Kead Wikead – Zimbabwe’s hottest club DJ





Article By Yvonne Mateko 

Having been nominated for the Zim Hip Hop Awards, Kead Wikead went on to win the coveted Best Club DJ of 2017, at a ceremony held in Bulawayo early December. Though the young maverick has been in the game since 2003, this was his first national accolade and according to his future projections not in the least, his last. If you haven’t heard of him yet, then you haven’t been living your best club life. But lucky for you, I sat down with the young star and this is what he had to say...

When did you start DJing and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I actually started out as a dancer, so music has always been part of me from as early as 1995, but I jammed my first gig in 2003. My brothers collected music so I was always enthralled by the likes of Oskido and Tim Westwood.

How did it feel when you heard you were nominated, and then went on to win the award?

It was surreal at first but as it began to sink in, I came to the realisation that, this was the recognition that every artist hopes to receive for their craft and finally it was my turn. I believed I was going to win and when it actually happened; it was the best feeling ever.

How would you describe your set? Do you play a certain genre of music and stick to it?

Some people think music is just music but I see it as an instrument to influence people’s emotions! My set is comprised of a variety of tracks but there has to be a relationship between the genres, so that when transitioning it is always flawless.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?

There have been many but each of them has made me the DJ that I am today. My career was and is built on such moments, I think I am still growing and honing my craft and naming each one would take more than a day, lol.

What are your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about it, compared to making your own music that appeal to you most?

In regards to challenges it would definitely be getting the right equipment, its expensive and not easily available in our country. It’s funny you asked me to compare it to making music...I actually do make music; I have a few tracks out. Come to think of it the two are exactly the same for me because I produce music the same way I DJ. It’s more about what I am feeling at that particular moment.

What do you usually start with when preparing a set?
A glass of mazoe orange crush.
What determines a set for you is it trends or is it long term relationships with particular tracks? Is there certain criterion for selecting what to play at a gig?

A little bit of everything. You want to always capture a crowd’s imagination first then take them on a journey. Old school music in the right doses and certain artists at the right venue helps to capture the crowd so does new school music but I have found that if you can invoke memories in your crowd, the night will be amazing. It’s always that “eish lengoma ntwana” moment that has gotten us in trouble.

Do you believe in the possibility of ‘reading an audience’ and how do you put it into practise?

Reading an audience is one of the fundamentals of DJing. And as a DJ it’s a skill you need to acquire if you hope to impact your audience or else you will fail at every turn. It’s basically stereotyping or profiling a crowd if I can put it like that. It involves doing your research if the occasion is specific like a wedding, an office party or a religious gathering.

How do you seek the balance between giving the crowd what they want as opposed to treating them to something new and your own experience so to speak?

When you are a DJ you are the master of your craft and it is your task to sort of seek that balance. I believe in mixing tracks that are well known, new and old but have the same hype and vibe; such that your audience can go from screaming to well known mainstream music to ‘we don’t know this track but it’s lit’.

What makes a strong transition from one track to the next?

Well it’s all about beat matching, knowing how the song is structured, there are certain patterns on different tracks that match, for example DJ Mustard usually goes ‘Yeah’ on most of his tracks and I’ve found that most songs have that and so it becomes easy to mesh. It’s like imagining the song in bits and pieces you have to know which part most appeals to the crowd, is it the intro, the chorus or the bridge or a certain hook. So song selection is very important. It’s chopping up the songs because; there are moments in a song that you cannot do without. There are certain drum patterns and baselines that are predominant in a lot of tracks and so aligning that on a different track will be seamless. It was a trick that Oskido used on a lot of his sets.   A good transition is finding the common denominator between tracks but it is very time specific. It’s like wearing a blue suit with a red tie, two different colours but together a great look (he laughs).

What makes DJing different from just pressing play on your playlist?

First of all your playlist is a personal selection, people have access to the same music that I have and so as a DJ I have a 75- 25 percent rule. The 75 is all the popular music out there but the 25 is how you sort it out, it’s that personal touch, it’s the art, that’s when you hear fans say “I like the way Kead mixes”. You can never reinvest something, accept that and make it work for you.  Taking into consideration other people’s influences makes it different from just pressing play.

You talked about making your own music, where can your fans access this music and what should we look forward to in the future?

It’s on all good music sites, ITunes, TraxSource, Beatport and YouTube as well. I also worked with Effort Gashu on a few tracks.  In 2016 I realised a local production, an album titled War after Victory Vol. 2016, a compilation of tracks realised locally because most of my fans could not buy my tracks on line. I am currently working on the prequel to War after Victory, it’s called Lost Directory Vol. 2017, which is scheduled to be realised later on in the year. It’s a compilation of tracks that were supposed to be “lost”. I also hope to travel and produce a lot of music.

If you had a time machine and you could go back to the time when you were fourteen, what advice would you give your younger self?

First of all don’t ask out those two girls, you have zero chance. If you meet Theophilus Ndawona, make sure you register Marantsa Ice Music Squads because in a few years time there will be an artist called Mims and you will make a lot of money from it, don’t let people take your CDs- protect your music, go to South Africa early. Everything you do is great, remember that always!

What advice would you give to up and coming DJs?

The road will be hard but believe in yourself and your art.

Lastly how do you pronounce your name?

Finally, I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this question! Kead rhymes with Dead and Wikead is pronounced Wicked. It’s actually a funny story how I got my name, I was called Kead at first and I was stuck trying to look for a surname since all the greats have a name and surname, , Otis Fraser, Kimble Rodgers, David Guetta etc. But I could not figure out what to call myself and my mentor at the time DJ Guns (may his soul rest in peace) in an effort to explain to him why in SA those who knew of my music would always say ‘Ntwana uyinja’, I alluded to him it was a derogatory term meaning dope or wicked -it was a light bulb moment - and Kead Wikead was born.



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