We had a chat with Timothy Kaume on a bright Thursday afternoon. He is the Official DJ at Muuga FM. A young, bubbly energetic guy. He was off work. He goes by DeeJay Mista Tim. He was born in Tigania West, Kagaene, Mbeu. He is the last born of two children. Here is a little about this young chap.
Did you always want to be a DeeJay and how did you learn how to DJ?
I always wanted to be a DeeJay since high school. It’s been my lifelong dream. After high school I told my mother that I wanted to go to Nairobi to learn how to deejay. She did not take me seriously. When I came to my cousins’ place in early 2012 I joined DJ Kym Nickdee’s Academy. I learnt for only three months. I was a fast learner. He taught me the basics and then I was on my way. I had to keep practicing to learn more and more.
What did you do after that?
After I finished went to Mombasa. All this time I was looking for a job. While in Mombasa my mother heard of an advert in Muuga FM that they wanted a DJ. This was around December 2012. She called me. She listens to Muuga FM a lot so she told me to go to Muuga FM offices and present my papers. I took a bus that evening from Mombasa and went to Royal Media Offices the following morning. I talked to Mbaka Muriuki. My interview was to play one afternoon and wow the listeners. I played and people called in about how much they enjoyed the music. After elections in 2013 I was told to wait for a feedback. We had an agreement that I would play for a day without a contract but with a token at the end of the month. I used to play every Friday afternoon. I kept up with my job for nine months.
My patience paid off. I was given an official in January 2014. I was expected to go to work on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. From 2:00 pm-6:00 pm except Sunday which I go from 10:00 am -1:00 pm. And that is what I have been doing to date.
Tell me about being a DeeJay?
It’s fun. I enjoy it very much. Apart from Muuga FM I take gigs at clubs, events and even house parties. Clubs pay better for gigs but if you get a bad manager who doesn’t honor their contracts then it’s very demoralizing. It is common since people assume you do not do much. Yet they expect you to bring your own Deck, Mixer and Laptop. Most of these people do not want to pay for the machines they want to only pay for your services and they will not provide any machines.
How do you decide what type of music to play?
When playing in a club or anywhere else you must read the crowd. You can’t just play anything. You watch the age groups of the people present. You play a little of one type of music and watch how people react to it. From there it’s easy. When you learn the ropes of your work it’s easy to know what a certain kind of people enjoy.
What was your parent’s reaction when you told them you wanted to be a DJ?
My mother was against it. She wanted me to do what she considers a normal course. Go to college for business, nursing or any class taught course. She was not for this so I had a very hard time convincing her. My dad was not worried. He told my mum let him do what he wants to do. My mother thought I would grow locks and start taking drugs since that is what the music industry was like to her.Now she is so proud of me. She bought me all my DJ equipment.
What has been your experience as a DJ?
When I went to work at Muuga I knew I had to bring my own equipment. I bought equipment worth roughly Ksh 150,000. Some of the equipment is out of date now and I had to upgrade. It’s an expensive venture. You must keep investing in yourself and your equipment.
When I do gigs I enjoy playing in clubs the most. They pay better but if people do not know who you are then you will not get gigs. So being on Radio helps you build a fan base. This fan base is the one that will bring you gigs and attract a crowd when you go to play anywhere. It’s a balancing act.
Most DJ’s undercut each other. If I go to a club and negotiate a deal and then a little later someone else comes else with a better deal they will take the DJ who is cheaper. That’s how we undercut each other. I might have done it without my knowledge even.
We also have to buy music or share music with each other. But buying is better since you know exactly where you got your music from. Officials from MCSK have a tendency of harassing people for their music. When you go to play at events and they do not have a valid MCSK (Music Copyright Society of Kenya) you get arrested. So it’s necessary to ask questions before you accept a gig.
Are there many DeeJays in Kenya?
Yes there are very many. You would think it’s not an industry with many people but it is flooded. It’s good for competition though and it keeps you on your toes.
Whom do you look up to and what drives you?
I look up to Joe Mfalme. I hope to meet him one day. My passion for music is my sole drive. Music makes me tick. I also eventually want to go back to school possibly take a course in music. Then finally start a music recording studio. At the moment I am happy with the pace at which my life is going and I thank God for this far.