Delano Thomas…the wheels of steel legend Image

by Biko Kennedy

Not many persons can brag about being a legend of sound, a veteran of music, and the one and only crowned Remix King and have paved the way and inspired many Disc jockeys and artistes alike in the industry.

As the founder of the one of the most renowned sound systems in the world, Renaissance Disco, Delano's name is synonymous with both expertise and entertainment. With an infinite number of accomplishments held to the Renaissance name, Jamaicansmusic.com caught up with the legend himself for a 'reasoning session'.

Jamaicansmusic: What made you pursue deejaying 24 years before the now legendary naming of the sound system by those set of Immaculate girls? And what was that defining moment that you said "Hey, this is what I need to do"?

Delano Thomas: I was exposed to music from an early age. My father was an electronics engineer and owned a sound system called "Plus X". He also used to build other sound systems and play music all the time. So basically I was born into music. Being around my father and the many selectors that used to be around and playing music; naturally I gained a passion for wanting to play music. Also, in my early teenage years, I became intrigued with break dancing and music videos. This also influenced the drive in me for wanting to play music...and not just play music but study it, learn it and play it well.

JAmusic: What do you remember as your first interaction with performing?

DT: Well I've been playing music from my prep school days. My very first interaction with performing was at my prep school Christmas class party. Everyone had to contribute something towards the Christmas party and I decided my contribution would be providing the equipment (my bedroom music equipment) and playing music for my fellow peers (laughs hysterically). My playing was so good and music was so loud causing my class to be over crowded that the teachers ended up moving me outside to play for the entire school. My first memorable interaction with performing was at a party called "Bere as you Dare". After I played my set, the crowd was so hype and ranting for more that Rebbie Chung (the promoter) had to pull the next DJ that was spinning after me off the set and put me back on to play.

JAmusic: One of the challenges you were faced with in the beginning of your career was striking the perfect balance of playing for an 'uptown' crowd versus a 'downtown' crowd. What was the key ingredient in accomplishing this?

DT: I think one key ingredient is to do your research in all genres of music and different music cultures. It's the tool in knowing how to read the crowd you're playing for. When you know how to read the crowd, then you know how to play for that crowd.

JAmusic: When you look at the ever shifting landscape of the music scene how does one keep on top of their game apart from ensuring that you have the latest materials and/or mixing styles?

DT: Always be ahead of the game

JAmusic: How would you define work, when work is a party?

DT: Simple, its work. While it's a party for everyone else, its work for me. My work is to make the crowd dance and enjoy themselves.

JAmusic: Playing for a major sound system tend to be the dream of many disc jockeys, what quality should said disc jockey have to secure a place on the Renaisance team?

DT: Qualities that a good DJ should have is a direct passion and love for music. Once they have that, the DJ will have a natural knack and ability to play music.

JAmusic: People often refer to music as the perfect addiction. What's the one element of music that provides that 'high' for you and why?

DT: It's definitely the beats. It gets me moving.

JAmusic: What in your opinion are the characteristics of a good disc jockey?

DT: If the DJ doesn't have a passion and love for music, then I don't think it allows him to play music outside the box.

JAmusic: What crowd/event/celeb you'd love to DJ for that you haven't before and why?

DT: I would like to play for P. Diddy's All White Party in the Hamptons. I hear its off the chain and I would love to bring my kind of flavor to a party/environment like that.

JAmusic: Was there ever a time when you were starstruck or surprised by a celeb at one of your sets? Could you recollect the moment?

DT: One time when I was playing in Miami, Wyclef walked on stage to toast the mic. That was a surprise because I didn't know he was even at that event.

JAmusic: Do you find it difficult to assess and judge your own work?

DT: Yes. I'm very hard on myself. JAmusic: It's said that you haven't experienced the true essence of a party unless Renaissance is playing. Why would this be?

DT: Hmm...where did you hear that from? (Chuckles)

JAmusic: What's the single track that you find yourself keeping on repeat for the past most (on your iPod/iPad/smartphone/laptop)?

DT: For now- TITANIUM - DAVID GUETTA FT.SIA

JAmusic: If you had to put together a perfect playlist of 7 songs, what would be on it and why these particular tracks?

DT: 1.DON'T WAKE ME UP-CHRIS BROWN, 2.CLIQUE –KANYE/JAY-Z, 3.BEHIND CURTAIN CHRONIXX, 4.LOVE DI VIBES –I-OCTANE, 5.GO HARD – WAYNE MARSHALL FT.VARIOUS ARTIST, 6.GYAL SIDUNG-KONSHENS/DARRIO, 7.DON'T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH-MICHAEL JACKSON…I pick these songs cause I like them and the reaction from the crowd is always crazy.

JAmusic: As a veteran looking back on your success story, what words of advice would you relay to a 15 year old version of you?

DT: If you love it, stick with it. If you don't love it, move along. It's hard work - and you have to work hard for what you want.

JAmusic: What's the one thing you'd want persons to always associate with the legacy of Delano Thomas?

DT: The DJ that innovated remixes (between different genres/styles of music) and expanding his musical talents all over the world. Three simple words: A great DJ.

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