This month we sent resident blogger Kat to interview DJ Txga! Monday - Thursday you'll find him dropping beats as heavy as the weights at Bank, Holborn and Old Street! We caught up with him to chat all things Basehall, producing and the up-and-coming Ugandan hip hop scene...
When did you start DJing?
I remember playing in secondary school with some friends. One of my mates older brothers was a DJ and he passed his decks down, so we’d go around and take turns on it...I never actually had my own equipment, so I always went to my friends house to do it.
It wasn’t until I bought my own stuff that I started to get the hang of it. That was about ten years ago, when I was 13.
It’s been my full time job now for four years..It was a part-time thing before, but then it grew and took on a life of its own! Before then I was also working at Gymbox as a Muay Thai instructor.
What was it about DJing that got you into it?
Music has been with me everywhere I went! I remember that even in secondary school, I had a Walkman I would take in with me. My uncles were DJing back in the day as well, so we’ve always had the fattest vinyl selection in the house!
And a lot of my cousins are musicians...One of them is in a punk rock band. I think it’s just in the blood!
How long have you been DJing at Gymbox?
Five years now! Maybe longer. The first slot I ever got was at Stratford I think. And then I got a slot at Bank, and then at Holborn.
Where else do you play in London?
I was in Mother Bar for a few years, and Cornershop...I just started playing there again!
I play in Mayfair sometimes at a bar called Trader Vics. It’s like an old school version of Mahikis. It’s underneath the Hilton on Park Lane so there’s a lot of Arabs, Nigerians...sometimes you get everybody in there, it’s a real mix.
Where’s your favourite place to play?
Probably Cornershop! It’s quite a young crowd so they’re really up for it, have a lot of energy and know the songs. They’re easy to look after.
What’s the main difference between playing in a club and playing at Gymbox?
Sometimes I’d say it’s no different as it’s all about energy. You’re just trying to put out as much energy as possible...sometimes I’ll be lucky enough to see people dancing!
But sometimes [it’s different]...at Bank for instance you’re quite isolated and high-up so you don’t get that feedback as much. I think you have to work harder in a sense to keep yourself motivated and keep the energy up.
What does help is that a good friend of mine who teaches there, Sam Wilson, he comes and visits me. It’s amazing to have him there as he has such good energy and we’ve known each other for years... I get that buzz off him.
Which Gymbox is your favourite to play in?
I’d say Bank, because I think they’ve installed some kind of sub system and it really gives that club vibe!
What’s your favourite music to play?
I like stuff that’s fused with a bit of Trap, and I like Basshall. It’s dancehall with trap mixed in so it’s got hard-hitting baselines with a dance rhythm to it.
I like to put in a few remixes that have familiar vocals but hard beats...I also played a lot of Tech when I first started at Gymbox, so I throw that in every now and then.
What’s the hardest part about being a DJ?
I think people are a bit more impatient these days. You have to really get their attention and earn their trust because if you don’t do that in the beginning, they’re going to harass you all night!
In the first two hours [of a set] I’m making sure people see I’m DJing, pulling tricks...then they can see I’m a real DJ and they don’t bother me as much! [laughs] People sometimes ask “where’s your laptop?!” ...I just put my USB in, and most DJs have their laptop.
I’m still doing the same thing, it’s just the average person isn’t used to seeing that. That makes them think “okay, he knows what he’s doing.”
Do you think there’s been an increase in the number of people calling themselves a DJ who aren’t necessarily a DJ?
Yes, definitely! [laughs] But it’s nice that people who want to do it now, can do it...With me, I waited because it was so expensive. I really wish I’d had that opportunity earlier, things may have been different.
What would you say to people who want to try out DJing but aren’t sure where to start?
Take your time! Learn your music, even if you just stick to a few songs you really love. Learn the track, play with it....And spend about five years DJing before you go into it professionally. People who skip that process, when they play, it really shows!
Have you ever tried producing?
Everyone’s been getting at me to do it! I’m going to start soon.
My partner, she used to produce. She was in a group that were on the radio quite a bit. She used my laptop to copy some stuff and one day I was going through tracks and found her productions. I was like “babe, are these yours? These are really good, why aren’t you still doing this?!” She’s helped me quite a bit.
I really want to up my game with producing. I have a lot of friends who do it, so I’m going to start bugging them!
What are your next goals?
I definitely want to get some producing done! And it’s been a dream to play in Mayfair, somewhere like Drama...I’ve never been in there, but the footage I’ve seen from other people...it looks like an amazing place to play.
I’d also love to play abroad. I have a friend who’s a DJ and he’s moved to Uganda, where they’ve got this really cool up-and-coming Hip Hop scene. My friend keeps telling me to go over and play there with him, so I think I’ll go over once my sons a bit older.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about DJing?
It’s just doing what I love! Whatever I’m doing, I’m listening to music. Even when I was doing Thai boxing, it’s the one sport that’s done to music!