DJ SOL – THE PLOT 2017
At the age of 14, you will find most boys on the soccer field or in front of a computer screen but you’ll have to look behind the DJ booth to find DJ Sol, who has been mixing tracks since he was only nine years old. Surrounded by music from an early age, artists such as Michael Jackson and Timbaland have influenced DJ Sol who is now DJing house music with a level of maturity well beyond his age. The support of his parents and mentors, such as L-Fresh the Lion, have led to DJ Sol landing some impressive bookings, such as Splendour in the Grass and THE PLOT, back for the third year running later this month. You can catch DJ Sol playing on the local 2150 stage at THE PLOT on November 18th, we caught up with him for a quick chat ahead of his gig.
My first vinyl set, that was really hard and I rapped as well, which was more than hard, that was embarrassing.
The Westies: When did you get into DJing?
DJ Sol: I was probably about nine. I had a Nintendo Wii, and I was playing a game called DJ Hero, it’s basically the same as Guitar Hero, but it’s a DJ game. That really influenced me a lot, and also my mum and my dad, they were into music, so when I was about four, I used to listen to Akon, Timbaland, and a lot of Hip-Hop. I am not really into that now, it’s more electronic at the moment.
The Westies: Then when did you go from playing on the computer to real decks?
DJ Sol: I had an app on my phone called DJ, and it was basically you get songs from your iTunes library, and mix them. I was liked mucking around on that and I said to mum, – I think it was for my… I think that was my tenth birthday – “Can you buy me some decks?” And she bought me a little one. I got that, and I played my first gig at a Year Six formal, for my mum’s friend at work, I think. I went from there. I was pretty embarrassed playing on that little thing!
Eventually, I was a bit naughty, and for my twelfth birthday, I conned my grandma into coming with me to Store DJ. I was supposed to buy a downgrade to the one I actually bought, it was a week before my birthday, and I was like, “Nan, can you buy me this?” It was about $2,500 at that point, and she is like, “Sure!”
But I didn’t get to figure it how to use it for about two weeks. Basically, I couldn’t get the sound to come out and I didn’t know what to do.
The Westies: Oh no! How did you figure it out?
DJ Sol: YouTube. I looked up YouTube, they said you need speakers, so then I had to buy a speaker.
I was on Sunrise about a month ago, it was actually a surprise to me, I was told I was helping out a friend, to do music for the background, but it was all about me, and I was the Suburban Superstar of the Week, I won $7,000. I got to meet Peking Duk, which was really fun as well.
The Westies: Awesome. How cool is that?
DJ Sol: It was probably the best days of my life.
The Westies: What did you spend the money on?
DJ Sol: I bought brand new decks. Now I’ve got a proper studio.
The Westies: What other opportunities have you had, where have you been playing?
DJ Sol: I played my first big gig, at Splendour in the Grass, in 2016. I played at Little Splendour, that’s the kid’s section of the festival. It was really fun. I met Duke Dumont, I made a lot of friends. I made friends with these two lovely girls – three – Indigo, Hanna and Sienna. I met them and we are still connected, we are hanging out. It’s a good experience to go there, because I met a lot of people.
The Westies: You were part of the 4Elements program in Bankstown is that right?
DJ Sol: Oh yes, I did the 4-E workshop for eight weeks, then after that there was the 4Elements Festival, where I DJ’d on vinyl. My first vinyl set, that was really hard and I rapped as well, which was more than hard, that was embarrassing.
After that I became very good friends with L-Fresh the Lion and Mirrah [Mentors on the 4-E program], and we just hang out.
They say that DJs aren’t true musicians. They actually are, they put so much work into being a DJ. It’s not playing a song and that’s it, you have to take time. For the Splendour set, it took me probably three months to make.
The Westies: What do you think when people say, “Oh, DJs— Anyone can be a DJ” ?
DJ Sol: I hate people that say that. They say that DJs aren’t true musicians. They actually are, they put so much work into being a DJ. It’s not playing a song and that’s it, you have to take time. For the Splendour set, it took me probably three months to make.
The Westies: Your next big gig is playing at THE PLOT in Parramatta on November 18th, do you prepare beforehand for a gig like that?
DJ Sol: Yes, totally. Basically, what I did, I picked about 20 songs, and I went to Andrew [Sol’s DJ teacher], and he thought what was best for the set, and he helped pick out the songs. It’s about 15 songs, that’s about 35 minutes and we figured out where to put them. It’s almost done, but I’ve still got to finish it.
The Westies: Do you get nervous before playing at a festival like THE PLOT?
DJ Sol: The first time at Splendour – yes, I was. But then I realised it was just kids, they won’t care if I mess up. But now, because it’s THE PLOT I’m like if I mess up, I’m done, my career is over. I have played to crowds before, but not really crowds that dance. It was more adults just sitting down. I’m playing at 6:10 pm so I am hoping it’s going to be a really good crowd. I’m really excited.
The Westies: What do you think has been the best part of your DJ career, so far?
DJ Sol: It’s not necessarily where I played, and the actual DJing part of it, I think it’s people I’ve met because I was having a very hard time at school, and I didn’t have many friends, because they all just left me. I have so many friends now, I feel like I’m wanted.
Interview: Katrina James
Photos: Portraits: Katrina James Performing: Chris Woe
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