Thursday June 28 2018

In retirement, DJ Tony is nurturing new deejays

DJ Tony with some of the contestants in the

DJ Tony with some of the contestants in the Club DJ awards. Photo by Godfrey Lugaaju 

By Lawrence Ogwal

Before other night clubs such as Blue Haze and Club Sway among others introduced Rock nights, Anthony Yawe was the first Ugandan DJ to introduce Rock nights under his name DJ Tony, a fact he is quick to remind you of when you meet him for the first time. In 2006, he introduced rock classics, afro-beat and salsa which attracted a huge number of people to Club Silk in Bugolobi, Kampala, every second Friday of the month.

“I am one of the few Ugandan DJs who have had the priviledge to play internationally. I discovered that rock music always got people off their feet and onto the dance floor and the only way you can know that you are doing a good job as a DJ is when people are dancing,” Yawe says.
After one year of hosting trans-nights at Club Silk, Yawe chose to retire from deejaying and give way to the young generation. He embarked on introducing young DJs to different night club owners and later introduced the Uganda DJ Awards which later became the Club DJ awards that take place in different parts of the country.

The Club DJ Awards
The awards started in 2008 at KK Beach in Ggaba, Kampala, and they have since run 11 editions with the latest taking place in April. In the competition, winners are recognised and awarded and some are minting money as a result of taking part in the Awards. The competition gave birth to DJs such as DJ Ricky, DJ BabyLove, DJ Andy Skills, DJ Shan, DJ Ivo, Ivan Selector and DJ Mozero among others.
“Although the first competition was worn by DJ Shan, it was not the end of the road for the other DJs who took part. DJ Andy Skills is now working with Sudhir Ruparelia, a well-known Ugandan businessman as his personal DJ, DJ BabyLove works at NTV and Club Guvnor and Ivan Selector once worked at NBS TV,” he says.

Yaweh says the Deejaying industry can only be understood by those that attended a Deejaying school and in Uganda, there are a few professional DJs. He adds that DJs such as Shiru, Aluda and Apeman among others are Entertainment Djs. “They keep playing the same song every after an hour and then you find the crowd relocating to the competitors bar claiming they are tired of recycled music,” he says.

In the 90’s, Yawe says, it was hard to hear a song being played twice in one week. “DJs would play music and you would not see anyone glued to their seats because the music was fresh. The song coming next would be better than the previous one until about 3am when revelers would start leaving the club. Nowadays, people go to the DJ’s booth and request for songs and will not care if the same song is played over and over again much to the disappointment of other revelers,” he says.

Helping young DJs
Yawe says it is hard to work with young DJs because they think they are the best and do not want advice from those that have come before them and have all the experience which they are willing and ready to share. “I nurture talent by maintaining the Club DJ Awards. I also want to link local Djs to the International market. I have therefore contacted friends at Scratch DJ Academy in New York, Dub-Spot DJ Academy in Manhattan and A-Truck Deejaying School among others, and asked them to provide scholarships for our aspiring Djs,” Yawe says.

What industry needs
Yawe says the deejaying industry in Uganda is losing meaning because DJs, who are meant to work in clubs are now on Radio and TV. “If clubs paid their DJs highly, you would not see them playing on TV and Radio. They opt for this because they earn more and this is leading to the collapse of many clubs because a good DJ will make a club popular,” Yawe says.

Yawe is a professional disc jockey who studied at Prosound South Africa, a school that teaches deejaying where he studied for one year before starting to work in South Africa. “For six months, I worked as a DJ at Liquid Club in South Africa. I also worked in countries such as Namibia, Spain, Rwanda, and Kenya before coming back to Uganda where I retired while working at Club Silk.

At a glance
Besides Deejaying, Yawe is a family man whose other source of income is real Estate management. He studied at St Peter’s Primary School in Nsambya, Katikamu S.D.A for O and A-level and unlike others who continue to University, Yawe went to South Africa to study deejaying since he has always wanted to be a DJ.