In the wake of Avicii’s death, it was observed that a lot of Nigerians are conversant with the genre EDM with a lot of DJs, radio stations, media houses churning out support for the Swedish celebrity with a lot of people genuinely vibing to his songs, it is safe to say EDM has a tangible amount of supporters in the country.
With that said, as a creative I am always going around looking for innovative sounds and guess what might be the new gold mine; EDM. EDM is an acronym for Electronic Dance Music made largely for raves, it has characterized largely by its drug influenced themes making its experience an euphoric one but that is not we are here. Funnily enough EDM is catching up in Nigeria (without the drugs of course) as our DJs are infusing it into their set, one of those pioneers here in Lagos is DJ Bobby Blench.
Mendie Ahma is a Disk Jockey, producer, script writer and all round creative, the search of perfection, the search of something new, a man that likes to search. My Craft sat with the creative and had a beautiful time talking about his journey.
My craft: How did you come about your name “Bobby Blench”?
Bobby Blench: Bobby is a pet name given by my mom. Kinda love cause it got this warm effect to people and blench was a name given to me by a friend that was German cause I’m shy
My Craft: Do you believe you are shy?
Bobby Blench: Lol I know I’m shy but I fight it when necessary.
My Craft: What state are you from?
Bobby Blench: Akwa – ibom
My Craft: When did you know “I will be a DJ”?
Bobby Blench: Err I can’t say for sure. I just felt Djing was something that I had a peculiar presence. Of which is none existent in the country. Just want the world to hear my own representation of art
My Craft: Did you learn under any one or it was self taught?
Bobby Blench: It was all self taught
My Craft: What does Djing mean to you?
Bobby Blench: It’s a hobby that has a bigger picture than my success. I see my prescene if successful being highly positive to so many people
My Craft: What genre of music are you comfortable with playing?
Bobby Blench: Electronic music in general… Which includes house and trap
My Craft: That’s a relatively new genre in Nigeria. How do you intend to achieve that?
Bobby Blench: Err the plan initially was to go guns blazing. That’s play songs that I loved but obviously many Nigerians wouldn’t know.
My Craft: So do you experiment a lot of EDM on your set as a DJ?
Bobby Blench: But after seeing how the industry works alil bit… I understand I have to recreate melodies Nigerians know and love with my own soundsso they are more willing to learn and love songs they don’t know, though I do a lot of crowd reading before I play any type of song at all. If the crowd’s right or ripe for EDM then I drop it… If not play what’s best for the crowd if it’s within my own kinda sounds.
My Craft: How do you find EDM most appealing?
Bobby Blench: Yeah it’s a group of genres that has a whole Spectra of songs to suit almost any kind of emotion you’re in.
My Craft: What’s the reception like when you play EDM?
Bobby Blench: With an average crowd the atmosphere is normally astonisment cause of the difference of sound and structure… They would be skeptical about it at first but with the right harmonies they enjoy it eventually.
My Craft: What EDM song do you start your set with?
Bobby Blench: It varies. But due to the way I label my library there are songs I call happy or jump starters. The have extended intros, melodic drops or popular vocals. For example if I wanna introduce EDM from a Nigerian playlist songs like Calvin Harris we found love which I label happy starter cause of it’s melodic drop and popular vocals is a good option as far as you sync it right
My Craft: As a DJ and also a frontier in pushing EDM In Nigeria, do you think your craft is appreciated?
Bobby Blench: Truthfully. No, I feel the craft has been stereotyped by both professionals and audience wish. Also it’s wildly underestimated in Nigeria. So many potentials are not viewed yet.
My Craft: Have you worked on any music projects personally?
Bobby Blench: Have a few I’m working on currently, but mostly projects with friends.
My Craft: Who is the biggest influence in your career?
Bobby Blench: Don’t really have any tho… The likes of Skrillex and Calvin Harris come to mind.
My Craft: Do you have any DJ in Nigeria you get inspiration from?
Bobby Blench: Nah, though I hold ppl like Jimmy jatt and humility in high regards for pioneering the industry to where it is now.
My Craft: Where do you see EDM in the coming years in Nigeria?
Bobby Blench: In at least the next four years I feel there would be a stable EDM platform hopefully with pioneers like me. A blend of contemporary melodies and vocals with EDM structures.
My Craft: What’s the most embarrassing moment you have had on set?
Bobby Blench: Not had any major one yet but one that I recall recently was an incident at a gig at landmark. I was about rounding up my set and the next guy was supposed to enter but he wasn’t ready and due to their sound structure at that time the moment a DJ wanna switch the aux is removed at there’s this overwhelming silence for as long as it takes you to plug to the next DJs equipment. To summarize the next guy’s setup was so sloppy I had to remove the aux almost 5 times and it still wasn’t producing output. At a point one of the audience agressively threatened me not to end my set not unplug the aux. The gap between how I eventually ended my set and how we fixed the problem for the next guy was quite embarrassing for me as a professional.
My Craft: Wasn’t it a win win for you?
Bobby Blench: Lol yeah but that guy’s sloppiness had created a bad impression for me also as a professional. It’s a win for my brand but it isn’t for the craft.
My Craft: What’s your take on EDM and its drug influenced vibes?
Bobby Blench: For me, Well firstly drugs are bad. EDM doesn’t make you take drugs, people do that on their own free will and choice so generally it’s a personal decision not a music induced vibe
My Craft: Do you have any quote you live by?
Bobby Blench: Live a life that creates a positive chain reaction to your environment or world in general and treat and love people that you meet well cause you never know who or what’s gonna bless you.
My Craft: What are your social media handles?Bobby Blench: @djblench on Instagram and @bobbyblench on Facebook, SoundCloud and Twitter