DJ Speedsta, who mixed this issue’s HYPE mixtape that features Reason, Psyfo, Blaklez, iFani and more, talks candidly to us about fake DJs, no unity in the game and opening up for Drake.
HYPE: Describe the feeling of opening for Drizzy when he toured SA in 2011.
Speedsta: I am a huge Drake fan and till today I can’t believe I opened for him. The story behind how I got that gig is mind-blowing. It was probably the most special day of my life, I think that’s when I realized it’s possible to make it in the industry. I’d landed a gig of that magnitute all by myself. I didn’t get to interact with him, we were suppose to have a dinner two days before the show but things didn’t go according to plan, flights got messed up and he ended up landing on the day of the show.
How did you become a DJ?
I became a DJ through my brother DJ Soulkid who used to be a DJ back in the day. Him and his friend DJ Master M owned a entertainment company that threw all the parties around The Vaal. Once I turned 16 my brother allowed me to go to parties with him and would ask me to play music in the background for people who had arrived early. The one day the opening DJ for one of the parties was running late so I had to do the opening set. The club was packed early with people there to party so I had to make it happen. At that stage I literally had five CDs in my little pouch. I made it work and then and there I fell in love with playing.
With the advent of computer software and programmes designed to help people DJ, it’s anyone’s game. Do you think this is healthy for the culture or do you think it drowns the market when you have a new DJ popping up at every club event or street corner?
I don’t think its healthy for the industry, I have nothing against controller DJs I just feel like its too easy with a controller. It eliminates the element of DJing, catching your beat, scratching and doing cuts. Serato has all this elements, you still use a CDJ or turntable with mixer its just your music is on your laptop. Controllers have synch buttons which literally do everything for you, but it’s where we at right now in terms of technology. But still, personally you can miss me with your controller, not a lot of dudes take you seriously when you rock up at a gig with your big ass flight case.
The DJ scene in SA has become really competitive but also exciting. Are you as DJs united or are there struggles to get onto certain line ups? Is it about who you know?
[laughs] United? Never. There are different movements going, everyone is just doing their thing. The industry is big enough for all of us to eat. No need to step on anyone’s toes. I don’t think we’ll ever be united ’cause at the end of the day DJing is your job; you got bills to pay at the end of the month. DJs bad mouth each other all the time to people and to promoters. There are no friends out there!
You worked quite closely with Psyfo on the HYPE CD. Tell us about your relationship with him.
Franky hooked me up with Psyfo in 2011. I wanted to start working on a song then already and Franky had suggested Psyfo. At the time Psyfo had just finished producing Franky’s hit single with Nandi called “Tonight”. I gave Psyfo a call and he was down to work with me after Franky had told him about me. A few months later Psyfo asked me to come play at his birthday party, and I played for him as a favor. A few months later I followed up with my phone call to him about making a song together. We went through to the studio, worked on some stuff until we released Motswak hooray. Before I knew it I became his official tour DJ. We started hanging out a lot and spending time together. I could relate to him. In 2012 it happened to be that we moved to the same area. Before i knew it I was literally at him and his girl’s house every night either making beats or sitting in during his other sessions to a point where I was comfortable in his home. Coming from a small town I hardly met real people, people I could call at 4am when I needed help. They became like an older sister & brother to me and I respect them a lot. Psyfo has been around since Yo TV days and he’s still here today, not much people have got it right. The whole mixtape was produced by Psyfo because I was comfortable with him in his studio.
Cop the new issue of HYPE out now with a FREE mixtape by DJ SPEEDSTA!