DJ Power isn’t interested in being pigeon-holed.
The Toronto-native has traveled around the world DJing for crowds in Sydney, Mumbai and Shanghai off of his ability to fuse genres ranging from dub and electro to trap and dancehall, and make it sound good.
Last fall, he released the uplifting “Warriors” with reggae veteran Junior Reid and U.K. based production/DJ duo, Nightcrashers, warming up his listeners for the EP he plans to release in 2016.
And even though he mentions that the dub infused trap record is a sound he’s been playing around with a lot as of late, as DJ Power makes something clear: he never likes to stay in one lane too long.
“The next record from me is going to be totally different from the last.”
I always make my stuff hard hitting, it’s always going to have that percussion, it’s always going to have that ‘thump’.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE DJING AS AN ART FORM IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? Masters of fusion, masters of mixing, masters of putting a bunch of stuff in the pot and jumbling them up and coming out something crazy. That’s my style. I take from different genres and remix it and blend it. And [it’s] also putting on a show, instead of just standing there with your head down.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR A DJ GOING THROUGH A SET? I like to do a lot of live mixing. Some DJs will put their USB in and it’ll be a pre-recorded set. There’s DJs that are great producers, but they’re not so good live. I pride myself on the performance aspect. I’m not just a producer; I also perform as a DJ and live mix. I don’t like to pre-record my sets; there’s so many live elements to it.
TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS WHEN YOU’RE COMING UP WITH A NEW BLEND. A lot of times it’s me going into a zone. If you’re talking about producing I turn off all phones, I just sit there for hours and I’ve got the headphones on and I’m trying to create something different. I might here something that inspires me, and I might be like, ‘okay I want to put a fusion, you know some pots and pans from friggin’ Eastern European shit and I’ll put it in and mix it with an African drum.’ I want to make something that I feel is creative because my sound is a lot of club-oriented [stuff]. Even though it’s different elements, you might hear some dancehall, you might hear some electro, house, some trap, it’s still all for the club. You’re not going to hear a song that’s like ‘hmmm laid back on a Sunday afternoon’ … I always make my stuff hard hitting, it’s always going to have that percussion, it’s always going to have that ‘thump’.
You can miss one day of [downloading] and you miss that one song.
HOW DO YOU AS A MUSIC MAKER KEEP UP WITH THE EVER CHANGING PACE OF WHAT LISTENERS FAVOUR? I feel you always have to be into music. I’m the person that’s so open to asking people, all kinds of people, younger generation kids to older [people], ‘what do you like?’ Sometimes I don’t know everything, even though I’m constantly downloading music; it’s a constant thing of being updated on what the new music is. There might be a song that a little kid goes, ‘don’t you have this?’ and I’m like ‘what?!’ … You can miss one day of [downloading] and you miss that one song.
HOW DOES ONE GAIN SUCH A LIST OF ADMIRABLE HITMAKERS THAT YOU CAN GO TO AND MAKE A REALLY BIG SONG WITH? Basically I’ve worked with building up a reputation with artists and building up the relationship and producing records and actually gaining some respect. I started with mix CDs and remixing and artists would hear these mix CDs and the remixes would get on the radio, like in New York, some of my remixes were playing on Hot 97. People would hear them and be like, ‘Oh, this guy is remixing my track and now I want to work with him.’ That’s how the “Warriors” track, me and Junior Reid, [came about]. I did a remix when he came out with Game. When Game and him came out with that track, I remixed it and it came out on the radio. Then he was like, ‘call this guy and let’s work on a CD!’ We worked on a mixtape together and we did the “Why I’m Hot” (MIMS) record, which was platinum. Now we’ve reconnected to do the “Warriors” track.
Success comes from moving the crowd. Can you actually move the crowd?
WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT DJING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW? There’s a lot of things that aren’t fun. If you want to talk about fun stuff, I would say the performance side. I like to have fun with it, make jokes with the crowd and get them engaged. When I was in India I brought someone on stage and danced with them. The other stuff isn’t fun. It’s task related … I love what I do but it’s a lot of listening to hundreds of tracks, and what version of that track. If you’re talking about 100 different tracks and each track has five to 10 different versions, you got to listen to all of them and then sort out your music and arrange it.
HOW HAS THE MUSIC WORLD EVOLVED OR CHANGED FROM WHEN YOU BEGAN TO WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? What I see mainly is the shelf life of records is shorter. It’s very quick and sometimes records don’t last the same amount of time. In terms of DJing, people are producing records, but some of them are not the greatest DJ performers … Now I feel the performance element isn’t as important.
DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU AS A DJ. Success comes from moving the crowd. Can you actually move the crowd? If you can please people and make them happy, it’s about bringing joy to people and if you can do that, to me that is success.
Photos By. Lee Hon Bong // Photo Assistant. Chantal ‘Rose’ Gregory © Urbanology Magazine