WeKnowTheDj Wednesday: Dj Tdot

December 4, 2013


They’re the people that get you going on a night out or the ones that make the long drive home in traffic just a tad tolerable. They remix your favourite songs just when you think you’re sick of hearing them and keep you updated on all the new music. Although we don’t discriminate any music-related news, at WeKnowTheDj we hold a special place in our hearts for Dj’s!

This week we’re introducing a local talent from Ottawa, Canada-although he’ll probably be found just about everywhere else in the world. He brands himself under #TeamNoSleep with all the work he’s putting in daily, so we sat down for a quick interview to get to know Tyrell, better known as Dj Tdot.

Just before getting started he did mention to us the loss of his voice, but this only spoke of his devotion to his job. After all, the life of a Dj is a constant party, true?

He was branded the name “Tdot” back in high school when some of his friends heard Kardinal Offishall say it in a song, but it became his own after that point on as more people got to know him, the more the name stuck.

You started at 13. How did that happen? My mom’s friend was Scott Boogie, he’s the one that started hot 89.9 in the city- he was a Dj. I used to see him DJ and I used to tag along when I was 12/13 so I would get into all the clubs and hang out with him and see what he was doing. Then I said I could do this myself, so I started doing my own all-ages parties when I was 13. I would charge people 2 bucks to get in. The first one, I had like 200 people there but as the weeks went on there were like 600+ people. So at 13, I was making a lot of money. It was just by inviting friends and friends inviting friends.

With a foot in the world of music, he wasn’t about to dive in yet. Tyrell went on to pursue one of his first passions, which was basketball. After his basketball career set off in Kingston playing for his school team, he put Djing on hold but once he was handed his check at the end of the season he realized it could be invested in a Dj career. That’s where it started.

When did you realize this isn’t a hobby? I’d say at 17/18. They gave me a bad club night at first. I was djing on a thursday night when the club was empty and I just used all my promotion skills to get everyone in there and it became one of the biggest nights in the city. I knew I had something special to get people to come out.

How do you handle a club like that when it’s empty? You still play like there’s a thousand people. Even if there’s two people in there, those two people will tell their friends and it’s just multiplication. You always gotta play like you’re playing for a celebrity or for a superstar or the President or Prime Minister or what, right?

So what’s the genre of music you’ll be spinning? I’m kind of all over the place I play everything. Hip Hop, a lot of people love me in hip hop. A lot of people love it when I play house. I have a radio show where I play top 40. I have two residencies where I play hip hop and another where I play house then top 40. There’s no genre I can’t play. Maybe not country… country… nah, not gonna happen.

Do you change your music based on the crowd? I usually read the crowd because regardless of what the promoter or club wants, its what the people want.

So what do you listen to yourself? I listen to nothing I play, to be honest. I listen to more hardcore hip hop like 50 Cent. Young Jeezy, so that kind of stuff doesn’t fly in the club. A lot of the early Jay Z.

So you’re into Early Jay Z ,but what about the recent Jay Z? Magna Carta? The recent Jay Z is alright… but I’m not about listening to your money and your wife and all that. I’m good. I’d rather hear about your struggles on your way up.

What sets you apart from other DJ’s? The way I MC. I like to engage the crowd, talk to the crowd. I can read the crowd really well. And the way I mix. Some DJ’s don’t mix anymore they just drop songs. Mixing is what it is. I really take music seriously, so I’m 24/7 music.

So what’s keeping you busy 24/7 right now then with music? Well we just opened a new club, The City. I work for the biggest radio station in the city (Ottawa’s Hot 89.9). I work with another company that does all the prom’s and school dances in the city so we have every single one of those and I travel a lot. So it’s just work.

That new club, what’s the concept? Its an urban nightclub for two nights so Friday is more of a reggae, cultural and saturday is hip hop and r&b. The other two nights it’s more top 40 and house.

Why’d you decide to open a club? Were you not interested in any of the clubs already open in the city? Well it’s not that I’m not interested, people weren’t interested. No one was going out and all the clubs were empty. If you go out on a Friday night, clubs are empty so someones gotta do something.

How about some new projects? I do a special event every months called Nature Nocturne. It brings out about 2000 people to the Museum of Nature. We’re now looking at our new year on that. Trying to bring some artists on and make it bigger and better. It’s by far the best party in the city. Halloween we had 2900 people.

So with all these projects that are going on, what is your ideal objective? I really want to be an artist touring DJ. I really want to find an artist and just tour with them be able to do what I do here, everywhere. (Like our very own Dj Tay James!)

What was your favourite experience as a DJ? Being in Cancun when Akon was an hour and a half late. So they needed someone to talk on the mic and no one could do it. I wasn’t even there to DJ I was there to just hang out, it was my night off. It was in the early stages of my career and they asked me “can you keep the crowd calm?” and they gave me the mic. I had butterflies in my stomach like crazy ’cause there was 9000 people there. So I took the mic and killed it. And killed it to the point where I was telling the Dj what to play and I was MC hosting and most people even said I was better than Akon’s performance but I mean, maybe they were trying to suck up but I felt like I did a good job.

Is that when you realized you had this talent in being an MC? Oh yeah. Well, from that, they kept me down there for month and a half to host all the events. So I hosted Fabulous, Fat Joe, Akon, LMFAO, who else… Young Joc, Clinton Sparks, yeah.

In all your experiences, has there ever been anyone you met that really stuck? Snoop Dogg. I worked for Universal Music on the street team. I do a lot of putting up posters, giving out CD’s, doing CD release parties stuff for clubs. So, Snoop, on his way to Bluesfest saw all the posters we put up outside. When they introduced us as the street team, he came over and he started telling us how much he respects us and how we’re such an important part of his work. He wasn’t just a celebrity at that point he was cool dude. So 100% Snoop Dogg.

Do things ever go wrong when you’re Djing on the spot? Yeah. I mean I’m old school so I play with turn tables, so when I ask the club to have them ready for me they say yeah, they have them. And when we get there, they haven’t used them in 6-7 months because everyones on CD players. So when I get there the turn tables are broken, or one of them is working and one’s not. So I gotta figure out some way or how I’m still gonna kill it with half a shoe basically.

What do you want to be known for? I just want it to be known that if you’re coming out to one of my parties, you’re gonna have a hell of a good time. You’re probably gonna lose your voice just like I’ve lost my voice right now, you’re gonna know all of the songs I’m playing and you’re gonna scream all of the songs I’m playing and then when I bring on a song that you haven’t heard in a while it’s gonna hit you somewhere and make you go “shit!” The next day you’re gonna go home and download that on iTunes cause thats what I brought you to.

What’s the one mistake DJ’s make? This is technical. They don’t know how to beat match. So their screen goes black and they won’t know how to mix the music. Because they don’t know what the actual essentials of being a Dj is. They base it on a program that makes it easy. They press a button that will sync up both songs but if you lose that sync button, you’re not a Dj anymore.

What was your best crowd? I’ve had two. Once in Punta Cana with LMFAO. That crowd it was in a cave with a castle on top so everyone was amped for that place and I opened up for them and tore it up. Anything I played, they went nuts. Then I brought out LMFAO. The next time was Djing with Lil Jon. He’s a funny character and he’s a really cool dude. Made me drink about a half a bottle of patron. Cool dude though and down to earth.

Does your name grow after all those big events? 100%. Even when I go to Cancun. Funny story… one of my friends came down with me and was with me the first time I was down there. He went down the next year and he’s a DJ as well. So when he was there, all the clubs booked him based on me. Knowing “oh you’re the guy with Tdot.” So they put on the flyers, “Dj Tdot’s homie”  or “Sidekick” so basically just ’cause he was with me down there, he got some gigs from it. So I mean, people down there know me. A lot of people in the states add me on Facebook and twitter because they heard me play out.

Who are some artists your admire or would even want to tour with? Oh if i could tour with anybody, it would be 50 Cent. I’m a hug 50 Cent fan. Right now I’m working with a couple artists, there’s Kid JD, he’s local. He’s getting out there a little bit. Erupt, we play him on the radio now. So yeah he’s another one to look out for. He’s got some big music coming out and big YMCMB features who are already on it.

Dj Tdot’s top 5 favourite songs right now: 

YG – My Hitta ft. Jeezy, Rich Homie Quan

Young Dro – F.D.B

Rich Homie Quan – Some Type of Way

Drake – From Time ft. Jene Aiko

Big Sean – Milf ft. Nicki Minaj, Juicy J

If you could give one advice to younger DJ’s what would it be? Put some really, really good thought into your DJ name and a concept where you can brand yourself.

5 years today. Where are you? 5 years today… never really thought of that. I mean, hopefully touring with someone. If not, putting some singles out myself. Just bigger than what I am now. I don’t want to stop. it’s a hill and whatever I’m at now is just one step and I’m trying to get to the next step. So if right now 100k people know me, I need 300k to know me by the end of the 5 years. Just gotta brand myself across Canada and tour Canada a lot more. I wanna go out west.

Next few years, I’ll be in Toronto. Ottawa is only so big so you can’t get too crazy. Def Toronto or the States is the next move.

How has Toronto grown more than here(Ottawa)? It’s turning into a New York, LA and everyone is coming It’s gonna be one of the best cities to party in soon. The year after is the NBA All Star Game weekend there. People are amped about that because they love Toronto.

So do you think it’s a lucky break or hard work that gets people up there? Hard work.

Is that how you’ve built yourself? Yeah. A little too much work but I’m always thinking, when I’m sleeping or working. Always about the next move. If you’re stuck in one place you’ll fail. You always gonna think of the next 3 moves you gotta do.

banner - Dj Tdot

Among all the things that is keeping him busy, he’s always staying open to new tasks. As the new official Dj for the Ottawa Hawks basketball team or through his radio show on Hot 89.9, he’s bringing a better music experience to you locally and world-wide. His sights are set on travelling across Canada now closer in the West.


Make sure to follow Dj Tdot on twitter (@ilovedjtdot) and catch him on the turn tables near you.

Keep up with weknowthedj.com & our twitter @weknowthedj for more updates on Dj Tdot in the coming months!

-Sara Soulati (@SaraSoulati)

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