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DJ Devon: a chip off the old block

By Mark Devlin | 23 January 2011

Sons of DJs follow in their father's footsteps just as much as doctors or lawyers, and so a career in playing music was always on the cards for Devon Kosoko. His dad was 

a reggae sound system DJ who played out at carnivals and parties in the family's local area, and the young Devon would play the tunes that his old man selected. 

"My stepdad was in the RAF, so I spent my younger years traveling between Germany, Holland and Wales," explains Devon, "and ended up in Lincoln where I first met my real dad. Back then as a 13-year-old I'd started to spin happy hardcore jungle, so I was already handy with the decks. My dad asked if I could spin for him when I came down to visit as he did massive raves all over Yorkshire." 

Before long, Devon recognised that the skills he was acquiring as a DJ could help fund him through university where he had embarked on a course in business studies. So while many of his mates were whiling away their leisure time, Devon set about studiously learning the techniques of turntablism, combining this with his acquired knowledge of how to sequence tunes together for maximum audience excitement. 

"I started clubbing in Sunderland and Newcastle with the Basketball Academy team I'd joined. Noticing how bad the DJs were, one day I asked how much they got paid. When I found out I went home and spent my whole student loan on some DJ CD machines and an SK5 Skratch mixer." 

The classic start for any aspiring DJ is to start staging their own club nights, and Devon's first forays involved student parties in Sunderland. As his reputation grew, he was able to attract many of the urban scene's A-list DJs to play guest spots, among them Tim Westwood, Trevor Nelson, Mistajam, Shortee Blitz, Ronnie Herel and, in a major coup, the world-renowned and highly revered DJ Jazzy Jeff. It all led to Devon being headhunted by the two biggest R&B club brands in the North East, Love Dough and Hucci, for whom he became a resident. 

Ancillary activities are a must on any DJ's CV, and a useful sideline came when Devon was approached by Def Jam UK to become a key representative of their street team. He stepped up his mixtape game, producing the official UK volumes for Usher and T-Pain. Also in the picture was radio, with regular mixes played on Michael Charles' show on Galaxy in Newcastle, and with Devon winning the same station's Urban Mix competition. 

This would all constitute a complete agenda in itself. But there is another rung to Devon's talents. Almost before the DJing took hold he had harboured ambitions to become a producer. Being self-taught to grade five on the piano certainly helped. He then learned electric and classical guitar, before getting to grips with the fundamentals of studio work. His DJing links enabled him to start submitting reference tracks to various labels, and it paid off when his collaboration with the grime artist Bashy, 'Fantasy', went to number two in the UK iTunes hip-hop chart. His re-working of Devlin's 'Runaway' scored among many successful remixes, and a side project, Decibel, gained multiple plays on Radio 1. 

Not content with UK domination, meanwhile, Devon's DJing excursions have extended further afield. He struck up a bi-weekly club residency in Beirut, Lebanon, becoming interviewed by that country's MTV in the process, and has gained Summer work in Ibiza, Majorca, Turkey and Abu Dhabi. Elsewhere, a fortuitous link with celebrated DJs Latin Prince and Phenom led to him becoming a member of the coveted Bumsquad DJz and SpinAddicts collectives, headquartered in Los Angeles. 

Based on the evidence to far, Mr. Kosoko Senior can rest assured the family skills have passed to very capable hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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