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DJ Icon Interview

djicon

DJ Icon Interview

DJ Icon is a veteran DJ from Leicester who has earned himself a reputation for being one of the cities best known homegrown DJ’s. He not only plays in many of the cities bars and club, but also has his own radio show and when you begin to read the interview, you realise just how excited he is about everything that he has works on.

LM: Can i just thank you for taking the time out today to answer these questions. Firstly, what is your full name?
ST: Simon Philip Testatonda

LM: What is your Dj name?
ST: DJ Icon

LM: How did you get your DJ Name?
ST: Its short for Iconoclast which means a person who attacks or criticises cherished beliefs or institutions. The name comes about because of my views and standpoints on life and what’s going on around us right now! Those of you that know my Hip-Hop sets will have a better idea what I mean here….

LM: Where do you come from ?
ST: I’m Leicester born and raised, but I’ve moved about over the years. Living up north, down south in London and abroad in Italy oh and Holland as well – coming full circle and returning to live in my home county.

LM: How old where you when you began to express an interest in music?
ST: One of my earliest memories I have is being three and playing records on my parents record player. My mother worked for a radio station and she would bring home vinyl that the djs were getting rid of. My parents had quite an extensive record collection of all sorts of genres and styles and I think this was one of the very things that fuelled my eclectic taste from a young age.

LM: What inspired you to want to become a DJ?
ST: I’d always had a passion for music, but never knew how to channel it until I discovered djing in my late teens. Back then I started on vinyl playing funky house and as my skill progressed so my mixing catalogue widened and I started to incorporate all sorts of music into my sets. I started producing my own tunes a few years after discovering djing and I truly felt that I’d found my calling within music in both djing and producing for myself and others.

LM: Who where your musical inspirations when you grew up?
ST: I was inspired by all sorts of music and people. I was always into such a wide range of musical genres, from Hip-Hop, Rock, Classical and Reggae to name but a few. I think I drew a lot of influence in my teens from James Hetfield (Rhythm Guitar and Frontman of Metallica) because of his energy and song writing skills, which captivated me and to this day I still love Metallica. I also loved Incubus as they were one of the first bands to have a DJ as part of their line-up. I also loved Cypress Hill, they were one of my favourite Hip-Hop groups and they shaped my early tastes in Hip-Hop.

LM: When did you first realise that you wanted to begin performing in front of live audiences?
ST: I don’t think there was a point when I felt that I had to play in front of a live audience, it was more a point where people talked me into doing it on a bigger scale, so I could show exactly what I could do. Many of my friends felt I could take it further than just playing small private gigs for friends and house parties for family.

LM: Can you remember your first live gig?
ST: I’d done private parties and felt in a comfort zone being surrounded by people who knew me and what I could do. But my first real professional gig was at Enerji (Formerly Superfly – now XY). I was lucky enough to get recommended for a slot they had free and I was given the chance to play. So I rolled up to the club, a complete bag of nerves and started to play. Before you knew it, I’d found my zone and started to make my mark – but this was just the beginning of a steep learning curve.

LM: Do you play any musical instruments?
ST: I’d always wanted to learn piano as a kid as I was captivated by classical piano and the feeling that came from certain pieces and sonatas and i can still play, albeit a little rusty.

LM: What local artists are you listening to at the minute?
ST: I must admit there’s a massive wealth of local talent at the moment in Leicester but I’d say Shinto ‘$hinto’ (Trap Producer and DJ) is one of my favourites at the moment. He’s doing really well for himself and producing some excellent work and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him before on nights and he’s got some serious production skills. I’d also like to name drop the HGT team as our DJs and MCs are making some amazing work at the moment. The whole group is going from strength to strength and making ground on their own solo careers as well as being a collective group too.

LM: You have several radio slots, can you tell us a bit more about them?
ST: Well I’m part of Home Grown Talent (HGT) which is a Leicester based bass music group that puts on events in Leicester. We’ve been going for well over a year now and slowly built up a solid reputation as one of the leading groups of bass music DJs and MCs in Leicester. We hold regular events at Canvas and Longbar and have brought some of the best up and coming acts in drum and bass to our nights. From this we guest appeared on Moschino Jay’s show on Demon FM and he liked us that much that he recommended us to the station manager and we were offered a slot on a Tuesday night from midnight till 2am doing the HGT Show. I’ve also just secured a new show on Radio 2Funky which begins on the 21st of November at midnight till 2am which is called the Urban Multi-Genre Mix Show. I’ve always had strong links to 2Funky, being part of their artist enterprise course a few years ago which was one of the main catalysts for pushing me to play out in public and get radio work.

LM: What message do you have for any younger people who are trying to make their name in music?
ST: One of the things I’m quite big on is being true to yourself and keeping your music real in terms of where it comes from and what it stands for. I feel many young artists strive for fame and fortune and deviate away from the whole point of music; which is making a reflective piece of the artists experiences or life. I don’t think you can rush your career, its a long-term development over time which takes effort and a lot of hard work, very few make it as overnight sensations and these sorts of acts have no longevity. So if you’re looking to make it in the music industry, take your time and progressively develop your skills and sound. You’ll get noticed sooner or later if you’re good, again it boils back down to hard work, effort and little bit of luck and remember, patience is a virtue!

LM: Finally, what other things do you do to help promote yourself and your musical career?
ST: I do all kinds of things to help promote myself, but such as life is, its not all about taking and there’s giving too and I’m currently in the process of setting up DJ workshops for youths in the Loughborough area. Its a great way of interacting using a common interest such as music. I do hold a residency at Topps in Barwell which gives me a platform to play all sorts of music in my usual cross genre style which makes for entertaining evenings both for myself and crowd. Obviously there’s the radio work which is great way of getting new people to listen to you that normally wouldn’t listen to you, but still appreciate good music. Then there’s all the self promotion in terms of interacting with the public via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. I’m also in the process of working towards setting up my own studio and down the line operating a record label; ‘Redefine Records’ is my long term game plan, which I hope will bring through new artists and people I’ve networked with throughout my career. Finally there’s all the work that goes into HGT and the promotion of our nights at Longbar, where we takeover the main upstairs bar once a month and do our bass music nights, so all in all I’m always busy doing one thing or another – it really does make life interesting at times!

To find out more about DJ Icon you can visit his Facebook Page or Mix Cloud or Soundcloud

We also have a couple exclusive mixes put together by DJ Icon especially for Leicestershire Music which we will be putting out shortly.

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