only a DJ, but you're also a police officer. How do you balance two distinct careers?
I must say that I take my policing very, very seriously. I'm actually one of the youngest sergeants in Anguilla so it means that I am doing pretty well in my job. When I'm off, I utilize that time to play music, especially on weekends. It's not that difficult. It's like using my free time to lime, but when the time comes for my policing work, it will always take precedence over my DJing. So far it is working, and I use this method to build that community relationship with the young people especially because I try to keep my music as positive as possible and with that, most people know me and respect me.
Earlier I alluded to a point that when I started out, I pushed myself up to what I consider to be the big league and because of that, I am well known in and around Anguilla as one of the better DJs so there was an expectation that I would take part in such an event. Surprisingly, the owner of the Pumphouse contacted me and pretty much signed me up himself. That is how badly he wanted me to take part in that competition because he heard me on several occasions, and I guess he is satisfied with the way I play my music because I try to entertain all. It doesn't matter who is present. I've built myself over the years where I am very versatile and capable of playing different genres of music and entertaining different crowds.
As far as preparation, really and truly, I do not prepare much. I just have my music ready and go out and look at the crowd and select what I play. Actually, the night of the competition is when I was informed as to how it was going to be done. I wasn't even aware that there was a clash between the DJs until about two hours before I left my house to go to the Pumphouse but because of my experience and ability, it was easy to disseminate the best way I could.
The final round of the competition was intense to the extent that DJ Yooshe even passed a remark about being judged unfairly. Why do you think you were able to ultimately come out victorious?
The beautiful part about this question is that Josveek Huligar recorded the last segment of the competition and a clip of that video is posted on Facebook, and I believe if anyone looks at that video, they will be able to draw a conclusion as to who they believe the winner of that segment is. I believe the process was just. He played well, and I think I put up a decent challenge. However, the fact that he packed up his stuff before the judges came to a conclusion clearly indicated that I had the crowd going because it was more about he and I pulling the crowd than the judges at that point.
It's not the first time he and I have met in a competition where I've gone ahead of him, and he made similar statements about fairness or about how I came out with my crew. As a DJ, you're supposed to have followers and people who support you. I still respect him as a DJ. He was out long before me. I actually was around him and observed him in the earlier days of my DJ career, but one should at least give Jack his jacket if it's called for. I've improved a lot, and I've shown Anguillians that I'm capable of playing music.
As the first ever King of Spin, you get to set the standard of what that title means and as the resident DJ at the Pumphouse, you get to set the tone for nightlife in Anguilla. How does it feel to know that you're charged with that responsibility?
I feel like I've finally received something that I deserve and an opportunity to showcase my talent. Because of the different types of audiences at the Pumphouse from the locals to the tourists, this title requires versatility, which I've portrayed over the years. At this point in time, I normally play on Friday nights based on the contract that I got, but there is also a Tuesday night that was established by DJ Sugar that I am also tasked with continuing because he's no longer there. So far, it's going well. I feel proud and believe I was destined for this, and I'm going to do my best to push music, especially Anguillian music, to the world.
I think what DJing in Anguilla is really lacking is the popularity. Anguillians are more into band music so it is challenging to push DJing here. However, it is still required and needed, and people really came out and supported the King of Spin competition. For me, I want to maintain my standard throughout my reign and once I get the tourist aspect of Pumphouse locked, then automatically the locals will find themselves a part of it, and it can become something bigger. I just want to educate the wider public about different genres of music. I'm playing a lot of hip-hop, dancehall, soca, reggae, and zouk. I'm looking for a wider audience so to speak, and the younger crowd is coming out along with the mature crowd now so it's really fun to see that.
Do you have any advice for aspiring DJs on how to build a successful brand?
Yes, I do. I'm sorry I didn't start DJing earlier. I'm 35 now and came to Anguilla when I was 18. I was into music from the time I came here but focused more on dancing at the time. As I got older and the limbs got weaker, then playing music came around, and I realized that I'm good at it.
For aspiring DJs, it's important to stay focused on what you want to achieve. Look for a mentor and someone to guide you. You don't want to be branded as only a dancehall DJ or a hip-hop DJ. Spread your wings and learn different genres so you can be well rounded. Pay particular attention to the people that you're entertaining. The crowd can make or break you. There are times when you will grow frustrated. People may complain about the music you're playing, and it can be demoralizing at times, but you have to stick it out and learn from the criticism. Be respectful at all times.
I encourage young DJs to come forward. It's one of my reasons for being a part of the DJing arena so that young people who may be less fortunate than myself can say well he's a police officer and he's DJing so I can try it and become successful too. It's all about hard work and commitment.
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