DJ Eazy is undoubtedly one of the hardest working DJs in the local Hip Hop scene, playing at a countless number of clubs both locally and internationally, moving crowds in Durban, Johannesburg, Swaziland, Botswana, Amsterdam and Germany.
He also has a long working history in radio, where he hosted the weekly G.H.E.T.T.O P.I.M.P Show on UCT Radio (2003 – 2010) and has often been the live mix DJ on Good Hope FM. With over 17 years of experience both locally as well as internationally, DJ Eazy has built and maintained a strong reputation for himself as one of South Africa’s veteran DJs. Whether it be at some of his live gigs (official tour and show DJ for the likes of a Xthe24th, Zaki Ibrahim, Sho Baraka and F.L.A.M.E.), or through some of his television work (Content Producer for the Hip Hop show (DSTV)) the chances are you have been moved by his music at one time or another.
We managed to catch up with DJ Eazy to discuss his humble beginnings and his career forward. The questions follow:
At the age of 35 you are still keeping with the times and keeping your dream alive. There aren’t many DJs in the industry that achieve the kind of success. How do you stay relevant and what do you attribute to your success?
It’s been a long road (18 years) and I had lots of ups and downs along the way but I learned a long time ago that “those who keep going, will eventually get there”. Success is not in the physical but in the spiritual so I guess once I figured that out, it made it easier to keep my eye on the prize. As for keeping up with the times (staying relevant), I have nephews & a niece (who are still in high school) and I always bounce ideas past them or check with them what’s going on so I know where the youth is at. To reach the youth you have to get to their level. I was a youth worker with YFC (Youth For Christ) in 1996 and I loved their motto which is “Geared to the times, Anchored to the Rock”.
Thinking back to the day when you held the very first vinyl in your hands; Did you know that you wanted to be a DJ? And at what point did you know you were good at it?
I can’t really say that I was good at it but I knew it was what I wanted to do because I understood how music can influence/change an atmosphere and I also wanted to be the guy who made special occasions unforgettable.
Where does the name DJ Eazy come from?
I actually used the name “Eazy T” for about 4 years when I was part of a rap group and when the group folded and I started DJing, I dropped the T. Eazy comes from being flexible and always saying “I’m Eazy” when people made last-minute changes and what not.
You refer to yourself as “The Hope Dealer”. How did this title originate?
I always hear young people say “music is my drug” and I guess DJ’s are dealers when we play music for them. A lot of the messages coming from popular/mainstream music is filled with sexual connotations or boasts of destructive behaviour. I want to offer solutions (hope) in my music so I play the music they want, with the message they need.
Is it true that you are a youth pastor too? How do the two (being a DJ and being a youth pastor) link together?
I function as youth pastor at my local church and believe that every leadership portfolio is a function, NOT a title, so I don’t run a weekly youth program at my church (or have an office) but create regular programmes, where myself and members of my church engage with youth. Being a DJ is my job just like anyone else involved in youth could also have a job as mechanic, plumber, banker, etc. None of those job titles have the word “gospel/Christian” in front of it eg. Christian plumber/ Gospel mechanic so I don’t see the need to add that to “DJ”.
It couldn’t be easy to keep your Christian values in the industry you’re in. Clubs, bars and concerts are usually associated with “sinful” lifestyles. How do you maintain your Christian values and principles in these places and also keep your cool around conservative Christians who disapprove?
I’m just a regular cat who loves music and loves God more, because of what He’s done & is still doing for me. Hip-hop (whether at clubs, concerts, etc.) frequently does contain darkness and we all know this, but it doesn’t have to. And it’s certainly not our job to throw out an art form simply because others use it for worldly or fleshly purposes. Rather, it’s our opportunity to fulfill our God-given purpose and be the light that cannot be hidden. It’s our option to transform it. It’s the same reason that God has placed the vast majority of us in jobs in the milieu of a secular workspace. We’re not there solely for a salary. Rather, God has given us a mission to infiltrate the darkness of our society with the light of Christ. We’ve been given this assignment on our jobs and Christian artists have been given the same task in the music industry. We shouldn’t look to leave our job because everyone around us in unsaved. In fact, that’s the field that God’s planted us in so that we can gather a mighty harvest. Running from it solves nothing. Cursing it solves nothing. Staying and making an impact is the solution. As for conservative Christians, I let my life speak for itself & never try to debate or defend my decision.
The report “Hip hop is dead” has been floating around for a few years now. Is this a true statement?
Hip-hop is more than just music and we have to look at it as culture, and consider all it’s elements. 1 – MCing (Rapping), 2 – DJing, 3 – Graffiti, 4 – B.Boying (Breakdancing) and 5 – knowledge of self. While there are still people doing and staying true to any of these elements, hip hop is alive and well.
You’ve shared the stage with many famous acts. Who was the coolest and who was the most difficult?
The coolest must be Sho Baraka (High Society, USA). This dude is super talented and has an amazing spirit of servanthood. He’s also mad humble. Can’t think of any difficult ones right now.
We know you’re always super busy. What projects does DJ Eazy have lined up for the future?
I’m 70 percent done with my studio project which is entitled “the Hope Dealer” and I’m also working on a mixtape in conjunction with Swaggalicious Entertainment that will feature artists from all over Africa including Nigeria, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe.
What’s your favourite song and, following that, the one track you can always rely on to getting the party started?
Wow, Naturally I have more than 1 favourite song and I depending where I’m playing it’s usually something classic or from way back that gets any party started.
DJ Eazy on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/djeazymusic)