Talk Nice to DJ Dyce About the Importance of DJs in Today's Music Climate
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
While the Redbull Music Festival is in full swing here in Atlanta, I’ve already run into quite a few aspiring masterminds: music artists, producers, A&Rs, managers, DJs, etc. Before getting a seat at the Music Industry Perspectives panel that took place last month, I managed to strike up a conversation with a North Carolina DJ, DJ Dyce Gambeanz AKA DJ Dyce Music, who had stopped by for the panel while already being in town for the A3C festival.
We got a chance to exchange our own perspectives about the various essential roles throughout the industry, including his. He helped bring me to the understanding that in today’s world of hip hop, mainly rappers and producers are the ones who get all the praise and press. However, he wants his works to help people remember who were the original hip hop stars: DJs. The beat drops, the cuts, the mixes, DJs have always found a way through the music to really get the crowd going and put the audience on to new music.
I was quite intrigued by the level of knowledge that he happened to drop on me in the short amount of time we were acquainted. I knew that there was something else to him. After getting his contact info, I just knew I had to interview him and hear his story about life on the turntables (which was a fascinating story if I may add). What I proceeded to learn is that DJ Dyce intentionally uses his music to paint into the minds of listeners, and other DJs alike, to think and create outside of the dull, orthodox level. Now I can go on and on about the legacy that Dyce is currently cultivating for himself, but let’s go on the record and get it straight from Dyce himself:
Tell us about your background in music and how that led you to DJing.
Honestly, I’ve been into music basically my whole life. I’m originally from Chicago and as a child, I started out by singing in my church’s choir. When I was in 6th grade, I picked up my first instrument, the saxophone and I played it until I got into Chicago’s MLK College Prep High School. There, I started playing drums and I did that until I after I started college at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. Now, while I was only a freshman at JCSU, I met met my friend who was a senior at the time, and he was known on campus for being a big promoter for college parties and a DJ. He introduced me to the world of promoting and DJing by taking me around with him to events that he was a part of and that exposure just caused me to gravitate towards wanting to become a DJ. He started letting me try out his turntables and once I got on them, it just began to feel natural to me, especially after I had a few jam sessions with him. Once he began to see that I was starting to hone my skills, he started to sometimes let me open shows for him. While I had already grown to love the turntables, I never took it seriously until I got into producing music in my mid 20s.
What music do you usually like to mix?
I specialize in mixing hip hop, afro-pop/afrobeats and trap EDM (Electronic Dance Music). I like to mix beats that aren’t normally used because that gives me the chance to create original sounds and expose my audience(s) to something they never heard before. I am a producer DJ, which is different from a regular DJ because I get to mix the music I produce. I think every producer can relate to that certain feeling you get when you hear music that you’ve made and you can think back and remember exactly how it was created and your mindset while creating it as well. Also about a year ago, I got into running LIVE sound as well. That means I now do sound engineering, like mixing.
What different techniques do you try to incorporate into mixing?
One thing I really enjoy doing is the traditional scratching, especially with vinyl feel recording and full sized turntables. But, at the same time, I also really enjoy the cut and drop. However, my favorite technique is finding the precision for the perfect beat match up.
What message do you want to convey through your music?
The main message of my music is spreading LOVE; what I do is what I actually like to call “LOVE” music. I call it that because my music reflects the power and importance of showing organic love to all the people you come across in life because you don’t know who they are and when, or where you’ll see them again. So show some LOVE and respect to everyone, and you’ll get a lot of it back. “Love shines brighter than the Moon and The Stars,” that’s a line by S. Love, one of the artists I produce.
What things have you learned since you have seriously started doing music?
Besides learning how to do different mixes, I learned something that isn’t necessarily only music related: the importance of networking. I learned that grind really never stops so, in order to be successful, you can’t either. In today’s industry, 70 percent of your promotion work as an artist, producer, or even a DJ like myself is managing your online social media content. From Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even to the streaming platforms like Soundcloud, you have to make sure you get the most out of the resources available so more of your content can reach the biggest audience.
What do you want your next step(s) to be?
Before anything else, I want to add that I am a part of a DJ collective group called The Syndicate DJz. This is something I started with two good friends of mine who are producer DJs just like me, Mista C and Da Pharaoh. We’ve already done shows but, I want to expand the awareness of The Syndicate DJz because our main mission is to break independent music nationwide, and eventually worldwide so one day, we could get on a major tour. Being the main DJ on a big tour is a big opportunity that I’ve always wanted to experience. Second, I want to get a chance to help upcoming artists with their marketing because I’ve seen a lot of talent, resources and marketing dollars in the music industry get completely wasted and I don’t want the next generation to experience that. Lastly, I’d like to increase independent artists’ awareness of how to cater to their target market and how that can increase their real following. I feel that this is important because that following will help build them up to getting their music financially supporting and not just shown love through views, clicks and likes.
By bringing “LOVE” to the people through his mixes, DJ Dyce is ready for DJs to get their proper respect. He lastly gives us the fortunate words that we will be hearing new music from him soon, so stay tuned.