When did you start DJing – and what and/or who were your early influences?
First, I want to say I’m honoured to be a part of this. I have seen other artists featured and I feel like they should have their own category. Nevertheless, here I go.
I started DJing in 2015, growing up with music in my household, both in Cabo Verde and in the United States of America (Rhode Island). My Grandfather (“Djicai” Henrique Moniz) was a well-known musician who seems to have imported that love for music to my mother, who played all kinds of Cape Verdean (& American music) at home. My parents also took me to Cape Verdean parties so I had love for music from early on.
Along the way, I lost some contact with CV music in my early teens, but then rediscovered it through my good friend Terza (now Dr. Teraz Lima-Neves), who got me back on track. DJ Guelas was probably the first DJ I looked up to for as long as I can remember. I know him all the way back to high school but got to know him a bit more through Terza.
When I started getting serious about DJing, I took some musicality workshops in Portugal via DJ To’ Costa as I was not able to get in touch with Guelas since he lived far from me. Eventually I reached out to DJ Oscar B.A., who got me started on the right path and challenged me to think professionally. I also got some help along the way by David Campos (DJ Amodias) and Roland Simmons (DJ PhillyBoy).
However, my biggest break came through meeting Patrick Equagoo (DJ Pat) online. This changed the way I DJ’ed; his techniques were more in line with the way I think about things. Undoubtedly, he is my biggest influence, and I consider him not only a mentor but a big brother. I’m appreciative of all these gentlemen. From afar, I have appreciated the skills of DJs like Sponky, DJ Pingusso, Mirokikola, & Ecozinho. With all this being said, I wouldn’t be a DJ if Jasmine Perez did not encourage, push, manage, and support me in DJ’ing.
What are your pre-set rituals or what you do to prepare for your set?
I think everyone knows that my favourite pre-set ritual is to drink some wine. This helps me to relax. By nature, I tend to “over-focus” on a task that is in front of me. Wine helps take a step back and allows the creative juices to flow, in addition to executing the more technical aspects. Some people don’t agree with this, but this is my approach.
I like to go to a venue early to setup in case I have to resolve issues. I like to be punctual when it comes to events. I tend to play other music besides kizomba before an event just to have something else to vibe to. If I’m making a mixtape, I like to eat before and during (laughs).
What’s been the best event that you’ve ever played in and why?
This is a tough one. I could name several, but if I have to pick one, it’s probably the Steel City Weekender, in Pittsburgh USA. The crowd was electric all three days. People were constantly coming up to the booth, excited about the tracks that all the DJs were playing (of course by Oscar B.A, and I can’t forget Mike, DJ D’aco).
In addition, it was the first time I felt very comfortable in front of Oscar (laughs) as it can take a while to be comfortable in front of someone you learned from (laughter). I felt I played well all three days even though it was “just” a weekender, there was this great family atmosphere, and the vibe was amazing. The people appreciate good music! (Honourable mentions to Dawn of the DJs, Solas April 2017, and KizN The 6ix 2017 etc. etc.)
What advice would you give to upcoming DJ’s?
Find mentors. Find mentors! Practice lot. And I mean a lot. Don’t be afraid to fail. I have probably learnt more from my mistakes (and still do). When appropriate take risks and do events that “scare you”. Lastly, have fun! If you’re not doing something you’re passionate about, then why bother?!
Outside of music, what else do you do to relax, hobbies & interests?
You mean there is something else besides music?! Just kidding. I love to dance, and I also enjoy teaching it. Travelling would be the next thing on my list. I want to travel to as many countries as possible. I like watching Netflix when I get a chance.
I also follow sports, I’m a big New England Patriots & Boston Red Sox fan, but to be honest I hardly have time to watch games anymore. So ESPN.Com is my #1 site for sports information. I love the beach; it’s my place of peace! I love to joke around so I very much like to read memes (laughter).
However, I am also interested in serious topics like social justice & history. Lastly, I enjoy reading anything from Esther Perel. With all this being said, being with Jasmine Perez is probably my number hobby/interest.
Follow DJ JAIR: https://soundcloud.com/jairthekizwiz