In its own unique way, the landscape of the DJ culture is ever-changing, just ask DJ Pinye or CodeRed Styles. The art form of mixing on digital decks and turntables has experienced an ongoing creative expansion, meaning you constantly have to keep up with the new technology used, how you repurpose music to create new compositions and how to share it and perform it – and this is how Joseph Mwenda Munoru aka DJ Joe Mfalme has managed to stay as one of the most sought out DJs in Kenya.
DJ Joe Mfalme has been in the industry for quite some time now and one of the things that intrigues me about him is his work ethic – which is why I fought tooth and nail to get this interview. He first came into the limelight after the Pilsner Mfalme Dj Competition 2008 where he became the 1st runners-up. He later won this coveted prize in 2010, and that’s where he got his second name Mfalme.
If you closely follow him on social media, you’d easily see why brands like Safaricom, Coke Studio, Koroga Festival, Guinness, CBA Group and many more insist on working with him and his team. Aside from his shows on Capital FM – The Midweek Party on Wednesdays from 6-10 a.m, The RadioActive Mix on Thursdays from 2-3 p.m and The Heat on Fridays from 7-9 p.m, he also has a show on Maisha Magic East TV called The Turn Up on Saturdays from 12 p.m. Adding to this, he still has gigs on most of his weeks and still engages with other corporate event organizers for well-paying shows.
How does he do all this?
Well, Deejaying is nowadays has become more than just an art form of turning tables. You find more DJs dressing up for certain events because of the clientele they’re working for or trying to approach. They bring more to the table than just music, they bring an experience. For DJ Joe Mfalme, this is obviously not taken lightly. With an able team of photpgraphers and editors, whatever event you find him playing at, be sure to find him talking about it online like it was his own. As a client and his audience, you get exposure via photos and posters that are creatively captioned as well as strategic posts that are put up in real time.
Where did the passion to become a DJ stem from?
He says, “I’ve always wanted to become a DJ since i was a small kid. I was either going to be a DJ or a Military Pilot and I found myself inkling more towards deejaying because since I was small, my family was very music oriented. I used to watch Pinye playing on TV and at the same time my dad had Vinyl at home with a record player so i basically started to copy what I used to see on TV.
Did you have any formal/official training on being a DJ?
Not really because at the time, I could not afford classes at a DJ academy but i used to do barter with guys at the Academy. So I would take care of the academy and sweep
around in exchange of learning how to play
You’re one of the most online savvy DJs we have in Kenya. The moment you go to an event we always see your photos flowing on social media. When did you first start this trend and how has it helped your business so far?
I came up with the idea back in 2012 as a way of pushing my brand. Back then, I was using my phone so after doing a couple of gigs and saving up, I got a social media expert who cuts across as a photographer. I then bought my photography equipment and started experimenting. Right now people have followed the trend I’ve been using including clubs and we are now advancing to video very soon.
In terms of helping my business, it has given my brand and the club/concert more exposure. Seeing what added value both parties got, which included more bookings for me and my team, I simply added my rates because of the extra value.
For how long do you practice and come up with your playlists?
I practice every Monday and Tuesday for around 4hrs per day and in terms of playlist I come up with them on the GO. For radio and TV shows, I take at least 1hr 30 minutes to compile the music that I’m supposed to play on the show.
What are some of your most memorable moments?
My best moment was when I played at the Big Brother House. I had like 50 Million viewers across Africa and that made me do 3 more Big Brother House parties.
I have also been nominated at a couple of award shows both in Kenya and outside Kenya and I have won a couple of them and I’m really grateful.
How many hours do you spend in the studio? What’s the best part of your job?
I try and balance between work and play so my studio time really depends with the work scope. It can go from 30 minutes to 5hrs so basically it depends.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learnt in being your own boss and having your team around you?
The most valuable lesson I have learnt is first you have to respect your work and most of all run your race. Don’t compare yourself with other people.