DJ SEMTEX – STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Setting up turntables in front of 100,000 people at Glastonbury and kicking off a live performance gives you a confidence that never leaves you. DJ Semtex can control an audience at any concert, club or festival. To him, it’s all the same thing: it’s about moving the crowd and his impact on thousands of people stirs up a memorable collective ‘experience’. This is the kind of intuition that only comes when you know that you can achieve anything when you set your mind to it.
It all began with the power of the mixtape for DJ Semtex, and that power today has reached a new state of prominence for artists. It’s no longer just a promotional vehicle, it’s also a way to leak artist demos, a debut album, and a million-selling soundtrack. Being an MC never appealed to Semtex, but seeing Terminator X for the first time under the spotlight with Public Enemy inspired him to become a DJ. He put the wheels in motion by distributing his own mixtapes, and taking to the streets to promote himself everywhere, from the barbershop to the record store. Soon enough he was hosting numerous pirate radio shows, cutting up records, spinning at house parties and launching his own club nights.
Once that fuse was lit – nothing could hold Semtex back; fast forward two decades and Semtex’s trajectory has seen him rock the stage at major festivals as diverse as Glastonbury and Reading, appearing as the opening DJ for Hip-Hop heavyweights such as Kanye West, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Wu-tang clan, J Cole, and many more. From ‘Boy In Da Corner’ to ‘Tongue n Cheek’ Semtex was Dizzee Rascal’s onstage DJ for several hundred shows, Nas requested his onstage skills for a tour of Germany, as well as Rick Ross, Travis Scott, and Iggy Azalea for shows across Europe.
“I always wanted to travel around the world, and when I started deejaying I never realised where it would take me. I’ve deejayed on every continent, across many countries. It really is the best experience; meeting different people, rocking different crowds that don’t speak the same language”.
DJ Semtex is a sight to both watch and listen to. He will shut down your city and blow the roof off any club. Technically, Semtex is one of the most unique DJs within the world of Hip-Hop. He is a certified beast on the decks, innovatively cutting and scratching with his mouth.
Clearly half man, half amazing, he is an exceptional personality who has the power to influence the masses in many ways. Semtex's career trajectory has taken him from a pioneer in street marketing to an expert in artist development. He has consistently proven his acumen in understanding how to connect to the youth market and tune into their personal experiences in an authentic way. Semtex approaches this audience with a clear insight into both how to engage young people and raise profiles for artists, brands and organizations.
He has become one of the most instrumental, valued and respected figures in the music industry, creating an aura around the UK as the Hip-Hop capital of Europe. Lauded by award winning and prolific artists; “Semtex helped me launch my career,” said Kanye West at the 2005 Brit Awards.
Hosting the U.K.’s cornerstone Hip-Hop show on BBC Radio 1Xtra with his weekly show live from London, Semtex has also broadcast from New York, Miami, Houston, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas. He has hosted shows from some of music’s most high-profile events, including the Philadelphia leg of Live 8 as well as the Mixshow Power Summits. Everyone from Kanye to Drake to Vic Mensa has been introduced to the UK via Semtex's seminal show. His infamous interview with Lil Wayne is featured on the multi-platinum selling documentary Mr. Carter, and his recent series of BBC documentaries have included profiles on Macklemore and Rick Ross.
Featured in publications from the Guardian to Music Week, interviewing the likes of Jay-Z, Eminem and Nicki Minaj, hosting parties for Kanye and Mariah Carey, it doesn’t stop there. Semtex sees collaboration possibilities and has for example introduced British Electronica duo Chase & Status, to Reggae’s Damian Marley and Chronixx. A seminal figure online, onstage and behind the scenes, he’s also worked as a Senior A&R executive at Universal, and as Director of Artist Development at Sony Music. Semtex has brought us award-winning, chart-topping, multi-platinum and critically acclaimed artists across musical genres, including Iggy Azalea, Chase & Status, Maverick Sabre, Mr. Hudson, D'Banj, and Fatman Scoop.
Further cementing his status as one of the UK's sharpest talent-spotters for the best new emerging artists, Semtex curates and hosts his own concert series for live performances: ‘Arrival’, debuting US acts on UK soil. Previous guests have included the hottest new artists in Hip-Hop - Joey BadA$$, 2 Chainz, Future, and Pusha T to name a few highlights. 2015 will debut a killer line-up of more cutting edge acts vying to breakthrough in the UK
Hip-Hop has raised a nation of billions spread across the globe, infected and affected by the music, the lyrics, the style and the experience. Hip-Hop culture dominates the media and popular culture in a transformative way, from The New York Times to The Guardian, BBC and CNN.
“I say, thank you - thank you for recognizing the cultural significance of what this art form represents – Welcome!” – DJ Semtex
Semtex has been educated by the likes of Public Enemy, KRs1, raised on the psalms of Nas, and Jay-Z, mentored by some of the best executives in the game. He is a champion of new music and recently crowned ‘Hip-Hop Mastermind’ on a special edition of the legendary BBC TV series.
DJ Semtex has been introduced to, invited, participated, and accelerated Hip-Hop culture. He is an unquestioned authority who is sought after not only for his influence but also for his take on who is authentic. A co-sign from DJ Semtex is like a direct passport to the U.K audience.
“It isn’t a job or a career, it’s a lifestyle,” he insists of his unrelenting work ethic, dedication to Hip-Hop, "I love the way the culture constantly evolves on a daily basis and I want to help it grow and contribute to wherever it goes next," says Semtex. "I don't see what I do as a 'job', its something I live. I love that culture. Hip-Hop changed my life."