Keeping Up With DJ Supernova


Internationally recognised DJ Supernova was in the country recently for a local promotional tour. We caught up with the him to chat about his plans.

By: Phila Tyekana

1.Tell us more about you; where are you from and where does the name DJ Supernova emerged from?

I’m from The Bronx, NYC. My family is from the Dominican Republic. I grew up speaking Spanish and English. I was classified as the “cool nerd” growing up since I had excellent grades. But I knew about the latest fashion. I attended Penn State University to obtain a computer engineering degree. I started DJ’ing during my college years. Nova is my last name so coming up with my DJ name was pretty simple.

2. What kind of music do you listen to, including the type of music you play? Do these correlate in some way, or do you always play what’s best for the crowd?

I listen to a bunch of different genres: electronic dance music and its subgenres; dancehall, reggae, Latin, hip hop, rap, and many others. I analyse the crowd. I look up previous events of the gig that I’m preparing for to see what the crowd likes. I do not follow a set list. I love reading the crowd and playing off their vibe.

3. Before embarking on a career in Dj’ing, what were you up to, and what influenced you to go with it?

I went to college for computer engineering. During my first year, I did not like the parties I was attending so I took up DJ’ing as a hobby. With years of experience and persistence, I have been able to turn my hobby into a career.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

DJ’ing is about the craft and the business behind it. My DJ inspirations are DJ AM, Jazzy Jeff, Kid Capri, A Trak and many more. Businesswise, I look up to Jay Z, DJ Khaled and Diplo. In life, I draw inspiration from my experiences, especially those abroad.

5. What’s the process when compiling a playlist for a set and what are the influences to the musical selection?

I organise my music in chronological and genre order. I do not make playlists for gigs, unless it’s a concert. Even then, I allow for sporadic changes while I DJ. The influence is simply the type of event and what audience they typically have or expect.

6. Tell us more about your SA tour which you have been embarking on and what was been your highlight?  

Having been featured on Metro FM for years, I was building a fan base. I invested money in putting a face into the sound the people have grown to love. The highlight for me during this tour was being appreciated at the events. I have had numerous people kneel in from of me or even kiss my hand after a set. It’s quite crazy, but it shows how much it affected people. Another highlight has been meeting the various artists in SA that I have been communicating with for months.

7. Which SA artists have you worked with and which would you like to work with in future?

I’ve worked with Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Riky Rick, Stilo Magolide, Khuli Chana, Blayze, CashTime and Kwesta. I’m currently working on my own music, which will feature US and SA artists. You will have to wait and see who’s on board!

8. What are your views on the Dj’ing landscape around the world?

DJ’ing is different everywhere. I simply see how things are done and incorporate what I like into my sound. It’s hard to describe specifically what these things are. For example, certain countries are more technical while others are more about the “look”.

9. In the years to come, where do you see yourself?

I see myself in many different lights. Firstly, I want to be known worldwide as a really dope DJ. One of my goals is to bring power back to the DJ as some people think we can be easily replaceable by someone with a laptop. Secondly, I see myself as a music director for touring artists. Thirdly, I will be the DJ of hip-hop theatre, a growing genre that will be in the mainstream really soon. There are many accomplishments that I want to achieve.

10. When will you be returning to SA again?

I look forward to coming back soon. Most likely, it will be around this time next year to tour with the songs that I will be pushing starting mid-2016. I am here to set a new standard in DJ’ing and hope to continue to push boundaries in hip hop globally.