You’d be very hard pressed to find a more hardworking man in the music business that DJ Dimplez. Between spawning Pop Bottles 6 years ago, being an Ambassador for Ciroc (alongside balling names like D’banj, Bonang Matheba and David Tlale), releasing the smash hits on the continent and turning global dance floors into rhythmic stampedes, it’s no wonder he is considered the most successful DJ in Africa. But you know, we’re HYPE. So he gave us some of his very valuable time to discuss what he’s been getting up to.
In the past, you were very vocal about DJs being catalyst for music through single but it not being your place to releasing albums. Yet last year you gave in and released your first album Zeal. What changed?
I actually never wanted to release an album because I never thought it was a platform for DJs for explore and to be honest, I still don’t think it is. But due to the fact that the system is so slow, I actually had a back-log of good music that was just sitting. What I mean by ‘slow’ is that, often a radio station doesn’t allow you to have two songs playlisted on their station at the same time. And I my work ethic is so vicious that I was producing music at a rate that the stations couldn’t accommodate. So I decided to create ZEAL because it had the feel of an album. Both myself and Anatii, who was a huge part of it, decided that since we have the music it would be a good way to give it to the people.
The role of the DJ seems to be changing from being the guy who just mixes live music, to being an producer and curator too and you have been one of the guys who have led the DJ revolution in Africa. What’s your take on the popular opinion that DJs are overstepping their role by becoming musicians and you need to stay in your lane?
I know it’s contradictory but I still personally think that DJs shouldn’t release music. It is part of the DJ’s responsibility to help artists push music that they release. Although, DJs need to get more involved in the music making process so that they can understand how much goes into it. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and energy as well and going through that makes one appreciate the art form a whole lot more. At the same time, because as a DJ you are frequent thousands of clubs, you get to know what kind of songs people respond to. There was a time when local artists weren’t exactly making those kinds of songs and that made it difficult for a DJ trying to rock a crowd to play local music that people could enjoy in a club. So eventually some DJs took it upon themselves to create the music themselves. In many of those songs, artists are featured and end up getting booking because of those songs so in a way, we are growing together.
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