Friday, 14 November 2014

DJ DELISH (Pump Da Beat, Philadelphia) INTERVIEW

One of the best, up-and-coming young producers in ballroom right now is Philidelphias DJ Delish. His productions take the genre's cut-up house style and add a grimey, percussive twist that ftis right in with all things Night Slugs/Fade To Mind. Wanting to know more, I fired Delish some questions about his style, influences and the vogue scene in Philadelphia...

Who is DJ Delish?

I would say Delish is another extension of my musical talents. I think Delish is still finding his way but I think he's done a good job of that so far. He's still young and learning but far from an idiot and a newbie. He's someone that I'm glad I was able to create for this world, someone who's name I wanna see in lights one day, someone who has all the passion in the world for the music he generates. DJ Delish is also someone who comes to the club/ball eager to make the night a memory.

I know you walk balls, or have done anyway – what is your category?

Well, voguing was what I was doing before I really got into the scene so I always had an itch to get out on the floor. I have walked a few balls, mostly First Friday's for fun, though. I've walked Virgin Performance which is basically the beginning stage of becoming a vogue femme in the ballroom scene. I've been walking that category for close to a year and a half.

How did you get involved in the ballroom scene in the first place?

The story behind the beginning of my involvement is strange to some. I was born in a Baptist, Jamaican household so one could really wonder how I ended up doing anything that involved a "spin" and a "dip". I was at a good friend of mine's house one day, in Northeast Philadelphia, and she played "I Don't Like That Bitch" by Jay X (Karan). The tempo of the song made me think it was a Baltimore Club song but when I went home to look it up and listen to it again, I found out that wasn't the case---at all. I found a plethora of vogue clips and just went through each one, becoming more and more interested as I went along. At the time, I was still in highschool so I wasn't able to attend any balls, as they would take place after my curfew so I continued to 
absorb the scene, or however much YouTube would allow me to absorb, and started teaching myself how to vogue, practice commentating and even make a vogue beat. Once I turned 18 and was allowed to be out of the house past a certain time, I befriended a few ballroom participants who began to teach me some of the terminology; like "Shade", "Read" and the forever famous "Work!" As time marched on, I started making more beats, becoming better and better and before I knew it, I was asked to DJ a ball in Richmond, Virginia; the first ball I'd ever attend. After that ball, I took a slight break from everything and moved back to Philadelphia, a huge "ballroom city", where I soon joined Pumpdabeat and became one of the resident DJs for the Breakfast Club which has been host to the ballroom scene since 1998. 

And how did you get into djing and producing in particular?

My father has been a DJ for the past 25 years so I'd like to believe that the want to DJ was already in my blood from birth. I would sit in his basement and listen to him play for hours and be amazed at what I'd see him do. How he would DJ would inspired me heavily as a child and that same excitement carried on into later years where I would have eventually started learning to DJ myself. I would desire to move the crowd the same way he did. 
My producing started at the tender age of 13. As a teenager, home computer music programs helped me learn how to produce music, make music edits for performers and create voiceovers. Those experiences have made me do what I do now. 

You're developing quite a distinct sound – who are your biggest production influences? What sets you apart form other ballroom producers?

I would have to say Chocolate Puma, Todd Terry/Black Riot, Masters at Work/Bucket Heads, Green Velvet/Cajmere and Vjuan Allure are my biggest production influences. Each has such a unique style that is so innovative and interesting, it motivates me to think of something that I wouldn't even think I could do. 

The thing that I think sets me apart from other ballroom producers is where my inspiration comes from. I usually don't get inspired by past music, I get inspired from sounds; regular, every day sounds, like a bird cawing or a car tire screeching. I find the rhythm in those things that have no rhythm at all and make one for it. 

What are your non-ballroom musical influences?

It's so many. Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone,  Queen Pen, Foxy Brown, Queen Latifah, The Gap Band, Skyy, Lil Kim, Craig Mack, Busta Rhymes, Chip Fu, Curtis Blow, Ludacris...and the list goes on.

Tell me about Pumpdabeat – who is in it and how did it get started?

Pumpdabeat is a musical cross section of ballroom consisted of active ballroom participants. To me, it is what you need for your cars, your headphones on the local transit system, in your speakers as you're in your dorm room. Basically, Pumpdabeat is for your vogue inside and outside of the club/ball. Our sound gives you the ability to allow the ball to be wherever you are. All of us, at one time or another, have walked a ballroom floor and that has permitted us to understand the passion behind the rhythm in the music. 

What can we expect from DJ Delish in the near future?

Simply put, the best that I have. I'm working on more new music with my PumpDaBeat family members and working on a CD with Kevin JZ. I'm also putting together another album that will be out in the springtime of next year. In the meantime, I'll be putting out battle beats, vogue session "Ha's", R&B songs, Live sets and more. In the meantime, you can check all of my live sets & hottest track on my Soundcloud ( and Mixcloud (

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