DJ DES

image1.jpeg

INTERVIEW: TERRELL "REALIFE" BLACK

A LOT OF DJ'S PRODUCE BUT FEW DJ'S GENUINELY PUSH THE ARTIST LIKE DJ DES. HE CAN TAKE AN ARTIST FROM THE STREETS TO CORPORATE. A VETERAN IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE, DJ DES EARNED HIS STRIPES ONE PROJECT AT A TIME BY BUILDING A BRAND WHILE BUILDING HIS REPUTATION AND NETWORKING. WE RECENTLY SPOKE WITH DJ DES TO DISCUSS WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCER AND UPCOMING PROJECTS.


VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP, THE CULTURE?

DJ DES: MY EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP AND THE CULTURE WOULD HAVE TO GO BACK TO B-BOYING. I SAY THAT BECAUSE I RECALL HAVING A PUMA WINDBREAKER SUIT AND CARRYING AROUND PIECES OF CARDBOARD. I PROBABLY WAS AROUND THE AGE OF 5 AT THAT TIME. I MOVED AROUND A LOT, I GREW UP ON THE WEST COAST AS WELL.

VALIDATED: YOU'RE ORIGINALLY FROM THE DMV (DC, MD, VA), HOW DID YOU END UP IN FLORIDA?

DJ DES: ORIGINALLY I WAS BORN IN DC BUT LIVED IN VA A MAJORITY OF THE TIME IN THE 7 CITIES, HAMPTON ROADS , VIRGINIA BEACH, CHESAPEAKE AND NORFOLK. I ENDED UP IN FLORIDA AFTER I CAME HOME FROM THE WAR AFTER THE IRAQ INVASION. I FORMED THE BLOCK NEVER SLEEPS BRAND SHORTLY THERE AFTER.


VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR TRANSITION FROM THE DMV TO FLORIDA INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND AND OUTLOOK ON HIP-HOP?

DJ DES: I THINK COMING FROM THE DMV AREA WHICH HAS A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT SOUNDS HAS HELPED TO ALWAYS HAVE A DIFFERENT OUTLOOK. COMING TO FLORIDA WAS A MOVE THAT NEEDED TO BE MADE AT THE TIME. SOUND WISE AND SONICALLY I WOULD SAY ADDING MORE BASS TO PRODUCTIONS, THE MIXING OF MUSIC (CLUBS, MIXTAPES, PRODUCTION) IS DIFFERENT DOWN HERE. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO PACKAGE A PRODUCT FOR THE LOCATION YOU’RE AT.


VALIDATED: NAME 2 OF THE MOST UNDERRATED RAPPERS IN YOUR CITY RIGHT NOW.

DJ DES: RIGHT NOW I’M WORKING WITH ARTISTS FROM VARIOUS CITY’S, THERE’S MORE THAN JUST 2 TO MENTION. FROM FLORIDA I WOULD HAVE TO SAY HOLLYWOOD EVANS, ATLANTA, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ESKIMO SUMMERS AKA CALIGULA AND DIIIAGO PRADA , NEW YORK ARTISTS C-MOEZ AND KING BO BANDZ FROM QUEENS AND JAPAN180 AND HIS BROTHER TRAY PIZZY FROM THE BRONX. THE LIST GOES ON...


VALIDATED: WHICH MAJOR ARTISTS HAVE YOU WORKED WITH?

DJ DES: YO GOTTI, OBIE TRICE, WILLIE THE KID, SHYHEIM, SEAN PRICE (RIP), LA THE DARKMAN, GHOSTFACE KILLAH, HELL RAZAH, DJ WHITEOWL (RIP), AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNER DANJAHANDZ TO MENTION A FEW.


VALIDATED: WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCER?

DJ DES: FIRST AND FOREMOST ANY CRAFT REQUIRES CONSISTENCY. I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT'S 1 PART OF THE MAKE UP OF A GREAT PRODUCER. BEING AND REMAINING A STUDENT OF THE GAME, BEING ABLE TO TAKE FEEDBACK AND APPLYING IT TO ONESELF FOR IMPROVEMENT. TRY TO BE PATIENT WHEN YOU CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT SOUND AND DON’T RUSH YOUR WORK, IN GENERAL.

 

VALIDATED: THE MUSIC YOU PRODUCE, IS IT A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT OR SOMETHING YOU DO YOURSELF FROM SCRATCH?

DJ DES: GREAT QUESTION, IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHAT ROLL NEEDS TO BE PLAYED ON MY PART IF I’M IN THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS SEAT. SO SOMETIMES IT IS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT, BUT YES I DO KNOW HOW TO MAKE MUSIC FROM SCRATCH. I DO HAVE A FEW PRODUCERS WITH ME ON MY TEAM DMR, OMEGA  TRONICS AND MOE MASRI, #THEBLOCKNEVERSLEEPS BRAND.

VALIDATED: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND/MUSIC?

DJ DES: DIVERSE DUE TO DIFFERENT INFLUENCES I’VE DEALT WITH IN LIFE.

VALIDATED: PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DJ'S ROLE IN HIP-HOP AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT ROLE.

DJ DES: THE ROLE OF A DJ AT ONE POINT WAS EXTREMELY MORE NOTICED YEARS BACK. NOW A DAYS ARTIST BELIEVE THEY DON’T NEED A DJ TO SOLIDIFY THEIR PROGRESS. MYSELF, I BLAME AND CONGRATULATE THE INTERNET. YOU HAVE TO DO MORE THAN BE HOT ON THE INTERNET. ANYONE CAN SAY THEIR A DJ ONLINE BUT THE QUESTION IS CAN THEY DO WHAT I DO? THE ANSWER IS NO! THEY CAN’T MOVE IN THE STREETS AND DO WHAT I’VE DONE. SO THE INTERNET THING IS DEF NEEDED BUT YOU ALWAYS NEED A STREET PRESENCE. PEOPLE LOVE FACE TO FACE INTERACTION. WHEN YOU DEAL HAND TO HAND PEOPLE APPRECIATE THAT MORE THAN A DOWNLOAD OR STREAM. IT ALL GOES BACK TO HAVING BALANCE. YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO PUT ON THE RIGHT HAT, AS IF YOU’RE IN AN EXECUTIVE MEETING, BUT NEVER PUT YOURSELF ABOVE THE ORIGINAL HUSTLE!


VALIDATED: YOU PRODUCE AND DJ, WHICH DID YOU DO FIRST? HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START WITH THAT CRAFT AND HOW DID YOU END UP DOING THE OTHER?

DJ DES: NEITHER, I’LL STICK WITH THE ANSWER OF BEING A COMPOSER. I STARTED OFF PLAYING THE 1990 YAMAHA PIANO, STRAIGHT FROM THE FACTORY IN JAPAN. I DIDN’T START DJ’ING UNTIL THE MID/LATE 90’S, TOWARDS THE BACK END OF TAPES AND TASCAM 8 TRACK ANALOG RECORDERS. I STARTED TRYING MY HAND AT PRODUCING IN THE EARLY 2000’S.

VALIDATED: WHAT DOES HIP-HOP MEAN TO YOU?

DJ DES: TO DEFINE HIP-HOP AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ME IS CLEAR, EVOLUTION AND PROCESS. THINGS ARE ALWAYS CHANGING AND TO BE A SOLID CONTRIBUTOR YOU HAVE TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT ARTIST. I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT ALL, BUT  NOT EVERYTHING IS MEANT TO BE ATTACHED TO MY BRAND, THE BLOCK NEVER SLEEPS, NOT MY MEDIA TEAM, E.O.A. FIRM. KEEPING AN OPEN PLATFORM ALLOWS ME TO NOT STAY IN A BOX ABOVE 6FT.


VALIDATED: YOUR RADIO SHOW "THE BLOCK NEVER SLEEPS" AND “DJDESTV.COM”, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THESE PLATFORMS?

DJ DES: DJDESTV.COM, I COVER EVERYTHING THAT AN ARTIST NEEDS FROM ROAD PROMOTION AND STREET DISTRIBUTION. I CAN TAKE ARTISTS FROM THE STREET LEVEL TO THE CORPORATE ARENA IF NEEDED AS AN INDEPENDENT. CURRENTLY MY RADIO MIX SHOW IS ON THE INTERNET, I’VE WORKED AT A FEW RADIO STATIONS IN THE PAST. THE LAST STATION I WORKED AT WAS 91.5 WPRK FM ORLANDO WITH DJ WIRED, THAT’S ONE OF MY HOMIES, HE’S A HARD WORKER AND PUNK ROCKER. ANYWHERE I GO MY MIX RADIO SHOW GOES, THERE’S NO ENDING TO THAT. I KEEP THE SHOW GOING TO ALLOW UPCOMING ARTISTS TO GET HEARD. I HAVE A SERIES I’M DOING ONCE A MONTH CALLED “UNSIGNED HYPE” - THE BLOCK NEVER SLEEPS.


VALIDATED: WHAT DO YOU WANT LISTENER TO GET FROM "THE BLOCK NEVER SLEEPS" ANDDJDESTV.COM”?

DJ DES: ALL THE LISTENERS NEED TO KNOW IS THEY ARE A PART OF THE PROCESS AND IF THEY HAVE ARTISTS THEY WANT TO BRING ON THE SHOW WE CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN. ONCE A MONTH I HAVE AN “UNSIGNED HYPE” SESSION THAT GETS ATTENTION IN BRAZIL, UK AND OTHER COUNTRIES. THE BRAND IS KNOWN INTERNATIONAL, NOT LOCAL.


VALIDATED: WHAT UPCOMING PROJECTS CAN WE EXPECT FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2018 AND EARLY 2019?

DJ DES: I HAVE A FEW DIFFERENT PROJECTS. COMING OUT WITH DIFFERENT PLATFORMS AND BRANDS, ONE WITH MY HOMIE SMIT, BDM CEO. HE’S OUT OF BROOKLYN, NY. I HAVE ANOTHER SERIES COMING OUT WITH THE HOMIE DJ HOT ROD OF “HOOD AFFAIRS DVD” OUT IN SAVANNAH, GA, THAT’S JUST TO NAME A FEW. IN OCTOBER I HAVE A PROJECT COMING OUT WITH THE ARTIST C-MOEZ. I HAVE A JEEP GIVE AWAY I’M DOING IN NOVEMBER ON VETERANS DAY WITHOPERATIONRECONNECT.ORG”, A NON PROFIT I WORK WITH THAT FOCUSES ON GIVING BACK TO THE TROOPS THAT TRIED TO PROVIDE A VACATION AND REST AND RELAXATION, WHEN THEY RETURN FROM COMBAT SITUATIONS TO SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FAMILY. ANYWHERE BETWEEN THOSE PROJECTS I’M WORKING WITH MY LINE UP, KING BO BANDZ, CALIGULA AKA ESKIMO SUMMERS, VISEL MC OF BRAZIL. THAT’S WHAT’S PROJECTED LORD WILLING.


VALIDATED: WHERE CAN THE FANS SUPPORT YOU ONLINE, SOCIAL MEDIA, SHOW, ETC?

DJ DES: INSTAGRAM.COM/DJDES

FACEBOOK.COM/DJDESTV

TWITTER.COM/DJDES

DJDESTV.COM

 

Troy Hendrickson