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Personality Of The Month (January), DJ WAR

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DJ War

This interview of this month’s Personality Of The Month, DJ WAR was conducted by CaribDirect’s Malachi McPherson.

1.       So you’re a DJ specialising in dancehall and reggae music…How long have you been DJing and what influenced you to concentrate on these Carib genres rather than say Hip-Hop?

Well I’ve been djing since the late nineties, my main influence was my Dad as he used to play in a sound years back. Growing up all you would hear in my house was reggae music, some soul/r&b but mostly reggae. Naturally from there I started to listen to dancehall. If I had to pick any genre to mix it would be dancehall. I like the crowd reaction when I’m mixing up two tracks you don’t get that same type of excitement/hype with any other genre.

3.       No doubt as a DJ you are also a business man and sell your own promotional mixes, have you found it difficult to bridge the gap between ‘hobby’ and ‘work’?

Haha a little, I get cussed a lot as I spend a lot of time working on mixes for myself & other people, I’m poor at managing time! We need more hours in the day!!! LOOOL


4.       We have an article called modern dancehall classics, which we ran a couple of weeks ago. With a pick of the best dancehall releases of the past 5 years. What would be your picks?

My Top 5 picks for this year are

Vybz Kartel – Summer Time

Popcaan – Raving

Chan Dizzy – Hello Badmind

Mavado – Final Destination

Vybz Kartel – Stronger Wi Get


5.       The Dancehall music industry as you well know is extremely fast-paced, especially in terms of the rate at which new releases come out. Do you find it difficult to keep up and how do you stay on top of all the new tunes?

Not really but that’s because I’m on a lot of producer’s/artist’s mailing lists, but also social media. Once any big song/riddim buss people start tweeting & facebooking about it.

6.       War is a big part of the dancehall industry and clashes between sound systems are a popular part of dancehall, is this how your DJ name came about?

Hahaha nah it was actually a nickname given to me by a friend, as I was a big Bounty Killer fan back in the 90’s and I kept it when I started djing.

7.       Alot of those that don’t know dancehall criticise it as ‘too sexual’ ‘vulgar’ etc. what would you say to this?

Yea they maybe right, but Dancehall has always been slack, and that’s something that a lot of people like, me included! I don’t think it should ever change, yea we should have radio edits for certain songs but no ban!

8.       Apart from yourself of course who are your favourite DJs or sounds?

For mixtapes I like Chinese Assassin, Coppershot, Mark Watson, Wildcat Sound, Immortal Vybz, DJ Madsilver, DJ Imega they (and a few more) always put out quality mixes.

9.       How do you feel about dancehall and reggae artists from the UK, what artists do you rate?

Gappy Ranks, he’s been doing his thing for a while, others to look out for are Redd Man UK and Stylo G are doing big things.

10.   With probably thousands of sounds and DJs around the world, what do you feel makes a DJ War mix CD or set different?

Overall my mixes are always unique and creative I always bring something different to each mix while trying to top the last one. I approach each series differently, my Dancehall Smash series is more fast paced, get you into a party mood, my Turn Up The Reggae series is more laid-back, not so much sex as people, especially the older generation just want to hear the songs.

11.   What do you think of the hard time that many dancehall artists face to come to the UK to do shows? Do you think it has a negative impact on the dancehall scene in the UK?

To be honest it’s f**ked up! As a fan it’s annoying buying tickets for shows, and then at the last minute it gets cancelled. 9 times out of 10 it’s to do with their visa. A few weeks ago Mavado was supposed to do some shows in the UK, and that was postponed until March or April. Postponed for what? VISA! I don’t know if it’s negligence from the artist or if it’s the home office but I would assume if your know the dates your coming into the UK, the visa should be taken care of right?

Does it have a negative impact? That’s hard to judge, personally I’ve stopped getting excited about these concerts because the way they get cancelled is too frequent. When you look at our neighbours in Europe they don’t have cancelled concerts so regularly.

12.   What is the BEST aspect of your job?

The best……It’s got to be connecting with my fans, it’s crazy how far my mixtapes travel…people hit me up from all over the world, hands down that’s got to be the best aspect, because without the feedback and motivation from them I probably would have stopped a long time ago. So a big shout out and thanks to everyone that’s bumping my mixes and showing love and support.

13.   When dancehall is mentioned most people instantly think Kartel…when we know there are many more talented artists in the dancehall scene. Who do you rate? Are there any upcoming artists we should look out for?

Yea I think most people think of Kartel because of the quantity of music he puts out, he is talented, but because of the amount he drops not every song is a hit. Right now the artists I rate are, I-Octane, Popcaan, Charly Black, Konshens, Bridgez who is representing Alliance Next Generation, she dropped some good songs this year, Denyque who is one of my favourite singers hands down! I’m looking forward to her mixtape that she’s releasing next year. Another favourite is Nikesha Lindo. She’s a reggae artist with this wicked voice, I love her songs, she has dropped a lot of good songs this year plus a free mixtape so make sure you cop that.

14.   Tell the people where they can keep up with the latest of your stuff!

As always check my website www.deejaywar.com everything I release will be dropping there first. Look out for ‘From Gaza To Di Gully Side 2011’ and ‘Turn Up The Reggae Volumes 14 and 15’ dropping soon. I also have some mixes planned with DJ Anarchy from Immortal Vybz and DJ Imega and a new podcast dropping in the new year.




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