dahJah began his musical journey at the age of six. His parents always had parties, at one of these parties he was allowed to play a few records and people danced. He was now hooked and had the fever. He and his father always went to the record store where his father would let him pick out records to buy and couldn’t wait to bring them home to play.
dahJah began making mix tapes with one turntable with a technique he and his other dj friends called pause button mixing. With cassette tapes and the right deck you could pause the record on beat and pause in a next record on beat to give the illusion of switching from one to the other as one might with a mixer and two turntables.
By about 15 he was dj’n parties but always had to come home by last bus, eventually building up his funds to buy a mixer and two turntables and also doing radio on 94.9FM CHRW at the University of Western Ontario.
He started taking drum lessons as well with the Ontario Conservatory of Music. Through the conservatory himself as well as his classmates would enter drum competitions that were province wide. In two of these competitions he placed first in Ontario. The drumset he used at 15 is now refurbished and used in his studio today.
From there his dj career took him to various dj competitions and then to the biggest of all, the DMC dj competition where he placed 3rd in Canada.
Where we’ve seen many fade away in the music business, the blood that flowed through the veins of dahJah seem to get thicker and stronger where music is concerned. He started working at General Motors at the age of 21 building locomotives. Although he hated the job, many of the people and the politics of the work place it was his way to afford buying studio gear as he was now moving into production along with the dj’n.
His first recorder was an Alesis MMT-8 which was a midi recorder a Roland D5 keyboard and an Alesis HR16B drum machine that made the softest of sounds. This is where he learned to stack hardware equalizers to make the soft drum sounds strong and phat.
When the Roland VS-880 came out he bought one of those; it was the digital recorder that changed how things were done in the studio. At CHRW he learned to cut, paste and splice Reel to Reel tape with the block, chalk and razor blade, even though the first preparation of cutting and splicing tape was with 8 track and cassettes. With the VS-880 you could do all the same editing digitally and with 999 levels of undo plus it had 64 virtual tracks under the first 8 tracks.
From the VS-880 he moved on to the 1680 and then the 2480. He couldn’t stand the idea of using a computer and mixing with a mouse, he’s always been a hardware guy and still is. He refused to go the computer route without having the hardware to go with it so he could keep his hands on knobs and faders.
Since dahJah is a turntablist he uses his mixer and turntables like how a guitarist or saxophonist uses their instrument. This made it much simpler to mix music tracks in studio and having knowledge and the feel of where different elements should be placed in a song such as effects, breaks or samples etc, in a track.
After receiving tracks more often to work on that were more than the 24 track; the VS-2480 he was using became a bit cumbersome handling the tack count efficiently. He finally decided it’s time to go the computer route and did much research on what hardware can go with it (The 2480 actually has something like 384 Virtual tracks but you can only use 24 at one time, the others were good for comping or taking different takes to be comped later.) After choosing this system he went to further his knowledge in the business starting off with a course in recording and audio engineering at the Audio Institute of America. After that he went on further to study at the Berklee College of Music, studying Music Business, Project Management for Musicians and Art of Mixing.
Finally after making the decision to quit the factory life at General Motors and go fully into his passion of mixing music, this is now what he does full time in his Mixing Lounge studio. Recording, arranging, editing and mastering also go on in the studio but Mixing is the part of the music world he loves the most and has immersed the most energy into. His mixing clients come from different genres in the rock, reggae, hip-hop, r&b and acoustic fields from different parts of the world.