DJ Laing D staying

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Monday, July 15, 2019

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This is the final in a 10-part series highlighting sound system selectors. The spotlight is on DJ Gahmael “Laing D” Laing, a former Campion College student who for the past five years, has helped draw fans to events such as Zimi Seh Riva, Tropics, BRT Weekend, and Marco Polo.

Kevin Jackson: How and when did you get into sound system selecting?

DJ Laing D: After I started UWI (University of the West Indies), my cousin was much more interested in music and he introduced me to Virtual DJ. I used to mix when I was bored until I started to mix every time I had the chance. Something about being able to fuse different sounds in your unique way is what really grabbed my attention, and I haven't looked back since. I continued practising while studying but I had no intention of becoming professional and doing it full time. I decided to take it seriously in 2014.

KJ: How do you stay ahead of the game?

DJ Laing D: I try to stay in my own lane. I work on my strengths and build on my weaknesses. Everybody has their own way of presenting music. I play music how I would want to hear it. You have to think like a patron in the party. You have to stay sharp to stay ahead.

KJ: Who are the selectors that you look up to and why?

DJ Laing D: DJ Nicco, DJ Puffy, Heavy D, Chris Dymond, Flabba Dabba, Ikel Marvlus, Brush One from Chromatic, and Sir Toxic from Clarendon. They play music and present music in their own unique way. They are very multitalented.

KJ: Many selectors are now producing. Is this a natural progression?

DJ Laing D: The more you work as a disc jock, the more you learn about music and different elements such as keys and notes. I haven't produced any songs yet. For me, it's one task at a time, but I do see myself producing in the short term.

KJ: Do you specialise in an era of music? Are you versed enough to play for mature audiences who love ska, rocksteady, and roots-reggae?

DJ Laing D: I am versed enough to play for mature audiences. I have done it before. I don't really specialise in any era of music; however, when it comes to throwback hip hop and R&B, I would say I specialise in that.

KJ: Where were your most memorable gigs?

DJ Laing D: Playing at UWI Carnival in 2016 was my first time playing before such a large crowd of over 9,000 persons. I was really humbled by that. I have also played overseas at events such as BRT Weekend Pre-party and Marco Polo in South Florida.

KJ:This year is the 50th anniversary of reggae. What would be a fitting tribute?

DJ Laing D: Maybe a major concert or stage show in Jamaica. Jamaica is the home of reggae and celebrating the works and contributions of the icons to the current hit-makers would be a big deal in attracting international players. A concert like that would have the world looking at us because our music is loved globally.

KJ: Crime is a big problem in Jamaica. What advice would you give to the Government to help reduce it?

DJ Laing D: My advice would be for both political parties to work together and not apart. If both parties combine forces, we would see a significant decrease in the crime. Criminals are also getting wiser each day, and it's like the security forces are not getting wiser. Criminals have access to high-powered weapons, and you have to wonder where it is that they are getting the guns.

KJ: If not for selecting, what profession would you have gone into?

DJ Laing D: I would be either a chartered accountant or professional football player.

KJ: What advice would you give to upcoming selectors?

DJ Laing D: Focus on your craft and find your niche. You have to be known for something such as your specific style. Love the music and do your research. For me, I am for the ladies. I zone in on that. It's always good to be known for something. And proper preparation prevents poor performance.”


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