It’s the switch up, baby!
A hip-hop DJ who specialises in making the masses bop their heads, DJ Switch lives up to his name and switches it up on the regular. “You can live it,” he says when fans marvel at his fly lifestyle that sees him travelling to Zanzibar and Mauritius just for control.
On a Thursday afternoon in Maboneng, we hooked up with DJ Switch for a convo that ranged from Avicii to “ooh-aah moments” and Kwesta.
What does the Add Some Flavour Network mean to you?
It’s a bunch of creatives coming together and expressing what they do and inspiring others to be like them or obtain some of their knowledge and take their craft to the next level.
How do you #AddSomeFlavour on the daily?
You know, once I get onto the decks, I get really excited when I see how the crowd reacts. I mean it’s everything from the kind of clothes they wear to their reaction when they hear a song drop and then you get the switch up, baby!
What does it mean to #AddSomeFlavour?
I think it’s just about adding flavour and finding inspiration everywhere. From the socks that you wear to your hairstyle, if it inspires someone or gives them an “ooh-aah moment” then that’s what it means to #AddSomeFlavour. It’s about showing your individuality and not just conforming to the norm. If you’re going against all odds and you’re taking risks that no one would take, then that’s adding flavour.
How do you take the expected and make it unexpected?
When you surprise yourself then you surprise everyone else. It’s unexpected. [Laughs] Sometimes being too planned can make you like everyone else. I think you should get out of your comfort zone with the type of music that you play or whatever your craft is. If you listen to turn-up music, then listen to classical or pop music, you get me?
I think it’s that whole energy when someone says: “I didn’t expect you to play that song” and that’s when you shift the person to a different realm and provoke emotion.
Is there anyone you know who dominates in taking the expected to the unexpected?
Wow, there’s a lot of people. Number one I’d say is DJ Jazzy Jeff. I’d also say DJ Craze from Miami, DJ PH, and DJ Ready D from Cape Town. They pull a lot out of the bag. And of course, myself. [Laughs]
Can you tell us about a moment in your work when you’ve felt “Oh, I’m onto something”?
I think it’s when you start fusing kwaito music with hip-hop or adding unexpected elements. When you bring a house song into a hip-hop environment, like Kwesta’s new song is a mid-tempo song, which is like Glen Lewis’s ground-breaking sound for SA, which no one understood but Kwesta just brought it back. That is when you shift the minds of people and people say “Actually, this is a really good song”. That’s when it hits you. It’s about embracing a new approach.
What you’re saying requires a lot of confidence?
Absolutely. How can you not be confident in what you’re doing?
You’re either gonna be a leader or a follower, so you tell the people and you set the bar.
Essentially a DJ’s work or his purpose at an event is to tell people what’s hot, the DJ has gotta adhere to what the crowd enjoys, but also educate the crowd. That’s why you won’t get an Avicii playing at a club. There’s a lot of hype with hip-hop now and that’s why everyone wants to be a hip-hop DJ now. It’s our time.
Are there any collaborations you’d love to have in the future?
I’m working with the up-and-coming artists and the well-established artists so for me, the one thing I’d like to see is two DJs collaborate on a song. I think that’ll be the next level. For me, I’d love to work with my mentors DJ Ready D, DJ Azuhl or Black Coffee because of his style.
The Add Some Flavour Network is about celebrating and embracing food, music, fashion and art. How do you see the relationship between food, music, fashion and art?
I think it’s all art. Anything considered a craft is art. Whatever you create is your masterpiece. Music, fashion etc. are just tools you use. There is something I’m working on in terms of fashion, but I can’t say anything because in SA, you can be in today and out tomorrow, everything is moving so fast.