Get To Know: Dj Target
The Wrap Up’s James Walsh recently sat down with Darren Joseph, aka DJ Target. From DJing at Wiley’s house to getting a show on BBC 1Xtra, the producer played a big hand in breaking the genre of grime, having been a part of the Pay As U Go Cartel before being a member of the Roll Deep Crew. The east Londoner takes us through his story of success…
"I've been at 1Xtra for six years now and the music that I love has come a long way in that time, let alone before then. I first started DJing at Wiley and DJ Slimzee's houses before going on to Rinse FM, where the Pay As U Go Cartel was formed and garage started blowing up.
At the time, events like Sidewinder definitely helped spread the word around the country and when 'Champagne Dance' went in at Number 11 I was still only about 19 years old. That was a mad time, we would be putting the music in the shops ourselves; every label wanted to sign us and it was around then that Wiley set up Roll Deep.
In Pay As U Go we had mostly met through Rinse [FM], but with Roll Deep we had all grown up together on the same estate. As Roll Deep signed to Virgin this massive grime scene was materializing.
The progression that has happened since those early days is unbelievable. We used to sit around and say "imagine if everyone listens to our music" [laughs]. Grime used to get slated; the scene was messy and there was a lack of infrastructure, but once one broke through, others began to follow.
Dizzee, Tinchy, Chip, Wretch, Professor Green… everybody's now kicking the doors down of the top 10 [chart positions] and it's happening before our eyes. You can also look at artists like Emeli Sande who represent our roots and especially Ed Sheeran who was performing at grime raves for years - we're not just running the UK scene but the world over.
I got involved with 1Xtra through a show we were doing there as Roll Deep. As I'd had experience at Rinse, the producers wanted me to control the MC's and host for four hours. They loved what I did and got me in for a few test shows. I started in place of Heartless Crew by myself and though that was daunting, I didn't turn it down.
The guest slot went on for about six weeks and at the time I didn't realise the station and Heartless Crew were parting ways, but that was six years ago and I'm still here! I guess I was at the right place at the right time and I've now got weekend shows there.
There's so much great UK music and so much quality that wasn't there six years ago and it makes my job better. Now everyone's on it and it's exciting to see people being so creative. My inbox is always full of tunes and while I can't fit them all into a three hour show, when I hear that something special - I know.
It could be a ballad or a grime spitter, I'm into everything; from the reggae and soul that my mum would play in the house to the hip-hop, r&b and jungle that I first listened to at secondary school. I'm not saying what I think is final, but I'm confident in my own ear. A lot of stations follow trends and are scared to put something out, but I'm happy to start the ball rolling.
I've recently joined Austin at The Hub Entertainment, from having known him for years at 1Xtra and when he started the company I knew it would work. I'm working on a load of projects with them; from putting on live nights for homegrown talent to a Target Twitter Xmas competition and building the radio show. It's exciting that Austin and The Hub understand and get it.
There was a crazy response to the 10 Years of Grime documentary I did [on BBC 1Xtra]; I even got an email from the top boss at the BBC who nobody ever hears from. Twitter went crazy and calls came in from around the world, so I'm going to be doing more on that side of things - I've got a real taste for it now. It just goes to show how far things have progressed and that there is plenty more to come."
Stay up to date with DJ Target on Twitter.
DJ Target was speaking with James Walsh.