Dialogue with: Derek, All Star DJ
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
By Diana Odero, Chapman University
A few days to the end of 2013, how’s everyone feeling?? Ready for 2014? Resolutions made yet? Or are we still Christmas shopping… Don’t think I know anyone who ever gets their Christmas shopping done early and if you do kudos to you for being prepared early. As we come to the end of the year, I wanted to do one last interview on a very talented young man, Derek Mboya, who is making huge strides in the land down under as an incredible DJ. It only makes sense to interview a DJ as we prepare to go for all sorts of parties in the coming two weeks. Anyone in Canberra, Australia reading this, DJ Solsta should be your go to DJ from now on, you won’t be disappointed!
1. So tell us exactly what kind of DJ you are-
I wouldn’t say I am any type of DJ really. I like different kinds of music and my ultimate aim is to be able to show people a mixture of everything that I’m into.
2. What inspired you to become a DJ?
When I was a child, my mum introduced me to the Beastie Boys and Jamiroquai and I have to say Jamiroquai really got me in love with music. I had never heard anything like them before and I wanted to one day show people all these different sounds and rhythms. To be exact though it would have been around 2005 when some friends started up a DJ crew called 6AM DJ’s back in Kenya and they were people I really looked up to. I wanted to make people have as much fun as I did when I went to their events.
3. Tell us briefly how you got started in the Music industry-
After going to a few events, I began making my own mixes and recording them on CDs for my friends and the DJ’s I used to watch perform and then I began posting them online. I remember one of my early mixes was 2 and a half hours long and ended up having more than 600 downloads. I went mental over it because it had a live preview so whoever downloaded it did so because they liked what they heard. After I moved to Australia I began playing clubs and started working on my own music more.
4. What are the challenges of the DJ world?
The biggest challenge I would say is sticking to what you like rather than what is popular at the time. The best DJ’s I’ve heard have always been the ones who were really bold with their mixing styles and track selection. Popular culture influences the people who come to the clubs so it can be hard balancing their expectations with your personal tastes.
5. How do/did you manage your DJ gigs and school at the same time?
Sleepless nights and long days become the norm. Persistence is key. If you love something enough, you’ll find time for it and everything else important in your life such as school.
6. How are you able to support your profession?
DJ and music production gear is really expensive. Luckily I have a very supportive family. Before I had a job I got help from my mum getting some dj gear and it really helped me to move forward. When I got a job I was able to start buying my own equipment.
7. Is being a DJ your ultimate career choice?
Making music and DJ’ing would be my ultimate career choice for sure. I can’t imagine a more awesome way to spend my adult life.
8. What do you love most about the DJ life?
I love the fact that I get to do whatever I want. I find cool music and sounds and I get paid to show people what I’ve made and found. The most rewarding part of it all is when people really enjoy what you do and they let you know that after the shows that you do. There is nothing like hearing that somebody appreciates the effort you put into entertaining them.
9. Any last words?
If you love music, immerse yourself in it. Share it with other people. Learn more about music you may have never heard of, take it all in. The more you know the better off you will be because you will have so many different resources to pull from when it comes to performing or making your own material. Do not follow the popular music at the time. Look for your own sound and make and perform what you like and what you think sounds cool. There are more than 7 billion people out there in the world. I can guarantee that a bunch of people out there will appreciate what you do.
I couldn’t have said that last bit better myself. Some of my peers and most people my senior always tell me… ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’… Well here is exhibit A of just that; Derek went after his dream and made it his career of choice. As we close 2013 and open a new chapter in 2014, for those of us in this post-grad stump-gap, hope this inspires you to go after what you are passionate about. It’s never easy to land your dream job but once you do, as Derek has told us, all the hard work is so worth it in the end when you see your hard work being fully appreciated.
Happy holidays to you all.