Spotlight on DJ Polaris of Andromeda

| July 11, 2013
DJ Polaris

DJ Polaris, one half of the acclaimed hip hop duo Andromeda, says he and his partner Brainstorm a while back converted their studio to a computer-based, digital system. (Photo: Jeanie Summerville)

UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE by Jeanie Summerville

Whatz up, babies?

I hope, that all is well with you and yours and you’re still finding the time to soak in some love, joy, beauty, happiness and some form of peace of mind as you give it, on our journey of love. Because like I said, I am and it feels so gooood! So, on that note, let’s get down to the real nitty gritty y’all and have some fun with this week’s spotlight and this is what he has to say:

“Hello Frost Illustrated readers. I’m DJ Polaris and I was born and raised right here in Fort Wayne, Ind., in the mid ’70s and I was always surrounded by music because my parents always played it. They had everything from R&B, blues and soft rock, since hip hop was just starting, so they played the classics such as James Brown, Donny Hathaway and other greats because that type of music was abundant and I loved listening to it and dancing to it. The feeling that goes along with music is what I remember most of all and so I want others to feel what I’m feeling.

“So, I said, ‘well I can’t sing but I can play the best music that’s out there’ and that’s when I started playing records and getting involved and I’ve been a professional DJ every since high school. Which means, that I’ve learned my craft and I’m what is called a mobile DJ, so I come to you. I like doing private functions such as weddings, open houses, birthday parties and things like that. 

“There are several other types of DJs., such as radio and nightclubs but our tasks are still basically the same and that’s to entertain the people through music. Also, you must know how to be connected to the people, in some sort of way, in order to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it because in this business, timing is everything. But sometimes, when someone hires me, silence is better because I can just play my records and make sure that the party is going the way that the client intended. 

“And, I’ve also been in a hip-hop group called, Andromeda, since I became a professional DJ and we named our group that because to us it’s like the galaxy and we’re big into Astronomy. I’m the group’s DJ and I make the music, which really means that I’m controlling the sound, and it’s almost like the equivalent of a band because we have a lot of different elements and doing this is a lot of fun for me. I was interviewed a few years ago when our group first got started and the interviewer asked me, what do I think it would feel like when I’m successful? I thought about it for a minute and said, well I think that I’m already successful and I guess that just depends on your understanding of what success is to you. Some people’s success is winning a Grammy, selling a million records or being signed to a label and that’s fine. But with me and my partner, Akil or Brainstorm, success came when we were first putting this thing together because our only goal was and still remains today, is to be independent and be able to make the type of records that we feel that we want to make especially for our community because it’s art. 

“And, there’s really no such thing as bad art, it’s just art and if you like it you like it. I’m not a Van Gogh or Picasso fan but they’re world renowned artists and I know an artist here like, Theopolis Smith, that I think is greater than both of them but that’s my perspective. I think that art is from your eye or from your ear or from your feel. So we have always stuck with that and hey, if it happens and some of the accolades that comes along with it fine but that was never our goal and we love it. I’m having the time of my life honestly and I’m at a very, very happy point in my life doing this and being able to work in my studio any time of day and just say hey, I’m going to make a record today and do it. It’s been a long time putting everything together but it’s worth it and it’s really nice.

“When I say make a record, I’m referring to everything from writing the song, its concept, musical background, picking the instruments of other players, if we need them and much more. It’s funny to be called just a DJ but I know that came from the past when we just played records and said, ‘ah, man this is a nice break,’ so we’d play one on one turntable and when it was about to end, we’d start it on another turn table and it sounded like it was continuous and then we’d rap over that and it was good for that time and fun. But, that was before all of this equipment, drum machines and keyboards were affordable unless you were basically in a big studio and signed to a label. But, once the equipment became affordable, we started buying things so we could make our own actual records without an actual band. So in actuality, I’m a DJ/producer and getting into production, I’m not going to say it was easy, but I had the ear for it since I was already listening to records.

“I still have a lot of original records that my mother and father gave and provided me with and I have some of everything, even from way back. As, a matter of fact, me and my mother use to live above Tall Man’s Record store on Pontiac Street, so I heard all of the music that they played and I was immersed in it. And, everyday I would go downstairs and talk with Mrs. Pat and her husband as they played it all day long and that was great. 

“As far as, my equipment everything now a days, for the most part, is ran off of computer software and you can use so many things to make music because what you’re really dealing with is sound and there’s so many sounds. I have an actual keyboard in my studio too and I’m teaching myself pretty much how to play it but I also have a friend that’s helping me. I learn a lot from other people because I’m pretty much like a scavenger when it comes to music and I’ll just soak up what other’s can teach me and I’m not afraid to say I don’t know. And, I’m not afraid to say that I’m not good at something but I’m brave enough to ask and to be taught what I don’t already know. 

“And, I know that a lot of people kind of jump on Fort Wayne and dog it but I’ve been a lot of places and as far as, the talent here is concerned, this is far some of the best that I’ve ever been around and I’m dead serious about that. I’ve been around some pretty now famous people and I’m not taking anything away from their abilities but I believe that the people such as Fatima Washington, Labrina Starks and all of the people that I’ve worked with, are just as talented, if not more or at least equal. I enjoy that I have an opportunity to work with artist on this ground level and make records with them and hopefully help them to achieve whatever goals they have and there’s no better payment than that.

“It’s been a real good experience doing what I do and it continues to be especially now since we live in this digital age. Because like I said, I can go into my studio, make a record today and hopefully it’s good enough and then I can put it on the internet and that’s the power. The best way to reach me since I’m not a big social media-ite on Twitter and Facebook so just look up DJ Polaris and you’ll find me. I’m always out there looking at talent and going to shows so if you see me, talk to me and let me know what you’d like to do because I love people and I love being around musical people and sharing ideas and things like that.

“My most favorite part about being a DJ/producer is to be able to go to a party or a function and play a good record of an artist that no one knows or has heard of before and I know that they like it because everybody’s still dancing. Then afterward, they come up to me and say, ‘Oh my God, who was that? Can I get a CD right now because that artist was great and please tell me who that is?’ When they do that my job is euphoric for me because if someone does that for the music that I make you never know what that can lead to. So I play some local artist records if there’re good and has good quality—it’s just as simply as that. I don’t care if your local, national, or unknown and I don’t care about your color, religion or none of that. Because we’re talking about music and if it’s about a really strong record, I use my own judgment and I’m going to play it. And seriously, I’m having the time of my life.”

Now in closing I say, Great job Polaris! Keep up the good work by helping others to make their dreams a reality.

So until next week you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.

P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to upclosewithjeanie@yahoo.com. I’d love to hear from ya.

Listen to an exclusive premiere of “The Great Debaters,” a new song by Andromeda on Frost’s Facebook page http://statictab.com/yq4r2pm

This article originally appeared in the July 10 print edition.

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