Barnabas Otieno, aka DJ Mantix, is no stranger to rocking super clubs, festivals, high-profile parties and underground jams on a global scale.
With over eight years’ experience , a string of industry awards like Chaguo Awards 2010 and 2011 and the relentless determination to perfect his craft, Mantix deservedly holds a place as one of today’s most respected and complete DJs.
Mantix, who now does gospel mixes, comes from a family of four siblings, born to Mr and Mrs Okello. His mother encouraged him into the entertainment industry, but his father was against it from the beginning.
We recently caught up with him in Nairobi.
Rumour has it that you are planning to wed this year?
Yes, it’s high time I settled down and the date is set to be sometime (in) July this year.
How long have you been with your fiancée?
We have been together for a while, around two and half years now. I believe that’s enough time to know whether you want to be with someone or not.
How much will the wedding cost?
Am rating to cost me around Sh3.5 million, if all goes well.
Have you started the preparations for this big day?
Yes, I started putting things in place as from December last year.
So far, so good; things are turning out to be just fine. I want it to be an eventful affair so we will be inviting more than 1,500 guests.
That aside, let’s talk about your career, how long have you been a DJ?
It’s eight years now since … I started doing it professionally back in 2007, even though my interest (in becoming a) DJ commenced while I was still in college five years earlier.
Have you ever done any international tour abroad for the eight years you have been a DJ?
I have never really gotten a chance to, but this year I will be travelling to (the) Netherlands in August (for) just a month after the wedding. I will be touring with DJ Hardwell of the Netherlands for some shows in his native country, courtesy of Dance4Life and Paps Crew.
Does it mean there will be no honeymoon for you and the spouse?
He he! Not really, we surely will, though it will be a short one because I also need to find time to prepare for the upcoming tour.
Sometime last year, you decided to convert to a gospel DJ. Are you still one?
I wouldn’t say I am because … I still do secular mixes. However, I do a lot of gospel mixes in order to promote gospel artistes.
Do you think your changing to a gospel DJ contributed to the decline in your fame?
I would say it’s neither here nor there, but one thing for sure is that it has contributed to expanding of my fan base because many were used to me as a “King of the Streets”, if you know what I mean.
By you choosing to become a gospel DJ, does it mean you are saved?
Ha ha! I choose to believe everyone is saved. Everything I do, its first dedicated to God because without him things become impossible.
How would you say the DJ industry has evolved over the years bearing in mind the fact that the number of DJs in the country has also increased drastically?
The industry has evolved a great deal because many things have changed, starting with the DJ set kits and the art itself, where DJs strive to be more creative than before.
The increase in (the) number of DJs has brought much competition and given us the spirit to work harder in order to make sure we maintain our standards.
With the increase in the number of DJs, do you think there is still enough money out there for all of you?
Yes, of course, for sure there is enough money for all of us because the fans’ demand is growing by day, hence we can’t complain. However, it all goes down to one’s individual brilliance and packaging.
Which gig has ever paid you the most?
There is one that I did for Britam (where) I was paid Sh450, 000 for a single night. It was a crazy sum.
Every artiste has a price. What yours before you can be lured to perform in an event?
It depends (on) the kind of … event and also the client you are dealing with. However, in most cases my rating ranges from Sh80,000 going up.
For a while now, there has been a wide outcry from musicians that Djs are so selective when it comes to playing local content, most of them opting for foreign music from Nigeria an USA. What’s your take on this?
I wouldn’t want to get tangled (up) in the spiders’ cobwebs, but from what I personally do, I have always supported local talent 100 per cent that I can attest.