If we ate music, it would taste like chocolate cake, but it is actually nutritious-food of the soul, and the mind. No one would turn down a slice of chocolate cake that made you healthier, and not many people can say they don’t enjoy music.
We would agree that music is definitely a food of the soul although not the case for everyone but it is certainly a case for many including a well-known DJ Jerry a.k.a John Ayienda a second year student pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology whom we met on a chilly morning. He had the following responses to the questions we did pause at him:
QN: Kindly, describe yourself….
DJ Jerry is a young, vibrant, hardworking and a passionate character that loves music and is in the push to take deejaying to the next level.
QN: What inspired you in to Disc Jockeying?
(Sighs) I did develop interest in deejaying at an early age especially when I was in primary school. I used to be fascinated by loud music that was played in road shows those golden days. In High School, I used to be obsessed with the captions of deejays to a point I was cutting them out and attaching their pictures in my souvenirs.
QN: How did you turn out to be a Professional Disc Jockey?
Through training of course. DJ. Mr. Carter improvised me on scratches and DJ Ghost who happened to be my elder brother also played a vital role in my training since he was a professional deejay emanating from HomeBoyz at that particular moment. He basically taught me on beat structures.
Deejaying is all about moving from chorus-verse, verse –chorus and one needs to maintain the steady flow but when I was in form one I trained myself through the virtual deejay software which existed in DJ Ghost laptop already.
QN: which Deejaying School would you recommend people who would love to train as deejays?
It depends with the Deejaying schools but I’d recommend people to get acquainted with people who have already gained adverse experience and platform to coach them if they really have the passion.
QN: You mentioned about a scratch. How does a person who is a beginner or a lay person understand what a scratch is all about.
It is simply an effect that produces percussive sound.
QN: When did you start deejaying?
I started way back when I was in high school with the virtual Dj software as I mentioned earlier but when I was in form three, DJ Ghost introduced me into professional deejaying where I started using software’s like Serato Dj and Scratch Live.
I would say 2013 I started deejaying though I have been on and off.
QN: Which platforms have you managed to showcase your deejaying skills?
I’ve been to K24 Alfajiri. I’ve also played for both Kubamba and 10/10 show that airs on a Friday night at Citizen TV.
QN: How was the experience when you were playing for Kubamba?
It was nice and actually what I noted is that one can still have fun in gospel the same way people have in secular.
QN: How did you manage to penetrate through these platforms that majority have found it quite hard to penetrate and what advice would you give those who would also love to gain acceptance in these platforms?
For K24 Alfajiri we were invited to play basically it was on a Friday morning. 10/10 show actually DJ. T-Bone was the one invited but in the long run I did play on the show that night since he was not able to play. I did play alongside DJ. Case. For Kubamba I did attend most of their events that are held across the country in high schools and universities and even these platforms I was able to showcase my techniques.
To those who would love to play in these platforms I can tell them to know the right people.
QN: What genre of music do you play in these platforms?
I do play both secular and gospel music so I would say I do revolve around all genres i.e. from hip hop, bongo, reggae, old school jams, R n B etc.
QN: What differentiates Radio DJ’s and TV DJ’S?
I can say the difference could be noted when one plays for both TV and radio basically when you are a radio Dj you may find yourself with one or two presenters of the particular show alone while in TV you have at least an audience which comprises of the camera people, the presenters and directors of the show.
QN: If you were to choose between TV and radio which platform would you love to pick?
I’d choose both but on the basis on listenership and viewership, majority of people listen to radio as compared to those people who view TV.
QN: Are you paid good money when you deejay in these platforms?
I do negotiate for the money so I would say it’s good.
QN: You did mention of being a professional DJ. What differentiates you from club deejays?
A professional DJ is an all round person. You know music is like driving and the moment you know how to drive a Probox you definitely know how to drive a Mercedes. I can do deejaying in clubs, in events such as weddings and other social events, in media entities etc. All DJ’s are almost the same it is just that they have decided to major on a certain niche.
QN: Have you ever found yourself in a conflicting moment, for instance where your faith is put to test whenever you play both secular and gospel at different platforms?
Several times. Deejaying is like any business, you have to play music to get money in spite of whatever you feel you just have to do some things.
QN: Why do songs that are purported to lack content are the one that are often played on our media stations?
I always say that the people who were before our generation sang everything and with the generation of musicians of our age majority are doing rendition of the old songs by modifying them a bit.
QN: What’s your view on Kenyan music?
Generally, I would say they are good songs and they keep people entertained.
QN: Currently in the music industry whose music do you feel is outstanding i.e. in both secular and gospel?
For gospel I’ll definitely go for Mercy Masika whose music has good content and Pitson who is not only a good songwriter but also a good musician.
In secular world, Nyashinski is definitely having good music and Vivian though it depends on what a person loves.
QN: Who inspires you currently in the industry?
DJ Andie is my mentor. I can say also DJ. Hassan and DJ Bash are people who I look up to. DJ. Joe Mfalme also plays very well.
For me I love people who try to pull us through in the industry.
QN: What don’t you love about deejays now that you’ve been in the field for quite some time?
All deejays play the same way. You can easily predict a track which will follow suit when you hear a music mix of a deejay.
When you attend clubs you will also discover that majority of club deejays play the same way every time they play.
QN: What differentiates old schools deejays and modern deejays?
Old schools deejays are the best for they play music and let people to be entertained. Modern deejays try to show people they are the delacreme of the industry and mostly their music is just full of noise.
QN: Have you encountered any challenges in your deejaying career and how have you dealt with them?
Yes. There are so many challenges I’ve experienced but these are the major ones.
Cartels are everywhere especially in gospel industry which is supposed to be a ministry you find people who want to be given money to allow you to play though for me I have always said that you need to work extra hard to reach appoint where people will call you when they need you hence the cartels won’t affect you.
Another challenge is with ladies. Most of the ladies love to extend their interactions towards DJ’s to a notch higher with the aim of benefiting and they can do all sorts of things that are uncalled for. I don’t entertain them so much beyond greetings.
We have an entertainment company by the name Polo Entertainment where we do hiring of deejaying equipment, unfortunately some of the clients end up not paying the service fee we agreed as they were hiring while some return the equipment having some parts damaged and they fail to pay the service repair fee although now we have come up with service agreement sort of a contract which one signs before taking the equipment to solve the latter problem.
QN: How much did it cost you to have a good and a complete set of deejaying equipment and what advise would you give those who want to purchase the kit?
The one we bought costed us at least Ksh 340,000 but I’ll advice those who would love to purchase their own to go for their pocket friendly equipment.
QN: What is that one single mistake do you see up and coming deejays making?
I”ll basically talk of the mistake which superstar deejays make. Some of these DJ’s have mix tapes which they have used Sony Acid software to mix the tapes but when they are summoned to play using the machines they do not know.
QN: What could be the reason behind their mistake?
They are not patient to learn and do practice especially when they are being coached.
QN: If I pre-picked a song for you would you be able to play randomly?
It depends if it is a club or an event. If it is a wedding event you ought to play the song requested
QN: In case a person asks for a song and you do not have the song, what would you do?
Deejays are smart people and creative and so if they do not have they’ll quickly download it but also the time someone requests for a certain song matters.
QN: Are you having a unique vibe?
QN: Deejaying is viewed as piracy. What’s your take on that?
Artists complain but deejays play a major role in the industry for they market these songs.
QN: Most up and coming artistes complain that deejays do not play their songs. What’s your view on this?
One thing I know is that the deejays look at their content and their flow of beats, that might be an hindrance to some of their music not being played.
QN: Which one track that never fades away from you?
Am a great fun of old school music. The songs of musicians like E-Sir, 2 Pac, Busta Rhymes, Jay Z, Shania Twain and Celine Dion
QN: Are you good on mic?
(Sighs) One thing I do not like is deejays talking at the same time when they are playing. DJ’s should let people enjoy music and avoid a lot of unnecessary talks.
QN: Are you in a relationship?
No am not dating but am looking forward in meeting a person who we can build each other in all dimension.
QN: Do you consume liquor?
Yes though am a mood drinker. I can even go to a club and I may end up not partaking any liquor only water.
QN: Have you experienced any weird behavior ever since you became a deejay in terms of how people treat or view you?
I am not a social media person but when people see you on TV they expect you are rich. Celebrities try to make their end meet.
I’ve gone to eat in the mess and the people tend to gaze at me awkwardly.
QN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’ll be somewhere better than where I am today.
QN: What advice would you give to those who would love to pursue deejaying and they also have other careers to pursue?
If you are passionate about something do it but do not do it for the love of money. Money follows people who follow their dreams.
QN: Have you done any music mixes and distributed any in the market?
Yes I have done reggae, Dance Hall, Old School but am waiting for an opportune time to distribute at the right places.
QN: Which online platforms can people who would love to invite your to their events reach you through?
They can reach me on Instagram- Jerry_The Dj, Facebook- John Dj Jerry Ayienda or through email- [email protected]
Parting short please,
I’d love to say that people need follow their dreams. Money follow dream chasers and my parting quote is,” Hard work will take you where talent will find you.