Staying on top of the DJing game




AN ACTION-PACKED career has seen DJ Pinkz tour globally with big named music stars, play at major venues and entertain countless people with his skills on the decks.

This strong connection to DJing started as a youngster and developed into a career that has given him so much, including an intense connect to music. After an eight-year break, he returned to deliver dynamite DJ sets and is now adding more chapters to his amazing story.

Eastern Eye got great British talent DJ Pinkz to tell us about his life as a DJ and story so far.

My earliest moment connected to music is…my neighbours and best friends being DJs. They were a few years older than me and ran a pirate radio station from home. I was always at their house and that got my attention to music at a young age. So, since the age of six, I had an interest in music, but wasn’t sure what my calling was.

The first album I bought was…on vinyl and it was Push by Bros in 1989. (Laughs) I admit I was a fan.

I decided to become a DJ after…my dad bought me a cassette of Apache Indian – Don Raja from a music store in Kingsbury. He played it in the car, and it was at that moment where I decided to become a DJ and make people dance. The beat, rhythm and flow just took over me. I was like ‘wow, what an adrenaline rush’.

My first time on the decks…happened when I was very young. I was fortunate enough to learn the  art of being a DJ from older friends living next door. The first time I took to the decks was at the age of 10 trying to mix on the pirate radio station in my mate’s bedroom.

My first professional gig as a DJ… was for a corporate pharmaceutical company’s Christmas party. I remember having to invest in pop CDs, mostly the NOW collection as my music was mostly hip hop or ragga. It was nerve-wrecking as I had no experience DJing alone. I was 15, but it was a great party and that’s when I took it seriously.

In terms of memorable DJ gigs… there’s been so many. Perhaps, the most memorable was an India tour with Juggy D – four cities, four days, four gigs and literally four hours of sleep. But the adrenalin of being on stage with the energy Juggy had, made each gig epic in terms of performance and mixing. I’d remix Juggy’s songs live into a genre like hip-hop India loves, so the reactions were pretty epic.

One DJ memory that I will never forget is…DJing for Neymar Jnr at PSG training grounds for a competition for 100 kids around the world, who won the opportunity to train with Neymar for the day. It is not everyday that you get asked to DJ for one of the greatest footballers of all time.

My music collection includes…1,200-1,500 vinyls at my parent’s place, plus my digital collection, I would say just over 10,000 songs.

Keeping on top of my music collection…is a challenge. Being a DJ on heavy rotation playing all different commercial genres, including hip-hop, ragga, Afro-beats, bhangra, garage and house, means I have to be on top of my game. I’m always on Spotify plus signed up to an amazing record pool DJ City, which is amazing for DJs as it gives you all versions of songs from remixes to acappellas. It is very time consuming having to sit there for hours going through what is needed for a specific playlist, but worth the effort. So it’s not just the fun and glory you see on stage or in the clubs, we spend days and nights putting playlists together.

Songs that always work in a DJ set are…many! A few that have worked for me over the years include Push It by Salt n Pepa, Mark Morrison’s Return Of The Mack and Show Me Love by Robin S. I have a folder of go-to classics I know that no matter the event, if I drop any of them, it will get the crowd hyped.

I took a break from DJing for eight years…because I started working in the mainstream music industry, managing and developing producers and working with artists such as Yungen, Naughty Boy, Krept & Konan, to name a few. The music industry is challenging and you really need to be on top of everything. However, I realised my happiness was being on stage and making people dance, rather than in a studio all hours of the day and night making music.

Today, I remain strongly connected to DJing because…I’ve always been passionate about music. The main objective for me is to see people having a great time. When I go to a club and there’s a good DJ playing it inspires me to be greater than great, as I know the feeling of being entertained by a good DJ, who plays for the crowd and not himself. Music flows through my blood and that adds to my DJing passion.

The biggest challenge I face being a DJ is…the fast evolution of technology. Today, it’s so easy to download an app and DJ, which floods the market with newcomers not properly connected to the craft, who under-cut the real DJ, including veterans like myself (laughs). Many promoters don’t look at the years you’ve spent perfecting the art and that respect for a DJ no longer exists. It’s more about cost, social media and getting heads in the door, ahead of being able to keep a crowd on the dance floor.

The secret to a great DJ set is…reading the crowd, which is important and then to give them what they want with the best tunes you have, to keep them all dancing. If you can’t do that then you may as well stick to being a bedroom DJ.

In the future…I’m looking to go international again and start DJing abroad. India and Kenya are definitely my next destinations in terms of rocking some major clubs from the decks.

I love being a DJ because…I just love seeing people vibe and enjoy themselves. It gives me pleasure. With that, having a huge collection of music I can change people’s moods and let them forget where they are for a night and totally enjoy themselves.

Finally, I love music because…it has given me so much. Can you imagine for one moment, life without music? Life would be a mistake. Music is an adrenaline rush, a mood changer and can always uplift you. It’s been part of me since a very young age, enabled me to travel the world and connect with countless people. I hope to god I never fall out of love with it.