With June being African-American Music Month and National DJ Month, it’s only right that I highlight some amazing African-American DJs. It’s a plus that they’re females too!
Who is DJ Legatron Prime?
DJ Legatron Prime is a multi-genre DJ/artist who’s brand has a specific focus and involvement in the African American community and of building spaces for those of color. She believes in community and support of the local artist scene and her peers, with special emphasis of building with fellow female DJs.
What influenced you to become a DJ?
At first, I really had no influence. Growing up being a DJ wasn’t something as talked about as being a doctor or a teacher. I wanted to be in music but didn’t know how or what I’d do that made sense for me. I decided to become a DJ off of my first experience with turntables. I was curious about how they work and once shown and was left to figure out the rest, it became very apparent that this was something I could be great at. It was like a light switch went off and from there, and after being pushed and reassured by my friends, I began my journey in 2012; just a sophomore in college with a $200 numark controller. What pushes it forward a little bit more was wanting to create a space for people like me. At that time, all there was, was college clubs etc and being in college I did what any college would do. But going to those clubs felt like the same thing, same people, same atmosphere, same music. I’ve never been big on clubs but I always have a good time regardless but I knew I didn’t want that to be me. I also knew there were people who felt the same, who wanted to hear different music, to hang out and chill and that’s what I felt needed to be created and I was going to do that. I respect the club but I wanted to be different from the club but still have that level of fun at the same time.
What was your first DJ experience like?
My first experience was very chill. My friends Jocelyn and Irie of the Rosebush wanted me to dj their open mic event called B.A.R.S ‘Bringing Acapella Rhymes’. I had released a few mixes over a few months before getting my first gig and my talents weren’t fully formed so there was some nervousness but all in all I was around friends who supported me.
Do you break records or only spin what’s currently popular?
I do a little bit of both. There’s definitely a time and place for certain new records and that’s something up to the DJs discretion. Not every song is meant for the club or lounge or day party, etc. But I do like to play around with a few songs to test out the reactions of the crowd.
If any, Who has been your biggest career influence?
If any, it’s really my peers. They all push me even without realizing it. Iron sharpens iron.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is seeing everyone truly enjoying themselves. Letting go and just having fun. Often times than not, I feel we’re so confined in our own space and ways that we can’t enjoy the moment or even further, we can’t enjoy a song we’ve never heard. I love when people commit to being in that space as themselves, free of judgment.
What are some of your biggest challenges as a DJ?
Some of my biggest challenges are the mental games that I play with myself. Some times I get in my head and that impostor syndrome starts jumping out. Also, anxiety. I get really anxious at points in my set that can be attributed to me becoming nervous, thinking I’m not doing a good job. And truthfully a bigger challenge that I’m facing now as I grow is not losing myself in the music for the sake of people. At the beginning I played a lot of things that I liked that you wouldn’t normally hear and that what got me noticed by a lot of my supporters and people I’ve worked with. Then into my residency at the Dragons Den as the night expanded, I started catering more and more to the crowd. So I was losing some of myself in a sense that I’m not connected to the music that I feel like I HAVE to play and not WANT to play. I’m not big on radio hits, although I do play them, and I do play the ones that I can rock with myself. It’s a give and take and I’m learning that I create the space and I create the vibe with the help of the crowd sometimes.
What has been your “Mama, I made it moment”? If you don’t feel that you’ve had it, what do you feel will define that moment?
I have three. When I was contacted by Saint Heron to DJ their “Coldest Winter” party celebrating the 9 year anniversary of Kanye West ‘808s and Heartbreaks’ in 2017. More recently, being recognized by Off Beat Magazine and nominated for my first ‘Best of The Beat’ award! I, along with four DJs that I look up to, were nominated for “Best DJ” at the end of 2018. Didn’t win but it meant so much that I’m being put in the same category as the legends DJ Soul Sister and Raj Smooth. Lastly, is being able to DJ full time. Being my own boss, making my own money and creating a life for myself without authoritative boundaries. I was tired of committing to grow and keep afloat someone else dreams and I can’t even water my own. I’ve struggled but I made it and it’s worth it.
Do you feel that music transformed in the hands of a DJ? In which way are you actively trying to create an experience for the audience?
Yes! Each DJ has a certain style and a great DJ can be able to turn anything into their own. DJing is really the last art form of Hip Hop. When I start my set, the first question is ‘Where am I taking them? Where are we going tonight?’. Its a journey that I want to create throughout the night so that their night is memorable. I want all the singing and dancing ones heart desires. I want you to stay even if it’s a little hot because that’s how much fun you’re having. I play around with a lot of decades, do the 90s oldies, your favorite cookout songs, our black national anthems like “International Players Anthem”, to our favorite ass shaking songs and trap hits.
In your opinion is it harder for a woman to become a famous DJ than a man?
It definitely is. Some times like you need a gimmick just to get on. They’re already preconceived notions of whether you’re good or not or if you’re intentions are right being a DJ. I use to get so many slick comments from men like “Oh, you sure you know how to work those?” in reference to my technic 1200 turntables and a favorite of mine “So who’s the DJ?” as I’m standing behind my equipment that they’re seeing me set up. But I always get the “Damnnnn you had it rocking” type comments after I showed them better than I can tell them. I use those things as fuel. I’m REALLY about to show out now.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a DJ?
1. DO IT. Don’t worry about the cost, everything high. (go to americanmusical.com where you can buy equipment and pay on it monthly).
2. Don’t listen to what other people say in terms of your equipment. A lot of old heads will complain about you using a controller because they had technic 1200s (which are heavy AF) and used vinyl and now everything is digital. Do you because some of them are using a controller now too. You’re still a dj with it or without it. Vinyl is pretty dope though.
3. Know your sound and stick to it. If you know you only want to play x type of music, do that. If you want to be diverse, do your research and do that. Do not put yourself in situations or gigs that don’t match you as a DJ.
4. Branding is important. Who are you. What do you stand for. What will you allow. That’s another way of attracting followers and clientele so that you can DJ events that you’d like to do.
5. Networking. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other djs. Some may respond but don’t get discourage if some don’t. Create your community and show your support to people who you genuinely would like to be around and work with.
6. Be patient. Gigs don’t always fall from the sky. That’s where networking comes in. Also dropping some mixes and promoting the hell out of them definitely works as well. Starting out some gigs may be low paying or no pay at all but if it’s an event that aligns with you, take it and rock out! You can meet your next potential customer and fan. It’s not all about the money sometimes, but the experience when first starting out.
7. BE AUTHENTIC. People really love authenticity and realness. Be yourself.
Name one song you can spin for any occasion.
Honestly, Back That Azz Up or Blow The Whistle. Old people love it, young people love it.
Name 5 songs from your personal playlist.
Tyler the Creator – I Think
Kaytranada – Dysfunctional ft. Van Jess
GoldLink – U Say
Megan The Stallion – The whole Tina Snow project TBH
Smino – ZFL
runner up: Thundercat – Friend Zone
If you weren’t a DJ, are there any hobbies you’d pursue fulltime?
Fashion, design, and vintage. Before DJing, there were those 3 things. I have my bachelors degree in Apparel Merchandising and Textiles from Southern University in Baton Rouge. There, I learned how to really sew, make patterns for garments and other things and throughout my college career I worked at several retail stores like Express and Urban Outfitters, but more notably Time Warp Vintage Boutique where I went deeper into my love for vintage clothing. I’m planning to own and operate my own vintage boutique soon. Also getting back into design where I can make my own clothes.
What’s next for Legatron Prime? What can we expect?
Next is a few solo events I plan to bring to the city, designing merch and working closely to an artist. A DJ showcase, another monthly party until the winter, and moving one concept from one venue to another. One of a kind Merch for my brand which is going to be more ready to wear than the regular merch you see. More remixes with local artist and definitely traveling and linking with other DJs in other cities so I can really take #PrimeTime on the road. I want to continue to grow with certain artist who I vibe with but also want to get into production so in the next year or so, be on the lookout for a producer tag from me!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
#PrimeTime EVERY Saturday at the Dragons Den. 10 pm, 21+ and FREE AF! Support black-owned businesses, support black artist, support your peers.
Heres all my contact info:
Find my latest project Chopped & Blu w/ Luna Loxx on Spotify, Apple music, Tidal and Bandcamp!
We have merch as well on our band-camp site!