Be yourself - Popular selectors tell newcomers to use discretion

September 13, 2017
Boom Boom
Jazzy T

For every individual that has attended a street dance or session in Jamaica, the set-up of a disc jock accompanied by mic man is not uncommon. The sound system duos are normally responsible for the whole vibe at the event, whether it is through judging the music that the patrons want to hear or by way of a comedic show.

Nonetheless, some selectors tend to take the jokes too far, leaving both patrons and promoters displeased with the entertainment package provided.

Jevon 'DJ Spugy' Dehaney, disc jockey and mic man, found himself in a such a predicament at a beach event which nearly got him the boot.

"I usually like to call out big-bodied girls, using words or phrases like fat, Christmas barrel or whale. I was vibing with the crowd when I called out 'watch dah whale deh'. By the time I looked, the promoter page me that it was his sister," said DJ Spugy.

Teasing a person can result in friendships being formed, but in many instances it creates enemies.

"I quickly apologised, and the girl generously accepted. The experience made me learn my lesson. I will never make a comment like that again," he assured.

DJ Spugy was one of the lucky ones, as there have been occasions that result in the selector being bottled off a stage or banned from entering a venue or event indefinitely.

"In terms of younger selectors that practise speeches on the road, a selector like Tony Matterhorn might make the speech and a younger selector will follow suit, but it becomes offensive. It is just that Matterhorn knows how to bring it across," said Jazzy T of the 28-year-old sound system Renaissance Disco.

"There are certain things that even I can or cannot do in a party. For example, classifying a girl as fat no matter if she looks nice. But when a younger selector tries, the response is different," Jazzy T added.

"Some selectors need to deal with the music instead of following and getting yourself in problem," he continued.

To engage the patrons, it is believed that there has to be an existing, natural talent within a performer to provoke laughter. But probably there can be improvements with some amount of training, as currently there are few educational settings in Jamaica that offer professional courses and guidance in the art of disc jockeying.

According to selector Boom Boom, "What really happens is not what is said but how. The facial expression has a lot to do with it and some selectors tend to take their personal problems out on the patrons as well as the promoters."

"Veteran selectors are guilty, too, of taking some tings personal at events by calling out promoters and even patrons. But mi nuh have dat foolishness in my zone," said Boom Boom.

The famed dancehall selector and event promoter says he owes his professional manner to lessons learnt while touring with Mavado. Boom Boom has plans to start an official class for persons who want to learn, but for now makes it his duty to take the young selectors to events for hands on training.

"Upcoming selectors, you need to be yourself. Don't try follow and pick up sup'm yuh can manage. It will destroy yuh career. Just play music," Boom Boom said.

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