For a long time, DJ’s have played an important but overlooked role in the Afrobeats scene. DJ’s are often sought after to promote songs effectively across clubs, and also to entertain the audience at raves. Now more than ever, more Nigerian DJ’s are coming into their own with DJ’s collaborating with artists, and even going as far as making full albums that are commercially accepted.
While DJ’s are just beginning to get the appreciation they deserve, it is important to understand that DJ’ing is an art. Weekly performances at Nigeria’s biggest reality show, Big Brother Naija, buttresses the need to understand that while everybody can handle a turntable, not everybody can DJ. In this #RadrHighlight, we speak to DJ Crowd Kontroller – A DJ who has spent over half a decade in the Afrobeats scene; energizing parties, delivering moments of bliss, and curating beautiful sonic experience for party goers, wedding attendees and music lovers.
This interview has been condensed for clarity purposes
Radr: How long have you been DJ’ing?
CK: Professionally, 2015. I started learning how to DJ in 2009-2010, while in university.
Radr: Why did you become a DJ?
CK: It’s because I love music, and I was really inspired by DJ Keys & DJ Xclusive. I used to organise parties back in the UK and there were DJs I used to bring onboard to play for me. I really got inspired by the way they flipped around the music and played, their package too. All this got me excited so I decided to try it out.
Radr: What separates you from other DJs?
CK: I have the ability to read the crowd. I can walk into any space and know exactly what to play, when to play, and how to play. I also think my library is very vast so I can pull out songs from any era or genre and kill it. My love for music also makes me special because I really go into details for music.
Radr: For you, what is the key to being an excellent DJ?
CK: Like I said, music is very important. Getting your music together, knowing what to play, and having a general knowledge of people in different age ranges and the kind of music they like. I feel knowing and loving the music helps too. You can always tell when the DJ loves the music he’s playing or knows what he’s playing. There’s a clear difference.
Radr: How do you make your mixes?
CK: I do them at home. I’m a nocturnal person so late at night, I get inspiration and I just get out and do my mixes. I practice everyday, two hours a day in fact. It used to be five hours a day, but now that we are getting busy, I take 2 hours a day. In those hours, I come up with a mix. I don’t mix out loud, I mix in my head. I mix with headphones not speakers so I don’t disturb anybody.
Radr: Do you think DJs get the appreciation they deserve?
CK: Yes, I think so. I remember when I first started out, it wasn’t this big. DJs were not at the center front, but now they are. Last year, two of the biggest songs were from DJs. We are now getting endorsements, and also influencing what is going on in pop culture in our country. People are also beginning to pay top money to DJs and are understanding our value. To be honest, I think DJing is Physics. It’s calculations and engineering. You literally calculate sound and time.
Radr: What is next for Crowd Kontroller?
CK: Well, this year, we are looking at going into merch, connecting more with the people, putting out more content, shooting more videos, and music. I’d like to put music last because everybody expects DJs to put out music but we are going to go the other way this year. We are going to give you something different. It’s going to be a fruitful year, I believe. We’ve always been busy. This year, we are going to take it up a notch.
Radr: Should we be expecting more collaborations with artistes like your song with Dapo Tuburna?
CK: Definitely. We have a lot of things being recorded, but there have been slight delays because of COVID.