Recently, we were brought out of the darkness into the light concerning the #FraMande mix by DJ Byg Tim who told more that than just about his mix. We went retro to the music he listened to, discovered he was a school-choir director and sung all voices. We forgot to ask him to do an accapella. Perhaps next time, when Ug Gospel Life makes its debut on television. Our dreams are valid. Anyway, you will love this lengthy interview/chat with The Fusion radio host and DJ. In this interview, you will find out who mentored and is still mentoring him and who he aspires to be, or rather beat. This is how it went down.
Why did you name the Mix #FraMande?
#FraMande is basically, Friday-Monday. Bringing your Friday to Monday. (So, the vision is to) kill the Monday blues. To know that, every Monday when I come I will have a mix to pump me up for the day. And, you can listen to it over and over again because you can listen to it online.
Why did you feel like doing a mix?
Well, the mix for me is something that a certain someone, whose name I shall not mention, but is Skamzac, had always told me, “You need to do a mix. You need to do a mix.” I never felt it was the right time do the mix.
And when was that? (He smiles and says)
I think it was two years ago or last year (2015). (I give him the look that says, what took you so long? He continued to say “After a while, I was like, “You know what, people have always been asking me for mixes and I think this would be a good time to takeover a day ’cause now, Twonjex has already taken over Thursday with The Tweetamix. Everyone is prepared for #TweetaMix but no one caters for Monday.””
And Monday you need that extra energy! (He nodes in agreement)
On Monday, you need that extra pump. I decided to do a mix and put it out on Monday. I brainstormed with Becky Nantale for a name and finally settled for #FraMande, a term they (Becky and Brian Mulondo) used to refer to upbeat music played on the then, Cruise Control to give Monday that Friday feel.
So, how many mixes so far?
Seven now… Getting to the eighth. (And what has been the reception so far?) The reception has been good. Obviously, there are those mixes that really didn’t make it. I look back and be like, “Eish, did I do this?” But then, somehow you understand why it didn’t make it. Sometimes you may have not put your heart into it. I remember one time, I did it on Monday Morning. I was like, “You know what? Let me grab a couple of song and put them together.”
(I was laughing hysterically.)Do you know why I am laughing? (No!) I am remembering some of the times when I am doing the #SaturdayTalkUg chat on Twitter. I find the topic a few minutes to the chat and it ends up being one of the best. The thing is, when you properly prepare for something, it is easier to do. That aside, what have you learned over this entire period?
Over the 8 episodes? Ahmmm! For me, I don’t do this mix for myself. I do it for God’s glory. I was talking to someone who said, “You Gospel DJs have come with a bang. You have decided to takeover the whole week.” Monday, you have the #FraMande. Tuesday and Wednesday still has nothing. Thursday there’s Tweetamix. Friday there is the Whatsapp Mix WITH DJ Achiever from Kenya. (Which is very popular in Uganda and it surprises me much – in a good way. And then there are these other mixes from Skamzac, DJ Awar) And on Saturday, there’s someone mixing on radio and DJ A War brings in his, once every month.
Here is your download link for all his mixes.
So, can someone ever say they don’t have enough mixes?
No! DJ Achiever, Twonjex, Skamzac all have many mixes available for download. You can find DJ Peruz anywhere and ask him to hook you with one of his mixes – even his oldest mixes and now, I have mixes as well. You can’t say you have run out of mixes. Plus, even if the music is the same, the way we play is different. (That’s the truth. That’s the truth.) I can get Twonjex’s Tweetamix playlist and play it completely differently. Even if you listen to the same music, the feel is different.
Because, every person brings in a bit of themselves. (There’s a signature.) I noticed this with writing. Even if we all wrote the same story, on the same event, everyone is going to have a different angle. (Yes!) Your passion comes out in what you are doing and is able to resonate with the audience.
I am going to take you very far back. How did you join the DJ-ing world?
I think I have always loved music. Music has always been a part of me. It is like the story of my life. I started music when I was a kid. I used to listen to Elton John. (I look puzzled. He says, “I am not that young.”We laugh at this briefly. I nudge him to go on.) I listened to the old guys like Michael Jackson, the Late Whitney Houston, Chaka Chaka when she started. (I interject to say I remember Chaka Chaka and he emphasizes that he means, when Chaka Chaka started. I resign, feeling defeated. I say, “My dad used to play that music every morning.) I used to listen to Papa Wemba, Oliver Ngomba. I used to get Elton John’s cassette tapes, sit on the couch and pretend to be playing the piano. (Wow). Overtime, I went to high school. I was the prefect in charge of Music, Dance and Drama. (Where was that?) City Parents. At O-Level, I was the chairman of my school choir. (So, you were the choir director?) Yes sir! I made sure everything was running. In Senior 5 and 6, I had started an acapella group. (Which voice were you singing?) Shockingly, as a result of my training in O-Level, I could sing all voices. (Which one came naturally for you?) I used to do base but my natural was tenor. At University, I was pursuing a degree in law but doubling as a DJ Virtual DJ. When I finished university, I came to Watoto Church and that is how I met DJ Muji. Muji mentored me. I used to do my mixes on virtual DJ and give to him to listen to it. He used to tell me, “Work on this. Work on that.” From virtual DJ I made my way to the Serato. When I moved to Serato, DJ Peruz was there. Peruz was the one who helped me to blend into Serato. One of those random Saturday nights at Dance Party, he told me, “Let me come back!” He didn’t show up for two hours. I had to learn, but I knew the basics. When he came back, he asked, “Are you sure this is your first time?” After that, it became so easy for me. The transition was quick and painless.
What do you think of the DJ-ing environment in Uganda right now?
It is a hustle. You go do gigs and people promise you particular amounts of money but they never fulfill on their promise. Then, this is quite sad that there is a rift between the DJs. If I have a good song, I don’t give it to you because I don’t want you to play it before me. That’s not a good thing. We need to be one. For me, that’s the thing I learned. Once I get a new song, I tell you that, “You guy, there is this new song.” If I really want to premiere it, I will tell you please wait before you play it. It is a bit of a challenge. And also, DJs are very under-appreciated. I will say this on record.
In my personal opinion, like 5 years back, if you looked at the DJ-ing fraternity was no where. (Until DJs like Twonjex, Muji showed up as well as Rwabs – the machine-man.) Yes. I think there’s room for improvement. What do you think needs to improve?
I think it goes beyond being a DJ and being a person. Having a teachable spirit is important. Especially, if you are an artiste or a DJ. Some of the mixes, I have had to redo them like 6 to 10 times. (That is a very good thing. As a DJ, you are an artiste. You see, some musicians record songs and give it to you. When you tell them it could have been better, and then person) Bad mind. (They say this whole ‘bad mind’ thing. However, I wouldn’t blame some of them because they haven’t) been mentored (got people in their lives to mentor them. They don’t know who to listen to or who to ignore.) Or,sometimes, they have been let down way too many times and they simply resign. The important thing for me has been having a teachable spirit and knowing that I can always be better. Strive for excellence. If you are not comfortable with the mix you have done, do it again. Dedicate time to practice. Practice is important because, you don’t want to use the same skill over and over again. People will get tired.
I will give you an example. One of the DJs I admire, (I was going to ask) is DJ Stef. That guy can scratch. You look at him and ask yourself, when does this guy get time to learn all these things? Secretly, I want to be like Stef. Actually, I want to be better than Stef. I want to be a place where he also sees what I am doing and he asks, “What did you just do there?” Top of the list is Muji. He was my best-man. Muji and I have grown together as friends and DJs. He is my litmus paper.
As you can tell, our long chat was extremely interesting. You must always get your #FraMande mix and remember to tweet him all the feedback too. Share with your friends as well.