We’ve wanted to put this piece out for a long time but couldn’t. Why? One word, scammers. But, we ain't dwelling on the past because we're here!
It was a Sunday afternoon in April, not too cold outside but definitely not warm. I hadn’t been in Boston in months. Truth is I was excited to vibe with DJ Papadon because we’ve tweeted each other and spoke via social media for years -- literally years but, we’ve only seen each other once. I’ve written articles about him and he’s shouted me out a ton of times but we never got to link up in real life.
With that said, I didn’t take the on-camera interview approach I typically do with talent. Instead, I wanted to chill and enjoy spending some quality time getting to know DJ Papadon and what he’s all about.
Q: So how did you get into DJ’ing?
A: I saw DJ’s so I knew what a DJ was but, I was curious like, “Why do ya’ll love this shit so much.” Then I saw what music can do to people and that really just changed my life forever. I just wanted to play music.
Q: Do you remember your very first gig?
I can’t even remember because I’ve done so many small gigs trying get where I am now. But I do know I treated every single one of those gigs like it was the biggest thing in the world. I don’t care if it’s a baby shower, it could be whatever. I just had to do well.
Q: Do you have any DJ inspirations?
A: Honestly, it was my cousin-in-law Brent. He was able to control a crowd and that was so captivating to me – the fact that he could share how he felt through music. To me, that’s the most powerful aspect of DJ’ing so I admire any DJ who can do that.
Q: Do you have what it takes to tell someone you’re not feeling their song?
A: Depends on the situation. I can’t lie, sometimes it’s hard for me to tell someone I’m not going to spin their record because I’m cool with them. Some people can’t handle the truth or they have the wrong people around them telling them it’s dope and it’s not. I don’t know everything but I do have a good ear and I listen to so much music that I have an understanding on what has a chance and what’s not even there yet. But I do try to be open and I’ll give a few pointers on what I think (in my opinion) the artist can improve on but for the most part if the record is solid I’ll play it, if not – no.
Q: What do you think has made you this consistent and successful so far?
A: Being able to stay focused. I think it’s just my work ethic honestly. I don’t stop but then again I don’t see this as work. I actually love DJ’ing.
Q: Was there ever a time where you thought that this might not work out?
A: Yes, of course. I’ve been in numerous situations that were out of my control. DJ’s get blamed for a lot more than people know. For example, I can be at a party and something terrible could happen, God forbid, and they’ll blame the DJ. Or if I have the most support on the event it’ll look like it’s my fault. I’ve been blackballed before for stuff like that. I couldn’t spin at certain clubs because they thought I was bad news but I found ways around it. All I want to do is DJ – it’s not like I’m stabbing people in the club while I’m DJ’ing but people tend to blame the hostility on the music.
Q: How were you able to quit your day job and make DJ’ing your full-time job?
A: Well if you’re a DJ and you have to wake up at 7 in the morning eventually you’re going to say, “I can’t do this shit.” [Laughs]. The key is treating your hustle like it’s a job. People usually just see the superficial aspects of it all and because they see you doing your thing they think it’s easily attainable. But the truth is you have to actually really want to do this shit and treat it like your getting paid a million bucks. You have to be on time, you have to properly follow-up, be business savvy, have an understanding of contracts, all that.
Q: What kind of jobs did you have before DJ’ing?
A: Unfortunately I never finished college.
Q: Where did you go?
A: I went to Framingham State. But I went to Latin Academy in high school so I was fortunate enough to have a solid foundation and an undertstanding on how to get a job and the worlds expectations.
Q: Why did you leave college?
A: I tried to take a semester off. When I look back at it I don’t know why I left. I thought I had a reason to leave but I didn’t. I wish I would’ve stayed but then again I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Q: So what kind of jobs were you getting?
A: I worked for Citizens Bank. I was a fraud analyst. I worked at MFS too, but that was an internship. These entry level jobs I had started at 70K and I did that while DJ’ing
Q: What made you take the jump and leave a stable job?
A: I was definitely making more money working. The consistent money was good but when I decided that I wanted to take this DJ thing to the next level I knew I wasn’t going to be able to balance my DJ work and my day job. I remember talking myself into DJ’ing full-time like, “How can I support myself DJ’ing?” “What do I have to do to make this shit work?” I was thinking, I don’t have to be super rich but I can be super happy, and that was my goal – to be happy.
Q: What were you most nervous about?
A: Losing everything. Just going broke. Not fear of physically going broke because I would never let myself go broke but the idea of failing and putting the pieces together and starting over is what I feared.
Q: Was it a tough road?
A: Yup. Some people broke into my apartment and I lost everything – like everything. All my DJ shit, they took it all. It was like $5,000 worth of equipment.
Q: Do you think it was random?
A: Nah, it’s never random. I know who did it. But that changed my life. It made me go harder. 10x harder. I had to start from scratch and I was going hard because I remember thinking, “I’m never going to let somebody take this from me again.” I felt like I lost a child, I swear to God.
Q: How did you become Bia’s official tour DJ?
A: I’ve been rocking with Bia before the Pharrell cosign. But Bia has always shown me love and she’s always respected me as a DJ. The time we went to Hong Kong was the first time she even asked me to be down to be her DJ.
Q: How’s your relationships developed?
A: That’s the homie man. That’s my sister. We rock right now. Our shows are getting better and better. I’m telling you. Nobody is expecting what she’s about to come out with it.
Q: Do you think there’s a friendly rivalry amongst DJ’s in the city?
A: Some of us are friendly. The ones really doing shit are friendly.
Q: Who’s really doing shit?
A: I fuck with Sisco on a comparable level in terms of who’s always out and has there marketing together. Real P is my big bro, I’ve known him for like 15 years. There’s a lot more but, I don’t want to name people because then I might leave someone out that I do fuck with it. See, there’s no rivalry and a lot of niggas think that there is one. Like, you may feel like there’s a rivalry but I’m not even paying any attention to you. And people take that the wrong way. It’s no disrespect to you and what you doing but I’m doing something different over here. But the rivalry is there. I just don’t know if it’s friendly because there’s a lot of hate too. There’s a lot of love don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot of low key hate.
Q: Last question, do you think you’ll ever cut your dreads?
A: Idk dude. I’ve been thinking about that so much lately because its already super long and I almost killed myself in my sleep the other night. Idk man, the reinvention will come, I got to figure out a style first though [Laughs].
Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
A: Well right now I’m 27
Q: Yeah, and in 5 years you’ll be 32
A: In 5 years I see myself with a single on the radio that I produced. A solid record too! And still DJ’ing