SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

FEATURE: MISTAJAM

Posted on Sunday, 17 April by

SQ managed to catch up with leading Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ Mistajam in early 2010 to see what the future holds for British radio’s go-to guy for all things dubstep!

Until 2007 Pete Dalton’s enthusiasm and gift of the gab were put to practice making sales for a national credit card company, working average hours and earning a modest wage. Fast forward by only 3 years, and Dalton’s been renamed, re-jobbed, and his voice addresses a quite different audience, Radio 1 listeners. Not a bad start to MistaJam’s bid to be Radio’s best?

A mash-up of drive and talent has seen the Nottingham born DJ make the journey from Capital One to the capital’s biggest station, and with a cult audience growing larger by the day, the future of British radio shows no signs of applying the brakes on his ascent, and can’t wait to push new music to the masses.

“A DJ reflects what’s hot. Different DJ’s do different jobs. You’ve got some like Ras Kwame whose job it is to unearth new music, and then you’ve got myself! I’m a transitional DJ and what I do is reflect on what the others have found, and then push them further. It’s so important for me to keep an ear to the streets and helping force careers forward. If I’m going to promote a song on Radio 1 and 1xtra, two of the biggest stations in Europe, it’s going to have to be justified.”

The internet has really levelled the playing field and the music industry is now trying to catch up with the budding artist.

Alongside radio promotion, acts have now got a bigger and more accessible platform to promote themselves and their product on thanks to the rise and availability of online social media. A young DJ that looks to the future, MistaJam recognises the significance that this has taken in the industry over the last few years, and sees no signs of the trend slowing.

“There are so many ways people can get their music out there now. I’ve now started to use SoundCloud which is an absolutely unbelievable system. People can send stuff directly to my inbox, and if I like it I can download it. The internet has really levelled the playing field and the music industry is now trying to catch up with the budding artist. Gracious K got signed because of my support on the show, and that all spawned from YouTube.”

It’s not the only time MistaJam makes passing criticisms on the state of the UK’s record labels. 2009 saw huge success stories from independent artists, with Dizzee Rascal peaking at the Number 1 spot twice over the summer, and young artists like Bashy going it alone and reaping the critical benefits.

It’s the one worrying factor that Jam seems to think currently differentiates the music scene stateside, citing the recent and somewhat surprising triumphs of Jay Sean on the BillBoard chart.

“With Jay it proves that good music will always find an audience. What we’re lacking in the UK is that there’s not a great amount of really good people in the major labels. There’s very few who know what they’re doing. So many artist’s are getting signed and are being given the wrong producers, going too mainstream, leaving their original fan base, and then getting dropped. We need huge investment in good A&R people.”

There are positive black role models here in the UK, we just don’t always get to hear about them. Giggs is fantastic.

Yet while he seems to be losing faith in the ability and ethics of some industry figureheads, there remains an undeniable belief in the positivity that the Grime scene can bring, despite the constant bashing from populist right-wing press.

“There are positive black role models here in the UK, we just don’t always get to hear about them. We’re a long way away from having a Black prime-minister. It could happen in the future, we just need to remind others that we do have positive role models out there. Giggs is fantastic. He came from nothing, from a life of crime. He’s now making music, he’s a businessman, he’s signed to the biggest independent label in the UK, and that is positive. He’s paved the way.”

With artists like Giggs being the future of British Music, what’s the outlook like for the man who’s broken through some of the most successful acts of 2009?

“I want to have a Terry Wogan career. I’m doing what I love now, and I hope to just continue. I love music, I love my job. It’s amazing that I get to chat rubbish, play music and I get paid for it. I love it.”

With a recent move to a prime late night weekend show on Radio 1 drawing promising figures and building a strong base of listeners, MistaJam’s influence can only grow stronger, bringing about the changes within the industry that should see the dawn of a new decade set a fresh standard in British music.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.


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