By Jillian Rago
DJ Smartiez has made a name for himself in Toronto’s club scene but has since broadened his horizons with VIBE 105. He is a resident DJ and music co-ordinator at the station.
As a Music Co-ordinator, Smartiez organizes and participates in some of the station’s most prominent events. One of which is the annual 24DJs, a battle between the top DJs from Toronto and around the world.
When he isn’t organizing and participating in events, Smartiez decides what songs are played on air. His current mixes can be found on his Soundcloud and website.
His work with VIBE is not limited to the Music Department. He created a news series with Fantazia Mas, a renowned Mas band. This series ran during Caribana, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture in Toronto, two years ago. In this series, they discuss the politics of playing Mas and respecting this tradition.
Smartiez wants to continue to push the limits of music and culture through his work. As a DJ, he hopes to influence and bring awareness to Caribbean culture.
He speaks about the diversity of Toronto’s culture and the responsibilities of individuals to continue growing this culture. “The key to any culture growing is keeping its foundation,” he says. He believes that in order to do this we need to start by empowering individuals to create and influence culture.
When asked about what he likes most working VIBE, he says it is creating influences that help shape the cultural narrative of our city. He speaks of Toronto as a city undergoing a “new wave of creativity.”
He believes that for young people, it is easy to get started as a DJ, or in another creative industry.
The music industry is changing but no matter what, “you have to put the work in”. He says for young people looking to get their start as a DJ, you should not expect things to be handed to you.
“I had someone come up to me, just starting out, asking ‘when I can play a set for the next party.’ It doesn’t work that way. Hard work identifies hard work,” he says.
On his experiences of honing his craft and making a name for himself, he says: “What would take me five years to learn, can take someone five hours, today.” Technology has never been more readily available. It is up to the individual to take advantage of it.
His advice for up and coming DJs is to “find your niche and make that what you are."
With the music industry changing in Toronto, Smartiez has plans to DJ internationally. His advice when experiencing new cultures in different countries is to “embrace it from different angles. DJ-ing here and in other countries, I try to embrace the culture as much as I can around the world.”
This year for DJ Smartiez is full of events and new projects. With VIBE, we can expect him at 24DJs, this May 7th and 8th.
He has some international dates coming up and even some music production up his sleeve. There are exciting things to come from DJ Smartiez in 2019 and we cannot wait to see it!