Decoding Demakufu: Meet DJ behind popular matatu music mix
Written by demakufu on August 21, 2017
Pulse: Your mixes are everywhere; how do you manage to put out so much content?
Demakufu: It is all through hard work and persistence. I used to look up to DJs such as DJ Lyta and DJ Kalonje who used matatus as the foundation of their careers, which is also the right platform to get your work out there; and now people can listen to my mixes.
P: How many mixes do you have?
D: So far I have twelve mixes that I have put out but that is just the beginning. Now that I’ve found this new fan base I will definitely give the fans more of me.
P: How did the name Demakufu come about?
D: When I started this business, my stage name was actually DJ Firstborn and it stuck for a while. During the early days in my journey I needed to record a drop to use in my mixes so I hooked up with a guy that was supposed to record it for me. Instead of “DJ Firstborn”, he said “Demakufu” and right there I knew I wanted to use it. Demakufu sounded unique so I embraced it.
P: DJ Firstborn? Are you related to DJ Lastborn?
D: No, we are not related.
P: The industry doesn’t come without its intrigues, what’s your story?
D: Being from Dandora, the music culture is alive and that is how I became a DJ. Back in 2012, I tried to break into the industry but since I did not have the equipment or the right connections, I failed. I worked in Industrial Area for a while to make ends meet. After seeing my dedication to the craft, my father bought me a mixer and the rest is history.
P: How long have you been in the game?
D: It’s been three years now and it has been a blessing. I first started out small but my mixes are available in matatus plying Rongai, Kayole, Dandora, Githurai and Umoja. People have been sharing them and they have ended up in many other parts of the country.
P: Being in the spotlight means a lot of scrutiny from the public, how’s that going?
D: Developing a set of values and boundaries has helped me a lot especially when it comes to the ladies. Also, I got to learn that what I thought of celebrities before I became one is not really what I thought it was. Trying to remember who I really I’m is what gets me through.
P: Can we say you are handling your new found fame well?
D: Well, I have been able to handle fame by keeping up with my daily routine; using healthy outlets to relieve stress like spending time alone, eating well, resting and keeping up with my other responsibilities. I am excited and gratified about my success but balancing my life has helped me to be a role model in the long run. You should let your fame be another element of your life rather than the only thing you focus on.
P: What is next for Demakufu?
D: My hard work, creativity and talent has made me conquer Kenya, now what’s next is to make my name known beyond the Kenyan boundaries.
P: It is a cliché question, but can you say you live off music?
D: Music has not only played a big role in my life but also pays enough to take care of my bills. For the past three years I’ve depended on this craft to feed my family so yes it does. In fact, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya should consider paying us (DJs) better royalties. The last I checked, MCSK told us we should pay to play thus they should pay us to play. Without us, the artistes can’t make it to the top, that is where we come in
P: In your own words, what are artistes not doing right in relation to having a societal impact?
D: There are artistes who are not able to give the fans what they need. Most just sing about the glamour lifestyle but forget to use the music as a tool to instil values in the society.
P: A word to those that would like to take after you?
D: Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Do not compare your success with others but make sure you progress. Otherwise you’ll lose hope in your craft.