Michael Weekes, aka DJ MikeDelick, knows the value of continuing to learn in order to stay relevant. Ever since he purchased two turntables and a mixer when he was still in high school, the self-taught DJ has been working hard to broaden his musical knowledge base. “When I started DJing at the Black Rep back in 2004, [founder] Don King basically forced me into playing a bunch of different genres, from house to jazz to Latin to reggae,” he says with a chuckle.
And while Weekes jokes about King’s iron fisted rule, he actually seems grateful to have received the push. “I grew a lot as a DJ during my weekly residence there with the Neon Soul Collective. I miss the Black Rep,” he says. “You really have to be well-versed in a variety of different music in order to make it in Providence. If you just do one genre you get pigeonholed and people won’t hire you.”
These days, Weekes keeps it fresh by spinning a wide variety of music at venues across the city. “I prefer to play deep house, but I do a weekly club night at Fête that’s called Goldmine where we do explorations in music. I DJ at The Salon as part of the AfroSonic Collective and also every third Saturday there with DJ Dublin for Soul Teknology,” he explains. “Dublin and I have a live percussionist. I think the kids dig our sound.”
He notes that “the whole laptop thing” has made new music more easily accessible. “I’m a musical hoarder,” he says with a hearty laugh. “When I go out I always have my Shazam on. I’ll watch people’s reactions to the music and say, ‘I really have to get that song.’ It’s an expensive business. You can’t just download the type of songs I play for free. Most of them cost $1.99 or more.” He pauses. “I also have a day job.”
Club goers may not realize how tired the DJ is on any given night. Most hide it well. “I played on New Year’s Eve after the Mos Def show at Fête,” he says. “I had to go and work the next day. Sometimes the hours kill you. It’s also difficult to be a DJ nowadays because you’re expected to promote yourself – create and distribute your own flyers, do your own social media. I’m not the best self-promoter.”
Why does Weekes keep spinning on despite the lack of sleep, the rising cost of digital music and the increased pressure to become a social media guru? “I get to help give people a good time,” he says simply. “Knowing that I’m responsible for people’s fun is the best feeling. It makes being tired worth it.”
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