Doin' the Damn Thing:
Toronto DJs making some noise: Reddy Fox...
I met Richard (better known as Reddy Fox to all of you club hoppers) a few years back when we used to work at the world's crappiest music store (I would love to say which one, but I'm not tryin' to get sued!). Who knew that the guy who used to give me the bomb-ass mix tapes would have blown up so much!
All summer long I e-mailed Reddy to let him know that I really wanted to interview him for the website. He was cool with it and would always respond, "I want to do it. Just let me know when." We tried to hook up a few times, but it never worked out. (Damn guy, you are way too BUSY!!!) Finally, on a night that we were supposed to hang out with some friends, we decided to conduct an impromptu interview in his car, on the way to the lounge.
First off, I must congratulate my friend for all his success. Not only does he DJ exclusively for Kardi (Kardinal Offishall), he works at Flow 93.5, and he DJs at tons of clubs in the T Dot.
Being a nosy sista, I had to find out exactly how he got the opportunity to be Kardi's DJ. He said that in early March of this year, Kardi needed someone to DJ at a concert that was to be held in Jamaica. Kardi originally asked another DJ, but that DJ was forced to decline since he was unable to leave his prior commitments. The next logical choice for Kardi was Reddy, seeing that they were already friends. Reddy accepted the offer and was off to DJ in sunny Jamaica.
Since then, he has been DJing live shows for Kardi across Canada and abroad, and told me how much he enjoys his job. He said that before Kardi does a show, they discuss the songs that he wants to perform and in what order he wants to perform them. Throughout the show, Reddy makes sure that the next song is cued up and ready to go. "Sometimes he'll change things and decide to do something different, and I have to be ready to have that next song cued up."
I wanted to know what the best thing about his job is, and he said, "I have the opportunity to go to places and see things that I wouldn't normally get to see." Sometimes he feels like he is "paid to do nothing" because he is having so much fun at the shows. (Oh, you know your grrl is jealous!)
Even though Reddy is makin' that dough and able to jet off to DJ at a moment's notice, he has worked long and hard for his success. He started DJing in '96 when a couple of his friends toyed with the idea of getting into the DJ game. They were all interested in music (they used to make their own mix tapes and circulate them to their friends) and had visions of starting a soundcrew. Reddy was a little hesitant at first because he wasn't sure if they could make any money from it. It took some time but they eventually convinced him that they could do it. They formed a soundcrew and called themselves "Final Four." It consisted of three DJs and one emcee.
When they initially formed the group, Reddy did not have a clue how to DJ. It was Super Nova, one of the other DJs, who gave Reddy some lessons. As they worked at perfecting their skills by performing at several venues (and on radio - they had a show on CHRY 105.5 FM called "Show Time," where they performed hip hop and R&B from midnight to 2:00 AM every Thursday night. It is now performed by DJ 4 Play), they unfortunately started arguing. They argued about who should DJ, how much money they should charge for their shows, and how they should promote themselves. When they grew tired of disagreeing, they decided to call it quits in '98. "We were afraid that the soundcrew was going to compromise the friendship, so we ended the soundcrew to maintain the friendship."
In November '98, Reddy re-entered the DJ world and started DJing on his own. He even went back to school to study radio broadcasting at Seneca. He has since graduated and was one of the lucky students to land an internship at Flow 93.5. After completing the mandatory hours, he was offered a position at the station as a Board Op.
"My job is to be at the station during a live-to-air broadcast (i.e. when Flow broadcasts from a nightclub). While we're broadcasting on remote from a nightclub, someone has to be at the station to make sure that the levels are fine. I also play commercials and communicate with the announcer."
Although Reddy sees himself "gravitating towards radio and becoming an on-air personality," at the moment he is very content DJing.
He loves observing the reaction of the crowd when they are totally feelin' the music. However, he admits that sometimes he'll play a track that hasn't been released, and the crowd will immediately stop dancing and stare blankly at him.
"As a DJ you have to break new music…especially if you know that the song will be huge. People will remember you as the DJ who played the song before it was popular."
I was kinda curious and I asked him if he was aware if he ever broke a song. He said that he wasn't sure, but said that he did play Missy Elliot's "Work It" after hearing it for the first time in New York, long before it hit Toronto. When he came back to T.O. and played it at a club, the crowd looked at him like he was crazy. Their reaction didn't bother him because he knew that it was going to be a big song. While he was playing it he thought to himself, "I guarantee two months from now you will be lickin' shots and dancing hard to this song." Hey, y'all feel real stupid now, don'tcha?!
After Reddy and I arrived at the lounge we promptly ended the interview. The 30-minute drive was like a trip down memory lane. I remember Reddy getting his hustle on back in the day and trying to make it as a DJ. I remember staying up to catch his show on the radio, and giving him props whenever I listened to one of his mix tapes. I just want to tell you: I'm proud of you, Reddy!! ¤ Michelle